Archive for July, 2008

Invitation to the Voyage

Child, Sister, think how sweet to go out there and live together! To love at leisure, love and die in that land that resembles you! For me, damp suns in disturbed skies share mysterious charms with your treacherous eyes as they shine through tears.

There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.

Gleaming furniture, polished by years passing, would ornament our bedroom; rarest flowers, their odors vaguely mixed with amber; rich ceilings; deep mirrors; an Oriental splendor—everything there would address our souls, privately, in their sweet native tongue.

There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.

See on these canals those sleeping boats whose mood is vagabond; it’s to satisfy your least desire that they come from the world’s end. —Setting suns reclothe fields, the canals, the whole town, in hyacinth and gold; the world falling asleep in a warm light.

There, there’s only order, beauty: abundant, calm, voluptuous.

-Charles Baudelaire (Translated by Keith Waldrop)


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[state of emergency]

To honor movement in crescendos of text, combing through ashes for fragments of human bone, studying maps drawn for the absurdity of navigation — what may be so edgy about this state of emergency is my lack of apology for what I am bound to do. For instance, if I dream the wetness of your mouth an oyster my tongue searches for the taste of ocean, if I crave the secret corners of your city on another continent, in another time, in series of circular coils extending outward, then it is only because I continue to harbor the swirls of galaxies in the musculature and viscera of my body. You will appear because I have mouthed your name in half-wish, reluctant to bring myself to you. You will appear for me, because you always do, with earthen skin outside the possibility of human causation.

-Barbara Jane Reyes

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A blog is a terrible thing.

You think it would quench the thirst for real publication, but it doesn’t.
Instead you act a little tyrant, and push your agenda. Your own printing press and audience. A Napoleon of poetry.

And then when you need to speak to people, they don’t know who to listen to. The voice in the blog or you. And when you think about all you have said to the world, you have to wonder if you really meant it, but there it is, said and said and said. And there is no taking it back, is there. And the delete key seems such an impotent option. A thing can’t be unread.

But the most terrible thing about a blog is that it’s all there in one place, consolidated, lucid. Every inconsistency shining forth, juxtaposed. A stubborn consistency it makes, and Emerson would be rolling over in his grave, the way we let it demand that we mean what we say and say what we mean and then account for it all again and again.

There comes a time when you go too far, and from there you either strip completely naked, or you leave town.

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When a Woman Loves a Man

When she says margarita she means daiquiri.

When she says quixotic she means mercurial.

And when she says, “I’ll never speak to you again,”

she means, “Put your arms around me from behind

as I stand disconsolate at the window.”

He’s supposed to know that.

When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginia

or he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading,

or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he

is raking leaves in Ithaca

or he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolate

at the window overlooking the bay

where a regatta of many-colored sails is going on

while he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morning

she is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzels

drinking lemonade

and two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bed

where she remains asleep and very warm.

When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks.

When she says, “We’re talking about me now,”

he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says,

“Did somebody die?”

When a woman loves a man, they have gone

to swim naked in the stream

on a glorious July day

with the sound of the waterfall like a chuckle

of water rushing over smooth rocks,

and there is nothing alien in the universe.

Ripe apples fall about them.

What else can they do but eat?

When he says, “Ours is a transitional era,”

“that’s very original of you,” she replies,

dry as the martini he is sipping.

They fight all the time

It’s fun

What do I owe you?

Let’s start with an apology

Ok, I’m sorry, you dickhead.

A sign is held up saying “Laughter.”

It’s a silent picture.

“I’ve been fucked without a kiss,” she says,

“and you can quote me on that,”

which sounds great in an English accent.

One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it

another nine times.

When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the

airport in a foreign country with a jeep.

When a man loves a woman he’s there. He doesn’t complain that

she’s two hours late

and there’s nothing in the refrigerator.

When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake.

She’s like a child crying

at nightfall because she didn’t want the day to end.

When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking:

as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved.

A thousand fireflies wink at him.

The frogs sound like the string section

of the orchestra warming up.

The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.

-David Lehman

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The eyes of the man who loves me
seek in the dark while I
sleep gently. What rain I
am waiting for, what stories to share
in the warm rain. What rising hopes,
what a looking glass his love is,
making me more beautiful than the
truth of the face.

The man who loves me has dunes and
ruins in ancestral worlds, spaces of peace
untouched by law. It is these places I
will reside, in the countryside, when he comes
here from across the air.

-Nina Alvarez

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She dwelt among the untrodden ways

SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
–Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be; 10
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!


Listen to a live recording.

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