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This one is stolen from [profile] laiqualaurelote.

Ghazal of Winter

for C

Outside the homeless ask our help in all their languages;
The words disperse like witches' ashes.

Your nights are filled with arsonists and lonely politicians,
Charred cities drowned in posters like curling skin.

What will survive of this is words and stardust.
At customs they found nothing hidden in the bronze god.

Six seeds can trap the underworld's season.
Ignorant of spring, the snowflakes kiss and pass.

Each morning brings two sets of dreams, the summoned and the lost.
Every other space I learn to halve with you

As days slide away like streetcars
Along steel networks planned by neither of us.

- Teng Qianxi
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Pocket watch, I tick well.
The streets are lizardly crevices
Sheer-sided, with holes where to hide.
It is best to meet in a cul-de-sac,

A palace of velvet
With windows of mirrors.
There one is safe,
There are no family photographs,

No rings through the nose, no cries.
Bright fish hooks, the smiles of women
Gulp at my bulk
And I, in my snazzy blacks,

Mill a litter of breasts like jellyfish.
To nourish
The cellos of moans I eat eggs --
Eggs and fish, the essentials,

The aphrodisiac squid.
My mouth sags,
The mouth of Christ
When my engine reaches the end of it.

The tattle of my
Gold joints, my way of turning
Bitches to ripples of silver
Rolls out a carpet, a hush.

And there is no end, no end of it.
I shall never grow old. New oysters
Shriek in the sea and I
Glitter like Fontainebleu

All the fall of water an eye
Over whose pool I tenderly
Lean and see me.

- Sylvia Plath
extemporally: (Default)
have not posted anywhere near enough poetry. But have this one:

Who Said It Was Simple

There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in color
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.

- Audre Lorde

more poetry month

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 11:45
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Why Can't We

leave Buddha alone? We make Buddha ride an elephant like the way a village boy rides on a man’s shoulder, and we let Buddha run and play, then make him cry, and we make him couple blissfully with a buttery woman and call it Tantra, but then we make him smile by himself in emptiness, make him sit, lie down, make him be born from the waist, then teach him how to walk right away, and we question him when he lies down to sleep You said this and that didn’t you? and we braid his fingers, cut off his nose and swallow it down with water, then dress him in gold, but then we cut his throat and sell his head at a store in Insadong, and we lock him up inside a cave on top of a mountain, and as if that weren’t enough we keep him inside a rock, starve him, paint his skin gold so that he can’t even breathe, have him stand far away on top of a mountain and caress him slowly as we approach him by boat, and beneath his feet we beg him to beat us up. Why can’t we leave him alone? We build a house on a cliff overlooking a blue river and lock him up, and a bunch of us go together to gawk at him. We pummel him, crush him, and push him over, then we come home and write a letter of apology in blood from our pierced fingers, and we pull his teeth and divide them up into numerous pouches and give them out to the whole world, and why do we go near him and bow on our knees till they are raw and look once into his eyes then return home with our downcast faces?

- Kim Hyesoon
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or a reason why I haven't been posting for Poetry Month, snap!


I haven’t written a single poem
in months.
I’ve lived humbly, reading the paper,
pondering the riddle of power
and the reasons for obedience.
I’ve watched sunsets
(crimson, anxious),
I’ve heard the birds grow quiet
… and night’s muteness.
I’ve seen sunflowers dangling
their heads at dusk, as if a careless hangman
had gone strolling through the gardens.
September’s sweet dust gathered
on the windowsill and lizards
hid in the bends of walls.
I’ve taken long walks,
craving one thing only:

- Adam Zagajewski
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but this poem is so perfect it actually brings tears to my eyes (metaphorically).
extemporally: (Default)

I’ve been meaning to tell
you how the sky is pink
here sometimes like the roof
of a mouth that’s about to chomp
down on the crooked steel teeth
of the city,

I remember the desperate
things we did
and that I stumble
down sidewalks listening
to the buzz of street lamps
at dusk and the crush
of leaves on the pavement,

Without you here I’m viciously lonely

and I can’t remember
the last time I felt holy,
the last time I offered
myself as sanctuary


I watched two men
press hard into
each other, their bodies
caught in the club’s
bass drum swell,
and I couldn’t remember
when I knew I’d never
be beautiful, but it must
have been quick
and subtle, the way
the holy ghost can pass
in and out of a room.
I want so desperately
to be finished with desire,
the rushing wind, the still
small voice.

- Aaron Smith
extemporally: ([lambiel] be well and flourishing)
what is your favourite poem?
extemporally: ([kate bush] wuthering wuthering wutherin)
Sonnet In The Shape Of A Potted Christmas Tree

O glitter-torn!
Let the wild wind erect
bonbonbonanzas; junipers affect
frostyfreeze turbans; iciclestuff adorn
all cuckolded creation in a madcap crown of horn!
It’s a new day; no scapegrace of a sect
tidying up the ashtrays playing Daughter-in-Law Elect;
bells! bibelots! popsicle cigars! shatter the glassware! a son born
while ox and ass and infant lie
together as poor creatures will
and tears of her exertion still
cling in the spent girl’s eye
and a great firework in the sky
drifts to the western hill.

- George Starbuck
extemporally: ([like] the light the light)
the frightening truth about desire

it's on but
i don't know
whether i want
to be
her, fuck her
or borrow
her clothes.

- Daphne Gottlieb
extemporally: ([lambiel] hp geek)
Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west;
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed, whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.

- William Shakespeare
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Untitled Poem For Sarah

Every morning you'd think
all the moths would throw themselves
into the Sun.

But they wait
for streetlights
to consume them

in small coughs
of sparkle.
My dear,

my dear,
my dear:
I have stopped

listening to my moth soul.
My dear, I am done
tilting at streetlights.

My paper wings soar,
your blazing heart.

- Matt Mason
extemporally: ([pond] the stars don't burn as bright as)
The Colonel

What you have heard is true. I was in his house. His wife carried a tray of coffee and sugar. His daughter filed her nails, his son went out for the night. There were daily papers, pet dogs, a pistol on the cushion beside him. The moon swung bare on its black cord over the house. On the television was a cop show. It was in English. Broken bottles were embedded in the walls around the house to scoop the kneecaps from a man's legs or cut his hands to lace. On the windows there were gratings like those in liquor stores. We had dinner, rack of lamb, good wine, a gold bell was on the table for calling the maid. The maid brought green mangoes, salt, a type of bread. I was asked how I enjoyed the country. There was a brief commercial in Spanish. His wife took everything away. There was some talk of how difficult it had become to govern. The parrot said hello on the terrace. The colonel told it to shut up, and pushed himself from the table. My friend said to me with his eyes: say nothing. The colonel returned with a sack used to bring groceries home. He spilled many human ears on the table. They were like dried peach halves. There is no other way to say this. He took one of them in his hands, shook it in our faces, dropped it into a water glass. It came alive there. I am tired of fooling around he said. As for the rights of anyone, tell your people they can go f--- themselves. He swept the ears to the floor with his arm and held the last of his wine in the air. Something for your poetry, no? he said. Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground.

- Carolyn Forche
extemporally: ([jw] camille; two sides to me I have)
The Telephone Number of the Muse

Sleepily, the muse to me: “Let us be friends.
Good friends, but only friends. You understand.”
And yawned. And kissed, for the last time, my ear.
Who earlier, weeping at my touch, had whispered:
“I loved you once.” And: “No, I don’t love him,
Not after everything he did.” Later,
Rebuttoning her nightgown with my help:
“Sorry, I just have no desire, it seems.”
Sighing: “For you, I mean.” Long silence. Then:
“You always were so serious.” At which
I smiled, darkly. And that was how I came
To sleep beside, not with her; without dreams.

I call her up sometimes, long distance now.
And she still knows my voice, but I can hear,
Beyond the music of her phonograph,
The laughter of the young men with their keys.

I have the number written down somewhere.

- Donald Justice
extemporally: ([miki] transcendence not delight)
I truly thought yesterday's post was going to be the last of my series of Chinese poetry posts, but [livejournal.com profile] exceptindreams posted this some days ago (I saw it only yesterday) and it was so amazing I have no choice but to c&p:

(The text within the brackets is not part of the poem. Also, the poem was written in Chinese, but the presentation here with the English translation alternating with the Chinese is so that you can see the characters discussed.)


"The Original Version of Dragon (And Its Four Permutations)"
Xiang Yang

[Each of the characters from 1~4 have the base radical of "dragon" and an additional radical that completely changes the meaning. All five characters are pronounced the same, however.]


帶麟 帶角 帶鬚
從雷 從雲 從雨
上天 下海 入地
一脈 相承
綿延 不息

有 傳說
無 傳人
幸好 它不是


0. Dragon

With scales - with horns - with whiskers
From thunder - from clouds - from rain
Up in the sky - down in the sea - into the ground
One pulse - shared
Continuous - neverceasing

Have - legends
But no - descendants
Good thing - it is not
A species on the brink of extinction

Able to be copied, faked, used at will
Without fear of 301

[301 refers to the Special 301 List that the U.S. Trade Representative Office publishes each year, listing all the economies that don't provide strong intellectual property protection. It's divided into multiple categories like Watch List, Priority Watch List, etc. and Taiwan has been on the Priority Watch List for the past few years because its intellectual property protection is practically nonexistent.]

Read more... )
extemporally: ([jw/sl] otp so hard)


and translation. )
extemporally: ([jw] camille; two sides to me I have)

We were driving to your funeral
& our father was not crying
because he has a way
of tying ribbons around grief.
It was the year we learned
the piercing that prefaces the blood
holds the most delicate of darknesses.
Then it was the year we opened
all our faucets & waited for the sea
to bleed to death. Then it was the year
we set fire to your mitt. Then, suddenly
the year we started to believe
every thorn was just a bridge.
Then the year all we talked about
was boxing. Then the year
my stomach hurt all year, & then
the year no one spoke of you.

If there were an antonym for suicide
we could all choose when to be born.
I would have been born after that day
so I could not remember you.
So my fingers would stop pointing
at all the things that aren't there.

- Kevin A. Gonzalez
extemporally: ([miki] transcendence not delight)
So! If you enjoyed my previous entry on Li Bai and the several different translations I provided of his poem, check out this post I found when googling "li bai death moon" (don't ask*), because it is even cooler oh my god:

Li Bai drinking alone (with the moon**, his shadow, & 32 translators)

Which basically does what its title promises. THIRTY-TWO translations of the same poem :DDD I don't know this poem well enough to say which translation is the best, but I'm enjoying the fuck out of Dongbo's so far ("I sing out! / Startled! / Moon stops dead! / I jitterbug!"), mostly for the exclamation marks, and, uh, "modernity" of it. (I always feel so self-conscious when I'm calling something "modern", you guys, I think this is a hangover from my days in Torchwood and Doctor Who fandom. Whenever the BBC tried advertising them they'd be like, "The new series is back, and more modern than ever! More gritty! More sexy! Did we mention modern and sexy??!")

Poetry is so ridiculous and awesome, you guys. So are languages. \o/

* I remember reading quite recently (in the last couple of days, at least) a poem about the belief that Li Bai had fallen into the Yangtze River when drunk, trying to embrace the reflection of the moon, but I don't remember where I'd read it.

** The moon was quite a Prominent Theme in Li Bai's works. So was being drunk.

ETA Also, from Li Bai's Wikipedia page: "He met Du Fu in the autumn of 744, and again the following year. These were the only occasions on which they met. A dozen of Du Fu's poems to or about Li Bai survive, while only one from Li Bai to Du Fu remains." BROMANCE.
extemporally: ([kate bush] wuthering wuthering wutherin)

床 前 明 月 光,
疑 是 地 上 霜。
举 头 望 明 月,
低 头 思 故 乡。

translations (including mine!) )
extemporally: ([jw] camille; two sides to me I have)
A Love Song

What have I to say to you
When we shall meet?
I lie here thinking of you.

The stain of love
Is upon the world.
Yellow, yellow, yellow,
It eats into the leaves,
Smears with saffron
The horned branches that lean
Against a smooth purple sky.

There is no light—
Only a honey-thick stain
That drips from leaf to leaf
And limb to limb
Spoiling the colours
Of the whole world.

I am alone.
The weight of love
Has buoyed me up
Till my head
Knocks against the sky.

See me!
My hair is dripping with nectar—
Starlings carry it
On their black wings.
See, at last
My arms and my hands
Are lying idle.

How can I tell
If I shall ever love you again
As I do now?

- William Carlos Williams


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July 2014

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