Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rae Armantrout / Six Poems

Six Poems 
by Rae Armantrout


You confuse
the image of a fungus

with the image of a dick
in my poem


and three days later
a strange toadstool

(white shaft, black cap,
five inches tall)

between the flagstones
in our path

We note
the invisible

between fence posts

in which dry leaves
are gently rocked.



To come to
in the middle

of a vibrato—
an “is”—

that some soprano’s

to sustain.


To be awake
is to discriminate

among birdcalls,
fruits, seeds,

“to work one’s way,”
as they say,



Just now

into awareness,
falling forward,

hurtling inland
in all innocence



The days are shorter,
but the light seems to stretch out,

to hark
from a long way off.

snap into focus,

while shadows
are distended, smudged.

It’s happening again;
we take

for openings.


The sign
that the guy behind me

in the “border protection” line
is demented

is his impatience,

the way he asks
again and again

what we’re waiting for



To our amazement,
when fed on fatty acid,

the vesicle
did not simply grow,

it extended itself
into a filament.

Now the king’s youngest daughter said,

“I wish I had
something like that”—

and the whole vesicle

into a slender tube
which was quite delicate.


mimed one another’s

by candlelight

as if they thought
creation trailed something,

as if they knew
creation looked like this

from what is

the outside.


Quick, before you die,

the exact shade
of this hotel carpet.

What is the meaning
of the irregular, yellow

spheres, some

gathered in patches
on this bedspread?

If you love me,

the objects
I have caused

to represent me
in my absence.


Over and over

of houses spill

down that hillside.

might be possible
to count occurrences.


It’s well
that things should stir
around me
like this
patina of shadow,
flicker, whisper,
so that
I can be still.


I write things down
to show others
or to show myself
that I am not alone with
my experience.


is the word that
comes to mind,
but it’s not
the right word here.

CONJUNCTIONS:54, Spring 2010

Friday, August 24, 2012

Alberto Barrera Tyszka / Poetics

by Alberto Barrera Tyszka
Translated by Guillermo Parra

It should be clean and brilliant,
like a razor blade
sunk in a glass of wine.

Like a sprig of basil
on the ice.

It should be mortal,

Like desire.

Alberto Barrera Tyszka

Ha de ser limpia y brillante,
como una hoja de afeitar
hundida en una copa de vino.

Como un tallo de albahaca
sobre el hielo.

Ha de ser mortal,

Como el deseo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

James Wright / Lazy on a Saturday Morning

Lazy on a Saturday Morning
By James Wright

Gulls poise on the wet arms
Of the woman who is in love with the sea.
She floats away from the shore on an oak leaf, calling me
By a strange name.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jacques Prevert / Family Life

by Jacques Prevert

The mother knits
The son goes to the war
She finds this quite natural, the mother
And the father?
What does the father do?
He has his business
His wife knits
His son goes to the war
He has his business
He finds this quite natural, the father
And the son
And the son
What does the son find?
He finds absolutely nothing, the son
The son: his mother does her knitting,
His father has his business
And he has the war
When the war is over
He'll go into business with his father
The war continues
The mother continues knitting
The father continues with his business
The son is killed
He doesn't continue
The father and mother visit the graveyard
They find this natural
The father and the mother
Life goes on
A life of knitting, war, business
Business, war, knitting, war
Business, business, business
Life with the graveyard


The Mum knits
The kid goes off to the war
It seems kind of normal, to the Mum
And the Dad?
What's the Dad up to?
He's got his job
His old lady's got her knitting
His kid's gone off to the war
He's got his job
It seems kind of normal, to the Dad
And the kid?
What about the kid?
What does he make of it all?
Sweet fuck all
His old woman's got her knitting
His old man's got his job
And he's got the fucking war
And when the war's over
He'll get a job
Like his old man
Anyhow the war goes on
His old woman goes on with her knitting
His old man goes on with his job
He gets his fucking brains blown out
He doesn't go on
He goes under
The Mum and Dad
Go visit the grave
Which seems kind of normal
To the Mum and Dad
And life goes on
A life of knitting, the war, the job
War, knitting, war
Job, job, job
Life in a bloody graveyard

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jacques Prevert / Breakfast

Jacques Prevert
París, 1955
Photo by Robert Doisneau

He poured the coffee
Into the cup
He poured the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He added the sugar
To the coffee and milk
He stirred it
With a teaspoon
He drank the coffee
And put back the cup
Without speaking to me
He lit a cigarette
He blew some rings
With the smoke
He flicked the ashes
Into the ashtray
Without speaking to me
Without looking at me
He got up
He put his hat
On his head
He put on
His raincoat
Because it was raining
He went out
Into the rain
Without a word
Without looking at me
And I
I took my head
In my hands
And I wept