Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Roald Dahl / Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf

Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
As soon as Wolf began to feel
That he would like a decent meal,
He went and knocked on Grandma’s door.
When Grandma opened it, she saw
The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,
And Wolfie said, “May I come in?”
Poor Grandmamma was terrified,
“He’s going to eat me up!” she cried.
And she was absolutely right.
He ate her up in one big bite.
But Grandmamma was small and tough,
And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough!
I haven’t yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!”
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
“I’ve got to have a second helping!”
Then added with a frightful leer,
“I’m therefore going to wait right here
Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood
Comes home from walking in the wood.”
He quickly put on Grandma’s clothes,
(Of course he hadn’t eaten those).
He dressed himself in coat and hat.
He put on shoes, and after that,
He even brushed and curled his hair,
Then sat himself in Grandma’s chair.
In came the little girl in red.
She stopped. She stared. And then she said,
“What great big ears you have, Grandma.”
“All the better to hear you with,”
the Wolf replied.
“What great big eyes you have, Grandma.”
said Little Red Riding Hood.
“All the better to see you with,”
the Wolf replied.
He sat there watching her and smiled.
He thought, I’m going to eat this child.
Compared with her old Grandmamma,
She’s going to taste like caviar.
Then Little Red Riding Hood said,
“But Grandma, what a lovely great big
furry coat you have on.”
“That’s wrong!” cried Wolf.
“Have you forgot
To tell me what BIG TEETH I’ve got?
Ah well, no matter what you say,
I’m going to eat you anyway.”
The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.
She whips a pistol from her knickers.
She aims it at the creature’s head,
And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.
A few weeks later, in the wood,
I came across Miss Riding Hood.
But what a change! No cloak of red,
No silly hood upon her head.
She said, “Hello, and do please note
My lovely furry wolfskin coat.”
Caperucita Roja y el Lobo.
Estando una mañana haciendo el bobo
le entró un hambre espantosa al Señor Lobo,
así que, para echarse algo a la muela,
se fue corriendo a casa de la Abuela.
“¿Puedo pasar, Señora?”, preguntó.
La pobre anciana, al verlo, se asustó
pensando: “¡Este me come de un bocado!”.
Y, claro, no se había equivocado:
se convirtió la Abuela en alimento
en menos tiempo del que aquí te cuento.
Lo malo es que era flaca y tan huesuda
que al Lobo no le fue de gran ayuda:
“Sigo teniendo un hambre aterradora…
¡Tendré que merendarme otra señora!”.
Y, al no encontrar ninguna en la nevera,
gruñó con impaciencia aquella fiera:
“¡Esperaré sentado hasta que vuelva
Caperucita Roja de la Selva!”
-que así llamaba al Bosque la alimaña,
creyéndose en Brasil y no en España-.
Y porque no se viera su fiereza,
se disfrazó de abuela con presteza,
se dio laca en las uñas y en el pelo,
se puso la gran falda gris de vuelo,
zapatos, sombrerito, una chaqueta
y se sentó en espera de la nieta.
Llegó por fin Caperucita a mediodía
y dijo: “¿Cómo estás, abuela mía?
Por cierto, ¡me impresionan tus orejas!”.
“Para mejor oírte, que las viejas
somos un poco sordas”. “¡Abuelita,
qué ojos tan grandes tienes!”. “Claro, hijita,
son las lentillas nuevas que me ha puesto
para que pueda verte Don Ernesto
el oculista”, dijo el animal
mirándola con gesto angelical
mientras se le ocurría que la chica
iba a saberle mil veces más rica
que el rancho precedente. De repente
Caperucita dijo: “¡Qué imponente
abrigo de piel llevas este invierno!”.
El Lobo, estupefacto, dijo: “¡Un cuerno!
O no sabes el cuento o tú me mientes:
¡Ahora te toca hablarme de mis dientes!
¿Me estás tomando el pelo…? Oye, mocosa,
te comeré ahora mismo y a otra cosa”.
Pero ella se sentó en un canapé
y se sacó un revólver del corsé,
con calma apuntó bien a la cabeza
y -¡pam!- allí cayó la buena pieza.
Al poco tiempo vi a Caperucita
cruzando por el Bosque… ¡Pobrecita!
¿Sabéis lo que llevaba la infeliz?
Pues nada menos que un sobrepelliz
que a mí me pareció de piel de un lobo
que estuvo una mañana haciendo el bobo.

Versión de Miguel Azaola.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.(Revolting Rhymes)
Roald Dahl (Wales, 1916-1990)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cristina Peri Rossi / Saturday Night


“Lower Fifth Avenue at Night”, Guy Wiggins.
American Impressionist Painter (1883 - 1962)

by Cristina Peri Rossi
Translated by Tatiana de la Tierra
In the solitary dawn
through drifting secondhand smoke
and sidewalks sticky with spit
I go out walking
to escape the nocturnal silence of my room 
seeking bright lights 
oh, those neon friends who always ward off 
my internal wolves 
my hungry demons
(my Vallejo ancestors). 
I go in search of something 
losing myself in the narrow streets round the harbor 
looking for company, 
oh, the sweet drugs that since Baudelaire 
have run along the gutters of cities at nighttime 
—London, Paris, New York, Madrid— 
oh, the unknown flesh that stirs, aroused by a look. 
Finally I find it: some sleazy joint that’s still open 
a prison cell of solitary pleasures 
a peep show hidden between the trees: 
a bookstore open all night 
where I can wallow among the books 
luxuriate in other people’s verses 
and finally reach orgasm 
with one of Allen Ginsberg’s self-destructive poems.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Katherine Mansfield / Why love is blind

by Katherine Mansfield

The Cupid child tired of the winter day
Wept and lamented for the skies of blue
Till, foolish child! He cried his eyes away-
And violets grew.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rebecca Wee / The Philosopher

The Philosopher
by Rebecca Wee 

A man rides a bicycle into town. He's forgotten his clothes,
or maybe this is what he means to do.
He rides carefully into the burning town.Apartments of old stone list, iron balconies, awnings,
the window-grates blacken with heat. He rides by.
His lip perspires, his eyes intent.
In the hills behind him there is a glow that is not the burning.
The Acropolis maybe. The Dome of the Rock.
The man has a book under his arm. The pages are gilt-edged, the title
has worn away. He has a shoulder-wound also, an old crescent scar.
Now his chest sweats, now his abdomen.
He is more agile than laughter.
The road turns. A black sedan rounds the comer
behind him. They are leaving town or they're trailing him.
Either way it's too late.
The man is not cold without clothes. He sees whole worlds
wherever he looks, and this keeps him busy.
Maps and globes and civilizations not on fire.
Now when he stops and considers the spokes, the bicycle tires,
he sees ashes, nails, explosions of glass.He does not believe in this. He believes in something else.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bob Holman / Three Poems

Bob Holman


Constant eating Constant motion
We watched videos but only his videos
He gave a running commentary, a sort of gag-by-gag
Play-by-play: analytic and complete—imagine
“Animal House” with gesticular footnotes. He dubbed it
“Ye Olde Eternal Classic,” although I couldn’t quite make
That out just then, seeing as how I was totally preoccupied
With rolling on the floor at the time. I was not alone
In laughing, however; indeed, it was John’s laugh itself
That transmitted to me, immediately and wholly, his entire
Comic Cosmic Theory, as if, looking directly down and through
The clear Caprian Mediterranean blue one were suddenly
Face-to-face with the face behind the mask of Comedy.
His laugh functioned like a strange chemical, causing all substance
To diffuse at once into its parts, while simultaneously taking on
A physical appearance of nothing less than a sheet of gold,
Which again, as it slowly lifted, revealed, as if directly implanted,
The True and Complete Nature of Humor According to Belushi.
At this precise moment of revelling revelation, I was able to gasp
Just enough air between laughter-rapture convulsions to blurt out
“All comedy is a yearning!” a statement which stopped time dead.
It happened like this: a quick hitch in John’s eyebrows,
As if Confucius’s pivot were on the wobble, and then an odd wind
Rustled a few hairs on my arm: the congruent pause
Stretched Infinity. Whew. Like a balloon,
John ultimately burst into gales of hilarity, veils of relief,
As if I’d just delivered the punchline to end
All punchlines, the Ultimate Topper, and his antics
Certainly proved contagious, so much so that we were now
Both rolling, Pigs in Heat, yet another movie,
We were sweating Giant Turtles. Unfortunately, our cavorting
Couldn’t help but eventually awaken my family—the four of us,
Five counting John, were staying in a small room
In a small hotel, the Belsito. Capri itself is quite
Dear, quite touristy, and yet somehow quite charming and,
Indeed, quite beautiful: we were fond of saying that somehow
They had not been able to mess it up yet, all of which
Made Belushi think of the bella isola as “somehow appropriate
For an appearance of this kind,” the complete
Absurdity of which sent us guffawing straight
Into the bathroom, prodded as we were by the sleepy regalings
Of my poor family, who, thank God, must have been dreaming
That they themselves were the ones having the darn strangest
Dreams! as we shut the door and shushed each other, trying to hold
Our laughs in, listening at the door as best we could
To the deep breaths of my loved ones as they assumed
The absolute rhythms of sleep, a song which in turn
Signalled sighs and exhalations between the two of us.

And so we were hanging in the bathroom—here,
Things became a bit more somber. Indeed, we cried.
Light began filtering in, that peculiar light red
Gold light of Capri that they say “touches the skin.”
“My folks were from Napoli,” John was saying, and in the light
I saw him smiling far away as he remembered, “They always
Thought Capri a real hoot.” As far as youth goes, and college-
Type humor, John had a heart attack right then and there, like
“Time for work,” gagged with a spoon, way dead.
In the bathroom we discuss philosophy was another
Belushi-ism clincher. By this time John was doing heart attack
After heart attack, blue and brilliant, fibrillating all over
The swirling yellow and white tiles. The bidet kept
Getting in the way, but then I saw, he was using
The bidet! Twas an all-new Belushi, attuned
To women in a model modern male way . . . But no politics, puleeze.
Back to the puerile! To-Ga! he’d shriek—that classic refrain,
Rendered all the more poignant from atop the toilet can cover.
Suddenly he stopped, laurels sliding down over his brow,
And said he’d seen my daughters earlier that night
At the piazzetta, running through the legs of the macho rigazzi,
Busting their cool. That was fantastic, he whispered, looking off.
It’s a lot of tough yuks, really, he continued musing, serious
Giggles under the toga. And as for you, and your job, which
Was the next topic he veered into, his gaze blazing at me,
You’re a poet, what a riot! And just Righteous enough! he allowed,
Like a priest at a well. At this point he drew himself up
And started in poeticizing, a la Kovacs’s Dovetonsils, brilliantly
Satirical improvisations, accompanied by a little dancing.
“What a rapper!” I was about to remark, when again he abruptly
Stopped and, freezing like a statue, appealed, “But hush,”
And I saw that the room was filled to bursting by the light,
Dusty apples of April dawn, the girls laughing in their sleep,
My wife’s beauty peeping out from beneath the sheets—
“It’s time! Time to get out of the bathroom!”

These words had great meaning, and thus we did, we did
Get out of the bathroom, rest easy. But before we did,
John did an extraordinary thing, or rather, his head did.
I remember this moment as if crystal-etched: John’s looking at me
So beautifully, with such an all-embracing, all-loving look,
And his voice simply continuing on about this and that. And the reason
Why, Dear Reader, I happen to remember all this so very clearly
Is simply because what happened next was the most astonishing
Image of my life, succeeding in giving purpose not only to this visitation,
But also to my entire life from that moment on. For it was then,
Accompanied by a peculiar whirring hum, that the top
Of John’s head, from right above his ears and thence straight across
His forehead, began to revolve. His hair line became a blur
As it began spinning round, picking up speed, the low hum,
A drone behind his words, and the sounds of the words themselves
Began to abstract and fly around, not unlike his hair,
Although the meanings of the words remained clear,
Meanings that were now alternating between deep tones of tragedy
And high peals of comedy, meanings that picked up resonance
As the twirling head picked up speed, meanings that became
A language so direct as to not require the act of comprehension,
Instead becoming a simple link, a connecting sine wave of emotion
That was at once totally strange and totally comforting
And for which words can only desperately attempt to describe.
The drone began a slow crescendo, my eyes remaining glued
To John’s spinning dome which seemed now the pure Motion of Revolution.
And it was at this epiphanous moment that a sudden burst of light
Quite literally blinded me, causing the surrounding whirling noise,
With cascading fury, to become all, all, and all,
A frenzied cyclone of noise, a noise which, as my sight slowly
Returned, and focus turned to Sense, I could actually see:
Silver and liquid and pouring down a slender funnel
Directly into John’s skull, for as I watched, mesmerized,
The whirling third portion of his head began to lift off and reveal,
But No-o-o,
It was not a spinning ball of gold,
Instead it was blue and and green and sweet,
As the world itself grew out of John’s skull
And I followed it outside the bathroom and so back to sleep.


Oh Lordy, I’m so full of stories, you
Just try and shut me up in this tent.
Why, when I first climbed up these Rocky
peaks, some eight years or so ago, & set
My beer bottle down & let the wind blow
Across, resonating a lullabye, we had a
Smallish tent, barely room for my wife-
To-be, & me, & our chaperone. Now I sit
Alone, keeping an eye on el tento grande,
Big enough for her & me & the two who’ve
come along & matured so delicately in
The interim, little wildflowers, sown here
On the scorched ground looking for life,
& I, as the ancient farmer driving the pick-
Up replied to his wife’s query concerning
The growing distance between them (“We used
to sit so close together”), “I ain’t moved.”

These mountains still stun, mocking the poem.
In USA Today, weather passes for news, but I
Still can’t keep up with it.

The clouds progress
Over the Tetons, elders at their grandchildren’s
Graduation. I read with fascination about Detroit
City’s new poetry. Is there anything else? It’s
Windy, I’m concerned that the tent stay put or blow
Off with me in it. Tomorrow it’s Montana. Whoopi-ti.
A morsel for some grizzly. A landing base for a fly.


Or it just comes out in the mix
All over the Midwest, they got
One good idea, but it’s everybody

It’s all in the mix in the Midwest,
And it’s just one good idea,
But it deserves all the attention

Because I know who the enemy is
Being as I work in the advertising
And like it tight and weird

So let’s get shipwrecked on a fuckin poem
Where poem fodder sustains
A party, us and all the dead writers

Just the ones we like: Dorothy Parker,
James Baldwin and Jane Bowles.
That’s all literature, and I’ll pull

The wool over the Midwest with the new
Monster mix ad campaign if you hitch on
Another planet and swirl me right and

Call me everything, it’s the sound
That drives me bonkos. I’m standing
Around sincerely off to the side as

Stop! The moon’s a thief! you cry
Never stop telling me to stop
Swirling tight and weird and light

—Bob Holman, a poet living in New York, recently produced “Words in Your Face” for PBS’sAlive From Off-Center.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Admiel Kosman / The One Who Needs a Psychiatrist

original version


by Admiel Kosman

Translated by lisa katz

It’s okay to express an opinion. Can’t You
take any criticism? I’ve been there,
and I’m telling You it’s not what You think.
So sit down and be quiet.

Can’t You take any criticism
at all? The way You behave is really ridiculous.
You should think before You speak.

You’re sure You know everything.
But inside, I’m sorry to say,
You’re a miserable creature,

in my opinion, You don’t even know
for sure, inside,
that You exist, and so
You can’t take
any tough criticism at all.

You should know, it’s okay, yes, really okay
to express an opinion, even if it’s against You, I’m sorry to say.

By the way, You really should know,
between the two of us
the one who needs a psychiatrist
is You,

not me. It’s true
that I offend You
here and there. So what,
I’m telling You the honest,
bitter truth. So what
if it’s hard for You to swallow.

The distance from this
to Your violent response
is as far as heaven from earth.

It’s interesting that for You, in
Your fantasies, no one
ever opens his mouth. And in
there, inside, it’s like a total hush.

So excuse me, I won’t talk to You now.
Because when You look at me like that

what do You really want to say, look,
You’re terrifying me.

You should know
I’m not going to talk about that either.
Even though I know very well
You don’t even really mean it.

To me You’ve been a negative
character for a long time, and not at all
human, because You don’t, to my way of thinking,
exist in the real world.

You should know that creatures
like You, may find, perhaps,
as far as I’m concerned, on an emotional level

or maybe in Your
dreams, for all I care
You may find
in fantasies

some gnomes or trolls,
believe me,
as far as I’m concerned,
they’re giants,

I’m not quarreling with You at all,
if You haven’t noticed, because, to me, it’s
an insult to intelligence, absolutely.

By the way, I have to add, really
for Your own good, that the one,
between the two of us, who needs, urgently,
to see a psychiatrist,
is You.