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a j o urnal of writing & art

issue two âœŁ Winter 2013

a journal of writing & art Winter 2013

Tongue is a journal of new writing & art publishing original poetry, essays and images that aspire to challenge comfortable gestures and distinctions. These are translations, polyphonic exchanges across all conceivable borders— those of imagination, of language, and our inherited and enacted worlds of joy, repression, solitude, and violence.

✣ Editors

ad a m w i e d e w i t s c h colin cheney r.a. villanueva


✣ copyright © 2013 by tongue: a journal of writing and art all r i g h t s r e s e r v e d No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever (beyond copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the United States Copyright Law) without permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Preceding spread: Radio Sebastian. Wallpaper Painting (detail), mixed media, 40" x 32" x 40", 2010. Right: Radio Sebastian. Faint Fields Faucet 1a, Sculpey premo on fixtures, 11" x 4" x 3", 2012.

Contents See the Second malena mörling


Women and Children brynn saito


Why the Weather Matters hayan charara


Six Poems gemma gorga julie wark


Appetite luisa igloria


Spooky Action at a Distance ciaran berry


In the room I was born, tarfia faizullah


Two Poems grigori dashevsky valzhyna mort


Two Poems sinéad morrissey


From The Rule of Barbarism abdellatif laâbi translation from the french by andré naffis-sahely


To E. Shvarts miranda field


Liner Notes for Monk eugene gloria


Announcement chirikuré chirikuré fadzai muparutsa


Three Poems katie ford


A Hundred Thousand Hours gro dahle rebecca wadlinger


Iris Waterfall pierre peuchmaurd e.c. belli


Two poems raúl zurita dante micheaux


Syntax rick barot


Seven Cities [Flood] nick gulig


“hears himself coming to the door” ernst jandl translation from the german by neil blackadder


From Scenes Cut from Our Silent Film malachi black


translation from the catalan by

translation from the russian by

translation from the english by the author and

translation from the norwegian by

translation from the french by

translation from the spanish by

Art radio sebastian


[Portfolio] False Starts in Antigonick bianca stone


See the Second MALENA MörLINg

See the second and the second second— like quick marks vanishing— And look at the minute how it has time to collect like a raindrop on the underside of a railing before it too drops into the past— Half an hour is a doorway to a hallway of bird-flight and graph-paper— An hour is a whole room of time— High ceiling with a fray of clouds below which cars are driving and driving


as if they were being filmed— And the day, the day itself— is nothing but a towering aviary of light, we are in.

MALENA MÖRLING , born 1965, is a Swedish poet and Assistant Professor. She is the author of two books of poetry, Ocean Avenue, which won the New Issues Press Poetry Prize in 1998 and Astoria, published by Pittsburgh Press in 2006.


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Women and Children BrYNN SAITo

I Cottonwood [Mother] My children as they wandered from me took on the shapes of beauty. I was proud of the way they suffered though I know they were undone by the sharpness of the earth’s asking: Do you know hunger, do you know rage, do you know the color of grief? The color of grief is the bright amber of wasted honey. It’s the gunmetal gray of Savannah skies before breaking open. Look at my back. It’s a map of the way the world looks when everyone is sleeping. It will show you the way to my children’s stories. It will sing.

II Climbing Bare Rock [First Daughter] You and I, my child, were roped from the day the coyote stole the first humans from the sea. our twin souls, harnessed. My own mother told me I’d never be brave enough to bear a son but look at me. If I wear a mask I can bear you on my back. My mask shows the world what’s within me: fury at the darkening earth; twin ears saluting in joy. Teeth like sharp wire shining. Believe me dear one: I can be both wild and bent like this. I can wait for the day when you run from me in terror.

III Upright Against the Redwood [Second Daughter] He’s turned toward me but I’m turned away. What I hear in the distance is the hissing sea with its constant beginnings and I’m caught by my wish for a violent renewal. They say mystics bear the wild for years before coming to terms with it. I learned fast that my right hand pressed against my left brought no peace, brought the heart’s quick chirping and the body falling sideways. Mother, how did you let Father ruin your body for our birth? What anchors me always is a man’s blind desire though my task has been to transcend the world of men.


IV Running, River [First Daughter] What can I do but carry my brother on my sloping back, the one chosen for his beauty? What will he become should I release him into the field scattered with thorns? In the distance the ancestors stand watching, disguised as redwoods. They wait for me to feel his clawing. They wait for me to wade into my own desire for singularity. It’s true: Love makes me want to die. But what else can claim a power like that? Not even god or the demon of the death, crouched in the blackest corner with his two bright lidless eyes.

V Asleep in the Mapou [Son] Bend me oh Lord to the hungering earth. Bring me to the bed of stones and lie me there but not kindly. My dress is threaded with my lover’s eyes. If I can make my body as beautiful as the Mapou tree, I’ll be ready to reckon with my coming from dust. Tell me my destiny in a low whisper. once when I was young I watched my mother tie her hair with pins and I waited for her to cry out in pain but she never cried out. She knew the art of sharp objects against soft skin, as all women do. I lied on the bed much like this wondering how one becomes a woman.

VI Indrawn Seas [Mother, Departing] Dear ones, don’t believe it. The dark devotion to carnage or the crying. or the way the hand takes up the tool to pierce the skin for singing of a different order. You were always alone. You were never apart from the wild sea with its net of rain and its one light dimly calling but calling nonetheless to your scattershot heart. Look at my hands. I’ve drawn them to my chest so that they might feel the fury turning beneath the sternum. In this way I speak without torching my voice. one day you too will learn that movement is a form of sound. That silence is a kind of waiting for the fires to turn the land into something useable again.

BRYNN SAITO is the author of The Palace of Contemplating Departure, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and forthcoming from Red Hen Press (March, 2013). Brynn was born in the Central Valley of California to a Korean American mother and a Japanese American father. Currently, she lives and teaches in the Bay Area.


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Why the Weather Matters HAYAN CHArArA

Above a field in Kansas, or maybe Poland, light tries but fails to burst through. over a mountain range the clouds are fingers reaching treacherously, or a corkscrew of air, horse manes or horse tales, or radiating, or fibrous, or iridescent like a white gem, or undulating. Across a body of water light’s success is luminous. And jets streaming interrupt the sky, the sky is interrupted by rumors, and the rumors never reach the foot of an alpine meadow, or the waterfront in a city where the tourists have all gone home, or a fishing dock in a harbor shaped like nothing at all, or a port or a ship channel, the shoreline jutting in and out with the appearance of something man-made, or a hillside anywhere with hills, or any field with tractors and telephone poles, railroad crossings, bridges, street signs, roof lines, and rows and rows


of growth. Below a cloudless sky, there are no trees, no birds fly past, and inside a house a man asks a woman, “What’s for breakfast?” and she does not answer. In a valley, cracks in the earth after the drought. In another valley, flash floods.

HAYAN CHARARA is the author of two poetry books, The Alchemist’s Diary (Hanging Loose Press, 2001), and The Sadness of Others (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2006). He is also the editor of Inclined to Speak: An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry (University of Arkansas Press, 2008).

W H Y T H E W E AT H E r M AT T E r S

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Semàntica i nutrició Cau la fulla a terra i es descompon en significats menors –humitat, pigment, làmina, oxigen, escalfor, llum–, com qui lletreja el seu nom sencer a un desconegut: an hí drid car bò nic. res no es perd pel camí, ni les converses que ha mantingut amb la pluja de nit, ni les lliçons de vol que li han donat els ocells: tota ella es descompon en unitats menors directament assimilables per la paciència de les formigues, les boques callades del bosc. És per això que l’idioma del vent arriba a parlar-se també sota terra. I és per això que els cucs s’emproven ales i surten volant convertits en papallones. Tot és matèria. Tot es transforma en vol quan una simple fulla cau a terra.


Semantics and nutrition A leaf falls to the ground and decomposes into smaller meanings –humidity, pigment, lamina, oxygen, warmth, light–, like someone spelling his full name to a stranger: car bon di o xi de. Nothing is lost on the way, neither the talks with the rain at night, nor the flight lessons given by birds: it decomposes in its entirety into smaller units directly assimilable through the patience of ants, the silent mouths of the forest. This is why the language of the wind comes also to be spoken underground. And this is why worms try on wings and fly away transformed into butterflies. Everything is matter. Everything takes flight when a single leaf falls to the ground.


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Pedres Si la veu pogués sortir a les fotografies com hi surt l’ombra o la tendresa –tot i ser realitats més vulnerables–, sentiria un cop més el meu pare explicant-me que, abans de collir una pedra, cal fer-la rodolar amb el peu o amb una branca per espantar els escorpins que s’hi amaguen com punxes seques. Mai no vaig preocupar-me’n. Perquè tenir sis anys era senzill, senzill com morir-se. En tots dos casos, no hi havia més secret que l’aire: respirar-lo o no respirar-lo, com si l’ànima fos plena de diminuts alvèols que s’obren i es tanquen. El primer escorpí que vaig veure va ser al llibre de ciències naturals, atrapat per sempre entre les pinces severes del temps. De vegades, però, els llibres no expliquen tota la veritat, com si no la sabessin o l’haguessin oblidat camí de la impremta. Aràcnid que té el cos dividit en abdomen i cefalotòrax. res no hi deia del sol ardent a la llengua, de la por, de l’espiga travessada al coll. jo no sabia llavors que les paraules són immensos icebergs que oculten sota les aigües glaçades molt més del que mostren. Com la paraula escorpí. I ara, mentre el telèfon sona insistentment –un crit agut de matinada–, mentre em llevo, encenc el llum, acosto la mà al seu cos blanc de plàstic que brilla com una pedra al sol, mentre el despenjo, i dic sí?, i algú em diu que ets mort, jo només penso en els escorpins, en allò que volies dir-me quan repeties fes rodar les pedres, sisplau, fes rodar les pedres.

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Stones If voices could appear in photographs, as do shadows or tenderness appear –despite being more vulnerable entities–, I would hear my father telling me once again that, before picking up a stone, you should turn it over with your foot or a branch, to frighten away scorpions that hide there like dry thorns. I never minded. Because to be six years old was easy, as easy as dying. In both cases, the only secret was air: to breathe it, not to breathe it, as if the soul was full of tiny alveolae that open and close. The first scorpion I ever saw was in a science book, trapped forever between the unyielding claws of time. Sometimes, though, books don’t explain the whole truth, as if they didn’t know it or maybe had forgotten it on the way to the printers. An arachnid with its body divided into the abdomen and cephalothorax. Nothing was said about the sun burning the tongue, about fear, about the ear of rye stuck in the throat. At that time I didn’t know that words are immense icebergs that hide much more than they show under icy waters. Such as the word scorpion. And now, as the phone rings persistently –a sharp scream at dawn–, as I wake up, turn on the light, move my hand towards its white plastic body that shines like a stone under the sun, as I pick it up, and say hello?, and somebody tells me that you are dead, I can only think of scorpions, of what you meant when you repeated turn over the stones, please, turn over the stones.


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La casa Els ossos són llargs passadissos blancs on sempre fa fred, com si la mort s’hagués deixat la porta oberta. Potser el cor és el lloc on primer germina l’espora del dolor, humida i roja, però és als ossos on aquest dolor perdura, insistent, com un grapadet de pols sorrenca. L’aire es cargola, es descargola, empeny, escampa fotografies damunt aquestes tovalles on tan difícil és acabar-se el sopar ara que no hi ets, ara que el menjador s’omple amb les papallones absurdes del record. Intento fixar-los les ales amb agulles ben fines, però sense voler em punxo els dits i els llavis. I ja no puc dir, ja no puc fer res més que passar-les d’una mà a una altra mà: fotografies com petites calaveres entre el ser del passat i el no ser del present.

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The House Bones are long white corridors where it is always cold, as if death had left the door open. Maybe the heart is the place where the spore of sorrow, moist and red, first germinates, but it is inside the bones where this pain stays, persistent, like a little handful of sandy dust. Air curls up, uncurls, pushes, scatters photographs over this tablecloth where it is so difficult to eat up the dinner now that you are gone, now that the room fills up with the absurd butterflies of memory. I try to fix their wings with fine, delicate needles but, unintentionally, I prick my fingers and lips. And I cannot say, I cannot do anything except pass them from hand to hand: photographs like little skulls between the being of the past and the non being of the present.


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from El desordre de les mans Baptisme Cada vespre torno a llegir totes les cartes que mai no m’has escrit i que guardo en calaixos transparents perquè els lladres no puguin trobar-les –¿com veure l’aire en l’aire, la llum en la llum?–. Existeixen molts passats dins el passat, moltes memòries que es ramifiquen com petits capil·lars del temps. També és record tot allò que no vam arribar a viure, a veure, a dir-nos, tot allò que se’ns va quedar adherit lleument al cor, com una pestanya a punt de volar. Mortes abans de néixer, no per això deixen de ser ànimes les ànimes. Ni les paraules, paraules. Només els va faltar l’aigua freda del baptisme i algú que sabés creure en elles.

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from Disorder of the hands Baptism Each evening I read again all the letters you’ve never written me and that I keep in transparent boxes so thieves won’t be able to find them – for how will they see air in air, light in light? There are many pasts existing in the past, many memories that ramify like small capillaries of time. Also memory is everything we never managed to live, to see, to tell ourselves, everything that remained lightly adhering in our hearts, like an eyelash about to fly. Dead before their birth but, all the same, souls do no stop being souls. All they need is the cold water of baptism and someone who knows how to believe in them.


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De El llibre dels minuts 39. La inèrcia és una estranya propietat de la matèria. Quan marxes, per exemple, l’aire conserva l’escalfor del teu cos durant una estona, així com la sorra guarda tota la nit la tebior trista del sol. Quan marxes, per continuar amb el mateix exemple, les meves mans persisteixen en la carícia, malgrat que ja no hi ha pell per acariciar, només la carcanada del record descomponent-se al buit de l’escala. Quan marxes, deixes enrere un tu invisible adherit a les coses més petites: potser un cabell a la coixinera, una mirada que s’ha entortolligat amb els tirants del desig, una crosteta de saliva a les comissures del sofà, una molècula de tendresa al plat de la dutxa. No és difícil trobar-te: l’amor em fa de lupa.

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from The Book of Minutes 39. Inertia is a strange property of matter. When you leave, for example, the air conserves the warmth of your body for a while, just as sand holds all night long the sad tepidness of the sun. When you leave, to stay with the same example, my hands persist in the caress, though there is no longer skin to fondle but only the carcass of memory decomposing in the stairwell. When you leave, there remains behind an invisible you, adhering to the smallest things: a hair on the pillowcase, perhaps, a gaze entwined with the beams of desire, a small crust of saliva in the commissures of the couch, a molecule of tenderness on the floor of the shower. It is not difficult to find you: love is my magnifying glass.


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58. La felicitat s’assembla a un monosíl·lab. Per la seva senzillesa estructural. També, per la brevetat amb què ens visita la boca.

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58. Happiness resembles a monosyllable. For its structural simplicity. Also, for its brevity in visiting our mouth.

GEMMA GORGA was born in 1968 in Barcelona. She holds a Ph. D. in Spanish philology. She lectures Middle and Golden Age Spanish literature at the University of Barcelona (Universitat de Barcelona). She has published five collections of poetry in Catalan: Ocellania (1997), El desordre de les mans (2002), Instruments òptics (2005), LIbre dels minuts (2006) and Diafragma (2012).

JULIE WARK is the author of Manifiesto de derechos humanos (The Human Rights Manifesto—Ediciones Barataria, 2011) and is an advisory board member of the international political review Sin Permiso.


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Radio Sebastian. Eleanor Yumiko Blackwell (detail 1), mixed media, 12" x 8", 2010.

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RADIO SEBASTIAN is an art team of Corwin Levi and Yumiko Blackwell.


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Appetite LUISA IgLorIA

Mexican Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) When the Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from underneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in Texas, do they hum the chant of I want, I want as they cut a swath above the capitol, above the gaps and Victoria’s Secret stores now shut for the night at the openair malls? Exiting the Bracken Caves in search of migrating cotton bollworm moths and mosquitoes, they’ll eat two hundred times their weight in insects before returning to their roosts. If only I could feed my hungers the way they do, and starve my leathered sorrows clustering in their caves. So grey and woolly, they unfurl like a knitted scarf at dusk, their million eyes like rhinestones glittering against the cross-hatched sky.

LUISA A. IGLORIA is the author of Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame, Trill & Mordent (WordTech Editions, 2005, and 8 other books.


Spooky Action at a Distance CIArAN BErrY

“Nature shows us only the tail of the lion. But I have no doubt that the lion belongs with it even if he cannot reveal himself all at once.” —Albert Einstein of the blinkered gelding circling the paddock, the greyhound’s blind stagger after the hare. out of what might as well have been thin air, I’d pluck a name and place an each way bet those afternoons her father took me to the horses and the dogs. What did I know then of the odds, the world to come? I was Einstein’s beetle crawling the surface of the bark unaware the branch is curved, his naturalist fondling sightless the lion’s tail. The past and future were entangled particles. They made a world where she will always be a girl in jodhpurs and a riding hat just come from the stables as the car backs down the driveway of my earliest memory—one of my four gorgeous cousins from up north migrated south in june, and not a bruised, starved arm hooked to a morphine drip. Spooky action at a distance, the physicist called it: how bodies can act on each other outside space and time in a way no theory can fully explain. And so his own estranged and schizophrenic son taking up a violin to bow at Brahms while in a different room, on a separate continent, our skeptic does the same. And so the twin mall-shopping in an East Texas town who feels pain sharp as a stake drive through his chest as, states away, a bullet strays into his brother’s heart. or how a moment barely lived through the first time might swim back suddenly into the mind, insinuate its way into the present tense. I remember now: we were going to the hospital.


I’d slipped. My mother thought I’d cracked the hip that today still seems to creak in its socket, predicting rain. The car’s a Chrysler or a Hillman Hunter. Something turquoise, boat-like and American. But I can’t see anymore who’s doing the driving, or feel the hands the doctor presses to my skin. I’m not sure now it isn’t a different sister waving as we turn soundless out into the lane, scent of tobacco and seat leather on the air, crows hanging like rotted fruit from the crab apple trees, memory fixing a silk scarf over my eyes and spinning me three times, so that I stagger blind about her cluttered rooms. The hounds bound for the inside track. The gate springs and the horse bolts from its stall, only hunger and the hand that cracks the whip to guide it home. And though I haven’t found a way to say it yet, my cousin’s dying back into the nothing she sprang from, earth into earth again, ash into ash, and I don’t want to write another elegy, even if here, an ocean away from where she lies, the air grows thick with sentiment and snow. We must remember that this is a small star, Einstein explains against what the heart whispers, against what the body always seems to want. Later, on a ship out in a storm, the deck awash with the madness of the Atlantic, the cabin listing to starboard and stern, his insignificance and ours has never been more apparent, yet all he can do is smile, far from anyone, and well beyond caring, and for once I envy him such indifference.

CIARAN BERRY ’s poems have been widely published in American and Irish journals and selected for Best New Poets 2006 and Best American Poetry 2008. The Sphere of Birds won the Crab Orchard Series Award of Southern Illinois University Press, the 2008 Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize and the inaugural Michael Murphy Memorial Award, 2011.

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S P o o K Y A C T I o N AT A D I STA N C E

In the room I was born, TArFIA FAIzULLAH

the walls darkened by the wing of a sparrow, my tiny body unlatching from Mother’s to curl into sleep. Two oceans away is a narrow grave of green land bordered by bamboo. one day, she & I will stand there. She will weep. She will point out other graves: corpses stacked upon each other to save space. Flowers in a book. Scarves folded into stacks of squares. Time creeps forward. My tiny self lost in sleep’s black gloaming wakes shining. Time unfolds a wing. Soon, I will be a wild, wind-bent map worth loving.

TARFIA FAIZULLAH is the author of Seam (Southern Illinois University Press, 2014), winner of the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems and prose appear in Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, LA Review of Books, and elsewhere.




ДАФНА (1) Свинцовым острием, гонящим из тела голос, тело—в лес, пронзенная исчезла в чаще седых, прямых стволов и здесь хранима страхом обнаружить взамен пленившей плоти, чье сиянье умножалось стужей, землею твердой и свое приумножало безразличье на узком, сумрачном пути разлучной травли,—только птичью неуловимость глаз, почти невидимых, чей молкнет щебет в ветвях глазниц, и, по живым ветвям стекая, слезы лепят кору из льда, но ствол храним не ею, тонкий стан замкнувшей, текущей всё еще с лица, а страхом, пронизавшим душу изнеможенного ловца.


Daphne (1) Pierced by a lead edge which chases a voice out of a body, chases a body into the woods, she vanished in the brake of straight gray trunks; and there braced by sheer fear to find not the captivating flesh whose glare kept multiplying by frost, by the hardness of earth, thus increasing its indifference on the dark narrow road of the chase, but instead, only the birdlike elusiveness of the almost invisible eyes, whose twitter goes silent in the boughs of the eye pits, and tears pour down the living branches, molding bark out of ice, but the trunks are braced not by the bark which, still flowing from the face, wraps the thin shapes; they are braced by the fear that had pierced the soul of the dog-tired hunter.


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ОДИССЕЙ У КАЛИПСО (1) Близкий голос во мгле: Одиссей. Он кивает, молчит. Его руки как будто слабей темноты. Он укрыт темнотою, текущей из глаз чьих-то вниз, из глазниц в узкий и поддающийся паз там, поблизости. Лиц не видать, незаметен пробел между нею и им, словно издали кто-то глядел на стан статуи, грим света снявшей и спящей в тоске с тенью, с тенью своей. И наутро, когда вдалеке— моря шум, Одиссей клонит голову вниз, потому что вчера зачерпнул утлым черепом мглы и ему скучен пристальный гул.

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Odysseus at Calipso’s (1) A voice close-by in the mist: Odysseus. He nods in silence. His hands seem weaker than night. He’s covered with night pouring from somebody’s eyes, into a narrow yielding socket close by, Impossible to see faces, invisible is a gap between him and her as if from afar somebody looked at a statue without the makeup of light—how it sleeps in misery with its own shadow. Next morning in the far noise of the sea odysseus bends his head because yesterday he scooped the mist with his frail skull and he’s bored by its steady roar.

GRIGORI DASHEVSKY was born in Russia in 1964. He has published four books of poetry and a number of critical articles and translations from English and French. He was short-listed for the Andrei Bely prize for his book of poetry Henry and Simon. Dashevsky received Prix Maurice Wachsmacher and the Andrei Bely prize for his work as a translator. He lives in Moscow.

VALZHYNA MORT was born in Belarus and moved to the United States in 2006. She is the author of the books of poetry Factory of Tears (Copper Canyon Press, 2008) and Collected Body (Copper Canyon Press, 2011). She has received the Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine.


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Last Winter was not like last winter, we said, when winter had ground its iron teeth in earnest: Belfast colder than Moscow and a total lunar eclipse hanging its Chinese lantern over the solstice. Last winter we wore jackets into November and lost our gloves, geraniums persisted, our new pot-bellied stove sat unlit night after night and inside our lungs and throats, embedded in our cells, viruses churned out relaxed, unkillable replicas of themselves in the friendlier temperatures. our son went under. We’d lie awake, not touching, and listen to him cough. He couldn’t walk for weakness in the morning. Thoracic, the passages and hallways in our house got stopped with what we would not say— how, on our wedding day, we’d all-at-once felt shy to be alone together, back from the cacophony in my tiny, quiet flat and surrounded by flowers.


V is for Veteran A soldier returned from a war was how my P6 spelling book put it I saw cripples with tin cans for coins in dusty scarlet, back from some spat of Empire. Later I became aware of buildings built in squares around a courtyard where every room looked down to a fountain rinsing and bleaching the light assiduously as the women who in folded hats like wings washed clean their wounds. My erstwhile stepfather was one for whom Vietnam was a constantly recurring dream— the jungle inching its tendrils into his lungs until he becomes half-man, half-vine, asphyxiating. The word itself has a click in it. It halts before the ending. Boats left stranded in trees. The ones that survive are amphibian. As I speak, there is something muscled and bloody in the sink the boy young enough to be my son spat out and I can’t look. I don’t know how he got inside my house. The stereo is playing Buckets of Rain by Dylan, over and over again. SINÉAD MORRISEY was born in 1972 and grew up in Belfast. Her four collections are There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2002), The State of the Prisons (2005) and Through the Square Window (2009), all of which are published by Carcanet Press.


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Radio Sebastian. Faint Fields Faucet 3a, Sculpey premo on fixtures, 8" x 6" x 10", 2012.

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de vous à moi la vérité jurez-moi de ne pas me croire nous attendons qu’une roue fissure des chairs non comestibles ou qu’un œil s’éteigne pour avoir été témoin nul carnassier ne viendra repriser les césariennes on torture apothéose artifice de pogroms feu de squelettes

gloire gloire la face paisible du bourreau la main douce qui charcute et l’univers coule son petit train-train de morales encore encore le doux nectar du mal la vivifiante souffrance écumoire de diaphragmes bille de bulbes gloire ô le noble regard du coupeur de têtes le fond musical des pilules de cyanure ô l’effluve de ce vitriol nous attendons cadavres ou fossiles et la fête macabre monte une ordalie sans prévenir


l’on torture et l’on tenaille ce qui bat et l’on pilonne ce qui pulse et l’on sectionne ce qui ligature crimes sur table

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from The Rule of Barbarism between you and me the truth swear you won’t believe me we are waiting for a wheel to break open inedible flesh or for an eye to go out for having witnessed no predator will come stitch up the C-sections we torture glorify the artifice of pogroms bonfire of skeletons glory glory the peaceful face of the executioner the sweet hand that butchers and the universe flows chugging its slow train of moralities again and again the sweet nectar of evil the vivifying nature of suffering skimmer of diaphragms bulbous organs glory o noble gaze of the executioner background music of cyanide pills o emanation of this vitriol we are waiting corpses or fossils and the macabre party surges without warning into a trial by fire we torture and torment those who struggle and bomb those who agitate and cut down those who bind crimes on the table ABDELLATIF LAÂBI , poet, novelist, playwright, translator, and political activist, was born in Fez, Morocco in 1942. Laâbi's most recent accolades include the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie for his Oeuvres complètes in 2009, and the Académie française's Grand Prix de la Francophonie in 2011. ANDRÉ NAFFIS-SAHELY is a poet and translator from the French and the Italian. Naffis-Sahely’s translations of Abdellatif Laâbi's Le fond de la Jarre (Archipelago Books), as well as Émile Zola's L'argent (Penguin Classics) are forthcoming. FroM THE rULE oF BArBArISM

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Buried under a russian winter is there a russian spring? Are you the russian spring? That pulsating red glow under the ice— an image from 1960‘s science fiction— is it the season’s incipient reincarnation or red wine filling the hollow where your eye was? In the winter woods many sensitive nerve-endings fall asleep while others secretly glow, electrified, preparing to blossom. Communication among them overwhelms the mechanics of translation. Approaching you in russian, never having experienced before St. Cyril’s kiss, his lips and adam’s apple roaming up and down, I instantly climax . . . . then like a male romantic lead in such a moment, I subside. I surrender my walls like a bubble on the palm of a hand. But the season doesn’t give. Still driven by the spirit, your mystery, its difficult position— under so much earth, then leaf-litter, now ice-glitter— my sled-dog soul twitches in sleep, as if scenting something hidden under frost-flowers, it whimpers . . . .

MIRANDA FIELD was born and raised in London, England. Her first book, Swallow, won a Katharine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Award in Poetry, and she has also received a “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Teaching Fellowship at Bread Loaf.


Liner Notes for Monk EUgENE gLorIA

“Monk’s Mood” [false start] I had gotten off the bus too soon for my stop and so I had to walk a few blocks in order to gain my bearings. Thelonious Monk said, “It’s always night/ or we wouldn’t need light.” I read this in an essay. I wanted to have a conversation with someone to lighten my load. I remember seeing a woman disembarking from the next bus. our gazes locked for a long second. [It is always night wherever you go.]

“Crepuscule with Nellie” [breakdown] [Monk continues alone and quiet.] Northward leads to the river southward back to my hotel room. An entire week had gone by and I hadn’t exchanged seven words with another human. The sound of words directed at me would feel like a hand on my shoulder, an arm brushing against my skin. It is always night when silence overcomes me, silence opening up within me like a wound. Black keys, I’ve been told, have an ominous, mysterious sound.

“Misterioso” [Monk conversing with water.] What we end up making, whether it’s something we do by ourselves or with others is always a form of conversation. My presence is solid, but others see me as a fishing weir, a foamless Mister So— and—So, a scavenger for anything that would flatter his eyes. What I want is a garden that will not perish, a bed of imperial, white peonies.

EUGENE GLORIA is the author of three books of poems—My Favorite Warlord, (Penguin, 2012), Hoodlum Birds (Penguin, 2006) and Drivers at the Short-Time Motel (Penguin, 2000). His recent works have appeared in Cimarron Review, Seneca Review, Indiana Review, Asian American Literary Review, and The New Republic. During the 2013 spring semester, he will be the Art & Sciences Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.


False Starts in Antigonick Portfolio BIANCA SToNE

Invention requires an experiment of failures—quiet failures, I heard a poet once call them. A collaboration between artists requires an even greater willingness and trust to stir the necessary inspiration and momentum. These drawings are a selection of quiet failures from my experience illustrating Anne Carson’s new translation of Sophokles’ Antigone. Illustrating Antigonick, I constantly challenged my ideas of interpretation. I wanted to render a visual guide to the play, but also to create a conversation with it. Many of the images left in the desk drawer centered on human characters. Literal figures and characterizations didn’t quiet seem right. As I experimented more wildly with color and mixed medium, and melded comic book themes with echoes of greek art, these more abstract experiments seemed a better translation of Carson’s text into image. All of these elements figured into the final pieces. After finishing roughly forty images, Anne, robert Currie and I laid the drawings out and found the ones that felt right to us all. It was, on one hand, as simple as that. But I think these “False Starts” speak to how collaboration requires figuring out how to begin, where to end, and how to assemble and connect and create something whole. Like any work that I do, Antigonick would not be what it is without the frustration of process, without the work that was left in the drawer. But I’m happy to open the drawer and share some of these quiet failures. Here, I think, they breathe differently, take on another life. They are false starts, but they are also something else. 06/05/2012

bianca stone is the author of several poetry chapbooks and an ongoing poetry-comic series from Factory Hollow Press. She is the illustrator of Antigonick, a collaboration with Anne Carson and her first full-length collection of poetry Someone Else’s Wedding Vows will be out in 2014 from Tin House/Octopus Books.



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This is an important announcement Please listen to this very carefully: Don’t leave your souls unattended Any soul that will be found unattended Shall be collected and disposed of This is all in the interest of security


Chiziviso Hechinoi chiziviso chakakosha zvikuru kuru Tinokumbira munyatse kuteerera zvakadzama: Musasiya mweya yenyu isina kuchengetedzwa Mweya upi zvawo uchawanikwa usina kuchengetedzwa Uchatorwa ugonorasirwa kure uko kumarara Izvi zvinoitirwa kuti upenyu huve hwakachengetedzeka

CHIRIKURÉ CHIRIKURÉ is perhaps best known as one of Zimbabwe’s most talented performance poets and storytellers. His first volume of poetry, Rukuvhute (College Press, 1989) received honourable mention in the 1990 Noma Awards and was followed by Chamupupuri (College Press,1994) and Hakurarwi, We Shall not Sleep (Baobab Books, 1998). His most recent collection is Aussicht Auf Eigene Schatten, Afrika Wunderhorn, Heidelberg (2011).


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Radio Sebastian. Forest (detail), mixed media, 40" x 60", 2010.


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Three Poems KATIE ForD

Board & Water origins traced to the Spanish Inquisition baptism is as bad as they say you must renounce the devil you never met


To Read of Slaughter Some things qualify as silence, but they wake us like the disappearance of birdcall that kept us asleep because we took it as dream-stitch, like the early steps of the beloved lighting the stove until we wake only when the stove remains unlit against the day now bewildering each hibernation, each lightly-drugged feather, each stun and lie.

T H r E E P o E M S B Y K AT I E Fo r D

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Little Belief By this river wall this solvent light it’s stark enough to say I hate, I think, I think in the quartz the water sharpens back how badly I would like to have a cutting tool, a proven gun A heavy work it must have been to strip this river of film so I can say there are humans the worst of dogs put to shame. Mercy, have mercy on me.

KATIE FORD is the author of Deposition, Colosseum, and the forthcoming Blood Lyrics (Graywolf Press, 2014). She teaches at Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.

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T H r E E P o E M S B Y K AT I E Fo r D

Radio Sebastian. Flower Painting (detail 1), mixed media, 18" x 18", 2010.




: :


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from Hundre tusen timer/ A Hundred Thousand Hours gro DAHLE TrANSLATIoN FroM THE NorWEgIAN BY


Stein, støv. Og et drønn dypt inne i en rose. Når jeg åpner døren, står fraværet som en stang i rommet. En stemmegaffel. Stillheten suser langs de hvite listene. Blomstene knitrer i vasen. Under vann hører jeg steinene sildre. Bølgene trekker i sanden. og steinene sildrer. Bølgene trekker og trekker i sanden. og hvert sandkorn er en verden som raser.


Stone, dust. And a detonation deep inside a rose. When I open the door, the absence stands like a pole in the room. A tuning fork. The silence roars along the white moulding. The owers rustle in the vase. Underwater I hear stones trickle. The waves pull the sand. And the stones trickle. The waves pull and pull the sand. And every sandgrain is a world that rages.


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Dette er ikke et bevis. Det er glasskår fra en skål jeg mistet i gulvet. Dette er ikke en fortelling. Det er kaffe på duken. Bare en svak svak lyd fra kjøleskapet. Det tolker jeg som et tegn på forståelse.

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This isn’t proof. It’s broken glass from a bowl I dropped on the floor. This isn’t a story. It’s coffee on the tablecloth. only a faint faint sound from the refrigerator. I take it as a sign of understanding.


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jeg bøyer meg, krymper. jeg er mindre enn et vanlig menneske. jeg er et barn. Mindre enn et barn. jeg er en ape. jeg er en hund. Mindre enn en hund. En katt. En kanin. jeg er en skilpadde. En frosk. Nei, mindre enn en frosk. En gresshoppe. En bille. jeg er et skrukketroll som gjemmer meg under benken. Derfra roper jeg: vær så snill. jeg roper vær så snill så høyt jeg kan.

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I bend, cringe. I am less than a normal person. I am a child. Less than a child. I am an ape. I am a dog. Less than a dog. A cat. A rabbit. I am a turtle. A frog. No, less than a frog. A grasshopper. A beetle. I am a wood louse that hides beneath a bench. From there I cry: please. I cry please as loud as I can.


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Dette hjemmet vi har samlet rundt oss. Disse suvenirene. I dette museet skulle vi bli gamle sammen. Spise vĂĽre berlinerkranser under gjenstandenes memoarer. Sitte der to centimeter fra hverandre for ĂĽ gi denne utstillingen en mening. Alene i sofaen blir hver ting et kors. Dette rommet en gravlund.

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We have gathered this home around us. These souvenirs. We should grow old together in this museum. Eat our berlinerkranser beneath these objects’ memoirs. Sit two centimeters from each other to give this exhibition some meaning. Alone on the sofa, everything’s a cross. This room, a graveyard.


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—Unnskyld, sier jeg til veggen, —Unnskyld, unnskyld. Fra hjørnet ser jeg stolen revne i ryggen. En sprekk i stoffet. Det skraller. og stolen skriker. og rommet henger etter spikerslagene.

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—I’m sorry, I say to the wall, —I’m sorry, I’m sorry. From the corner I see the chair crack down its back. A rip in the fabric. It splits. And the chair screams. And the room hangs on after the hammer-blows.


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En ting har du glemt å ta med deg. En jernplog. Nå ligger den og ruster innunder ene mine. rasper meg i siden for hvert åndedrag. jeg river bildene i stykker. Kaster brevene i peisen og lar en gul flamme ete dem ord for ord. Kanskje kjenner du noe på ryggen om natten. Da er det jeg som tenker på deg hundre kilometer unna. Luftposttanker du ikke kan sende uåpnet tilbake.

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You have forgotten to take one thing. An iron plow. Now it lingers and rusts underneath my lungs. rasps me in the side with every breath. I rip the pictures to pieces. Throw the letters in the fireplace and let a yellow flame eat them word by word. Maybe you know something on your back at night. That is how I picture you, a hundred kilometers away. Airmail-thoughts you cannot send back unopened.

GRO DAHLE , born 1962 in Oslo, is a Norwegian writer and poet. She has published eight volumes of poetry, five collections of short stories and two novels as well as picture books and poetry for children and plays, musical theatre and opera liberetti.

REBECCA WADLINGER is a doctoral candidate at the University of Houston. Her translation of Gro Dahle’s A Hundred Thousand Hours is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2013.


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Radio Sebastian. Eleanor Yumiko Blackwell (detail 2), mixed media, 12" x 8", 2010.

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I was living at the foot of the waterfall I was young and humid once every thousand years I changed my shadow I ate dormice and butterflies But nothing came The stones rolled in the sunlight There was sunlight once or twice a night and elongated creatures that laughed like women there were women once or twice a dream I couldn’t tell what all of this was In winter, caravans caravels waited for us to make up words before moving right past me An orange foam covered the sky I’d wake up late Summer nights I’d bet on the evening primrose, on electric trout on the impatience of red I’d bet on my skins in the forests that were being born Irises grew inside the devil’s eye

PIERRE PEUCHMAURD (1948-2009) was a French surrealist poet and writer. In 1990, he founded the Éditions Myrddin, which he directed until 2008.

E.C. BELLI , an MFA candidate in Poetry and Translation at Columbia University, is currently translating Pierre Peuchmaurd’s Le tigre et la chose signifiée (L’Escampette, 2006), and is the poetry editor for the online quarterly Fawltmag. She is the recipient of a 2010 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.




Inscripción 178 Te hablan ahora las rompientes de tu vida Te cuentan de las falsas Itacas, del naufragio en costas remotas de tu cansancio doblándote hacia las olas Te dicen que más allá está el final de la tierra que allí el mar se derrumba, que tu mar amado se derrumba y que los barcos nunca han vuelto Te hablan en tu propia noche los temores Que suenen entonces como algo que se despierta estos poemas como algo que está en tí, como algo que cruce el mar y se despierta.


Inscription 178 Now the disruptions of your life speak to you tell you of false Ithacas, of the shipwreck on remote coasts of your exhaustion folding you toward the waves they tell you that beyond is the end of the earth that there the sea collapses, that your beloved sea collapses and that ships have never returned they speak to you in your own night the fears that sound then like something that rouses these poems like something that is in you, like something that crosses the sea and awakes.

T W o P o E M S B Y r A Ăş L z U r I TA

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Guárdame en ti Amor mío: guárdame entonces en ti en los torrentes más secretos que tus ríos levantan y cuando ya de nosotros sólo que de algo como una orilla tenme también en ti guárdame en ti como la interrogación de las aguas que se marchan Y luego: cuando las grandes aves se derrumben y las nubes nos indiquen que la vida se nos fue entre los dedos guárdame todavía en ti en la brizna de aire que aún ocupe tu voz dura y remota como los cauces glaciares en que la primavera desciende.

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T W o P o E M S B Y r A ú L z U r I TA

Keep me in you My love: keep me then in you in the most secret torrents that your rivers uphold and when no more of us only something like a shore take me also in you keep me in you like the interrogation of waters that leave And then: when great birds collapse and clouds indicate to us that life was itself between the fingers keep me in you still in the strand of air that still occupies your hard and remote voice as the glacial river bed which in the spring descends.

RAÚL ZURITA is a Chilean poet. He won the Chilean National Prize for Literature in 2000. DANTE MICHEAUX is the author of Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010). His poems and translations have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Bloom, Callaloo, Gathering Ground, and Rattapallax—among other journals and anthologies.

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Syntax rICK BAroT

There is the man in the park in the middle of all that lawn, practicing casting out, the long rod a curving flexible extension of his arm, the filaments of the almost invisible lines making ghost lines in the air around him, his movements and the craft they make an energy I don’t know how to read, other than to know they are a making that must be as much in the mind as it is of the body, the body holding still there in the gray of the winter day, winter having already stripped the park’s trees, paper birches and oaks, the evergreens like arrows pointing to the wax-paper sky, the sky that is now visible because of the leaves not there, the sky a white light painful to the eye because it is not specific, because it is the dazzle of the abstract we are looking at, the dazzle of white chrysanthemum brought back to sudden sky when the military plane goes


over us, practicing its cartographies above us, the north of where we are, the war that we are, the plane’s gray line just one syntax of thought the day has, the way the park’s playground and its primary colors are another, the way the homeless man under his sullen Navajo blanket is another, each thing a part of speech, the jogger’s purple windbreaker like a bird, the cannon and the founders’ statues like chess pieces against the grid of the sky, each thing forcing the eye open, the mind arcing, like the fisherman’s mind leaning towards the shapes his lines momentarily keep unspooling, each line always about to reach the river that is there and not there.

RICK BAROT ’s first collection of poetry, The Darker Fall (2002), received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry. His second collection, Want (2008), was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize.


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Radio Sebastian. Winter Scene (detail), mixed media, 40" x 60", 2010.

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RADIO SEBASTIAN is an art team of Corwin Levi and Yumiko Blackwell.

Nightly We Are Taken, Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Photograph based on (nightly we are taken) by Kiwao Nomura, 2011.


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Seven Cities (Flood) NICK gULIg

1. See to it the city hurts in water. Here is what a flood is, I am standing on my balcony. grey, the sun, grey, the walls the sun is not itself. There, the air is making also, only shallow, an actual pollution. Through itself and not so. I miss the sound of not so. As when a river crests, a garden turns to nothing underneath the waves and further off, I hear it, nothing. The flowers from their insides, torn, the garbage and the flowers. Such ugly light, the space between I feel it, it. And rain. And stand from such a distance from you. Upwards, staring up. Dark angels in the clouds. As when a levee breaks, angels waving in the sea.


2. It is coming, yes or no, a vastness made of roofs above the river’s climb, dumb sun. I carry an umbrella. The awnings rip, and so from off the roofs the rain despite the sun continuing. There is a language made of waves and the language isn’t right. It hesitates, the sky is halved and stitched together. river, take me with you. In traffic, breathing in and speaking. I walk and walk. Dogs at the edge of open sewers sleep. A vastness made of insects. In the temple, your name a hundred times, then nothing. I even said I am the word I am and all I am is words. Prayers for new beginnings rumble in the alleys. There is a language. There is a language isn’t. My heart in the alley sleeps. How to say it stiller? In the alleys, sleeping. In the flower, circling the calyx, an insect crushed by hand, the heart where you are, I am, greater now or lesser than, am sorry.


( F L o o D ) ✣ 81

3. In the center of the city, an emerald carved to form a face depreciates. In time no reason is enough. I am walking toward you, though you, too, are not enough, cannot depreciate or hunger. Endless famine of the inner, let the task be water. In my apartment there are insects and I crush them softly with a sponge. I need exactly seven kinds of faith. get me through the day. This is the kind of city turns a person into rage, a hate for things like groceries. I am oating on a couch. Sadness in the smallest space between our opposites, abiding love, in and of and somehow far away from, for.

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4. The religion I fear most is no religion. Ugly Buddha, ugly Christ. The surfacing of limits, or the cross and trinkets intertwined around my neck clutched tight when flight alleviates my footing. No ground but hallowed ground, the water says. No air but real pollution. I am learning to become what happens exactly last. Be my placid vastness. river through me. The cars in Bangkok carry us across the city and I believe you. The cars in Bangkok carry us across. Today is exactly what I’ve never wanted, unsymmetrical, absent of any pattern, any single thing entwined within a multitude of other single things. I believe in the gods of things which I inherited and hurt, handed down to me by history, necessity, time. o that there is order, is there? The god of your face at night, your right wrist and your left wrist. I believe exactly what is asking from your throat.


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5. In you, the adventure of my ignorance is brought to pasture, broken into, palaced. jewel me over, Mouth. This is precious, yes or no? Do not believe the rain the rain does not relent it carries. I carry with it, turning o and into. I throw the scraps of things at dogs and name them. My ignorance is brought to me on a platter made of paper made of trees. And I take the paper. And I fold the branches in my hands.

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6. on what do you depend enough to kill and live it over. Into the space I lack the language to unlock your life returns a thousand times a thousand fold, so there. Place me on the doorstep of a cloud. Hell or heaven. Is or isn’t. Home is where it hurts the most to pay attention. As when from such a distance from you, the river rising, let it. Let the sand the city piles pile higher, a real perimeter. I will ask you only once, and if you don’t then I won’t either. Here beneath the buildings of the biggest place, palaces of glass, and now the glass, and now the glass is not. What I feel against my stomach rises up and dissipates. It surges, sours, spits. Spirit of the outermost, the inner. Nothing shatters here, how come? When I open it, my stomach, and unwrap it, there it is, the city. Faith in things such happiness in things no longer living.


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7. From the center of your stomach, a multitude of nouns pronounce themselves without us, the world without ideas. And from the falling of the things of the world, and from the people of the world, falling, and from the places they have lived in, wrecked and washed away, a world that is not the world we die in rises, a city of pure faith. Here is where the ghost I made of everything you said to me stands naked on the grass, a garden swarmed by insects, underwater, and the ghost of everything you didn’t. I am going there. I am going there to meet you.

NICK GULIG is a poet from Wisconsin.

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Radio Sebastian. Faint Fields Faucet 4a, Sculpey premo on fixtures, 7" x 11" x 11", 2012.


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“hears himself coming to the door” ErNST jANDL TrANSLATIoN FroM THE gErMAN BY


hört sich an die tür kommen öffnet von innen sich lacht sich entgegen schließt sich in die arme preßt sich den mund auf den mund springt an sich hoch als kinder springt an sich hoch als hund nimmt die tasche sich aus der hand hilft sich aus dem mantel streichelt den kopf sich den kopf sich den kopf drängt sich um sich mit sich allen ins gute zimmer erzählt sich allen was draußen alles war hört sich allen zu wie zuhause alles war will jetzt lang nicht mehr von sich fort lobt sich diesen schönen abend


“hears himself coming to the door” hears himself coming to the door lets himself inside from outside throws a big smile at himself gives himself a hug presses his lips to his lips jumps up in the air to greet his dad jumps up in the air to greet his master takes his bag out of his hand helps himself out of his coat strokes himself on the head his head on his head makes his way on his way in his way into the family room tells himself all about how it all was out there listens to himself about how it all was in here doesn’t want to leave himself again any time soon tells himself what a lovely evening he’s having

ERNST JANDL (1925–2000) was an Austrian writer best known for his experimental poetry NEIL BLACKADDER translates drama and prose from German and French, specializing in contemporary theatre. In 2012 Neil was awarded a PEN Translation Fund Grant and a Howard Fellowship to translate three plays by Lukas Bärfuss.



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from Scenes Cut From Our Silent Film MALACHI BLACK

What the wind had written with the leaves he reads now in the book


of day-old snow

There, behind a closed mouth hides the white bird of her speech asleep just so inside the white cage of her skull


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To warm their hands the stars now stoke their little fires

MALACHI BLACK is the author of Storm Toward Morning, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press, and two limited edition chapbooks: Quarantine (Argos Books, 2012) and Echolocation (Float Press, 2010).

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Radio Sebastian. Eleanor Yumiko Blackwell (detail 2), mixed media, 12" x 8", 2010.


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Radio Sebastian. Flower Painting (detail 2), mixed media, 18" x 18", 2010.

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Winter 2013

malena mörling brynn saito hayan charara gemma gorga luisa igloria ciaran berry tarfia faizullah grigori dashevsky sinéad morrissey abdellatif laâbi miranda field eugene gloria chirikuré chirikuré katie ford gro dahle pierre peuchmaurd raúl zurita rick barot nick gulig ernst jandl malachi black Art radio sebastian bianca stone Translators julie wark valzhyna mort andré naffis-sahely fadzai muparutsa rebecca wadlinger e.c. belli dante micheaux neil blackadder

Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art – Issue Two  

Tongue is an assemblage of poetry, translations, and images that aspires to challenge comfortable gestures and distinctions.This is Issue Tw...