Posts tagged ‘2008’

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Dear Tourists by Johannes Göranson

Dear Tourists,

You can grope for moist souvenirs in the basement,
but you’ll need patience
because nobody down there will warn you about the floor.

In the street you’ll find squirrels; on my scalp, bumps.
If you want proof for the folks back home that you’ve surged
like a seagull, print your name and number in the bathroom.

If you want a seagull for a pet, talk to my therapist.
If you find her, tell me where she lives, and where her daughter
goes to school. If you want a piece of me, suck my dick.

If you want to sell trips to the general public, take my pulse
or my coffee-table picture-books about Italy.
If there’s a house in the trees, throw up a hammer

and see what falls down. The bleeding kid isn’t
the best prize and you can’t return it, so be careful where
you walk when you’ve had a few.

If there’s a nettle between your shoulder blades
and you’re having trouble breathing, tell the teacher,
but don’t tell her it was me cause it wasn’t.

I was just watching, maybe even laughing at your gurgling sounds.
That incident belongs to somebody else’s amusement park.
I don’t ever want to see it again on this side of the blunt tracks.

From: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/56358/dear-tourists

Date: 2008

By: Johannes Göranson (19??- )

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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Jade Stairs Resentment by Xie Tiao

In the evening hall, the bead curtain is lowered;
Drifting glowworms fly, then rest.
Through the long night, sewing a gossamer dress:
This longing for you—when will it ever cease?

From: Cai, Zong-qi (ed.), How to Read Chinese Poetry: A Guided Anthology, 2008, Columbia University Press: New York, p. 143.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=FFWsAgAAQBAJ)

Date: c490 (original); 2008 (translation)

By: Xie Tiao (464-499)

Translated by: Xiaofei Tian (1971- )

Friday, 11 January 2019

Crows by Hailey Leithauser

Because they are clever, we believe they are wise.
Because they are wise, we conclude they are good,

or evil, or good and evil, but never muddied
in between. Because they are arrant and utter black,

we assume them to be downright chummy with death,
and so in England once a woman was pressed between stones

for owning a pillow made from crow feathers.
This, the people said, gave her the power to dream affliction

like moonlight into the lives of their children,
and even though during her trial, records show

that the streets rang with the din of fat and ruddy
lineage, there was still a principle involved

and the city was cheered when no crows arrived at her grave,
which was hurriedly and spotlessly dissembled by snow.

From: http://www.reduxlitjournal.com/2011/10/3-four-poems-by-hailey-leithauser.html

Date: 2008

By: Hailey Leithauser (1954- )

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Before We Get Into This by Lemn Sissay

Before we get to know each other
And sing for tomorrow
And unearth yesterday
So that we can prepare our joint grave
You should know that I have no family,
Neither disowned nor distanced – none.

No birthdays nor Christmas,
No telephone calls. It’s been that way
Since birth for what it’s worth
No next of skin.

I am the guilty secret of an innocent woman
And a dead man – tell your parents, they’ll want to know.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/sep/20/poetry.originalwriting

Date: 2008

By: Lemn Sissay (1967- )

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Skins by Patience Agbabi

It’s not like you don’t turn me on.
Every time you walked past
I thought, She’s fit.
Come-to-bed eyes.
We both want to
feel my skin

against your skin.
It’s not like you’re on
or I’m changing into
a woman. It’s my past.
Look into my eyes.
I just wanted to fit

in. A misfit.
Mixed race but light-skinned,
brown hair, blue eyes,
bootboy with a hard-on.
I passed.
I had to.

Then I got this tattoo.
I did it in a fit
of rage. It soon passed.
You want to read my skin?
Whatever turns you on.
I closed my eyes

and put my soul on ice,
denied a black dad, too
terrified to let on.
I wore the outfit,
marched with the skins.
I don’t like to talk about the past,

I hate my past.
My big lie reflected in their eyes,
their hatred in my skin.
With this tattoo
I’m a walking Photofit.
That’s why I keep my clothes on.

It’s past midnight. I’ll call a cab if you want me to.
But your eyes know how to fit
a condom like a second skin. Come on…

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/mar/28/poem-of-the-week-skins-by-patience-agbabi

Date: 2008

By: Patience Agbabi (1965- )

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Holding My Breath by Charles W. Pratt

It was a favorite aunt who used to tell
How, when I learned to swim, I’d cry out
To the attendant angels on the float,
“Going undah now,” and disappear
For as long as I could hold my breath,
Then breach spouting: call me Moby Dick.

She’s gone under now, and all her memories.
She won’t come up at sunset on the porch
To suck the orange slice from her old-fashioned,
Or cross-stitch dresses for the German dolls
Ranged in a glass-front case for neighbor children —
She had none — to visit. Where are they?

Bedtime. I pull the covers up and murmur
(So my attendant angel doesn’t hear),
“Going undah now.”

From: https://www.nh.gov/nharts/artsandartists/poetshowcase/poetlaureate54.html

Date: 2008

By: Charles W. Pratt (1934-2012)

Sunday, 22 July 2018

I Had Hoped to Keep Secret by Mibu no Tadami

I had hoped to keep secret
feelings that had begun to stir
within my heart,
but already rumours are rife
that I am in love with you.

From: MacMillan, Peter (ed. and transl.), One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each: A Treasury of Classical Japanese Verse, 2018, Penguin: London , p. 41.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=UDdmDQAAQBAJ

Date: 10th century (original in Japanese); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Mibu no Tadami (10th century)

Translated by: Peter MacMillan (19??- )

Thursday, 12 July 2018

My Young Mother by Michael Ryan

Elvera Ryan (1911-2006)

What she couldn’t give me
she gave me those long nights
she sat up with me feverish
and sweating in my sleep
when I had no idea whatsoever
what she had to do to suffer
the pain her body dealt her
to assuage the pain in mine.

That was a noble privacy—
her mothering as a practice of patience—
how deeply it must have stretched her
to watch me all night with her nerves
crying for rest while my fever
spiked under the washcloths
she passed between my forehead
and her dishpan filled with ice.

That was a noble privacy,
but even then there was so much
unsayable between us,
and why this was now looks so
ludicrous in its old costume of shame
that I wish not that she had just
said it but that I hadn’t been
so furious she couldn’t.

From: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/poem/2008/01/my_young_mother.html

Date: 2008

By: Michael Ryan (1946- )

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dapper Street by Jakobus Cornelis (Jacques) Bloem

Nature is for the satisfied or hollow.
And what does it add up to in this land?
A patch of wood, some ripples in the sand,
A modest hill where modest villas follow.

Give me the city streets, the urban grey,
Quays and canals that keep the water tamed,
The clouds that never look finer than when, framed
By attic windows, they go their windswept way.

The least expectant have most to marvel at.
Life keeps its wonders under lock and key
Until it springs them on us, rich, complete.

One dreary morning all this dawned on me,
When, soaking wet in drizzly Dapper Street,
I suddenly felt happy, just like that.

From: Broer, Dick; Möhlmann, Thomas; den Ouden, Barbara; Schiferli, Victor; Steinz, Pieter; Valken, Maarten; and Vogt, Agnes (eds.), Dutch Classics: Poetry, 2012, Letterenfonds/Dutch Foundation for Literature: Amsterdam, p. 42.
(www.letterenfonds.nl/download.php?file=Dutch-Classics-2012-poetry.pdf)

Date: 1945 (original in Dutch); 2008 (translation in English)

By: Jakobus Cornelis (Jacques) Bloem (1887-1966)

Translated by: Judith Wilkinson (1959- )

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Rain by Donald (Don) Paterson

I love all films that start with rain:
rain, braiding a windowpane
or darkening a hung-out dress
or streaming down her upturned face;

one long thundering downpour
right through the empty script and score
before the act, before the blame,
before the lens pulls through the frame

to where the woman sits alone
beside a silent telephone
or the dress lies ruined on the grass
or the girl walks off the overpass,

and all things flow out from that source
along their fatal watercourse.
However bad or overlong
such a film can do no wrong,

so when his native twang shows through
or when the boom dips into view
or when her speech starts to betray
its adaptation from the play,

I think to when we opened cold
on a rain-dark gutter, running gold
with the neon of a drugstore sign,
and I’d read into its blazing line:

forget the ink, the milk, the blood—
all was washed clean with the flood
we rose up from the falling waters
the fallen rain’s own sons and daughters

and none of this, none of this matters.

From: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/26/rain-poems-don-paterson

Date: 2008

By: Donald (Don) Paterson (1963- )