Why Regret? by Galway Kinnell • Lotus and Dragonfly by Qi Baishi
Didn’t you like the way the ants help
the peony globes open by eating the glue
Weren’t you cheered to see the ironworkers
sitting on an I-beam dangling from a cable,
in a row, like starlings, eating lunch, maybe
baloney on white with fluorescent
Wasn’t it a revelation to waggle
from the estuary all the way up the river,
the kill, the pirle, the run, the rent, the beck,
the sike barely trickling, to the shock of a
Didn’t you almost shiver, hearing book lice
clicking their sexual dissonance inside an
old Webster’s New International, perhaps
having just eaten out of it izle, xyster, and
What did you imagine lies in wait anyway
at the end of a world whose sub-substance
is glaim, gleet, birdlime, slime, mucus,
Forget about becoming emaciated. Think of the
wren and how little flesh is needed to make a
Didn’t it seem somehow familiar when the
split open and the mayfly struggled free
and flew and perched and then its own
broke open and the imago, the true adult,
somersaulted out and took flight,
seeking the swarm, mouth-parts vestigial,
alimentary canal come to a stop,
a day or hour left to find the desired one?
Or when Casanova took up the platter
of linguine in squid’s ink and slid the stuff
out the window, telling his startled
“The perfected lover does not eat.”
As a child, didn’t you find it calming to
imagine pinworms as some kind of tiny
batons giving cadence to the squeezes and releases
around the downward march of debris?
Didn’t you glimpse in the monarchs
what seemed your own inner blazonry
flapping and gliding, in desire, in the
Weren’t you reassured to think these flimsy
hinged beings, and then their offspring,
and then their offspring’s offspring, could
navigate, working in shifts, all the way to
to the exact plot, perhaps the very tree,
by tracing the flair of the bodies of ancestors
who fell in this same migration a year
Doesn’t it outdo the pleasures of the
to wake in the night and find ourselves
holding hands in our sleep?
Galway Kinnell, from Strong is Our Hold, 2006
Art: Lotus and Dragonfly • Qi Baishi, 1953
when i think of You
my most tender & hidden parts call out
and jump precipices
…beam bright if ya feel me…
cuz we be frisky firelight
unstill as breath’s wings
we, the leap inside the tremor
shattered release of sparkle’s light
we lay ash and rise again
the purified pump of insistent grace
we shimmy unscalded & barely bound
a memory of eternal kinship entered
we seek chorus & crackling…
"If fiction has any value, it’s that it lets us in. You and I can be pleasant to each other, but I will never know what you really think, and you will never know what I am thinking. I know nothing about what it’s like to be you. As far as I can tell, whether it is avant-garde or realistic, the basic engine of narrative art is how it punctures those membranes a little."
— David Foster Wallace, from a March 2006 interview with John Freeman. (via patricknathan)
The rustling of the silk is discontinued,
Dust drifts over the court-yard,
There is no sound of foot-fall, and the
Scurry into heaps and lie still,
And she the rejoicer of the heart is beneath
A wet leaf that clings to the threshold.
— Ezra Pound
Pound: The Early Poems, Lexicos Publishing, 2011
Abraham’s Lake by Bejan Matur
The city that hears the saint’s words
Is haloed in such darkness,
No enemy tribes can enter.
The city is blind.
A ring of darkness
And Abraham’s lake.
The moon goddess’s sceptre
Shows other directions.
So on the hilltops
Altars to Satan and
Filling with the blood of sacrifice,
When a woman
Folds her hands on her breast
What is she asking?
Is there something she wants?
It’s time, not man that writes in cuneiform.
My pilgrimage is over
I’ve made the journey
Where the first signs were sun and moon
And knowledge came that man progressed
From the truth of snakes.
Translated by Ruth Christie and Selçuk Berilgen
From the collection Ibrahim’in Beni Terketmesi (Abraham Abandoned Me, Metis, 2007)
that risk, to offer life and remain
alive, open yourself like this and become
— Margaret Atwood, “Book of ancestors,” from Circe/Mud Poems (via lifeinpoetry)
"Work your ass off to change the language & dont ever get famous."
— Bernadette Mayer, “Experiments” (via fscottfitzgerald)