Friday, December 02, 2016

Anymore

And then I grew up,
And people no longer remembered my birthday.
I was not supposed to care anymore;
But I did...

Now I collect smells instead of people;
I gather words instead of songs.
I have lost the melody somewhere in between
The sea and the lip of the wavebreakers...

(Originally posted on August 26, 2004)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"Nothing Pleases Me" Mahmoud Darwish - محمود درويش "لاشيء يعجبني"

لا شيءَ يُعْجبُني

لا شيءَ يُعْجبُني
يقول مسافرٌ في الباصِ – لا الراديو
.ولا صُحُفُ الصباح , ولا القلاعُ على التلال
/أُريد أن أبكي
,يقول السائقُ: انتظرِ الوصولَ إلى المحطَّةِ
/وابْكِ وحدك ما استطعتَ
تقول سيّدةٌ: أَنا أَيضاً. أنا لا
’شيءَ يُعْجبُني. دَلَلْتُ اُبني على قبري
/فأعْجَبَهُ ونامَ’ ولم يُوَدِّعْني
يقول الجامعيُّ: ولا أَنا ’ لا شيءَ
يعجبني. دَرَسْتُ الأركيولوجيا دون أَن
أَجِدَ الهُوِيَّةَ في الحجارة. هل أنا
/حقاً أَنا؟
ويقول جنديٌّ: أَنا أَيضاً. أَنا لا
شيءَ يُعْجبُني . أُحاصِرُ دائماً شَبَحاً
/يُحاصِرُني
يقولُ السائقُ العصبيُّ: ها نحن
اقتربنا من محطتنا الأخيرة’ فاستعدوا
/...للنزول
فيصرخون: نريدُ ما بَعْدَ المحطَّةِ’
!فانطلق
أمَّا أنا فأقولُ: أنْزِلْني هنا . أنا
مثلهم لا شيء يعجبني ’ ولكني تعبتُ
.من السِّفَرْ


Nothing Pleases Me

Nothing pleases me
the traveler on the bus says—Not the radio
or the morning newspaper, nor the citadels on the hills.
I want to cry /
The driver says: Wait until you get to the station,
then cry alone all you want /
A woman says: Me too. Nothing
pleases me. I guided my son to my grave,
he liked it and slept there, without saying goodbye /
A college student says: Nor does anything
please me. I studied archaeology but didn’t
find identity in stone. Am I
really me? /
And a soldier says: Me too. Nothing
pleases me. I always besiege a ghost
besieging me /
The edgy driver says: Here we are
almost near our last stop, get ready
to get off . . . /
Then they scream: We want what’s beyond the station,
keep going!
As for myself I say: Let me off here. I am
like them, nothing pleases me, but I’m worn out
from travel.

-from "The Butterfly's Burden", translated by Fady Joudah (translation copyright © 2007 Copper Canyon Press)

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Prelude: Late Twentieth-Century Piece"

And after pain, the calm—dark records on dark shelves:
Some notion of romance we never got over,
Some sweet past theme we kept trying to recover,
Some concept of ourselves as more than our lost selves.

If we cannot be lovers, we will be players,
Throttling sharp-dressed and muscled, guns in our pockets
For good luck, through the new cities of the tropics--
Deco, palm, flamingo, blues and greens in layers.

This is the dead end of the end of the dead day.
Starlit, remembering what we outlived, we lie
Watching old films of us sweep the ceiling: the sigh
Of flesh on flesh, the cut, and the turning away.

- by Joe Bolton, from "The Last Nostalgia"

Sunday, July 03, 2016

"One World" by Joe Bolton

I have a photograph:
It is the green of a Kentucky summer,
A few skinny sycamores
Gone white with afternoon light,
A shadowed dirt road
Curving off who knows where in the distance.
You are leaning against a blue fence,
Legs tan and hair bleached a little from the sun,
My T-shirt tenting your breast.
Years later and a thousand miles removed.
A waiter named Rico lifts his sad eyebrows.
I nod.
I've been drinking at this crummy bar
In the spring dusk of Florida,
Watching the cars go by
With their headlights just on,
Hearing a siren wail.
I don't remember how it was
We came to live in cities.
But I think that somewhere this evening
A man has checked into a cheap motel
And shot himself in the head.
His driver's license and an empty bottle
Laid on the bedside table
For explanation.
Maybe he had a photograph
He couldn't reconcile his life with anymore
And wondered, at the end,
What he had come here hoping to find.
Soon enough now,
I'll be either drunk or out of money.
And there will be nothing to do
But walk back home in the first dark.
I can see on the television
It’s cold where you are,
And the sky is failing all across America.
Why were you smiling
That afternoon so long ago?
I can only think we must have been happy.
Somehow that helps.
We are still here, after all,
And it is the same world.

-from "The Last Nostalgia"

Monday, June 20, 2016

In Her Shoes

I have just (finally?) watched In Her Shoes, and it is simply wonderful! I highly recommend it. And as Roger Ebert wrote, "It's not every big-budget movie that gets its two biggest emotional payoffs with poems by Elizabeth Bishop and e.e. cummings." And it looks like "books by Elizabeth Bishop and ee cummings have doubled in sales after the poets' works were featured in the movie" (source: BookSlut). So here are, for your reading pleasure, those two great poems:

One Art
Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


i carry your heart with me
ee cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

(Originally posted on Dec. 2, 2005)