Posts tagged ‘2015’

Sunday, 29 January 2023

Erratum by Norman Erikson Pasaribu

What was he thinking here, picking this body
and this family, where being match-made
with your mother’s niece was possible,
where first-born sons always meant everything,
and here, falling in love with the boy
who sat beside him at school,
when all that lingered of first love was that first kiss
they shared when cutting PE,
and here, not long after his first book came out,
as his family sat cross-legged together and ate,
he told them it wouldn’t end with any girl,
much less the Toba or Karo kind,
and here as he stood by the side of the road
that night, all alone, cars passing him,
his father’s words hounding him,
Don’t ever come back, Banci,
and he wept under a streetlight, frightened
at the first drops of rain misting his hair,
and here when he realised something odd about
the text that was his life and hoped sometime soon
the Publisher would print an erratum
to restore the lost lines, wherein
he’d know he was everything and also nothing
was wrong with him, and he’d know
what lingered of first love
was that very first kiss, bestowed
back when his family sat cross-legged together
and ate, grateful because he had picked
this body and this family?


Date: 2015 (original in Indonesian); 2019 (translation in English)

By: Norman Erikson Pasaribu (1990- )

Translated by: Tiffany Tsao (19??- )

Saturday, 14 January 2023

Highway by Malathi Maitri

Along the highways
of a refugee’s life
snapshots of childhood memories
hedges overspread with field bean
thick with honeybees,
a courtyard filled with goat droppings,
the shade of a portia-tree,
school children under a neem-tree,
a pond swarming with buffaloes
woods echoing with the koel’s song
the sea-shore where sea-birds call.

The highways carry us along
to yet other highways.


Date: 2011 (original in Tamil); 2015 (translation in English)

By: Malathi Maitri (1968- )

Translated by: Lakshmi Holmström (1935-2016)

Thursday, 8 December 2022

Africa Today by Joseph Ushie

She is the blind bowl-bearing beggar
Sitting on a roadside mound of gold
Yawning all day, yawning all night

America arrives, cleaves a chunk of the gold,
Drops a coin and some affronts, and passes;
Asia arrives, cleaves a chunk of the gold,
Drops a coin and some contempt, and passes;
Australia arrives, cleaves a chunk of the gold,
Drops a coin and some chuckle, and passes;
Europe passes, cleaves a chunk of the gold,
Drops a coin and some insult, and retires;

Then hail her own one-eyed leader:
He clears the bowl of the dropped coins,
Blames her plight on her slothfulness, and passes,
Belching all the way as his beggar-land yawns.


Date: 2015

By: Joseph Ushie (19??- )

Saturday, 19 November 2022

South China, migration by Brett Cross

I saw her and him
flying upwards

a black bowl

as though migrating to warmth
ancestral route.


Date: 2015

By: Brett Cross (19??- )

Thursday, 13 October 2022

Flowers in Stone by Glen Armstrong

after Paul Klee

Though hardly a blockhead,
he only had twelve thoughts
in heavy rotation in that radio

station of a head of his:
Lily’s round bottom,
birds caught in a wind storm

and ten other ordinary things
modified by nine deep feelings.
This was enough for an ever-

changing picture, an infinite melody,
and when Klee lay down
at night, a swarm of philosophical

fireflies flocked to one thing
or another, burning rhythm
and beauty into the blossoms

collected by day: petals break
stone by becoming stone.
Stone catches fire; stone learns to fly.


Date: 2015

By: Glen Armstrong (19??- )

Monday, 15 August 2022

December by Sarah Freligh

On the fire escape, one
stupid petunia still blooms,
purple trumpet blowing
high notes at the sky long
after the rest of the band
has packed up
and gone home.


Date: 2015

By: Sarah Freligh (19??- )

Sunday, 3 July 2022

[Unknown] by Harry Thurston

We all must come from somewhere. Out of the blackness of time,
moon-faced, our complexions pocked by the catastrophe of

Why not believe as did the ancient marsh dwellers?
The sacred ibis spoke the gods into being,

laying an egg from which the sun burst forth.
The rest is history. Or so said Herodotus.

It was the jet-black ibises, with their hooked beaks
down-turned like the nibs of pens, who gave us writing.

One story is as good as another.
We all must come from somewhere,

shining out of the blackness of time.
Believe what you must.

From: Jernigan, Amanda and Jones, Evan (eds.), Earth and Heaven: An Anthology of Myth Poetry, 2015, Fitzhenry & Whiteside: Ontario, p. [unnumbered].

Date: 2015

By: Harry Thurston (1950- )

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Ritual With Fish Water by Jennifer Givhan

When the doorbell rang this time, she knew
it would be different. The driftwood
of his shoulders knocked his rigid chest

like hooves. Her floating man. “This
rotten world,” he said almost before she could
react, “it’s half-gutted, isn’t it?” Did

she nod? She opened the door wider, allowed
him in—dragging his fish, his strings of light,
his wounds—from the rain. She didn’t feel hope,

exactly, nor dread. “A drink?” she asked.
“Scotch,” he said, folding
to unfold as an origami lantern on her couch,

muddying her pillowslips. She said nothing.
She’d gone on living without
his good nights beating against her

like a broken radio signal. “I’ve missed you—”
She watched him hold his glass restlessly,
a bit of brine pooling at his pant legs, his loafers.

“There’s albondigas on the stove.” Out of habit,
“Will you stay? Can you eat?” He set down
his empty glass, picked up some walnut husks

from their little basket on the table
and began cracking them on his knees,
her prince of gnats and ache, her shining

mollusk king, debuting from death in
minor latch and key. “Hey, look. Dorothea—”
But she lurched toward him anyway. There’d be no

confetti tonight. No clean pears on the windowsill.
“You need to know what I’m here for,” he tried
again, not quite pushing her back, not quite

accepting her embrace. “Never mind that,”
she said, her neck growing scaly, salt
spindling her hair. She waited for the drowning—


Date: 2015

By: Jennifer Givhan (19??- )

Friday, 20 May 2022

San Juan Capistrano Mission by Paul Lieber

The chipped façade of cream brick.
The uneven plaster reminds me
of my apartment on 17th,
those little hills for floors,
the toilet in the hall and
dreams of the tenement swaying.

Forget stiff interpretations
of the bible and the slaughter
of infidels. Stay with the mortar,
stones and age, the adobe couches,
those motherly laps
in the garden
away from the burn
of sun and the mission
of this mission.

I hear my father through the archways.
“Religion killed half the human race.”

I stroll into the gilded chapel
as narrow as that flat downtown
but the ceiling, with its primitive
beams and mismatched lines, climbs
to the heavens and Latin chants
swirl so,
so I pull up a tier
and pray
as involuntarily as any seduction.

The winding chant pulls me further
to those holy stories, to the creepy almighty,
calling, and I, obedient music, am summoned

past the rape of aunt Jenny,
past the repairman fiddling with a hinge,
above the bombings to the east.
I’m over the ruins,
above the gift shop,
above the bells.

A single note.
An infidel.


Date: 2015

By: Paul Lieber (19??- )

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Trophic Cascade by Camille T. Dungy

After the reintroduction of gray wolves
to Yellowstone and, as anticipated, their culling
of deer, trees grew beyond the deer stunt
of the midcentury. In their up reach
songbirds nested, who scattered
seed for underbrush, and in that cover
warrened snowshoe hare. Weasel and water shrew
returned, also vole, and so came soon hawk
and falcon, bald eagle, kestrel, and with them
hawk shadow, falcon shadow. Eagle shade
and kestrel shade haunted newly berried
runnels where deer no longer rummaged, cautious
as they were, now, of being surprised by wolves.
Berries brought bear, while undergrowth and willows,
growing now right down to the river, brought beavers,
who dam. Muskrats came to the dams, and tadpoles.
Came, too, the night song of the fathers
of tadpoles. With water striders, the dark
gray American dipper bobbed in fresh pools
of the river, and fish stayed, and the bear, who
fished, also culled deer fawns and to their kill scraps
came vulture and coyote, long gone in the region
until now, and their scat scattered seed, and more
trees, brush, and berries grew up along the river
that had run straight and so flooded but thus dammed,
compelled to meander, is less prone to overrun. Don’t
you tell me this is not the same as my story. All this
life born from one hungry animal, this whole,
new landscape, the course of the river changed,
I know this. I reintroduced myself to myself, this time
a mother. After which, nothing was ever the same.


Date: 2015

By: Camille T. Dungy (1972- )