Raining Mud: by anonymous 20th century poet

•February 25, 2017 • 4 Comments

On the day that I found a brass crayfish figurine at the Pound Store
(It was missing a cheliped,
but I figured that happens in real life too,
so I bought it.),
the day started overcast and windy;
then, it was overcast and really windy with minimal visibility due to blowing dirt;
then, it was overcast and really windy and raining,
which means it was actually raining mud,
which seemed bad enough…
until a video post
came across my Facebook news feed
of a Palestinian family
being assaulted by Israeli police.
First, I watched it without sound
because I always forget that most of the videos have sound,
but that you have to turn it on yourself.
Then, I watched it with sound,
but I couldn’t watch it all the way through,
so I scrolled away,
but the sound,
the screaming,
continued.

When I was four,
I found a photograph in a magazine
of Vietnamese refugees boarding a plane.
I must have had a grown-up read the caption for me.
In their panic,
these people,
families,
were trampling each other
to death.
I did what I always did with images from the Vietnam War;
I cut it out
and included it in a collage
of similar images,
which I pasted,
facing out,
in my bedroom window,
facing the street,
with a dictated letter,
inviting all those suffering,
to come to my house,
for prayer.
I would come to wonder,
in time,
why no one came.
My mother explained that it probably wasn’t visible
from the street.
I suggested we make a big sign then.
She didn’t go for that.
I wonder if the mailman read my letters
when he walked by my window
to deliver the mail?
I wonder what he thought?

I went looking for that image,
wanting to look with now adult eyes
at the image that had rendered me so horrified
as a four year old child.
I didn’t find it,
but Google images offered up refugees,
past and present,
previously unimagined.
Was it the child’s body,
washed up on the shore,
lying face down in the sand,
the unending stream of refugees
walking past a field of the discarded dead,
the man trying to pull his wife from beneath the feet of the panicked
that demolished any sense of personal potence
to effect the state of the world,
so overwhelming a task it seemed?
At four,
I believed,
with my whole heart,
that with prayer,
I could correct the world’s ills.
At sixteen,
I made a promise to God
that I wouldn’t pray
until I knew whether I believed in his existence
or not.
I still don’t know.
I still don’t pray.
What then is to be done?

To hear more poems by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.
To read more poetry by anonymous 20th century poet, click HERE.

The Noise Never Stops: by Helen Martin

•February 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

The noise never stops
It radiates in our brain
In our ears and lungs

Think, say, do it now
Make your mark it’s not too late ~
And help the ‘Children’

Wipe out poverty
Follow the rules, make your own
Be a friend, be a wife

Create an Empire
But never brag about it
Watch your step, people see you

The noise never stops
Don’t do that, this is the way
That will never work

Bombs, gunfire, glass, blood
That will work, join the Chaos
The noise suffocates

And drowns out the birds
I can’t hear them, did they stop?
Are they singing ~ I can’t hear.

 

To find out more about Helen Martin, visit her professional website HERE.

To enjoy hearing a reading of other poems by Helen Martin, click HERE.

SISIFO: di Luca Maria Antonini

•February 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

non so più quello chepensa il mio pensiero, non capisco più cosa vuole pensare, se quello che il mio pensiero pensa sia giusto o sbagliato, o buono o cattivo o qualcos’altro, io non posso più controllare il mio pensiero, penso senza sapere pensare, il mio pensiero pensa quello che vuole e io non posso più pensare a quello cui voglio pensare, penso solo a quello cui pensa il mio pensiero, a quello che decidelui, e non decido quello cui il mio pensiero debba pensare ma il mio pensiero fa quello che vuole, non mi considera, non so più quello che pensa, o come pensa, o perché (perché il mio pensiero pensa senza che io possa pensare), il mio pensiero pensa a quello che vuole indipendentemente da me, e io non ho controllo sul mio pensiero, il mio pensiero mi sovrasta, è avanti, è laterale, trasversale, compiaciuto di se stesso, incontrollabile, e io non so se quello che pensa sia vero e sensato, perché pensa solo lui e perché il mio pensiero non è mio ma è il pensiero del mio pensiero, e io non penso il mio pensiero ma è il mio pensiero a pensare me, a osservarmi con sufficienza, dall’alto al basso, e il mio pensiero mi controlla e giudica mentre lavo l’insalata in bilico sul lavandino.

 

Ascoltare una lettura qui sotto, la musica è stata composta e arrangiata per Sisifo da Igor Sciavolino:

*     *     *     *     *

An English translation of this poem can be found below:

SISYPHUS

i don’t know what my thought thinks anymore, i don’t understand what it wants to think, if that which my thought thinks is right or wrong, or good or bad or something else, i can’t control my thought anymore, i think without knowing i think, my thought thinks what it wants and i can no longer think about what i want to think, i just think about what my thought thinks, about what it decides, and i don’t decide what my thought should think but my thought does what it wants, it has no regard for me, i no longer know what it thinks, or how it thinks, or why (because my thought thinks without me being able to think), my thought thinks about what it wants independent from me, and i have no control over my thought, my thought dominates me, it’s in front, it’s beside and through me, self satisfied, uncontrollable, and i don’t know if what it thinks is true and reasonable, because only it is thinking and because my thought is not my own but is the thought of my thought, and i don’t think my thought but it’s my thought which thinks me, observes me with condescension, up and down, and my thought keeps an eye on me and judges me while i wash the lettuce balanced on the sink.

(translation by Matthew Broussard)

2016 ATE (After Trump Election): by Adina Richman

•February 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I have to say
The prognosis is grim
The pulse is erratic
Breath has become labored, thready
The circular in and out replaced by panicked gasps.
Constricted windpipes wheeze long, hopeless sighs
Nope, it doesn’t look good.

Worse still,
It’s going to be a slow death
Indignities suffered
Humiliation and Outrage, twin, piercing icebergs
Slow melting glaciers,
Until we are all awash in a flood of self-pity
Each wishing, hoping
I am Noah!
Knowing
We haven’t been that good
And we won’t be that lucky.

Of course, we will still rally.
When our blood pressure rises
We will brace ourselves to fight, be vigilant
Outsmart the insidious cancerous squid ink squirt
Leaking, surreptitiously at first, from a tear
A rotted carotid
Later, inevitably,
Pumping, hemorrhaging boldly, aggressively, vigorously.
We had always known it was in our veins
But thought we’d outlive it

We might not
Without fail, we grow weary
Weak with worry
Our will sandpapered
Even the mighty heart is compromised
And something’s not right in the head

Still, there are so many plans to make
Upturned faces to wipe clean
Documents to be put in order
There are always taxes to pay

It would be easier
Better for us all
To just relax, let go
Unplug
Decant…

But, no, no, we all know what that means!
Do not go gently! No,
No rest for the wicked or the righteous,
We must
Put on a brave face
Keep calm, Keep on trucking
We shall
Keep the faith
Fight the good fight
Do it for the children
For the good of us all
We will
Hold on, be strong…

It’s all we can do, right?

But…
It’s looking pretty bleak from here….

 

copyright 2016 Adina Richman, all rights reserved

To find more poems by Adina Richman on this blog, click HERE.

From Left to Right I Ponder Politics and Kanji: by Robert Okaji

•February 21, 2017 • 6 Comments

In the evening I pour wine to celebrate
another day’s survival. My motions:
up to down, left to right. Glass

from cabinet, wine to mouth.
And then I return to the page.
The character for stone, ishi,

portrays a slope with a stone
at its base, and I take comfort
in knowing that as my knee aches

at the thought of climbing, ishi exists
in descent only. A volcano belches,
producing hi, fire, rising above the

cone, while earth, tsuchi, lies firm
beneath the shoots pushing up,
outward, and ame, rain,

consists of clouds and dotted
lines and the sky above. But if
wind is made of insects and

plums, do I assemble new meaning
without fact or wisdom, form
or assumed inflection, left to

down, up to right? Consider water,
its currents, its logic and needs.
Consider truth. This is how I think.

Listen to a reading of the poem by the poet:

You can find more poetry by Robert Okaji on this site or on his blog HERE . A collection of Robert’s poetry is available in his chapbook “If Your Matter Could Reform” which was published as part of the the National Poetry Month series by Dink Press 

STANDING POWER FIGURE (NKISI-NKONDI): by Bonnie McClellan

•February 20, 2017 • 4 Comments

NKISI–NKONDI
The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

MONEY
…..“With whom is the Courtesan’s contract made?”

She whose business is:
the manipulation of all parties
(including herself)
to her own best advantage.
Christlike she is
hero + victim of her own story.

……“The party of the second part is the Blacksmith.”

He whose hands are rough,
hard and dark as the hammer
he brings against the red point
of the witnessing nail.

NKISI–NKONDI
The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

MONEY
LANGUAGE

A mantra to keep her head
above water : old words
– the end justifies the means
– one must hold power to create it
– an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness
she reasons along the switch-back,
forked path,
the yellow wood;
…..worn thin by fine-shod feet of
…..courtesan,
…..consul,
…..cardinal,
……………..the prime minister
……………..the snake in the garden.
Things fall apart.

NKISI–NKONDI
The contract is only valid
when everyone believes
in the same magic.

MONEY
LANGUAGE
ETHICS

Forged of finer stuff
her slender circle glints around
the blacksmith’s rough hands
hard and dark as the hammer he rings
against the truth of the nail.
Iron wedges open wood’s yellow grain.
The courtesan’s ring corrupts his grip.
Yet, the nail is driven –
…..her gaze darts away from
…..open eyes || death’s mirror
He sees.

He sees.
Yet,
He believes.

The courtesan’s ring corrupts his grip
…………………………………corrupts the nail
…………………………………denies the magic
…………………………………of open eyes:

it’s all for sale.

 

To hear a reading of this poem, click on the player below:

To read more poems by this poet, click HERE.

Standing power figure (nkisi nkondi)

Topografia nord / 1: di Luka Stojnic

•February 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

La manica di questa giacca è lunga. Il braccio si protrae verso un ramo di ciliegio come per indicare un fiore rosa. Consumata ai polsi, la stoffa, scura, svela le due lancette di una delle quattro. Quante volte ti sei accorto delle quattro? L’attenzione per un fiore rosa alle ore quattro. Petali fibrillano nella brezza dell’aria: un soffio che nulla vuol cambiare. Il rimedio per una manica troppo lunga.

Topography North/ 1

The sleeve of this jacket is long. The arm extends towards a cherry branch as if to indicate a pink flower. Consumed at the cuffs, the fabric, dark, reveals the two hands of the one of the four. How many times have you noticed the four? Attention to a pink flower at four o’clock. Petals quiver in the breeze: a sigh that would nothing change. The antidote for a sleeve that’s too long.

If you would like to read more of Luka’s poetry on this blog, click HERE.

 
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