Posts Tagged 'Poetry'

Heaven, Or Notes on a Cemetery in Hong Kong

In one area of this neighborhood cemetery
are the Japanese.  Loved ones
bring sticks of incense, which smoke
throughout the day.
Some leave cups of sake,
bottles of beer.
 
One woman burns paper money,
for her husband’s love
of gambling. 
 
I imagine my former lovers
leaning from heaven’s windows, shouting
my name, inviting me up.
 
But here in the Christian area of the cemetery
a sad resignation reigns.
Most relatives have moved long ago,
found jobs in other cities,
 
left behind their flower vases
like mailboxes in front
of abandoned houses,   
 

empty.

Bob Bradshaw

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Pirates

Nothing but eyes. Eyes wrapped tight
In black cloth. Painful eyes
Hard to look at.

Do they make reports
To a pantheon of gods
As we watch from binoculars?

Surely it is some strange call.
They pass the cell phone
And hold minute debates.

Soon they will steal to low decks
And scatter among the freight,
Brandishing kaiser blades.

But for now they are waiting,
Bobbing in their skinny wooden dowels
That rock in the mint tones.

Steven Blythe

Haceta Head Beach

Our stark shadows at the waters edge
wavering on the sand
following maybe leading us
the candor of the ocean at our feet
rushing over an arch
engulfing an ankle
a lifetime, an afternoon.
 
I walk behind you
an old man’s hat on your head
brim cocked towards the sky
your hair braided down your back
pantaloons tucked in
high woolen socks
a woman from the Andes—

Janice D. Rubin

Our New Windmills

Have you seen the windmills recently
Don Quixote?
They have grown,
Giants now if they ever were.
I suppose that is the way of things.
No longer just one in the fields,
Looking to pick a fight.
They have banded together. Dozens. Hundreds.
Sleek and hard-bodied.
They stand, unmoving, in rank and file
Across our wide open spaces,
Never sleeping.
Their red blinking eyes watching us
And arms that never stop swinging
Through the entire night.
How are you supposed to fight something like that?

Daniel Gilmore

The Invisible Fiancee

Like the woman couldn’t have just said ‘yes’
to save the dude the humiliation and then told
him the next day she changed her mind or
something?
—Brett Edwards

He had the words, “Will you marry me?” in lights across
the screen of the JumboTron and everything! He even waited
until halftime as if the thousands of undistracted eyes
would ease her into the right direction. My first thought was,
“How crazy is a man who would empty his bank account
on a proposal?” But as the frightened girl shook her head and ran
out of the arena, she made me wonder, “How crazy is a man
who would empty his bank account on a proposal only
to be rejected on national television?” I mean, what exactly did he
expect to happen? Now I realize the known unknowns
for what they are and I can’t help but look through the pictures
I keep in a box to protect our past. When I stare at old
photographs, I see how translucent the space separating our faces is
and my memories return to that night. I can practically see him leaving
the game and sitting alone on the steps outside the arena; thoughts
collecting like vapor in storm clouds. I can see him riding
in the empty limo, his hands caressing a champagne bottle that
he’ll keep locked away forever. And then, there’s the reservation
that he waited months to acquire. He sits single at a table
for two with too much pride to cry and still not enough strength to bear
back heavy tears. The box is a constant reminder sheltered in his hands
beneath the table as he whispers, “Will you marry me?” over and over
and over with pauses between to hear rejection. How crazy
is the man who dines with himself? I too have sat alone and imagined
you sitting near me. Yesterday, I whispered into nothingness hoping
to hear you answer and for a brief moment
I thought you did.

Julian Easterly

Spanish Grave

A small pile of stones
off the coast of Skagaströnd
on a thumb of land
that juts proudly
into the North Sea.
A Viking death,
or some Viking slave,
now an unmarked grave.
The sign says simply
spænska dys. Nearby
columnar jointings
of basalt make
long nails
on a black hand
of stone. So geologic
time countermands
cardinal death, natural
monuments displace
old sympathies.
We are fascinated
by the hexagonal shapes
molten rocks take
crystallizing when sea
meets lava. The colonnades
and entablatures
seem to bend in the
northern wind.
But nothing moves,
suspended by the sea,
earth’s parallels
with human catastrophes
at last make
translations unnecessary.

George Moore

Parable of an Old Country

It is nighttime in Budapest.  The plates under
the land are moving again.  We wrinkle
down the face of Fisherman’s Bastion
where the tourist crowd, one long lens,
points toward the Danube and the bank
beyond.  At night, the riverboats wheel
west toward Vienna or against the current,
Sulina and the Black Sea.  They are tiny
shoes under the moon-tealed flow.  On my
new desk you lined up my muse elephants
like  clay Rockettes, at whose end you sat
the Ohio buckeye I carried in my pocket
for the last four years.  It seems as unusual
here as I do.  Sometimes I feel I have nothing
left to say.  Sometimes my heart panics,
an outdated translation, and your foreign
words are the only words that will do.
The past is the old country for everyone.

Jessica M. Jewell


Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."

a

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