Saturday, August 13, 2011

'why am I thinking...' - sam shepard

'Why am i thinking...'
by Sam Shephard

Why am I thinking
"This guy is totally crazy"
Sitting in a country cafe
Dressed in a black velvet three-piece suit
Smelling like a 14th Street Pimp
Horizontally twitching brown eyes
With no pupil to speak of

Why am I thinking
"This guy is a maniac"
When he asks if it's ever snowed in San Francisco
If Herb Alpert plays classical music

Why am I thinking
"This man is nuts"
When he tells me he's a man of many talents
But he doesn't have time to develop any one of them

Why am I thinking
"This guy is bananas"
When he picks up the cream pitcher
And calls it a "Cute Cow"

I know why it is
It's because he's not concealing
His desperate estrangement from people

a where without a who - octavio paz

A Where Without A Who
by Octavio Paz (tr. Eliot Weinberger)

There's not
a soul among these trees
And I
don't know where I've gone

Friday, August 12, 2011

in a candy store - ye hui

In A Candy Store
by Ye Hui (tr. Joshua Beckman & Zhao Xia)

Once I wrote a line of poetry on the counter
in a candy store, but
I was not writing about the candy store
or that woman weighing the candy
I was thinking of other things:  a horse or a man
In strange places,
the drama of an entire life unfolds
the farewell and the coming together
A country of tears and letters
I lay in the warm current of imagination
and I don't want to become any of these people around me
Like on a little hill
Growing a weed, which should only grow in an abandoned court yard

Thursday, August 11, 2011

burning my manuscripts - yi kyubo

Burning My Manuscripts
by Yi Kyubo

In my youth I used to write songs.
When the brush moved down the page,
I wrote with unimpeded flow.
My poems, I thought, were as beautiful as jade;
who dared talk about flaws?
Afterwards, I studied them again:
there wasn't a fine word in one of them.
To retain them would be to soil my writing box:
unbearable thought, so I burned them in the kitchen fire.
If I look next year at this year's poems,
they will all be the same; I'll scrap them too.
Perhaps that's why Minister Kao of old
first composed when he was fifty.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

interval of joy - nikos karouzos

Interval Of Joy
by Nikos Karouzos (tr. Kimon Friar)

just as I was saying I would stop writing about love and lust
and write something instead about the unhappiness of my
I met you and fell into complete confusion
and all my resolutions went up in air

now see where i sit and write songs again
burning for your somewhat green eyes
thirsting for your saliva
recollecting our one love-walk in the country
when the mosquitoes bit us in confused bewilderment
at this incomparable devotion of ours
and the thorns pierced into our bodies
astonished at the extent of our indifference

it was an interval of joy
may the unhappy forgive me for it
I have not yet suffered enough
for the pain of my neighbor to touch me

eterneity - eugène guillevic

by Eugène Guillevic (tr. Denise Levertov)

never was lost.

What we did not know

was how to translate it into days,
skies, landscapes,

into words for others,
authentic gestures.

But holding on to it for ourselves,
that was not difficult,

and there were moments
when it seemed clear to us
we ourselves were eternity.

song v - tristan tzara

Song V
by Tristan Tzara (tr. Michael Benedikt)

if words were nothing but signs
postage stamps for all things
what would be the outcome of everything
empty gestures
time wasted
neither agony nor joy would remain
in that odd world