Showing posts from 2020

The Disappearances

 By Vijay Sephardi   "Where was it one first heard of the truth?"  On a day like any other day,   like "yesterday or centuries before,"   in a town with the one remembered street,   shaded by the buckeye and the sycamore--   the street long and true as a theorem,   the day like yesterday or the day before,   the street you walked down centuries before--   the story the same as the others flooding in   from the cardinal points is   turning to take a good look at you.   Every creature, intelligent or not, has disappeared--   the humans, phosphorescent,   the duplicating pets, the guppies and spaniels,   the Woolworth's turtle that cost forty-nine cents   (with the soiled price tag half-peeled on its shell)--   but, from the look of things, it only just happened.   The wheels of the upside-down tricycle are spinning.   The swings are empty but swinging.   And the shadow is still there, and there   is the object that made it,   riding the proximate atmosphere,   obl


  By Tadeusz Dąbrowski Yesterday I sent you a letter. And today on the phone you tell me you are pregnant. I pack up and return, you greet me at the airport, you’re even lovelier than in my letter that’s on its way to you. We build a house, our child grows, our parents shrink, then a few years of sweat and tears, in which we prudently pickle cabbage and gherkins for the ever-colder days. In the coloring book of our life there are fewer and fewer blank spaces, the crayons grow shorter, we try to be precise, but even so we go over the lines. We busy ourselves with everyday matters, and our paths are ever deeper, they start to look like tunnels. Meanwhile my letter’s on its way to you. You’ll open it when it suits you best. ( Translated, from the Polish, by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. )

Photograph from September 11

BY WISŁAWA SZYMBORSKA They jumped from the burning floors— one, two, a few more, higher, lower. The photograph halted them in life, and now keeps them   above the earth toward the earth. Each is still complete, with a particular face and blood well hidden. There’s enough time for hair to come loose, for keys and coins to fall from pockets. They’re still within the air’s reach, within the compass of places that have just now opened. I can do only two things for them— describe this flight and not add a last line. TRANSLATED BY CLARE CAVANAGH

A Color of the Sky

BY  TONY HOAGLAND Windy today and I feel less than brilliant, driving over the hills from work. There are the dark parts on the road                      when you pass through clumps of wood    and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,    but that doesn’t make the road an allegory. I should call Marie and apologize for being so boring at dinner last night, but can I really promise not to be that way again?    And anyway, I’d rather watch the trees, tossing    in what certainly looks like sexual arousal. Otherwise it’s spring, and everything looks frail; the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves are full of infant chlorophyll,    the very tint of inexperience. Last summer’s song is making a comeback on the radio,    and on the highway overpass, the only metaphysical vandal in America has written    MEMORY LOVES TIME in big black spraypaint letters, which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back. Last night I dreamed of X again. She’s like a stain on my subconsc

Tell all the truth but tell it slant

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind — Emily Dickinson or:

A Supermarket in California

         What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon.         In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!         What peaches and what penumbras!  Whole families shopping at night!  Aisles full of husbands!  Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?         I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys.         I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops?  What price bananas?  Are you my Angel?         I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective.         We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, poss