Editor’s Note After a two year break, CPQ is back. We’ve spent this period establishing
independent publisher that punches well above its weight; and building ties both in international literary circles and our local community in Kent in the UK.
But something has been missing – something fundamental to the Conversation project. So, after various meetings, discussions and debates we decided to re-launch the magazine that started it all.
This Summer issue incorporates those poems that were published in our publisher’s newsletter The Conversation Papers in 2010-11, and introduces some great new voices since discovered. It features poets originating from, living and working in Cameroon, Canada, China, India, Iraq, Italy, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the UK and the US. There are also works by the recently deceased and sadly missed Zimbabwean poet Ruzvidzo Mupfudza (1971-2010), and the first published English translations of three short poems by Russian child prodigy Nika Turbina (1974-2002). 3
Contents Byron Beynon KJ Hannah Greenberg George Messo Jade Wallace Luisa Pianzola Abboud Al Jabiri Muslim Al-Taan Jacob Russell Aviva Englander Cristy Jesse Mitchell Anuradha Vijayakrishnan Changming Yuan Elizabeth Switaj Jim Bennett Steve Baggs Nika Turbina Gonca Ă&#x2013;zmen Ruzvidzo Mupfudza Wirndzerem G. Barfee Nigel Holt Nancy Charley Fabiano Alborghetti Doug Pugh William Doreski Susanna Lang
1 3 4 5 6 12 14 16 17 18 20 21 24 28 30 31 34 41 43 45 47 48 53 56 60
Byron Beynon Tinplate This is the rain my father knew. My mother would see him to the door as he left for work at the tinplate plant. A worker for all seasons, his continental shift sounded like a dance, a geological movement over a quarter of a century; mornings, afternoons, nights, two of each as he'd wait for the one weekend holiday per month, the stop-fortnight of summer as July closed and August began. His coil of days, the overtime for extra pay
inside a fork-lift truck. I still see and hear him leave, his uncomplaining silence I search as the tinplate shifts.
KJ Hannah Greenberg Calling Chasmonaim: International Relations near Jerusalem Area eight and zed, our Quick, electronically-mediated Friendship, wired beneath Arab goat paths, Strung past Ramallah, Connects your yeshuv to my city. Those checkpoint guards match mine; All olive drab, Plus plastic Galils poised In desert sync, timed to sacrifice Commuter records when Lonely highways yield too much news. Some mosquitoes buzz, Disease, noise, annoyance. Why hate the indigenous? Alike, we protect our homes from crossingsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Dangers, zapping bugs too often Given over by the neighbors.
George Messo Flighten First we thought it was just a violent landing. But then we suddenly descended and there was impact. We suddenly found ourselves in a field Tuncer Mutlucan
Sometimes it happens, as if, she said, you didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know, under cold cliffs air like grace on needy flesh, weightless and cool, rises in playful circles from below: unfolding, half-formed, vanishing into thinness. Our humanizing truths speak for themselves, out of worthy bondage, without use or purpose. Sometimes, she said, it is better to fall and, falling, thank no one. Circle the ancient wood. Do you see? A place to land? Forget about dying. Throw off your soul. Do not be taken in or yield to illusions of flight, or this very peculiar surprise on suddenly finding yourself in a fieldâ&#x20AC;Ś
Jade Wallace Verstehen For Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
The bright yellow sunflowers you brought me spoke clearly enough; they promised to be cheerful on my behalf. I put them in a bucket of water and turned their glad faces to the window. But (and I didn’t notice this then) their petals were also the fluttering sails of a sinking ship, the flags of a lover running out of cups to bail out my tears. The sunflowers didn’t fix anything. But I was grateful. For your attrition, for your taste in flora, for the fact that you never wrote my despair off as a ‘womanly problem’. I mean, for knowing that sadness is as likely to come from my uterus as from my androgynous liver.
Poems from Salva La Notte (The Night Saves) La Vita Felice, Milano, 2010 English translation by Anthony Robbins
From the sequence (from The lifetime of things) (da Il tempo delle cose)
But no spring is forever there where it is, nor is the course of its waters eternal Ma nessuna fonte rimane per sempre là dove si trova, né il corso delle sue acque è eterno
I The lifetime of things is so short, yet workmen are determinedly demolishing in order to build a multiplex. Diggers at work, indescribable quantities of builders’ materials: me, I quickly slip on my shoes each morning to escape the impending collapse and run away. The crutch of my slacks is speechless, mute prone to tiredness overcome. This has been a time of safety up to now, I tell myself, but I find it hard to comprehend and hard to stay in one position for long. The cause is uncertain, the effect completely lacking, yet every day I stay in a time that resists, in an unsought story which endangers no floors, invents nothing.
Il tempo delle cose è brevissimo, eppure operai demoliscono insistentemente per costruire una multisala. Scavatrici in funzione, materiali edili in quantità indescrivibile: io per me infilo in fretta le scarpe alla mattina per scampare al crollo prevedibile e correre da qualche parte. L’inguine nei pantaloni non parla, ammutolito stancabile sfinito. È un tempo incolume finora, mi dico, ma a fatica lo intendo, a fatica assumo posizioni durevoli. Non è certa la causa, l’effetto addirittura manca, ma quotidianamente insisto in un tempo che resiste, dentro una storia non richiesta che non rischia suoli, non escogita.
II I told a lie, it’s not a multiplex they’re building (I liked the notion, the modernity of the word). Oh no, they’re rebuilding our house with their picks and trowels and the rest. But the effect is actually that of modernity taking over insinuating itself and mixing in with the old things. These bricks or worse plasterboard are cosmic dust still to be refined but already permanent, set.
Ho mentito, non è una multisala che stanno costruendo (mi piaceva l’idea, la modernità della parola). Ma no, stanno rifacendo casa con picconi cazzuole e tutto il resto. Ma l’effetto è appunto di una modernità che appalta insinua s’immischia nelle cose vecchie. I mattoni o peggio il cartongesso sono polvere cosmica ancora da sgrossare ma già durevole, indurita.
III The workmen with their tools withdraw. The bodies that will live and move here adapt the idea of impermanence to their own ends. The builders’ store has no future, there is just the silence of torn paper dust awaiting disposal.
Si ritirano gli operai con i loro strumenti. I corpi che qui si muoveranno piegano il concetto di provvisorietà a loro favore. Non c’è futuro alla riserva di materiali, resta un silenzio di carta straccia polvere da tirare via.
IV And now I await the silence. Of bricks and mortar, rough to the touch, washed with some odourless liquid. Silently but in no sense vaguely architects labour to draw over and over the urban psalm, the phoenix that never rises again.
E adesso aspetto il silenzio. Di calce e mattoni, al tatto ruvido, spennellato di un liquido inodore. Con un silenzio tuttâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;altro che vago sâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;affannano architetti a disegnare ancora e ancora il salmo urbano, la fenice che non risorge.
Abboud Al Jabiri Translated by: Worod Al Musawi for the Poetry Translation Centre
Fading Imagine where this dove will go when her wings turn grey when her call grows old. Will she turn to the mirrors of young sparrows to slide into delusion, or will a deaf window offer her a perch to sing? How will she apologise to a traveller wanting to stroke her feathers when the flock scatters? How will she strut through the courtyard or impress the grass? Will she look for a kind boy to grind her a grain of wheat or an old flame to relight ageing passions? Perhaps she will divide her sadness between a window and a metal cage. Perhaps she'll become a professional mourner at the funerals of birds. Imagine where this dove will go when the trees donate her their lowest branch and when neighbours are indifferent to her past. 12
Remission Something stays stuck when I prise this photo from the wall. What if I slid my fingers into the air that sleeps under the print? Will I need a knife to scratch off the remains of her face? And the remnants of her shirt? And the shards of glass she nearly drank from? And what if I want to drink the dregs from that glass? Or if I'm lured by the scraps of her shirt to smell faint traces of perfume on the wall? And what if she were to smile when my fingers draw close to her lips â&#x20AC;&#x201C; were they kissing the wall just as I was thinking of taking down her photo? Why can't I learn from an artist and quietly place her photo in a frame? Did I need all these years of wounding my fingers every day, healing with my blood what I can't remove â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the remains of a photo and a wall.
Muslim Al-Taan Free Haiku Poems -1Cities are mirrors We gaze our faces into their distances And depart -2She is pretty silent Her smile Has many tongues -3My emotions hugged each other Your silence Had sent them a code -4She took my mobile number The sky dispatches her heavy message But there is no call -5A beautiful lady passed by A sad cloud in the sky Her fingers can't touch such beauty
-6Years , Months , Weeks and Days All are searching in vain Your moment plays in my heart's clock -7Flower Stolen odor Early sudden death -8Macarthur My dream Missing a train never stops -9Rain is your beauty Thirsty is the poet's spirit And truth lies among wasteland-jaws
Jacob Russell Angel of Death in Exile On a veranda in Uruguay, he sits upon a white cane chair, sips coffee from a china cup, while a Macaw calls In the green heat, I saw him blowing down the street on the Daily News a name the wind let slip A yellowed leaf, a curl of smoke from his cigarette lifts idly upward thin as his white hair, neatly combed a solitary bead of sweat on his trembling lip
Aviva Englander Cristy His Censure More Deserving after William Harvey
as distinguished to produce monstrosities to the mesentery with respect as first consideration as expected on prevailing with detriment on perception with appreciable variables as is based on for its own preservation that does not circulate in the same way of probability in speaking producing and impulse profitable to the art of healing to the smallest arteriole to the daily experience that serves as criterion from the remaining viscera that I should undertake if you compress the wrist
in which the internal parts change the propulsive force the same channels to empty the same time the affections in which they are all it is obvious it is indeed it must, therefore, get out again somewhere in like amount to keep demanding of sites of disease and of listing of surrounding parts of the way and manners to regard as probable as if to saturate then divide by that number poured out into all parts the passages as if by usual capacity to the various remarkable ways that stays nowhere without loss
Jesse Mitchell The Future is Vampires Contra Colonel Edgar Chamorro testified before the World Court of the United Nations in the 1980â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on the particular troubles of the Contra war in Nicaragua and Honduras: The future is vampires. Vampires and flies. The future will be dry. And the future is falling, The future is all the evil things hanging in the air. We were told that only way to defeat the Sandinistas was to use the same tactics attributed to the Communist insurgencies worldwide by the CIA. Tremble. The future is falling. The future is thin air and falling chunks of Earth And fireballs, left over smoke. Kill, kidnap, rob, tortureâ&#x20AC;ŚMany civilians were killed in cold blood. Many others were tortured, mutilated, raped, robbed and otherwise abusedâ&#x20AC;Ś The future is Vietnams And firebombs Fireballs, left over sparks. 18
When I joined…I hoped it would be an organization of Nicaraguans, of people. It turned out to be an instrument of government…of the U. S. government. The future is Cherufe and Lamia Draining dry all that blood, The future is lightning bolts Dragon skins, gun boats Fireballs and stolen votes. Many civilians were killed in cold blood…Many were tortured, mutilated, raped, robbed or otherwise abused.” The future is the birds and beasts and creatures Of the field.
Anuradha Vijayakrishnan Curtains And so does Arjuna lie exhausted on the pitted battle ground of the green room, his dance dead legs crumpling into bone and flaccid muscle; he shivers as they reach for his mask. Arjuna remembers how he was made, what love had gone into layering his royal face, how the paint had glowed in the old manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hand, how women had dipped their heads to watch from a breathless distance, how the gods had gathered to bless, to wait for the first clank of his heroic ankle bells. How the earth and the curtain had trembled. And he waits as they complete their art, pluck his colours apart, rub and clean his skin of royalty while sipping black tea and cracking old jokes. His crown passes into glittering myth, his costume unravels into cloth. He is meager, a stripped shadow formed of longing and the last flicker of the nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lamplight. And Arjuna lies dead in the cold; he does not know when they carry him out.
Changming Yuan The Mouse, A Mouse if the little mouse became as boundless as the sky as it wishes the sky would become as free as a cloud the cloud as powerful as a wind and if the wind became as unshakable as a wall the wall would become as penetrating as a mouse and the little mouse a mouse
SAWS: A Seasonal Poem Summer:
in her beehive-like room so small that a yawning stretch would readily awaken the whole apartment building she draws a picture on the wall of a tremendous tree that keeps growing until it shoots up from the cemented roof
not unlike a giddy goat wandering among the ruins of a long lost civilization you keep searching in the central park a way out of the tall weeds as nature makes new york into a mummy blue
after the storm all dust hung up in the crowded air with his human face frozen into a dot of dust and a rising speckle of dust melted into his face 22
to avoid this cold climate of his antarctic dream he relocated his naked soul at the dawn of summer
like a raindrop on a small lotus leaf unable to find the spot to settle itself down in an early autumn shower my little canoe drifts around near the horizon beyond the bare bay
Elizabeth Switaj Shang City Walls Spring view rainbow kites up from concrete slabs prepared and children's feet or plastic sandals
Summer rejected white stones on broken grass burst when yellow sex centers beg not so much to be shown bee touched as to touch even cars w/pollen
Fall still half-shadowed in stems & dimmer yellow
Winter no snow yet Could slide down side of ancient dirt by ice Thorns don't die
Midnight when old women have reclaimed s(h)aved bamboo sticks for pineapple cow carvings & stinky tofu when only KTV lights chase each other & streetbulbs cased in plastic flowers have dimmed to match sky we lift up skin plastic bags for our bazaars where fruit stands & customers dropped them we scrape mango from pits banana from skin throw flesh into vast sewers that sometimes overflow & drown our night metropolis before we can return to our daylight suburbs imperfect finished walls loose bric(k
Road Signs <and Prophecies> raise up your name in lights in plastic fire named across highways where vans & buses slip cut-off near collision or seven died today staring at your name customers eternal continue market plan
Jim Bennett Clutching Leaves in the library there is a picture a librarian standing with his arms wide clutching the leaves of destroyed books in his outstretched hands his face looking upwards his feet rooted forever on the Earth the barrel of a rifle pointing straight at him there is no second photograph showing the dead librarian no note to say what happened no way to know what the book was just a man clutching pages it must have meant something to him it must have been important to die for a metaphor later I found out that it was a scene from a film that the man was an actor not a librarian
he would have dropped the pages into the pile around him and gone home after filming ended but maybe that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter
Steve Baggs Glaciers That night I thought I could slip away like Elvis, but our hands touched, elements finding their rightful place. The Universe settled, dovetailed in, the last piece of a jigsaw contented. The months and years split open that Sunday morning as the Sun collapsed in on itself. The Moon was cut adrift and the stars were screaming diamonds. The Thames froze again. A million ice cubes fell, porcupine kisses on our backs put into cold storage. We talked around it like two fish denying the existence of water, insisting that the Woolly Mammoth would survive the Ice Age. A butterfly left its pupae; the planet was slipping from its axis. Stardust turned to rust as blood vessels whispered the heart is sick. The compass points had changed, our hands slipped, Elvis was dead.
Nika Turbina Translated by Federico Federici
Three Poems The gold fishie â&#x20AC;&#x201C; deceived: all of his gifts given back. Even his words of love returned â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a bitter start. Why then do we cast glances of entreaty from the cliff edge expecting a word?
New words have tortured me. I skip some letter here I won't stress it there. I have long bragged that I forget the word. So easy it is to say it. But time gives its meaning to me as a present â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which love is â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in the presentiment of rest.
Wait, I will light up a lamp will light up the slope on which you slip into the dark.
Gonca Özmen Translations by George Messo
Naked/Çıplak I — I’m the one your words erase I waited in a lost language I kept repeating a weakness Little by little I became exhausted I became the mercy in every silence If you were a little vacant when you talk And in bits when the line is done
— Sözlerinizden eksilenim ben Yitik bir dilde bekledim Bir kusuru söyledim durdum Azar azar tükendim Her sessizliğe merhamet oldum Biraz tenha olsanız konuşurken Bir dizeyi bitirirken yıkık dursanız 34
II — I’m the one your fear inflates Let the birds too have a word to say Let it shelter in my house with winter distance Wind tires from carrying its load of longings From breathing emptiness into its barely open mouth I wish you felt guilty for unformed glances For water’s childish side
— Korkularınızdan artanım ben Söyleyecek bir sözü olsun kuşların da Evime sığınsın kış uzaklığıyla Yorulur rüzgâr özlemler taşımaktan Açıp açıp ağzını bir boşluğu solumaktan Biraz suçlansanız eksik bakmalardan Suyun çocuksu yanından
III — I’m the one who flees your pleasures This merry hoop snaps from its centre I being a mare spur your night I’m offended by a mispronounced word By your boisterous loves and gods If only you loved faulty, flawed poems If only you let time transverse your body
— Sevinçlerinizden kaçanım ben Çatlatır bu cümbüş çemberi orta yerinden Kısrak oluşum mahmuzlar gecenizi İncinirim şapkası düşmüş bir sözcükten Çığırtkan aşklarınız ve tanrınızdan Aksağını sevseniz şiirin, kusurunu Zamanı gövdenizden geçirseniz
Because/Çünkü Annem Because my mother is a weary obligation On her face an old box shaped like a flower What was it she forgot, in and out of the kitchen Standing there, lost in thought, staining the dirty apron — My mother is the stupefied tick of the minute hand She sought happiness in single storey houses. None. She wanted cheering in houses full of kids. None. The past trembles in her holed-up places Dust-shaped memories cling to walls — My mother was a nursery rhyme in rooms Her wooden dreams faded in old summers With the tireless ache of an old worry My mother cried as if she were still laughing She would grow smaller, staring at the moon — My mother was the smile of a shimmering lake An era of easy death, easy as a bird’s flight A thorn of night in comfortable beds While mother closed her ancient curtain Father was an exclamation echoing along the night — My mother was that unwritten history of deltas
Çünkü annem bir yorgun zorunluluk Yüzünde içi çiçekli eski kutu duruşu Neydi unuttuğu mutfağa girip çıkarken Dalgınca boyayıp duruyordu kirli göğü — Annem yelkovanın bıkkın dönüşü Tek katlı evlerde mutluluklar aradı. Yok. Çok çocuklu evlerde cıvıltılar istedi. Yok. Çukur yerlerinde geçmişin titreyişi Toz suretinde yapışmış anılar duvara — Annem bir tekerlemeydi odalarda Geçkin yazlarla soldu ahşap düşleri Eski bir telaşın dinmez sancısıyla Ağlardı annem gülmek gibi dururken Küçülür incelirdi aya baktıkça — Annem balkıyan bir göl gülümsemesi Bir kuşun uçuverişi gibi kolay ölümler çağı Rahat yataklarda dikeni batar gecenin Örterken annem yıllanmış perdesini Babam bir ünlemdi akşamla uzayan —Annem ki deltaların yazılmamış tarihi
We Were Going/Gidiyorduk We were heading towards the fault Flocks of birds, lizards and water lilies We were heading towards the fault A tornado of pain between us Not purposely insomniac with the waxing moon To live perfectly flat, like combing our hair There, between trees of the olive grove We lingered, silent and exhausted Almandine, desert bees, a tilting sky Twisted grass, a river left to its own devices We were headingâ&#x20AC;Ś for timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great injury
Kusura doğru gidiyorduk Kuş sürüleri, kertenkeleler, su zambakları Kusura doğru gidiyorduk Aramızda bir acının kasırgası Boşuna değil ay büyürken uyuyamamak Dümdüz yaşamak saçımızı tarar gibi Orda, zeytin ağaçlarının arasında Sessiz ve bitkin durmuştuk Seylantaşları, yaban arıları, eğri bir gök Bir bükümlü ot, başıboş bırakılmış bir nehir Gidiyorduk… ağrısına zamanın…
Ruzvidzo Mupfudza A Binge at the Crossroads We sit, perched on our barstools Like mushroom-satellite dishes On Hararean roof tops We desperately try to cling to our youth But age has the final say Our minds are not as sharp as they used to be To be sure, through the haze of cigarette smoke And the fumes of booze we glimpse ghosts Of our younger selves but we turn away our beer-soaked faces We drench the walls of urinals with our creativity Sadly, fleeing the shame, we signal the waitress for the next round Resigned, for itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s obvious weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to be on the stools till Dawn breaks
Song of Bones I’m dreaming Nehanda swinging Strange fruit in Hararean breezes Speaking to standing, watching, ancient trees Talking, eyes shut, seeing The phoenix resurrection In a war dance of freedom I’m remembering Nehanda deciphering Signs and portents of bones Flaming letters carved in the stone of defiance Her children forever singing Redemption songs borne of ancient wisdom Restless spirits walking the land until it’s done I’m looking at the ancient tree standing At the centre of dreams and memories From whence the roots of our stories Grow, the trunk of our being reaching Out to the distant skies and stars, Undying bones, laughter through time’s tears.
Wirndzerem G. Barfee Genius of Mushrooms I am a genius, a quiet child Born in the house of the imperfect. I hawk mushrooms, dried and orange, On a street corner, in an open lab, veiled like a Persian. I am feared, I can sell death to Arabs, (I am their kin) – Suddenly their deserts have engendered Frantic fascinations for mushrooms, They bloom on sands, as did New Mexico’s once upon a war. Sands of Persia too where they sprout likely deadly sins: We spermed their fecundity, illicit sex with nuclear phalluses My father traded the Jews, and today birth death we can’t rein: Like hurricanes, grim ends rush forth With long stern beards, long curved falchions and tight suicide girdles. I am a genius with the guilt of a very troubled ethic, It spreads ulcers inside my cavities, I know gore: Each time I flex my muscle, it muffles my ear, Blights my sight and blinds my mind. But beyond my genius, death has become men, men in long tunics, And we are overwhelmed: they are martyrised by our penalties, Our scare is gone; they conquered it with mere prophet’s word; Their scare has come: we cling to life, they perish blissfully! 43
Beyond my gift, I still remain a simple, quiet child Nursing my endowment in the house of the imperfect: I vend phallic amanitas to apostles who monger mortality To attain immortality. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t judge.
Nigel Holt Rich Man, Poor Man I smuggled Indian gold for several years when profits from the pearls had dropped too low. Then World War II broke out. I sold five sers of tea the British gave as rations, for though poor as we were, we were no fakirs. Mombasa proved a useful place to trade; British held and safe to reach by boat. The prices that the Kenyan merchants paid meant families could buy a sheep or goat, and business with Askaris could be made: ammunition stolen from the base; not one or two stray bullets, but forty lakh! They filled the hold as fear filled up the face of every man aboard. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never make it back!â&#x20AC;&#x2122; We did. I made fifteen rupees a brace.
Migration Patterns The RAF in Sharjah gave us work before the war. I filled the planes with fuel and sometimes got a foreign smile as perk on top of one and a half rupees, the rule for workers on the base. You couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t shirk. I needed more. By 1948 costs were high and work was always scant. So I took a job abroad in Al Kuwait, when Al Naqba blew from the Levant: co-workers, exiles now without a state. We drilled so deep for oil, we took a chance. My hand was badly crushed by the machine; I lost a thumb and finger. Circumstance makes Fate, the future is maktoub, unseen, I laboured fifteen years with men and ants.
Nancy Charley Sostenuto The poet who has only one note to sing rehearses to pitch that note perfectly, then learns to vary cadence so minutely that listeners shiver in the beauty. Thus sung, a single frequency sustains universality.
Fabiano Alborghetti English translations by Anthony Robbins
Da: Verso Buda From: Lines from Buda Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all still so vivid at the window and has lost no time since that moment and later as if nothing had happened: in spite of the nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s language in which we pause to comprehend, as if I had not slept transforming time to a cemetery of hours it all comes back now against the light. There are traces of the passing I say, begun from the last-but-one dream: see that sunflower for example, it follows the sun as I follow the clock hands.
Eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tutto ancora vivo alla fi nestra e non ha perso tempo da quel momento in poi come se non fosse accaduto niente: nonostante la notte abbia una lingua in cui ci si ferma per capire, come se non avessi dormito trasformando il tempo nel cimitero di ore risorge tutto adesso in controluce. Ci sono tracce di passaggio mi dico, iniziate dal penultimo sogno: vedi il girasole per esempio, segue il sole come io ho seguito le lancette.
The clouds were telling us it was going to rain: the contagion came suddenly, the never-seen colors pouring, straight down, awaiting more unreal clearer light in solitude. Still guiltless the call to give the earth refreshment to be smelt by the man at the edge of the field. He breathes: just a little worried lest something should happen.
Lo dicevano le nubi che sarebbe piovuto: sopraggiunto il contagio, i colori mai visti a versare, un piombo, una luce più falsa più nitida in solitudine aspettando. Ancora incolpevole è l’appello a dare ristoro alla terra materia d’odore per l’uomo ai margini del campo. Respira: inquieto appena che nulla accada.
Still highly sensitive to memories even if fortuitous, identification in oblique recollection. While with the hands the pressing prospers, I pick up the sheet of contact prints: we’re there too. We should have these printed, I say, this is part of us too: even if some of the immediate meaning is lost we have to call up the traces, without alteration.
Resta una massima sensibilità ai richiami anche casuali, una identificazione nei ricordi sghembi. Mentre con le mani la premitura dei gesti prospera, raccolgo il foglio A4 dei provini contatto: ci siamo anche noi. Bisognerà stampare le foto, dico, siamo fatti anche di questo: anche se parte del significato immediato è perso convocare le tracce bisogna, senza alterazioni.
Buda is a house that has given its name to a place. It stands on top of a hill and all around there is nothing but hills and ridges covered in vines. The poet lived there for a period and it was there that he got to know the seasons. Verso Buda was published in Italian in 2004 by LietoColle Editore. This is the first publication of an English translation. [The Pavese country is a hilly area in the Appenines south of the town of Pavia, in Northern Italy. The Italian title of the collection, Verso Buda, also contains the idea that the poet was thinking of the place as one to which he turns or returns in thought, as in ‘Toward Buda’. – Translator’s note]
Doug Pugh The Madness of George King George pokes, digs fingers in dirt nurtures, cossets knows roots, not ready yet moves on listens to the guards talk as if he's not there blaming the media, the jackals howl of blood and newsprint in the air remembers himself the noise, the flashes frightened that he was exposed, seen even through the blanket they threw on him strong stems, fibre taut soft curl of leaves tickle his palm and the bud, surging, tumescent teetering on bursting ready to spill full bloom in his hands looks up at the sun, blind orb glaring in that sea of blue sees it all, says nothing, smart like him and the guards sympathise, sorry for the gentle giant talk of his crappy school days, an easy target 53
too big to miss, fenced in with words, a brute just ripe for the kids picking plunging his hands in the bush weight of fruit in his hands, plump vibrant, ready to pluck, smooth skins tempting with whispers of sweetness claws and barbs nip, rake, reminders of ... and the sun beats down, helps him drop the wall a barricade, ringing that tide the wash of red and the klaxon calls, one guard stubs his cigarette grinds the supposition with his heel, taps George then leads the way back, between the fruit and the flowers and George walks gently behind knowing that it's not time not yet licks the blood from the scratches on the back of his hand and the crushed juice from his palm smiles not harvest time yet 54
but he knows they'll be waiting with their promises of sweetness and pain
William Doreski Weather Wise In autumn when sheep and oxen dig holes and lie with heads together a severe winter’s coming. In Pontus when Arcturus rises cattle face north as they graze, foreseeing the onset of snow. When cattle eat more than usual and lie down on their right sides a storm brews somewhere. Also when the ass shakes his ears or sheep and birds fight over food they sense bad weather coming. A dog pawing the earth, a lone frog croaking at dawn, a scourge of white worms, a fire that won’t catch, a lamp that won’t light: all these indicate weather on the way. If lightning, at the setting of the Pleiades, crackles over Parnes Brilessus and Hymettus a big storm’s coming. But weather happens so often one can read anything as portent, wait a day or a week and there! big rain boils out of the west and the portent stands confirmed. So with events, cause and effect 56
stray like lambs. Cities fall and rise and fall again. I kneel before your photograph and hope for a sign, an omen, a portent, and thunder bumbles in the hills. pouring down from Mount Olympus in a rush to assure me that the onset of low pressure isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a failing of my heart.
Lion from Malatya â&#x20AC;&#x153;The appearance of stone sculpture at the dawn of the Hittite New Kingdom raises the question of the source of its inspiration,â&#x20AC;? according to O.R. Gurney, a Fellow of Magdalene College who spent his best years scouring the sands of Asia Minor. This lion, however, needs no inspiration other than itself. Four-fingered forepaws, rear paws like snow tires, tiny curls of mane on a torso armored against arrow and spear, and a face of dolorous ferocity, blunt with huge blind eyes to scout prey in the gloomiest forest. Anatolia was forested then but people cut the trees and drained the lakes and the landscape withered and the lions fled down the coast and up-Nile to the veldt of Kenya. I can almost read the expression of this lion, regret and longing for wooded slopes teeming with meat. 58
I press my hand to its forehead and feel beneath the chiseled stone a little heat lingering from the reign of Suppiluliumas and the conquest of Carchemish when the known world ended at Egypt and lions like this one spoke a language much like a manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s.
Susanna Lang Dead Letters .
â&#x20AC;Ścries like dead letters sent to dearest him that lives alas! away. Gerard Manley Hopkins
Marked Recipient Unknownâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; the numbers reversed, or if the numbers were correct the street was wrong, someone wrote West instead of North. Sent to an address misheard, misunderstood, impossible to imagine from the other side of the globeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Sterite or Stiejt instead of Street. Addressed but not delivered, not deliverable, sent to the dead letter office to be destroyed after any items of value had been removed from the envelope, the paper (smudged, edges crinkled, saturated with ink and with the words someone had rehearsed for days before committing to them) sold for scrap. Addressed in a dead language, a language no one speaks anymore, though a few remember hearing it spoken when they were young: Appalachee, Galice dialect, Miami-Illinois, Nooksack, or the Aka-Bo known only by an old woman in India who died this year, who survived the tsunami in 2004 because she understood when the earth spoke to her and so knew to climb a tree high above the floods. 60
Mailed to a son gone silent, his exact location unknown: The lost are like this. His last place of employment written carefully on the outside of the envelope. That letter did arrive at Number 4 Barrington Street and the prodigal son wrote back to his mother, a resurrection chronicled, with a great deal of satisfaction, at the Dead and Revived Letter Office.
Featured Poets Fabiano Alborghetti was born in 1970. He lives in Paradiso (Lugano - Switzerland). He has published: Verso Buda (Faloppio, LietoColle, 2004); Lâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;opposta riva (Faloppio, LietoColle, 2006 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; some translations available in Conversation no. 7); Ruota degli esposti (art-book - Mendrisio, edizioni fuoridalcoro, 2008) and Registro dei fragili - 43 Canti (Bellinzona, Casagrande, 2009). His poems have been translated in Spanish, French, German, Arabic, English, Turkish, Slovenian and Portuguese. For more information: www.fabianoalborghetti.ch Abboud al Jabiri, an Iraqi poet and translator was born in Najaf in 1963. A member of the Iraqi Writers' Union and the Arab Writers' Union, he was one of the founders of the Iraqi Youth Literature forum. He has published two poetry collections: Index of Faults (2007) and Lean on his Blindness (2009). Since 1993, he has lived and worked in Amman, in Jordan. Muslim Al-Taan is an Iraqi poet and translator, born in Nassiriya, 1955. He got his Master Degree in English Poetry, at the College of Arts, Baghdad UNI, 1986. He published seven books in the Arabic language. His collection, The Laments-South was given an award by Swiss Agency in 2004. He is currently doing his Ph.D project on Modern Black American Poetry in Western Sydney University. Steve Baggs has been involved in performance poetry nights in Brighton, London and Canterbury, and had poems published in 62
The Guardian, The Rialto, Poets Anonymous, Poetry London, Acumen, Poetry Life, First Time and Agenda. He has had haikus published in Time Haiku and won the CO-OP Poetry Festival award in 1998. Wirndzerem G. Barfee was born on August 1, 1975 in Kumbo, and was educated in Cameroon and Nigeria. He has, with a national grant, published a poetry collection, Bird of the Oracular Verb (Iroko Publishers, 2008) and his short story, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Jury of the Corrupt,â&#x20AC;? is included in the Spirit Machine and Other Stories anthology (CCC Press, 2009). Jim Bennett lives near Liverpool in the UK and is the author of 63 books, including books for children, books of poetry and many technical titles on transport and examinations. His poetry collections include: Drums at New Brighton (Lifestyle 1999), Down in Liverpool (CD) (Long Neck 2001), The Man Who Tried to Hug Clouds (Bluechrome 2004, reprinted 2006), Larkhill (Searle Publishing 2009). He has won many awards for his writing and performance including 3 DADAFest awards. He is also managing editor of Poetry Kit one of the world's most successful internet sites for poets. Jim taught Creative Writing at the University of Liverpool and now tours throughout the year giving readings and performances of his work. Byron Beynon lives in Wales. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Agenda, Chicago Poetry Review, Poetry Wales, Quadrant, The French Literary Review, Poetry Ireland Review and Wasafiri. Recent collections include Cuffs (Rack Press) and Nocturne In Blue (Lapwing 63
Publications), both launched at the Dylan Thomas Centre. He has also been co-editor of the poetry magazine, Roundyhouse. He was involved in coordinating the Wales' contribution to the poetry anthology Fifty Strong (Heinemann), which was a project to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the South Bank Centre's poetry library at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Recent poems have appeared in the anthology “Evan Walters: Moments of Vision” (Seren Books, 2011). Nancy Charley enjoys writing with poetry and plays. She is beginning to explore combining the two through various means of performance. Aviva Englander Cristy is a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She received her M.F.A. in poetry from George Mason University. Her poems have appeared and are forthcoming from The Spoon River Poetry Review, So To Speak, The Chiron Review, The Hollins Critic, River Oak Review, 96 Inc, and Chance among others. William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.
Pushcart Prize Nominee KJ Hannah Greenberg breathes poetry. Her work has been published in dozens of venues, worldwide, including in: BRICKrhetoric, Language and Culture Magazine, Stride Magazine, The Camel Saloon, and Vox Poetica. Look for her new, full-length collection of verse, A Bank Robber's Bad Luck with His Ex-Girlfriend, Unbound CONTENT, in December. Nigel Holt has lived and worked in the education field in the United Arab Emirates for a number of years. He has been most recently published in Counterpunch, The Recusant, Soundzine and Snakeskin magazines. He has work forthcoming in The Raintown Review, The Anglican Theological Review, The Flea, Decanto, Cordite and Poetry Salzburg amongst others. He is the editor of The Shit Creek Review. Susanna Langâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first collection of poems was published in 2008 by The Backwaters Press. In 2009, she won the Inkwell competition, judged by Major Jackson. Her poems have appeared in such journals as New Letters, Mobius, The Baltimore Review, Kalliope, Green Mountains Review, Jubilat, and Rhino. Book publications include translations of Words in Stone and The Origin of Language, both by Yves Bonnefoy. She lives in Chicago, where she develops curriculum for the Chicago Public Schools. George Messo lives in Saudi Arabia with his wife, Semra, and their son, Bashaar. A poet, editor and teacher, he is also a prominent Turkish translator. His ground-breaking anthology, Ä°kinci Yeni: The Turkish Avant-Garde, was published by 65
Shearsman in 2009. His two previous books of poetry, Entrances (2006) and Hearing Still (2009), are also published by Shearsman. Jesse Mitchell is an amateur scholar, Jewish mystic, poet and novelist who lives wild and free in the foothills of Southern Illinois with his wife and five children. His tastes run from the sacred to the profane, a reflection of the beautiful chaos of the human condition. Ruzvidzo Mupfudza (1971 – 2010) Mupfudza’s poetry most recently appeared in State of the Nation (2009), his short stories have appeared in A Roof to Repair, Writing Still, Writing Now and Creatures, Great and Small. Some of his stories – creative and journalism – have also appeared in national and international publications. Gonca Özmen was born in Burdur in 1982. Her two books, Kuytumda (2000) and Belki Sessiz (2008) have won several major awards. A selection of her poems in English, translated by George Messo, is forthcoming. She presently lives in Istanbul. Luisa Pianzola (born 1960) is an Italian poet, journalist and consultant editor. She graduated in Modern Literature (history of contemporary art) at the University of Genoa and took a course in Visual Design at Milan’s Polytechnic School of Design. She has published the following books of poetry: Salva la notte (La Vita Felice, Milano 2010, critical note by Mario Santagostini); La scena era questa (Lietocolle, Faloppio 2006, critical note by Gianni Turchetta); Corpo di G. (Lietocolle 2003, 66
critical note by Maurizio Cucchi); and Sul Caramba, Sapiens, Milano 1992). Co-author of Il Segreto delle Fragole 2006 (Lietocolle) and of the poetic video Bìos (2007). Her poems have been published in many anthologies and magazines and she has received numerous poetry awards. She is editor of the Italian poetry journal “La Mosca di Milano”. She lives and works between Tortona (Alessandria) and Milan. For more information: http://www.luisapianzola.it Doug Pugh lives in Northern Ontario. He writes poetry, short stories and thriller novels. During 2009/2010 he has been published in The Smoking Poet, Leaf Garden Press, Every Day Poetry, Mnemosyne Journal, ditch and Short Story Library as well as had works translated into Turkish and Italian. Jacob Russell was born in Chicago, and moved to Philadelphia in 1964. In the past year he has published work in dcomP, Criiphoria 2, Connotations, BlazeVox, Scythe, Battered Suitcase, Clockwise Cat, Apiary, Fox Chase Journal and Pedestal. He hopes to complete a second novel in the next few months, and is seeking a publisher for a MS of poetry. He manages the literary blog: http://www.jacobrussellsbarkingdog.blogspot.com Elizabeth Switaj is an editorial assistant at Irish Pages (a journal of contemporary writing based at Belfast's Linen Hall Library). She holds an MFA in Poetics and Creative Writing from New College of California and a BA from The Evergreen State College, and is a PhD candidate at Queen's University Belfast. She has worked as an English-language teacher in China, Japan and the US. Her collection Magdalene & the Mermaids, was 67
published in 2009 by Paper Kite Press, and her chapbook The Broken Sanctuary, was published by Ypolita Press in 2007. Russian poet Nika Turbina (1974 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 2002) was just seven years old when her poems were first published. The verses and quotations in this paper were rendered into poetic form from Russian into English by Federico Federici. Most of them are still unpublished in this translation. Federico would like to personally thank Lyudmila Karpova, Maya Nikanorkina and Alexander Ratner for their support and all the information provided. Anuradha Vijayakrishnan was born in Cochin, India. She completed her Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering from Calicut University and her postgraduate studies in Management from XLRI, Jamshedpur. A trained Carnatic singer, she lives in India/UAE and pursues a full time corporate career while writing both fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in Magma, Asia Literary Review, 91st Meridian, Asian Cha, Indian Literature, Mascara and Nth Position. She was long listed for the Man Asian Literary prize in 2007 and in 2008 won a special mention in the All India Harper Collins Poetry competition. She is an alumna of Western Michigan University's Prague Summer Program and has won a Best of the Net nomination as well as a Pushcart nomination in 2010. Jade Wallace is currently working on an M.A. in Social Justice and Equity Studies at Brock University. She periodically publishes chapbooks with Grey Borders Books, most recently But I Don't Write Haiku. 68
Changming Yuan grew up in a remote Chinese village and currently works in Vancouver. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine and elsewhere.