Posts tagged ‘2017’

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Light of Sleep by Carolyn Forché

In the library of night, from the darkness of ink
on paper, there is a whispering heard book to book,
from Great Catastrophe and The World of Silence
to The Encyclopedia of Ephemera, a history having
to do with aerial leaflets, air raid papers,
bills of mortality, birth certificates and blotting papers,
child lost-and-found forms, donor cards, erratum slips,
execution broadsides “liberally spattered with errors of all kinds”
sold by vendors at public hangings, funeralia, with drawings
of skeletons digging graves and inviting us to accompany
the corpse of x to the church of y, gift coupons, greeting cards,
housekeeping accounts, ice-papers to place in windows
for the delivery of blocks of ice, jury papers, keepsakes,
lighthouse-dues slips for all ships entering or leaving ports,
marriage certificates, news bills, notices to quit, oaths, paper
dolls, plague papers, playing cards, quack advertisements,
ration papers, razor-blade wrappers, reward posters,
slave papers, songbooks, tax stamps, touring maps,
union labels and vice cards left in telephone boxes,
warrants and watch-papers used to keep the movements
of the pocket watches under repair free of dust,
wills and testaments, xerography, yearbooks and the Zoetrope
disk also known as the wheel of life wherein figures painted
in a rotating drum are perceived to move, faster and faster
whether dancing, flying, or dying in the whirl of time.


Date: 2017

By: Carolyn Forché (1950- )

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

The Bridge of Paper by Lothar Quinkenstein

we are waiting,
tell us.
(Itzik Manger)

Who carries the longing carries the burden
carries the genisah of burned names

who carries the unlived life
across the bridge of paper?


Date: 2017 (original in German); 2018 (translation in English)

By: Lothar Quinkenstein (1967- )

Translated by: Yanara Friedland (19??- )

Monday, 2 March 2020

Test by Sarya Abra

I am cowering
in a clock that does not let go of the evening
The cage is tight
No foetus can form in this narrow waist
Every door I knock at
There again a policeman arrives
without a sneeze
Squeezing me with words
Breaking a twig
With nowhere to graft it to
Except on a branch that turned to letters of I love you

Where does it come from
This water
this question that grows
takes root
And without a father
gives the answer
A son

How can I get up with a clock
That is in a coma
And dive into the dusk

Like a dog
I’m short legged
The cats are watching
And silence
That carries the alphabet of suicide
Doesn’t break out of me
Until lips forsake “I love you”
And the foetus is detached
Under each poultice
Point per point of my body
A policeman is on his beat.


Date: 2017 (original in Arabic); 2017 (translation in English)

By: Sarya Abra (1985- )

Translated by: Abol Froushan (1957- )

Friday, 21 February 2020

Encroachment by Elizabeth Arnold

The male is the aggressor
even in a birdbath full of sparrows,

mounting, determining what, when, going after

all that shouldn’t be his
more than another’s.

The only way for a woman to be

truly free
is to live alone, liberation

just too high a hurtle

with the man there, history being
a pile of tree trunks on our donkey backs.


Date: 2017

By: Elizabeth Arnold (1958- ) Encroachment (21 February 2020)

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Transported by Chris Wardle

Standing in the carriage foyer,
two artists.

A cellist,
eyes closed in practice
on her instrument case.

And a poet, lost
in the music
of her silent rapture.


Date: 2017

By: Chris Wardle (19??- )

Friday, 31 January 2020

Summer of Bad Decisions by Alyssa Yankwitt

Begins with a boy
ends in a bedroom.

Begins with a different boy
ends in a different bedroom.

Begins at midnight
ends no later than noon.

Begins at Webster Hall
ends in Brooklyn.

Begins alone
ends alone.


Date: 2017

By: Alyssa Yankwitt (19??- )

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Regret by Anara Guard

I have waited too long to prune and
my roses are tangled and straggly.
They resist my efforts to tame them now.
I should have done this long ago,
should have fed them better, trimmed more often,
made more effort to coax them into graceful forms.
The canes sprawl every which way. They lean
into each other, hooked together,
unwilling to stand alone.
Too leggy, their blossoms appear only at the top,
leaving the middle a thicket of thorns
that wound me as I try—too late—
to shape these green branches.


Date: 2017

By: Anara Guard (19??- )

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

My Father as a Redwood Tree by Kayla Pearce

At eighty feet tall, you are the runt
of your family. Resistant to pest or prey,

your only enemy is a cleansing fire,
a tantrum wind. I visited you at seven,

carved my name into your spine,
and expected myself to bleed. I wanted to amputate

myself from you, to peel you from my veins.
My mother says if we leave you alone, you can live

for six hundred years. Once, I dreamt she found the chainsaw
beneath my bed, the teeth rusted together

like your tangle of roots, a stitch in our fabric
I cannot unweave. Years later, I returned

to find you’d been harvested, plucked
from the earth like a feather. Some days

I pull pickled bark from my throat. Some days
I cut myself in half just to count the rings.


Date: 2017

By: Kayla Pearce (19??- )

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Swallow by Hugh O’Donnell

She has forgotten how to swallow, how to take in
something extraneous and make it her own. Simple
enough for a regular guzzler; not so easy when the trap-
door assistant has slipped out for a coke and
croissant and a mess of food is poised for the drop.
Nurses dread that moment; doctors make a note
of the commotion in a scrawl; the speech therapist hails
an impairment and adjusts the mix so that tea will slide
rather than flow. ‘Can’t I have a drink of water?’ she asks
all the first days, then tires of asking, recalling home now
as the one place she can please herself, where walls advance
a big hug when she’s lonely, the toaster pops just for her,
the kettle bleats and blubbers when it can take no more.


Date: 2017

By: Hugh O’Donnell (1951- )

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Vigil by Meg Reynolds

For the longest time I thought the night was furred,
a mass of soft hair fallen each dusk.

In my first hours, I rode my father’s chest as though
it were the back of an animal or woolen hill, rolling with slowness
and unquestionably the whole Earth.

Cushioned by his hair I spent my first night there—
above his heart, lungs, ribs.

Small with early birth, nothing in me had hardened yet,
not even the minute musculature of my lips
learning to curve at the breast and drink.

As my mother slept, he gave me more time in his warmth
without moving, without crushing me in the size of his hands;

my young father in wonder as to how anything thrives
and us both asleep where it was safe.

The next time I saw something so tender I was lying naked
with a lover. As he rolled over, his heart slid sideways and hung
in the loose rigging in his chest.

It was soft, the size of my infant body, and padded like a flipper in sand.
I was drunk having suckled at a wine bottle all night, young and dozy
and lost in the heart’s hammering.

Green-veined, I stretched my long neck to him, my lips hardened
with curve, to keep him alive by study and vigilance.

I was held sleeping in my father’s arms so I could grow up and learn
this exact terror, here, where nowhere is safe,

the whole Earth soft with perishing. It rises off us like hair.
So we hold each other, watch closely as though
our beholding has anything to do with survival.


Date: 2017

By: Meg Reynolds (19??- )