THE GREEN DOOR ISSUE 8
DIMITRIS LYACOS / SYLVIE PROIDL
ANTHANASE VANTCHEV de THRACY
MARY ANGELA DOUGLAS
MICHAEL H. BROWNSTEIN
ANTHONY WEIR Anthony Weir (born 1941) is a hermit-misanthrope who was almost never employed. He is a painter who does not exhibit or sell, and a poet who avoids publication. He has, however three websites, one of which is literary (www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk), another which is a comprehensive and richly-illustrated field guide to Megalithic Ireland (www.irishmegaliths.org.uk), and a third which is a study of grotesque and â€˜licentiousâ€™ sculptures on Romanesque and later medieval churches. He lives in county Down, Ireland RUMInations Translations of and Glosses on Verses by Mawlana Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
WHATS & WHATEVERS What was said to the rose to make it unbud was said to me here in my heart. What was told to the cypress to make it grow strong and straight as a pencil, what was whispered to jasmine to give it its scent, whatever made sugarcane sweet, whatever blessed the Turkoman people of Chigil with beauty and elegance, whatever permits the petal of pomegranate to blush like a human has entered me now.
I blush. That which adds beauty to language is passing through me. Great doors open. I fill up with gratitude, suck sugarcane, ever in love with the One who bestows these whats and whatevers to all!
The Lovers will drink wine night and day, will drink until they can wash away the veils of intellect and shame and modesty. With this Love, body, mind, heart and soul and pain do not exist. If your Love is unconditional like this you cannot be separate again.
THIS WORLD WHICH IS MADE OF OUR LOVE FOR THE EMPTINESS Praise to the void that cancels existence! Existence: this place which is made from our love of the vacuous! Emptiness comes, existence goes. Praise to that process! For years I pulled my existence out of the emptiness. Then with one massive effort, I stopped that repetitiveness, and was free from who I was, free from presentness, fear, hope, desire (for hope is pale shades of desire).
The here-and-now mountain of seeming is just husk blown off into emptiness. These words I’m saying too many of start to lose meaning: existence, emptiness, mountain, husk. Words and what they try to say fly out of the window, off with the wind.
Come, come, whoever you are wonderer, worshipper, wanderer, lover of leaving, whatever you are. This is no caravan of despair. Come – even if you have failed and dropped out dozens of times Come on, try again, come.
THE SPIRITUAL TOURISTS who idly ask: How much is that? …Oh, I’m just looking, pick up a hundred items and put them down. They are shadows without substance. What is spent is Love and two eyes wet with weeping. But tourists walk into a souk, and their whole lives suddenly evaporate. Where did you go? Nowhere. What did you eat? Nothing much.
Even if you don’t know what you want, buy something, to be part of the come and go. Even start a vast, insane project like Noah did, for it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you. Just flow.
I died from minerality and turned vegetable and from vegetableness I died and then turned animal. I died from animality and became a man. Then why fear disappearance by death? Next time I die I’ll sprout wings like those of angels; then, after that, soaring higher than mere angels what you cannot imagine that’s what I’ll be.
Soul receives from soul the knowledge, not by book and not from tongue, and not through art If the knowledge comes out of silence of the mind, this is the illumination of the heart.
I said: ‘You’re very harsh.’ ‘But,’ He answered, ‘My harshness comes from goodness, not from rancour, not from spite. I strike down those who enter saying, “I…” for this is Love’s tabernacle, not a cocktail party. Rub your eyes…behold the image of your heart!’
I AM AND AM NOT I’m swimming in the flood which has yet to come I’m shackled in the prison which has yet to be built I am the checkmate in a future game of chess I’m drunk with your wine which remains untasted I’m slain on a battlefield of long ago I don’t know the difference between idea and reality
Like a shadow I am and am not.
O Giver of life, release me from Reason that it might depart and flit from vanity to vanity. Break open my skull, pour in the wine of madness. Let me be mad as You are; mad with You, mad with life. Beyond the commonsense of the conventional and respectable sanity and the information-infection a desert burns white-hot where Your dervish-sun whirls in every particle of light O Lord, drag me there, let me roast in Perfection!
God has given us a dark wine so strong that, drinking it, we leave both worlds. God has put into hashish a great power to free the taker of the consciousness of self. God has made sleep so that it stops us thinking. There are thousands of wines that can overpower our minds. Donâ€™t think all ecstasies are similar.
Every object, every being, is a wine-jar of delight. Be a connoisseur, taste with caution: any wine will make you drunk. Judge like a king, and choose the best, the ones unadulterated with fear of what folk say, or some contingent “duty” or “necessity.” Drink the wine that makes your soul float, moves you as a camel moves when it’s been untied, and is just ambling about – loafing, if you like.
The Tent Outside: the freezing desert night. Another night inside gets warmer, illuminating me. Though the earth be covered with impenetrable thorns In here there is a green and gentle meadow. When the continents are devastated cities, towns and everything between scorched and blackened the only news is future full of grief while inside me there is no news at all. This is our intimacy, my beloved friend*: anywhere you put your foot, feel me in the firmness under it. How is it, soul-mate, that I see your world and don’t see you ? Listen to the whispers inside poems, follow their intimate suggestions
and never leave their premises. *His beloved mentor Shams-i-Tabrizi.
A Thief In The Night Suddenly and unexpectedly the Guest arrived… Hearts beat faster “Who’s there?” And Soul replied “The Moon…” He came into the house as we lunatics ran into the street looking for the moon. Then from inside the house he cried out “Here I am!” and we beyond earshot ran around calling him, crying for him, for the ecstatic nightingale locked lamenting in our garden while we mourning doves muttered “Where, where…?”
- as if at midnight the ex-sleepers upright in their beds hearing a thief break into the house in the darkness stumbled about crying “A thief! A thief!” but the burglar himself mingles in the confusion echoing their cries: “…a thief!” till all cries become the same cry.
And He is with you [Qur'an 4:57] with you in your search. When you seek Him, look for Him in your looking closer to you than yourself - why run outside? Melt like snow into yourself. Wash yourself with yourself! Sprouted by Love tongues rise from the soul like stamens But let the flower teach you
to silence your tongue. (adapted from a translation by Hakim Bey alias Peter Lamborn Wilson)
A New Rule As a rule, drunks fall on each other, quarrelling, violent, making a scene. The Lover is even worse than the drunkard! Let me tell you what Love is: to descend into a Goldmine! And what is the Gold you find ? The Lover is King above all kings, unafraid of death, disdaining a crown. The holy man has a Pearl invisible beneath his rags, so why should he go begging from door to door? Last night the moon came along, drunk and dropping clothes in the street. “Get up,” I told my heart, “Give the soul a glass of wine. The moment has come to join the nightingale in the garden, to sip honey with the soul-parrot.” I have fallen – my heart shattered where else but in your path ? And I broke your bowl, my amazing mentor, because I was out of my head. Don’t let me be harmed, hold my hand! A new rule, a new law has been born: Break all the glasses and beat up the glassblower! (based on a translation by Kabir Helminski, in Love is a Stranger, Threshold Books, 1993)
Who is it saying the words that my mouth says ? All day I ponder, at night, alone with the wine and the music, the roses, I wonder What am I doing here ? I’ve no idea! My heart is from somewhere else – I’m quite sure and I surely intend to return there. This drunkenness started somewhere else, also, and when I get back I’ll be very sober. Meanwhile I’m a bird in a cage made of poems. I’ll break out! Who is it in my ear, who is listening ? Who is it typing the words that you can’t pay attention to, and sending them out on the internet ? Whom do my eyes belong to ? What’s the true nature of longing ? If I could taste one drop of an answer I’d crack open this cage, this trap of bemusement. I didn’t walk myself into it, whoever pushed me in will get me back just a bit wiser. But so what ? This poetry: I never know what I am going to say, until I have said it.
And after Iâ€™ve typed it out I stammer banalities, catch myself on and say nothing.
A Kind of Kiss There is a kind of kiss that our very existence lacks: the absorption of spirit through flesh into mind. Seawater induces the oyster to open, and the lilies adore the sheer wildness of wind. At night, I leap out of bed and throw wide the window and ask the old moon to come and press its young face against mine: breathe into me, moon-face. So I close the thought-door and open the kiss-window. Moons (be they made of green cheese or of lead) donâ€™t like doors, only windows. The quick route to wisdom is to cut off your head.
Rumi in the 21st (late 14th) Century If anyone unaccountably asks you what is the sign of perfect sexual satisfaction just sniff his armpit. (Only a man would ask that question.) If anyone wants to know what soul is, or ‘God’s blessing‘, just incline your head toward that anyone, and feel one face with another. Last night the Medium turned over and slept his deep, noisy sleep. That was his message. Tonight he turns, tosses and turns. And I cough, clear my throat, and pronounce, farouchely: “We’ll be together till Absolute Entropy!” He mumbles back thoughts that occurred to him when he was out of his head. He is a Master. The Thinker is always displaying, the Lover is always losing his way. The Thinker backs off, afraid of getting lost. The whole point of Love is to get lost. And who is this ‘Lover’ I keep on about ? He or she is a person who feels bad when trees and dogs and even lice are suffering. And what is ‘Love’ ? Is it Truth, ‘Allah, Desire-for-Perfection ? None of them!
It is Harmony harmony with Entropy. But arenâ€™t we all in harmony with Entropy especially when we think we are not ?
TATJANA DEBELJACKI born 1967 in Užice. Writes poetry, short stories, stories and haiku. Member of Association of Writers of Serbia -UKS since 2004 and Haiku Society of Serbia- Deputy editor of Diogen. http://diogen.weebly.com/redakcijaeditorial-board.html Editor of the magazine “Poeta”, four books of poetry published: Email/Websites/Blogs http://debeljacki.mojblog.rs/ & http://twitter.com/debeljacki
If you were living just across and if I were a tree In that yard, I’d delight you with fruit, I’ll be watered with your glimpse, just look at me in ardor, I’d bear the sweetest fruit for you.
I am looking in lacking it, but having in looking for. Among the clouds, but not being among them. It is just my happiness going away while I am sleeping and sleep furtherly my choice is the dream. Though I am present in all of your needs.
SOUVENIR LUCK How many times have I degraded myself? Kneeled, crawled, searching for this, My souvenir luck has banged! A little bit insecure, a little bit deceiving, you can never tell how long it will last. I give to you two cold stones, My cold hands, my shy face. Shout this from the glass housetops!
MISTAKES We no longer remember the mistake, our house started to crumble down, add one spark more.
Do you want to be honored for your efforts and fire? Did we feel anything at all? Though we were bornâ€Ś
The dying inside seems the worst, dying out slowlyâ€Ś
FULFIL YOUR WISHES Fulfil your wishes, go on. Let the most beautiful melody start, Let the breath be so near. Steal dreams from the pillow. Be here, stir up imagination. Like this romantic tonight. Stay, take over me! Carry me! Take my clothes off! Let me run through your veins. Take my clothes off tonight, take me to the dawn.
The walls of your own heart you can tear down And just one name carve there. You take one owner there and lock in forever.
Poisoned blood you cannot change, Only that someone stays there. And all happening then, is not simple anymore. When it starts, the chaos turns out! !
BARE FACE Iâ€™ve been sick since the very start, I donâ€™t care up to the very end of the game. They lost it. What about the other man? In the twentieth chapter in the eight line He was betrayed by the bare face. In the twenty-third chapter, It was goodbye. The same face under the hat, Bare face.
UNREQUITED LOVE` Forget what Iâ€™ve said. Itâ€™s something nasty again. Sharp word has freefalling. We have been long on these tracks, Huge steps, heavy memories, Through endless weeds. We defied the storms, Searching for oneself. Unsuccessful trying, my love,
Do not go to local colors. Forget what I’ve told you, Unrequited love…
AQUARIUS Kilometers gained nothing – you are here. Before I go to sleep thirty times I say your name – you are here. You fall asleep quietly – you are here. Through deserts of sound, reason - you are here, Through unreal reality – you are here, Through the music of drums – you are here. I know that you know that – here it’s Always you.
HIM Profile. Face in the shadow, straight lines of forehead and nose, Plump lips, scar on the neck behind the left ear. No, it is not a scar. It is a shadow of the ear. Can’t see the eyes, but hear voice distinctly. It’s him.
MOTHER If your life was dying slowly, In this rhythm mine was living fast.
It is the same: I can see the day, I can see the great day, I can see the glorious day, My mother. If something is tearing my soul apart, though I put a lot of optimism into it, believe me, mother. You are special. In your eye is my happiness, Just because of you I am persistent and positive. Evil comes and goes. We have met again and we chased, And in circle again. Sadness makes lips silent. Donâ€™t I have a right to love aloud? I will write a long poem.
PITY DESTROYS GOOD PEOPLE Maybe everything is possible? What are the wrinkles, slowness and pain towards death for? Many good people were destroyed by pity. And some unrequited loves, and me with all of that truth. Courage, come here! Strength, there you are! Touch, you are near! Breath, I can hear you! Just tell me a little bit faster, cease in the name of will. Life, turn around to look once moreâ€Ś Poetic soul is the only who can live when there is no any. Only those who do it exactly know the world of literature. It is a language of poetry!
LIVING OUT OF POEM While itâ€™s raining, and when there is happiness, And while dreaming the green knight, When the fear is deep suspicion, Everybody puts own empty and little life Into one poem. Though, were I to live mine as one in the poem, But I didnâ€™t.
WEATHERVANE On the solid ground Fatal and dangerous A word or two Between four sides, Mild wind in the north, In the south blows southeaster wind, and northwestern. Then, from each side blows the wind, And the point of adventure. Bring back the weathervane.
* * *
Iâ€™ve got your titters, And hardly visible pit on your chin, And your harsh frowns sometimes clearing out. Your ears which do not hear anything, And your strength sometimes I can feel. I like your lies, truths flying restless, And your little poetess. And I remember every scar and birthmark,
And fault thug, and one little finger Which means to me, And one relationship hidden that I wanted and didnâ€™t want either, And dark loneliness. After you I enjoyed alone. And not lonely are the messages, not alone are truths, And not alone are neither you nor I. There is always someone to bother us, And we give way today for tomorrow. We are going out from our lives we lived.
A HOUSE MADE OF GLASS A house made of glass. The last performance is given there,
Last role, A role without a price. Lovers, on your parting Fly away, fly. For long, for long restrain your silence. In the dark of night, at least one star belongs to you.
PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT Phantom in the opera initiated great interest Inside deeper and deeper. And surrounded by his admirers only one is real, Hearing differently and he stays. Face to face. Two gaze. Shut up and kiss me! When you walk away from every stage and you lose your popularity, Come back. Be my cradle.
PICTURE Promise me that you would never leave me, Man in the picture. Tomorrow your smile will make my day. And you are not a dream, you are reality. Living picture, dear to me, picture full of contents.
If tomorrow will conquer the day What would I do the day after? Iâ€™ll try to win in some other way, giving a bad example, being too much anxious, but again victory appears as reconciliation. As an omen to great victory, Thereâ€™s victory existing unclearly. There are drawings, proof of victory. Part without envy Develops and makes crazy, And is a rush for victory. It is easy to think. To win is other thing. It is easy to win, but thinking is the other thing. To win, not to give up.
AT LEAST IN DATES Do not repent, time will not stop, Do not suffer, the sky will not cry. Star, twinkle in the night and, what had happened, will remain somewhere, At least in dates.
REAL PEOPLE People die only In dusk or dawn, There are no eternal graves.
I smell on sweet basil Pleasantly and divine, And I love up to freedom.
MEETING How come that we couldnâ€™t understand each other In thousand and one pain, Belgrade? Tell him that Iâ€™ll be waiting,
On Brankoâ€™s bridge in my thirtieth. Let it be Friday evening, Tell him to bring his feelings with him.
With you one half of me is sleeping. We were not meant to each other. Forgive me if I occupy the space.
* * *
When I think, when I want, And set of to do it Though ill, without your aim And every day is grater worry You know the secret of water drop Grain of love, grain of wheat Meaning so much. But, my garden withers.
DIMITRIS LYACOS / SYLVIE PROIDL Dimitris Lyacos is one of the leading figures in new European writing. His seminal trilogy Poena Damni (Z213: EXIT, Nyctivoe, The First Death), originally written in Greek over the course of eighteen years, has been translated into English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese and is widely performed across Europe and the USA. The work has had an increasing influence over the years, inspiring a wide range of interdisciplinary projects ranging from drama to contemporary dance, video and sculpture installations as well as opera and contemporary music. Extracts, in the different versions of a work in progress, have been published in, mostly English-speaking, journals around the world and there is a growing bibliography exploring the various facets of Lyacos’ complex work: The trilogy boldly straddles and crosses perceived boundaries of literary form – from the journal-like prose in Z213: EXIT, to the elliptical monologues of the distinctly dramatic Nyctivoe, to the pared down poetic idiom in The First Death, Poena Damni builds a world beyond postmodern dystopia that engrosses the reader. For more information visit: www.lyacos.net. SYLVIE PROIDL In the German-speaking world, the announcement of someone’s death differs considerably from region to region. The thick black margin of mourning that once adorned every obituary notice is now provided on special order only. The very descriptive Swiss term for such obituaries, namely “circular of suffering”, was a key trigger behind Sylvie Proidl’s series “memento mori”, which calligraphically deals with the transitory nature of life. The words obituary notice, death, mourning and pain are repeatedly inscribed in various languages on stuccolustro plates. The narrow horizontal or narrow vertical formats are designed to represent slices from the in- to the outside. The pastel hues and the open structure convey the past and the subtle colors underscore the transparency of bygone epochs. The paintings were first exhibited in the poetry reading “Nyctivoe” by Dimitris Lyacos, whose book focused on the issue of finiteness. www.sylvie-proidl.com
(Translated from the Greek by Shorsha Sullivan)
Z213: EXIT Excerpts Tell those who were waiting not to wait none of us will return. The sky is leaving again, the newspapers dissolve in the corridor, the same trees pass again darker before us, those who wrench the doors looking for a place, who are coming in at the next stop. The light outside cutting the evening to pieces, harsh evenings that fall among strangers, the story shatters within you, pieces, fading away in the ebb of this time, that melt one into the other before you sleep. And the snail hurries to go back on its tracks, a tale you remember unfinished, wrinkles that still hold a colour on memory’s transient seed, birds that awake the dew on their wings and you leave with them into the all-white frozen sky, but you wake and are baked again. Not the fever, the remembrance of sorrow exhausts you you don’t know why, before you are well awake and the barren feeling comes back again to your hands, the rest suddenly fades away at once, you are one recollection a broken box emptying, after the tempest this calm, you search for support, get up like an old man, feel cold, remember birds’ wings, magistrates’ sticks decorated with feathers the bones of an angel, sink again images and words monotonous prayer. ……………………………………………………………………….. With cotton wool or toilet paper which crammed your mouth, soaks up your saliva, you are scarcely able to breathe. But mainly you are thirsty, this wakes you up and the glass beside you empty. Night still but what time, you will get up to ask for some water, the carriage deserted, farther back, drops on the window, you wet your hand to wet your mouth, further still further back the carriage deserted, and one more, shudder, like voices that swell,
a carriage of voices. They give you water. Their animals sleep at the back, they ask you questions you sit among them. You drink water again. Laughter, voices ask you would say something but you feel dizzy. A piece of meat from hand to hand, you go and lie down at the side, they give you food, a bottle from hand to hand, wine, a circle further back singing, the others between the animals sleep. Dark faces, voices fraying in bitter carnival, their heads, changing animal heads, the lamb’s body ends in the head of a man with eyes shut. They put someone, between two windows and he raises his hands, tall and broad, they bind him by the wrists to the bars, left right. Lamb’s head, they put on his head the skin from its flayed head. They speak to him. He sings. Slow, disjointed song. Dark the cross of the man as day breaks. They dress him in a blue garment, beside you someone was turning a torch on and off from joy emotion their eyes were wet. The alien joy of children, your smile with them for a while, and then as if someone had gagged you but you calm down again and breathe freely. And they were showing the livid scars on their faces, victories that had conquered the world, our faith, they were saying and our body one body in Him, you could hear them singing, it won’t be long until the day comes, the season will change. Around you all red. And outside, along the view of the river beating up to the windows, slower now the train in its bend, and wherever they could, all together, a closing circle, the native women trying to climb aboard.
Lorries pouring tons of mud mounting up. Smell of the coffee, boiled in a pot, they gave me a cup, you answer their same words with your hands, you don’t know how else. From the window the river like sending out light from within, blinding you. Your eyelids with all the weight. The line of the horizon. Blurs. A wave spreading out of control with nowhere to cling to turning back and cascading to the expanses of snow. The workmen of a gang raising a dyke, and building. Bridges, one almost finished. To the crest of the mountain out of control and shuddering upwards.
Wine again. Every so often they would fill up, once they washed the eyes of the cross of the lamb that was looking around. They were touching and they were singing. As if your hands were
pierced. And the nails not to rust from the blood, singing. And something like: the crosses, the crosses ill-omened. With rhythms that made you dizzy again, in the slow whirl of the light growing stronger, in the carriage spinning round with you. ………………………………………………………………………. The slow bells from the church which must be near me I stopped for a while and waited and now they were chiming again. And here where I sat, like stains below the slabs as if blooded. Who was there ringing, guesses confused not made clear, who was there ringing the bell waves going down the dome, the echo of an ocean that licks on it and drips here. And the flashes through the window from the one to the other like a searchlight turning around seeking me out. Here, in a flooded pit full of bodies, branches that cover and float leaves that float on faces unknown funerary gifts on the side, phrases by him and the Writ mixed on this page, and further down sea tombs and then something between the frozen palms. Gestures of the walls that invite you. A hole high up opposite, you can hold on to the shoots of the ivy to climb up and see where exactly you are. You don’t care, the tracks hold you the people they brought here, something of what they lived, and the pain they felt like you and they came and sat here together like the leaves that came in where from you don’t know a pile that gathers in front of the saints, and them all together, one by the other, side by side, opposite all together to look at them kneel, a circle, that will hold them a while. But, release, and what’s left, yellow mouths leaving again from those arches which covered them and they dream still for a while of courtyards where the souls find rest, a flower sequence of angels awaiting them there. And then the illusion dries up and it is an empty uninhabited house. The icons below the colour that changes the same shape the same face painted again on all the walls. And there in the corner the body demolished, like metal plates sunken within it, until dark falls completely leaning out from the last fading saint his face pressing lips tight. ………………………………………………………………………………… Nobody is coming after me. Surely they have forgotten about me. Nobody will ever come here to find me. He will never be able to find me. Nobody ever. And when I fled they didn’t even realise. They took no notice of me no one cared no one remembers. Now
they will remember neither when nor how. Not even I. Tracks only, a hazy memory and those images when I look at what I have written, tracks of footprints in the mud before it starts raining again. Uncertain images of the road and thoughts mumbled words, and if you read them without the names you won’t understand, it could have been anywhere, and then I spoke with no one and those who saw me no chance that they remember me. Every so often a face seeming familiar, from another time, someone looked at you, you recognised him, no, a part of another on a stranger’s face. Or the rhythm of the steps that sound behind you, the rhythm of your own steps, which occasionally you think follow you, they stop when you stop, or for a moment you think he is coming behind you, or you think that someone is breathing behind the door and will now come in. And then nothing, and then back again, and you suddenly turn your head as if you had heard him. But no one. You are far away, no one knows you, no one wants to find you, no one is looking for you. And tomorrow you will be somewhere else still farther away, still more difficult yet, even if they would send someone. They don’t know the way and before they find out you have decamped somewhere else. They know how to search but they don’t know what way. And even if they set off from somewhere they will still be quite far. And they will not be many. Perhaps just one. One is like all of them together. Same eyes that search, same mind that calculates the next move. Same legs that run same arms that spread wide. Ears straining to listen, nostrils over their prey. Always acted like that. Two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two arms, two legs. The symmetry of the machine that pursues you. A net that thinks decides and moves ahead. The head a fishhook the body a belt. All the same. Me too. One behind the other. Forward back further back, to follow the road. And if you don’t know you run ahead anyway, because someone is always coming behind you. Sooner or later he comes. And sometimes there comes a hand taking you by the shoulder, or a worm that climbs up on your hand. It rolls on a pillow of saliva. Forward. And as it rolls it is growing and wrapping around you. A flat tongue on its saliva with two eyes that rise up to see you. Maybe not you, they look for a comfortable place to start from. Like him that, that night we were hungry, that had etched an open mouth on his stomach. Likewise this stomach has a mouth, it is a mouth, about to open. From there you go somewhere else, on the inner road opening up, in the twists of the gut, there of course you are
unconscious by now, unconscious you take the road of return and when you wake up they have brought you inside there again.
The First Death Extracts I Sea of iron. Moon silent as pain in the depth of the mind. A body swept here and there on the rock like seaweed or a lifeless tentacle, fruit of a womb ship-wrecked by the winds, ensanguined and flesh-filled mire. The left arm cut short, the right to the end of the forearm, a rotted stick raving amid the waterâ€™s lungs. Of the ravaged mouth there remained only a wound which closed slowly. From the eyes a blurred light. The eyes
without lids. The legs down to the ankles – no feet. Spasms. II Judgment of the sea, shackles from broken sobs beneath the dry bowl’s split eyelids an unseen prey – plunder from passions’ tombs, litanies to the senses on the point of crumbling, inarticulate melodies, lava from beheaded rivers blades of the waves cut deeply into the screen; development of an hour-glass, epidemic unmixed visions of heroes leaning into the drunken veins of the light the tempest that winters on the marshes – shedding its leaves the return of a dismembered body in the spring. III Dead jaws biting on wintry streams broken teeth where the victim’s tremor has disinterred their roots before adoring the hook around the imprints of the ecstasy and the desolation among the hecatomb’s aged branches they are spread like a net towards the pallid sky
which like a trembling kiss falls from your lips; regiments of the dead whispering unceasingly in a limitless graveyard, within you too you can no longer speak, you are drowning and the familiar pain touches outlets in the untrodden body now you can walk no longer – you crawl, there where the darkness is deeper more tender, carcass of a disembowelled beast you embrace a handful of bed-ridden bones and drift into sleep. IV Keep moving among the remnants of the feasts like the sheepskin which flutters on the improvised gallows keep waking amid the fragments of the night with the Nightmare’s bitter betrayal in your mouth eyes burning like the sick man’s bed aware that all men have drowned within you and just as the umbilical cord stretches - and you feel the heavenly hand which now draws you with all its might – keep wondering without drawing breath
when will you reach the end a bereft body, a crippled embrace when will the hangman put you down a limping soul an old woman despoiled by the quest uprooted by weeping when will you give up the ghost in the vomit of your misery
(and you ascend into flowers of the tree where you were hanged)
Πες σε κεινους που περιμεναν να μην περιμενουν δε θα γυρισει κανεις απο μας. Ο ουρανος φευγει ξανα, οι εφημεριδες λιωνουν στο διαδρομο, τα ιδια δεντρα ξαναπερνουν μπροστα μας πιο σκοτεινα, αυτοι που σερνουν τις πορτες ψαχνοντας θεση, που μπαινουν στον αλλο σταθμο. Το φως απ΄εξω που κοβει το βραδυ κομματια, σκληρα βραδυα που πεφτουν στους ξενους αναμεσα, η διηγηση μεσα σου σπαει, κομματια, που σβηνουν στην αμπωτη τουτου του χρονου, που λιωνουν το ενα στο αλλο πριν κοιμηθεις. Και το σαλιγκαρι βιαζεται να ερθει πισω στα ιχνη του, ενα παραμυθι που θυμασαι ατελειωτο, ρυτιδες που ακομη κρατουν ενα χρωμα στην προσκαιρη φυτρα της μνημης, πουλια που ξυπνουν η δροσια στις φτερουγες τους και φευγεις μαζι τους στον κατασπρο παγωμενο ουρανο, ομως παλι ξυπνας και ψηνεσαι παλι. Οχι ο πυρετος, σε εξαντλει της θλιψης η θυμηση δεν ξερεις γιατι, πριν ξυπνησεις καλα και γυρισει η στειρα αισθηση στα χερια ξανα, σβηνουν τα αλλα με μιας, μια αναμνηση εισαι ενα σπασμενο κιβωτιο που αδειαζει, μετα την καταιγιδα αυτη η ησυχια, ζητας ενα στηριγμα, σα γερος να σηκωθεις, κρυωνεις, θυμασαι φτερα των πουλιων, βακτηριες δικαστων στολισμενες φτερα τα οστα ενος αγγελου, βουλιαζουν εικονες ξανα και λογια μονοτονη προσευχη.
ANTHANASE VANTCHEV de THRACY Athanase Vantchev de Thracy a écrit plus de quarante recueils de poésies (en vers classiques et en vers libres) couvrant presque tous les spectres de la prosodie. Il publie une série de monographies et une thèse de doctorat sur « La symbolique de la lumière dans la poésie de Paul Verlaine ». Athanase rédige, en bulgare, une étude sur le grand seigneur épicurien Pétrone surnommé Petronius Arbiter elegantiarum, favori de Néron, auteur du Satiricon, et une maîtrise, en langue russe, intitulée « Poétique et métaphysique dans l’œuvre de Dostoïevski ». Grand connaisseur de l’Antiquité, Athanase Vantchev de Thracy consacre de nombreux articles à la poésie grecque et latine. Lors de son séjour de deux ans en Tunisie, il publie successivement trois ouvrages sur les deux cités puniques tunisiennes : « Monastir-Ruspina – la face de la clarté », « El-Djem-Thysdrus – la fiancée de l’azur », « Les mosaïques thysdriennes ». Pendant ses séjours en Syrie, en Turquie, au Liban, en Arabie Saoudite, en Jordanie, en Irak, en Egypte, au Maroc et en Mauritanie, il fait la connaissance émerveillée de l’Islam, et passe de longues années à étudier l’histoire sacrée de l’Orient. De cette période date sa remarquable adaptation en français de l’ouvrage historique de Moustapha Tlass « Zénobie, reine de Palmyre ». Il consacre entièrement les deux années passées en Russie (1993-1994) à l’étude de la poésie russe. Traducteur d’une pléiade de poètes, Athanase Vantchev de Thracy est distingué par de nombreux prix littéraires nationaux et internationaux, dont le Grand Prix International de Poésie Solenzara et le Grand Prix International de Poésie Pouchkine. Il est lauréat de l’Académie française, membre de l’Académie européenne des Sciences, des Arts et des Lettres, Docteur honoris causa de l’Université de Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgarie, lauréat du Ministère des Affaires étrangères français, membre du P.E.N Club français, membre de la Société des Gens de Lettres de France, etc.
Il est décoré de la plus haute distinction de l’Etat bulgare, l’Ordre Stara Planina. Il est membre de l’Académie brésilienne des Lettres et membre de l’Académie bulgare. Ses poésies sont traduites en plusieurs langues. Marc Galan
EBLOUISSEMENT Minuit déjà ! Minuit ! Et cette douceur de l’heure Qui coule dans vos pupilles comme un poème d’Homère, Comme l’âme d’Albinoni où l’Ange crépusculaire A soudainement trempé son cœur et sa splendeur !
Dazzlement Already midnight! Midnight! The sweet hour that flows into your eyes like a Homeric ode, like the fragile soul of Albinoni into which the Angel of Twilight suddenly plunged his heart in all its sad sublimity! translated from the French of Athanase Vantchev de Thracy by Norton Hodges 31.12.05. Notes: Homer: the greatest Greek poet, born 900 BC, died 850 BC, best known as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Tomaso Albinoni (1671–1751): Italian violinist and composer. He wrote more than 50 operas, 40 cantatas, and instrumental works of many kinds. His orchestral music was admired by Bach, who used several of Albinoni’s themes in his own compositions.
Albinoni’s surviving works include violin concertos, trio sonatas, and oboe concertos.
AUTRES POEMES : 15. Tu ouvres toutes les fenêtres Pour mieux entendre La musique des champs, Pour mieux voir Le spectacle divin Des peupliers penchés Sur les eaux émerveillées De l’étang.
Chaque tremblement de feuille Est une note angélique, Un voluptueux morceau de ciel.
English : 15. You open all the windows Better to hear
The music of the fields, Better to see the divine vision Of poplars leant Over the wonder-struck waters Of the pond.
Each tremble of a leaf Is an angelic note, A voluptuous piece of heaven Traduit en anglais par Norton Hodges
Атанас Ванчев де Траси
(Translation into Russian) : 15. Ты все распахиваешь окна, Чтоб слышать музыку полей, Чтобы получше разглядеть Пейзаж божественный, Где ветви тополей В немом восторге преклонились Над водами заросшего пруда.
Листочка каждого движенье То ангельская нота, Кусочек неба вожделенный.
Атанас Ванчев де Траси
Ты окна отворяешь настежь, Чтоб слышать музыку полей, Чтоб видеть лучше и верней Пейзаж, что создал Высший Мастер: Склонились ветви тополей На восхитительные воды Пруда…
Там шелест каждого листа Звучит, как ангельская нота. Проглянет небо неспроста, Его ведь вожделеет кто-то… Traduit du français russe par le poète moscovite Victor Martynov
NUIT PROFONDE DE L’ETE « Célébrant cette divine et sainte fête de la Mère de Dieu, venez fidèles, battons des mains, glorifiant le Dieu qu’elle a conçu.
Très sainte chambre nuptiale du Verbe divin, cause de notre commune divinisation, réjouis toi, ô Vierge immaculée, gloire des Prophète qui t’ont célébrée, ornement des Apôtres, réjouis-toi » Ode VI chantée le samedi de l’Acathiste
Nuit profonde de l’été, tu descends dans nos âmes fascinées Avec la grâce d’un pétale de pêcher porté par les baisers parfumés D’une tendre brise amoureuse. Tu touches les cimes des cyprès Et ils s’habillent de pourpre et d’ombres, plus dignes et plus élégants Que les empereurs porphyrogénètes de Byzance !
Tu viens comme l’Archange Gabriel, En ample robe mauve ornée de mille broderies précieuses, Tes longs cheveux rayonnants Flottant autour des humbles pétunias du jardin, Le regard innocent, vierge de tout désir Et l’odeur du ciel infini dans tes prunelles étoilées.
Ô Nuit, ta voix soyeuse remet sur nos cœurs palpitants Des doux rosaires de mots translucides
Et la silencieuse musique de mille rêves remplis de grâce merveilleuse ! Tu touches nos visages purs et la clarté d’une pudeur inconnue Soudainement envahit nos mouvements élégiaques. Et nous nous évanouissons lentement Dans l’eau tranquille d’une tendresse inattendue.
Tu respires et sur ta lèvre inférieure tremble l’éternité !
Tu souris, ô Nuit, et fais courir une fraîcheur transparente Au coeur de chaque chose, dans le sang de chaque être vivant !
Toute proche, la mer nocturne Embrasse les paroles des hommes sur les lèvres !
Petites vagues faites de courbes lumineuses, d’élans et de repos, D’hésitations enfantines et de pauses élégantes.
Ô Nuit qui fais remonter les hauts souvenirs vers nos cœurs taciturnes Comme des frêles petits bateaux chargés de trésors inouïs !
Ô libre Nuit, nous te rendons grâce, en tremblant de reconnaissance, De cet instant indicible où la fragile, la silencieuse perfection Tâche d’élever nos pensées jusqu’à l’étreinte frissonnantes Des mystères !
Fais nous vivre, ô Nuit immortelle, dans les jardins Où fleurissent les pages d’un poème à la clarté moirée, Fais-nous boire la lumière de ses lettres pleines d’âme Et caresser leurs lignes en forme de fleuve de cuivre !
Ô Nuit, protège-nous de l’effeuillement de nos propres visages ! Saint-Raphaël, le 15 août 2004, fête de l’Assomption de la Vierge. Glose : Acathiste (n.m.) : hymne à la Mère de Dieu que les fidèles, le soliste et le chur (la petite chorale) chantent debout par respect pour les mystères qu’elle médite. Le mot hymne dans la langue de l’Eglise est du féminin. Poème acrostiche alphabétique, chacune des 24 strophes commençant par l’une des lettres de l’alphabet grec. On attribue ce texte à Romanos le Mélode (mort en 560). Porphyrogénète (adj.) : du grec porphurogenêtos, « né dans la pourpre ». Se disait des enfants des empereurs de Byzance nés pendant le règne de leur père. Exemple : Constantin VII Porphyrogénète. Pétunia (n.m.) : de pétun, « tabac ». Plante dicotylédone (solanacées) herbacée, ornementale, à fleurs violettes, blanches, roses ou panachées. Moiré, e (adj.) : de moire, terme provenant de l’anglais mohair, « mohair », étoffe en poile de chèvre. Qui a reçu l’apprêt, qui présente l’aspect de la moire. Synonymes : chatoyant, ondé. Moirure (n.f.) : caractère, aspect d’une étoffe moirée. Moirer (verbe) : rendre chatoyant. Moirage (n.m.) : opération par laquelle on donne l’apprêt de la moire à une étoffe.
MARY ANGELA DOUGLAS Eschewing all commercial contacts and considerations, and thus not widely known outside her circle of admires, Mary Angela Douglas is one of the most authentic, and prolific, lyrical voices of our time. The editors are then more than delighted that she has given us these poems to publish. Hopefully she will receive the credit and recognition which her work fully merits.
Listening for the beginning of snows, white flowers, celesta for the poet Elinor Wylie (1885-1928) listening for the beginning of snows, white flowers, celestaI bowed my head far down into the very velvet of God; putting the jeweled sword back in the cupboard, carefullyby the last of the fairytale cheesethe plum-starred jam. who knows what music held for those who appear no longer; wind the music box anyway and donâ€™t despair, your heart like a cloud still does not drift and it is a wonder just to breathe the air that later, snow will inhabit22 december 2011
Speaking English courting the fair lost wonder of the skies the ghosts of English poets stood out in the rain wondering what happened to the world edged all around in gold; edged all around in gold, who bartered what for what and keyed it all down so softly, by degrees, in the pearl smudged day we hardly noticed when the Word left glistening, alone as though it had never been spoken into green. let the fairy ferns bend down their fronds through these wrecked dells, now out-of-the-way and the musk roses sigh in the Borderlandsthat even light dwindles, dividing itself into itself and praising nothing. O eglantine! O mild musk roses blowingâ€Ś brief Tyrian clouds above the foaming cliffs were mine, but they swept by my childhoodâ€™s aching that denied-not real enough, was said. leaving me nothing more to say at school but to hobble on, ever-after with the clipped birds from my hocked fairytales small scissors sawed part-through
I’ll never be real without themwho wants to be baked inside a very tasty gingerbread by the witchy experts stealing the names that color the soul – this has always been, oh my little little child
pretending to grow wiser you’ll escape even further into the woods of gold and silver embossingpure silence gathers stars. and treasured there, you’re a better country without bitterness…
this is the part of the story where you disappear, like a pearl in the pearl of mist or cloud still owned by God and safe from lies. It shall be so. till the day you can come back with all the light-rescinded years, the hollowed out rinds of suns and snows, the wayward sparrows glinting in the shadows not in vogue oh God what’s singing for or speakingif it isn’t this: to brand on the wasted heart incessant amazementto be leased by God-
you’ll wake to wonder, too, so all- at-once to see each drowsing castle in familiar mists of rose :
ever after, having been spokenthe small house in the clearing brimmed with Christmas lights, the bright fields sown of the full-throated music you did not disown11-12 december 2011
Walking on the Jewels of Your Silence walking on the jewels of your silence I saw the winter sky come down enfolding a long-ago radiance. a child turns the page and traces the angels. you scattered amethyst on the snow turning my pockets overnight into Christmas or mother-of-pearl. brightness, you called it: will it fly away? once I was living on the fair isle where I learned to say: those must be angels coming down with diamonds in their handsâ€Ś there are deeper ripples in the air where music was before. my dreams are banked so high where could I turn to start again the porcelain beginning of the measure?
the first rung in the sidewalk. my dreams are banked so high. my dream is leaving this way just as the glaze begins to fall apart on a pale green piano piece not yet memorizednovember 28-30 2011
Dress Code weaving the fabric made of clouds and of the retreating armiesI whisper to myself, againmaybe itâ€™s not too late for the new-spun colours in my headthe cherry velvet ravels swept aside; a silver tack of wondering again, never setting sailwho lost the Age of Rose? I count the last gold in the corners and count again, sweet polished cotton dresses with no seams: the sprigged details for the diffident day on a simple field of honour. not knowing the pearl of minutiae as You do, oh God-
I’m turning this inside out to find Youand twining the dreamy-treadled thread that keeps on breaking yet still shines in tiny roseate crystals stitched on snows. piano music’s sateen on the wind and seems to disappear, pure lemon verbena. but sparkles do not dwindle, lily-of-the-valley mine though I’m so small and slide off of the bench never reaching the pedals by the chiffoniere where it’s always almost spring; you won’t disturb the shawl of dappled roses on the doll cribthe childhood fortitude so pear wept twig by twig, the same; remember me, and, if notthe pale green earringsmy geranium gown… I turn the diamond spackled key of an antique conversation: who lost the pockets of the children filled, the little sashes made of white violet velvet isles? 6-8 november 2011
Not Wanting the Story to End to my mother, Mary Young-Douglas and my grandmother, Lucy White Young Ashputtel has the loveliest dress made all of stars or tiny spangles on a peach background; against an aqua cloud she leans, or aquamarinein my first Storybook. how can she stop herself from dreaming in tulle that is aglow with sudden marigolds? she’s folding a sapphire fan just like a cake, not wasting anything humming “La Traviata”. or in a tarlatan whispering “violets, like the twilight hour” that she believes inwhile I go on just reading lilies in a mist. and everything she says is only waiting to be: A diamond or a peridot embroidered on the air in the distance between dream and dream. it’s God knows best when she’s blubbering over the parsnips snipped too fineor snapping the clothespins off the apricot crochet of clouds or carnation petticoats-
how her shadow’s pale pink silk is dyed to match His favorite orchids, orchards, sighsoh how could it be any other way than this when she glides out in the froth of plinking moonlight unaccountable happiness that I have stored inside to keep from crying when the stitching’s wrongthe seed-pearls scatteredand daybreak errands wounding on a crooked-not a crystal, stairshe says, “God will take care of you” and she should know. before your melting vision soon how gently she will step into the snows as into blue-belled meadows holding on in her glimmering house shoes; decorative and trueand spilling stardust as she goes more beautiful than the mirroring sea in my jump rope rhymes of green taffeta. let the jeweled clock weep the lucent tatters backthe yellow gold pumpkin crank itself up the hill beside the little house with the rick-rack curtains and the apple tree let the raggedy rosebush in the Mama’s garden burst into everlasting rubies Raphael’s cherubs gather still…
Weeping Coins of Chocolate in the Snow weeping coins of chocolate in the snow the sugar-plum tree still shimmers with its long-ago. I’ve castled all my castled on the checkerboard afternoon and all the pieces are pure crystal. I can’t begin to say how much I’ve missed the flurries of hard candies with raspberry centersthe lemon sun. open the window so the pink light on the floor will grow into a rose we will not trample. 15 december 2011
GEORGE MOORE I’ve published poetry in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, Colorado Review, and internationally now, in Blast, Orbis, Dublin Quarterly, Antigonish Review, and elsewhere. My sixth collection, Children’s Drawings of the Universe, will be out next year with Salmon Poetry Ltd. (Ireland). In the last two years, I have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, two Best of the Web awards, two Best of the Net, The Rhysling Poetry Award, and was a semi-finalist for the Wolfson Poetry Prize. My collections have been finalists for The National Poetry Series, The Brittingham Poetry Award, The Anhinga Poetry Prize, and The Richard Snyder Memorial Prize. Much of my work grows out of time I spend in Europe and Asia, and in the last few years I’ve done artist residencies in Spain, Portugal, Iceland and Greece. I have also done a number of collaborative projects now with painters and textile artists, and have had exhibitions in most of these countries. I also have a website which lists recent activities and publications: http://spot.colorado.edu/~mooreg/Site/About.html. I teach with the University of Colorado, Boulder.
The Dogs of Calcutte do not live long, no longer than the children or the adult males in their thirties who lie down on the streets, no longer than the woman who give birth to the world only to leave it with a breath as singular as a blessing, no longer than cats or rats, as they are all of one population, but they do not live as long as the young man traveling,
from across airconditioned deserts, through cresting waves on even keels, through the air in the silent turbo darkness, for no good reason on earth is his life longer than theirs.
My Moment in History After Iâ€™m born, two days later, Adolf Eichmann arrives in Argentina. Heâ€™s driven to the palace of his friend, El Dictador, for tea and crumpets for they are so terrible English. They talk of a general amnesty.
Fifty years later, in Syria, Alois Brunner drinks sweet Arabian tea and swims at seaside in his private pool. But the Mossad want to know why he does not swim with the fishes.
This is my personal history, this parallel universe that exists only within me,
the terrible vantage point of now in a nameless time.
In Palagrugell, the chateau of Aribert Heim is known by its nymphs on the gates that do not allow entrance.
Luise Danz, too ill to have her day, ten years later goes on living, but the girl she stomped to death in Malchow camp goes on living only in memory.
And Iâ€™m home writing checks to Amnesty International, my birthday a new celebration of the dead.
End Game When the fire dies out, the coldness creeps in like a line through time from a black hole, and the right way to go, considering the way things have gone, would be to dive, warp, twist into a long stretched-out wholeness of yourself, over history. But whose history? What is this final day if not a daze, the final finial or filleted, or what has the word word to do with the vacuum? When the last star collapses it runs like this. Photon decay, which takes so long, so many cosmological eras that we can only talk of it in passing, lights nothing, the white dwarfs wonâ€™t warm a room. The galaxy of stars like these are miniature pinpricks in
the ancient fabric, and then are gone. We talk of cosmological decades as if we knew. Against all our efforts to stop by the road and smell the sweet decay, the process proceeds; we weep for the positrons and pions, and they drift off into damn gamma radiation, as if that were an end. But energy knows better, fails to falter until there is far less of it than we can see. The couple who most make apocalypse complete are the electron and its lover, who meeting, annihilate. Now we have a vacuum. The star so dwindles that it cannot compete, and falls into itself, stumbles home drunk, drives its engine into a cosmic tree, that is not growing, but rather mirrors the roots of nothingness, dark trails in the quantum absence. And no matter what youâ€™ve heard, nothing begins again. The thermodynamics of haphazard gravity, that warp without the benefit of perspective, comes back like the serpent to bite its tail, and for awhile there is nothing to do but wait. But at the last, in the final scene, we see the absolute blessing of degeneracy, as the darkness talks to itself, complete and unannoying, and the things left out on the beach for tomorrow are washed at last into a sea of radiation.
Artifact Wandering fields on the Alentejo was a dolman propped on finger stones which collapsed into a petal, sometime long ago, fungus gray, spread out like time does from the moment of the unnamed in the grave.
What will the farmers be doing, the cattle milling among the cork oak,
the pigs rutting the fields to dirt, four thousand years after my name will be silently fostered by some stone in an abandoned field?
Here Near the Center of Things The day ends when you stumble across it wearing the same clothes you thought youâ€™d thrown away
a decade before. Or was that simply a way of wishing the next life? The day ends when the suddenness of things
disappears, when the walk heads itself home, when the first light turns from red to yellow to white without
you knowing it, suspended in the medium of your own thoughts, like a bug in amber, or in someone elseâ€™s drinking glass.
But this is where life really begins, the mesmeric, secret transplant of self into self, grafting the best of you into
a future which stands so close you can smell almost it,
and then, with a light wind, the day really begins.
Reflections on the End of Time An afternoon at rest all natural things moving naturally up and away, the geese lift off the lake in a north Saskatchewan fire haze, clearing the trees slowly, this is our cosmology, aftermath of the Big Bang, prelude to a blackhole universe, at timeâ€™s end, the fact a vacuum fluctuation brings it all into being out of hot magma, heat without thingness, particle-less, only the assumption of order, as the prophets surmised, not to reincarnate but to cycle out and back into the milk soup of pre-being, the whirling mess of things passing into other states or out of states entirely, into the rich nothingness after a beautiful, brief vibration of strings.
Translating Cavafy What have you heard of the others in their far off lands, places you would call home, but for the distance love makes?
The incredible desert between you and your Greek histories, those young images of failed moments, or stalwartly survivals,
is a desert of sea, stretches of linen, a sun that is relentless in its difference. Who were you before the names were set
in foreign soil? The gods abandoned only those who could not keep up. Pulling you through by a thread of ink
is impossible, so much of the fabric runs with those who have died then, and the others, who continue to live.
Moose to Motorcycles
The body does not move it emerges
at full speed head firstâ€“which is always
the problemâ€“ the body needs to follow
for the head leads missing the thread of danger
in-between, even as the bike careens within an inch
of her broad snout as she angles up out across
the wet Park highway
frantic with a fear of engine
invasion noise the two of us
smelling the Other as close as kin, as evolutionary
link with the wilderness with the city
with death in life thinking I am nothing here
but an accident in a parallel universe
and nothing really separates us unless because wait
the word moose does for the poem as departure
snags on the world where we flew by life.
An Existential Treatise on Mistakes Much has been missed. The trees crowd in among trees like fingerlings of a kind of perpetuity.
Wind rustles and sounds like a car approaching.
The children look up the road waiting, that old dictionary human expectation.
Today the call of traffic replaces the aeolian harp.
No noise so pure that it escapes our reason.
Burial at Sea Seawind and shore estranged, terra grit penetrates the air, tide pools go turbid, that tang in the air, beautiful corpses, a dead seal on the sand. Nostrils transgress their nature to revile and reverence. The sand opens itself to a wave. Nothing sudden stands on ceremony. Gullsâ€™ caw interpenetrates the surf, the thought cutting off words, dunking them in the sea, in the past, like love lets regret outlast only a single wave.
What we were then falls to foam, comes up & back like broken shells rolled in the motions. The coast like a hand taking the pulse of night. It has come on that fast. The seaâ€™s inlet is blood now, the white caps bandages, with strong salt air, a healing salve.
The Old Man of Hoy The sea stack off Orkney Island bent like an old man, plume-haired in surf to skirt his knees is earth old, and failing. Now basejumped and iron-
mongeried. The ferry tilts in acquiescence to slant of the galaxy, autos slide side to side and into your gut, in the great belly of the beast, metal beneath slamdancing. On the third deck the gunnels rising and falling though three stories up meet grey matter of a watery world like a wall of stone. Sea and sky fuse to gunmetal, and this surface, a double-edged Gaelic claymore held above our heads, is the Old Manâ€™s crumbling blade too. And as my breath
is crushed to pulp and stomach churns, the earth echoes back the voyage and our brief achievements.
MICHAEL H. BROWNSTEIN Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The CafĂƒÂŠ Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, After Hours, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Posse Review, poetrysuperhighway.com and others. In addition, he has eight poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004) and What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005).
THE MKT, WINTER HIKE The first time I did the MKT trail the weather mid-May in December, the kind of day when summer opens every window in the house and lets everything good about the world fill all of the rooms. Winter a few blocks away water slipped into water, frogs called one another, songbirds played from limb to limb and small trees held to their leaves.
I only mowed my lawn three times that summer, one man told another and three women with behinds as big as trucks could not stop the passage of time. The world coming to its end and everyone outside enjoying the summer of December.
MY VISIT TO VIETNAM IN A DREAMSCAPE The soft eaves of snow, leverage, the feeling to do good, this mountain the last stretch of the journey, its snow exhaust gray and empty. Cleanliness has little to do with any of this. Bunched grass crumbles underfoot, stale and dying, brown and useless. Nor can cleanliness change a crowscape. This path may be the last one for the sage or it may be the beginning steps for the fool. I cross country ski in this park. The tracks I make remain where I make them.
ON RETURNING TO AMERICA Morning came into America with a green haze, jaundiced, vicious shadows from the sky. It was early, I had jet lag, nothing could make me sleep, rain swelled the stream behind the house, the air turned yellow, violent, a cockroach walked across the kitchen counter top, and I waited inside of myself for myself. Everything took longer. Everything would have to wait. I put my head on the pillow on the couch and knew the wait for daylight was forever.