Monday, January 2, 2012

I have always been one for paths myself

This new map, unrolled, smoothed,
seems innocent as the one we have discarded,
impersonal as the clocks in rows
along the upper border, showing time-zones.

The colours are pale and clear, the contours
crisp, decisive, keeping order.

I have been always one for paths myself.
The mole’s view. Paths and small roads and the next bend.
Arched trees tunnelling into a coin of light.
No overview, no sense of what lies where.

Pinning up maps now, pinning my attention,
I cannot hold whole countries in my mind,
nor recognise their borders.

These days I want to trace
the shape of every townland in this valley;
name families; count trees, walls, cattle, gable-ends,
smoke-soft and tender in the near blue distance.

Excerpt from Kerry Hardie's "We Change The Map"

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

the sea

Kobe and the Sea : Ben Shewry from Johnny Abegg Films on Vimeo.

This is pretty much how I would like to spend 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the end of the year

This is my favorite time of the year. I've made it through the holiday parties and expectations of Christmas. I can relax again and just be myself. This morning I dropped Tadzio off at a friend's stable (I love abandoning him with a bunch of girls and horses) and went back home to make a cup of tea and begin reading through the stack of books that are piled next to my bed.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

You’ve fetched a duvet and laid it

lightly over the shoulders
of someone beside you who’s slipped
unwittingly into sleep.
And drifting off yourself
on a sofa somewhere you’ve sensed
the same weight settle and known
how the warmth around you will soon
deepen your sleep. And that’s something,
whatever else you’ve done or not done.

Michael Laskey's "The Right Place"
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Monday, October 31, 2011

moon, weather, windows

Mei-mei,what follows is autumn
Sleep with closed lips, and tenderness

Tender is your scarf, to and fro, in the breeze
What follows is 
The palm of my hand - warm and full of memory

Not you, it's a garden that I am watering
Mei-mei, a safe place is spacious
On those delicate petals, what follows is
A silent, fleeting message

Moon, weather, windows lightly open
Clear bright lake
Close your eyes, Mei-mei
What follows is 
A gentle rainfall
And my feelings hurt suddenly by the leaves

-Zheng Danyi

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween, Ohio, and an Appropriately Named Lake

See, I've reserved Lake Erie for us,
and as we push away in our canoe, our eyes
touch everything, and it turns to costume.
The sky is a negative of a ghost, a black sheet
with star-slits for eyes, the lighthouse a hero
flashing his x-ray eye, and the flagpole on the shore
is the world's tallest matador waving, Ole! Ole! Ole!

Forgive me. I'm from a state shaped like a heart,
and this thought raises my soul as though by séance:
the seaweed bending in our direction, extending a dance,
the undead eyes of infinite fish surrounding us. And me,
setting aside my oar, bobbing for you Adam's apple,
whispering, See what a haunted house my arms make.
Then like a bully child: I dare you. Spend one night inside.

Stacy Gnall, excerpt from Halloween, Ohio, and an Appropriately Named Lake

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

I scrub and lather him like a salmon

until he spits
soapy water. "Pig" I smile—

This man smells better than his country
I throw his shoes
and glasses in the air,

take off his t-shirt and socks, and kneel
in honor of Sasha Petrov
who was amputated, in honor of Lesha Vatkii the taken.

I dip a glass in a bath-tub,
drink dirty water.
Soaping together—that

is sacred to me. Washing mouths together.
You can fuck
anyone—but with whom can you sit in water?

And the cuddling up
before sleep!—and back-scratching
in the morning. My back, not yours!

I knew I had caught the fish
and he knew he had been caught.
He sings as I dry his chest & penis

"Sonya, I was a glad man with you—"

Ilya Kaminsky's "After Sonya, Bombardment"

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It shows no hours, only tides and moons

Doing what the moon says, he shifts his chair
Closer to the stove and stokes it up
With the very best fuel, a mixture of dried fish
And tobacco he keeps in a bucket with crabs

Too small to eat. One raises its pincer
As if to seize hold of the crescent moon
On the calendar which is almost like a zodiac
With inexplicable and pallid blanks. Meanwhile

A lobster is crawling towards the clever
Bait that is set inside the clock
On the shelf by the wireless—an inherited dried fish
Soaked in whisky and carefully trimmed

With potato flowers from the Golden Wonders
The old man grows inside his ears.
Click! goes the clock-lid, and the unfortunate lobster
Finds itself a prisoner inside the clock,

An adapted cuckoo-clock. It shows no hours, only
Tides and moons and is fitted out
With two little saucers, one of salt and one of water
For the lobster to live on while, each quarter-tide,

It must stick its head through the tiny trapdoor
Meant for the cuckoo. It will be trained to read
The broken barometer and wave its whiskers
To Scottish Dance Music, till it grows too old.

Then the old man will have to catch himself another lobster.
Meanwhile he is happy and takes the clock
Down to the sea. He stands and oils it
In a little rock pool that reflects the moon.

Ian Hamilton Finlay "Orkney Interior"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

you drank a toast to him, and summer-time

In the window of the drawing-room
there is a rush of white as you pass
in which the figure of your husband is,
for a moment, framed. He is watching you.

His father will come, of course,
and, although you had not planned it,
his beard will offset your lace dress,
and always it will seem that you were friends.

All morning, you had prepared the house
and now you have stepped out
to make sure that everything
is in its proper place: the railings whitened,

fresh gravel on the avenue, the glasshouse
crystal when you stand in the courtyard
expecting the carriage to arrive at any moment.
You are pleased with the day, all month it has been warm.

They say it will be one of the hottest summers
the world has ever known.
Today, your son is one year old.
Later, you will try to recall

how he felt in your arms—
the weight of him, the way he turned to you from sleep,
the exact moment when you knew he would cry
and the photograph be lost.

But it is not lost.
You stand, a well-appointed group
with an air of being pleasantly surprised.
You will come to love this photograph

and will remember how, when he had finished,
you invited the photographer inside
and how, in celebration of the day,
you drank a toast to him, and summer-time.

Vona Groarke "The Family Photograph"

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