Friday, April 30, 2010

Louis Dudek

Last night, against the white wall, by the bed-post
I saw a light-brown moth
angled like a broken umbrella,
silently resting.
Not beautiful, not frightening,
but very strange and original.
How he got into the house I cannot imagine,
but I left him there­­

no doubt he had come to die

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jorge Luis Borges

Throughout the course of the generations
men constructed the night.
At first she was blindness;
thorns raking bare feet,
fear of wolves.
We shall never know who forged the word
for the interval of shadow
dividing the two twilights;
we shall never know in what age it came to mean
the starry hours.
Others created the myth.
They made her the mother of the unruffled Fates
that spin our destiny,
they sacrificed black ewes to her, and the cock
who crows his own death.
The Chaldeans assigned to her twelve houses;
to Zeno, infinite words.
She took shape from Latin hexameters
and the terror of Pascal.
Luis de Leon saw in her the homeland
of his stricken soul.
Now we feel her to be inexhaustible
like an ancient wine
and no one can gaze on her without vertigo
and time has charged her with eternity.

And to think that she wouldn't exist
except for those fragile instruments, the eyes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Valzhyna Mort

my grandmother
doesn’t know pain
she believes that
famine is nutrition
poverty is wealth
thirst is water
her body like a grapevine winding around a walking stick
her hair bees’ wings
she swallows the sun-speckles of pills
and calls the internet the telephone to america
her heart has turned into a rose the only thing you can do
is smell it
pressing yourself to her chest
there’s nothing else you can do with it
only a rose
her arms like stork’s legs
red sticks
and i am on my knees
howling like a wolf
at the white moon of your skull
i’m telling you it’s not pain
just the embrace of a very strong god
one with an unshaven cheek that prickles when he kisses you

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gabriela Mistral

The Stranger (La Extranjera)

She speaks in her way of her savage seas

With unknown algae and unknown sands;

She prays to a formless, weightless God,

Aged, as if dying.

In our garden now so strange,

She has planted cactus and alien grass.

The desert zephyr fills her with its breath

And she has loved with a fierce, white passion

She never speaks of, for if she were to tell

It would be like the face of unknown stars.

Among us she may live for eighty years,

Yet always as if newly come,

Speaking a tongue that plants and whines

Only by tiny creatures understood.

And she will die here in our midst

One night of utmost suffering,

With only her fate as a pillow,

And death, silent and strange

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eunice Odio


Mother solitude


She’s very deep by day

and very quiet by night.
Because at night
mother solitude
runs imperfectly through the walls

that transform her
from a lonely, irradiant mother
to a naked one in the shape of gold.


I had not seen you, rosebush;

but one day, in the afternoon,
I knew there was a rose
in your depth

falling from itself,
and her petals shed swiftly
the small closeness of doves.

Mother solitude

held tight between her whistling
the reverse side of a flower.

I dreamed I was dreaming.


Listen to this silence

It is an anchored silence

it is the slope of the rose
it is the sleeping crease of angels.

Listen to this silence
that sticks to your flesh

It is a passing of smoke at your side

Mother solitude surrenders by the woods’ edge,
by the dreams of the Sun
by the ranks of the flowers.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Xi Chuan

One stormy night I will open by myself
The lonely locked room beside me

I may find a candle-stub, a box of matches
A bolt of spiritual lightning to set me shivering

A stone sinks in the ocean five hundred metres off shore
The soul of a bird nesting in the cliffs is fervent and imperilled

Yes, the ocean is nearby, one stormy night
I will listen to the pounding of the waves and light the candle

Write life’s sun on the land
And the death-date of all things

But I am a young man walking towards the sea
After experiencing hardships I will be fully fledged

Three knocks on the door reverberate in my heart
The tide leaps onto the sandy shore like a great host of turtles

This night’s dagger, this flotsam from a seaborne ship
I pat the ancient ark, the bright moon hangs high

One stormy night I will open by myself
The lonely locked room beside me

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Maya Angelou

Her arms semaphore fat triangles,
Pudgy HANDS bunched on layered hips
Where bones idle under years of fatback
And lima beans.

Her jowls shiver in accusation
Of crimes cliched by Repetition.
Her children, strangers
To childhood's TOYS, play
Best the games of darkened doorways,
Rooftop tag, and know the slick feel of
Other people's property.

Too fat to whore,
Too mad to work,
Searches her dreams for the
Lucky sign and walks bare-handed
Into a den of bereaucrats for her portion.

'They don't give me welfare.
I take it.'

Friday, April 23, 2010

Anna Akhmatova

So many stones have been thrown at me,
That I'm not frightened of them anymore,
And the pit has become a solid tower,
Tall among tall towers.
I thank the builders,
May care and sadness pass them by.
From here I'll see the sunrise earlier,
Here the sun's last ray rejoices.
And into the windows of my room
The northern breezes often fly.
And from my hand a dove eats grains of wheat...
As for my unfinished page,
The Muse's tawny hand, divinely calm
And delicate, will finish it

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Charles Bukowski

the phone rang at 1:30 a.m.
and it was a man from Denver:

"Chinaski, you got a following in
"yeah, I got a magazine and I want some
poems from you..."
"FUCK YOU, CHINASKI!" I heard a voice
in the background...
"I see you have a friend,"
I said.
"yeah," he answered, "now, I want
six poems..."
I heard the other
"you fellows been drinking?"
I asked.
"so what?" he answered. "you drink."
"that's true..."
the editor of the magazine gave me the
address and I copied it down on the back
of an envelope.
"send us some poems now..."
"I'll see what I can do..."
"goodbye," I said.
"goodbye," said the
I hung up.
there are certainly any number of lonely
people without much to do with
their nights.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

William Butler Yeats

The brawling of a sparrow in the eaves,
The brilliant moon and all the milky sky,
And all that famous harmony of leaves,
Had blotted out man's image and his cry.

A girl arose that had red mournful lips
And seemed the greatness of the world in tears,
Doomed like Odysseus and the labouring ships
And proud as Priam murdered with his peers;

Arose, and on the instant clamorous eaves,
A climbing moon upon an empty sky,
And all that lamentation of the leaves,
Could but compose man's image and his cry

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wislawa Symborska

Nothing twice

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.

Even if there is no one dumber,
if you're the planet's biggest dunce,
you can't repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.

No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with exactly the same kisses.

One day, perhaps, some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung
into the room, all hue and scent.

The next day, though you're here with me,
I can't help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?

Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It's in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.

With smiles and kisses, we prefer
to seek accord beneath our star,
although we're different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are

Monday, April 19, 2010

Anneke Brassinga

The shining mist already outlines shadows,
We pull up the water right to our chins
like sheets, so rippingly cool and fresh-starched,
we come to be bedded together, forever entwined
in the gauze of times past, when peacefully
no word we gave to bind us, sleep
of unmoored reason, towards dreamed up monsters.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Jurgen Rooste

at work
they want me to be
a duracell rabbit
what comes out is the usual guinea pig
at home they expect me
to bustle about
like an eager daddy penguin
and not like your average tipsy bullfinch
but my heart my
heart is free as an onion
a bulb underneath and tops on top
in a gently roaring nordic wind

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Angela Garcia

No one saw the ones
that were in Giordano Bruno
when he spoke
They did not burn
on borrowed lips
the ones who came from far away
The bonfire that was life
did not go out
in the fire that was death
In spite of Bruno's pile of cinders
what it bore survives
Each life is no more
than the time assigned
to a man
as a turn of light
As the Voice is loyalty
no uproar hides
from a sharp ear.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gerdur Kristny

Slow as sperm wales
we glide through the gloom
which is white
here on the heath.
It holds fast to its own
conceding only
one post at a time.
For an instant they flash
on the side of the road
like the little girl's matches
in the fairytale
lighting us
until we return
to the hole in the ice
to breathe.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gary Snyder

Lay down these words
Before your mind like rocks,
placed solid, like hands
in choice of place, set
Before the body of the mind
in space and time.
Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall
riprap of things.
Cobble of milky way,
straying planets,
these poems, people
lost ponies with,
Dragging saddles,
and rocky sure-foot trails
the words like an endless
four dimensional
Game of Go
ants and pebbles
in the thin loam, each rock a word
a creek-washed stone
Granite ingrained
with torment of fire and weight
Crystal and sediment linked hot
all change, in thoughts
as well as things.