melting & burning

Stars – David Malouf
January 15, 2014, 2:15 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

The stars have so far to go
alone or in harness
across a window pane.

Hour after hour tonight
I’ve journeyed with them, steady
the waves of your breath.

Dark space between our beds;
on the table a full tumbler
splits the light of stars

to stars, or floats
a column of dead water,
dead sky. From centuries

off, out of the reign
of one of nineteen pharaohs
a planet’s dust, metallic,

alive, is sifted down,
hovers in a bright
arc upon your cheek.

Miraculous! I lean
across the dark and touch it,
you smile in your sleep.

How far, how far we’ve come
together, tumbling like stars
in harness or alone


Alone With Everybody – Charles Bukowski
January 5, 2014, 6:30 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds the
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else

Concerto at a Railway Station – Osip Mendelstam
November 2, 2013, 6:53 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: ,

There’s no way to breathe, and the night sky teems
with worms. No star’s voice comes through,
although there’s a music above that God sees.
The station shivers with the singing of the Muses –
filled with violins amid the steam,
torn by whistles, once again the air fuses.

A sphere of glass. A park’s proportions.
An iron world whose entrancement is deep.
A coach speeds off with a peacock’s call,
to a noisy feast in misty Elysium,
victorious, it makes a forte-piano roar.
I’m late. And afraid. And asleep.

Violin chords in the bustle and crying.
Into the station’s glass forest I go.
The night choir’s first notes are wild,
the rotting hotbeds keep the scent of roses,
and this is where my shadow spent the night
beneath a glass sky, among crowds of nomads.

Everything seems to be music or foam.
It shivers like a beggar, this world of iron.
I lean into glass hallways. Like violin bows,
our eyes feel the hot steam and go blind.
Where are you off to? At the wake for the shadow
the music sounds for us a last time.


translation by Alistair Noon

Концерт на вокзале

Нельзя дышать, и твердь кишит червями,
И ни одна звезда не говорит,
Но, видит Бог, есть музыка над нами,
Дрожит вокзал от пенья Аонид,
И снова, паровозными свистками
Разорванный, скрипичный воздух слит.

Огромный парк. Вокзала шар стеклянный.
Железный мир опять заворожен.
На звучный пир в элизиум туманный
Торжественно уносится вагон:
Павлиний крик и рокот фортепьянный.
Я опоздал. Мне страшно. Это — сон.

И я вхожу в стеклянный лес вокзала,
Скрипичный строй в смятеньи и слезах.
Ночного хора дикое начало
И запах роз в гниющих парниках —
Где под стеклянным небом ночевала
Родная тень в кочующих толпах…

И мнится мне: весь в музыке и пене,
Железный мир так нищенски дрожит.
В стеклянные я упираюсь сени.
Горячий пар зрачки смычков слепит.
Куда же ты? На тризне милой тени
В последний раз нам музыка звучит!

“The madness vase” – Andrea Gibson
November 23, 2012, 8:46 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables.
Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a day
I would be grounded, rooted.
Said my head would not keep flying away
to where the darkness lives.

The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight.
Said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do.
I handed her the twenty. She said, “Stop worrying, darling.
You will find a good man soon.”

The first psycho therapist told me to spend
three hours each day sitting in a dark closet
with my eyes closed and ears plugged.
I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking
about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet.

The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth.
Said to focus on the out breath. Said everyone finds happiness
when they care more about what they give
than what they get.

The pharmacist said, “Lexapro, Lamicatl, Lithium, Xanax.”
The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help me
forget what the trauma said.

The trauma said, “Don’t write this poem.
Nobody wants to hear you cry
about the grief inside your bones.”

But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi dove
into the Hudson River convinced
he was entirely alone.”

My bones said, “Write the poem.”

The lamplight. Considering the river bed.
To the chandelier of your fate hanging by a thread.
To everyday you could not get out of bed.
To the bulls eye of your wrist
To anyone who has ever wanted to die.

I have been told, sometimes, the most healing thing to do-
Is remind ourselves over and over and over:
“Other people feel this too.”

The tomorrow that is coming, gone
And it has not gotten better
When you are half finished writing that letter
to your mother that says “I swear to God I tried
But when I thought I hit bottom, it started hitting back”
There is no bruise like the bruise of loneliness kicks into the spine

So let me tell you I know there are days
it looks like the whole world is dancing in the streets
when you break down like the doors of the looted buildings

You are not alone
and wondering who will be convicted of the crime
of insisting you keep loading your grief into the chamber of your shame

You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy
I have never met a heavy heart
that wasn’t a phone booth with a red cape inside
Some people will never understand
the kind of superpower it takes for some people to just walk outside
Some days I know my smile looks like the gutter of a falling house

But my hands are always holding tight to the ripchord of believing
A life can be rich like the soil
Can make food of decay
Can turn wound into highway
Pick me up in a truck with that bumper sticker that says
“It is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”

I have never trusted anyone
with the pulled back bow of my spine
the way I trusted ones who come undone at the throat
Screaming for their pulses to find the fight to pound

Four nights before Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge
I was sitting in a hotel room in my own town
Calculating exactly what I had to swallow
to keep a bottle of sleeping pills down

What I know about living is the pain is never just ours
Every time I hurt I know the wound is an echo
So I keep a listening to the moment the grief becomes a window
When I can see what I couldn’t see before,
through the glass of my most battered dream

I watched a dandelion lose its mind in the wind
and when it did, it scattered a thousand seeds.

So the next time I tell you how easily I come out of my skin,
don’t try to put me back in,
just say “Here we are together at the window aching for it to all get better
but knowing as bad as it hurts our hearts, made of only just skin,
knowing there is a chance the worst day might still be coming —
let me say right now for the record, I’m still gonna be here
asking this world to dance, even if it keeps stepping on my holy feet
you — you stay here with me, okay?
You stay here with me.
Raising your bright against the bitter dark
Your bright longing
Your brilliant fists of loss”

Friends, if the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other,
my God that’s plenty
my God that’s enough
my God that is so so much for the light to give

each of us at each other’s backs whispering over and over and over




the poet – Rilke
January 31, 2011, 12:03 am
Filed under: poem | Tags: , ,

O hour of my muse: why do you leave me,
Wounding me by the wingbeats of your flight?
Alone: what shall I use my mouth to utter?

How shall I pass my days? And how my nights?

I have no one to love. I have no home.
There is no center to sustain my life.
All things to which I give myself grow rich
and leave me spent, impoverished, alone.

January 30, 2011, 8:14 pm
Filed under: quote | Tags: ,

Ska vi gå hem till dej eller till mej eller var och en till sitt?
(Shall we go to my place or your place or each go home alone?)

Mitt liv som hund


“You Who Never Arrived” – Rilke
January 30, 2011, 7:07 pm
Filed under: poem | Tags: , , ,

You who never arrived
in my arms, Beloved, who were lost
from the start,
I don’t even know what songs
would please you. I have given up trying
to recognize you in the surging wave of the next
moment. All the immense
images in me– the far-off, deeply-felt landscape,
cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected
turns in the path,
and those powerful lands that were once
pulsing with the life of the gods-
all rise within me to mean
you, who forever elude me.

You, Beloved, who are all
the gardens I have ever gazed at,
longing. An open window
in a country house–, and you almost
stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,–
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
were still dizzy with your presence and, startled,
gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows?
perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening…

(translated from the German by Stephen Mitchell)

Du im Voraus
verlorne Geliebte, Nimmergekommene,
nicht weiß ich, welche Töne dir lieb sind.
Nicht mehr versuch ich, dich, wenn das Kommende wogt,
zu erkennen. Alle die großen
Bildern in mir, im Fernen erfahrene Landschaft,
Städte und Türme und Brücken und un-
vermutete Wendung der Wege
und das Gewaltige jener von Göttern
einst durchwachsenen Länder:
steigt zur Bedeutung in mir
deiner, Entgehende, an.

Ach, die Gärten bist du,
ach, ich sah sie mit solcher
Hoffnung. Ein offenes Fenster
im Landhaus—, und du tratest beinahe
mir nachdenklich heran. Gassen fand ich,—
du warst sie gerade gegangen,
und die spiegel manchmal der Läden der Händler
waren noch schwindlich von dir und gaben erschrocken
mein zu plötzliches Bild.—Wer weiß, ob derselbe
Vogel nicht hinklang durch uns
gestern, einzeln, im Abend?