poem

POTD - Kithenette Building by Gwendolyn Brooks

kitchenette building

by Gwendolyn Brooks

We are things of dry hours and the involuntary plan,
Grayed in, and gray. “Dream” makes a giddy sound, not strong
Like “rent,” “feeding a wife,” “satisfying a man.”

But could a dream send up through onion fumes
Its white and violet, fight with fried potatoes
And yesterday’s garbage ripening in the hall,
Flutter, or sing an aria down these rooms

Even if we were willing to let it in,
Had time to warm it, keep it very clean,
Anticipate a message, let it begin?

We wonder. But not well! not for a minute!
Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now,
We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it.

POTD - Stars by Louise Gluck

Stars

by Louise Glück

Read by Daniel Dean Demerin

I’m awake; I am in the world-
I expect
no further assurance.
No protection, no promise.

Solace of the night sky,
the hardly moving
face of the clock.

I’m alone- all
my riches surround me.
I have a bed, a room.
I have a bed, a vase
of flowers beside it.
And a nightlight, a book.

I’m awake; I am safe.
The darkness like a shield, the dreams
put off, maybe
vanished forever.

And the day-
the unsatisfying morning that says
I am your future,
here is your cargo of sorrow:

Do you reject me? Do you mean
To send me away because I am not
full, in your word,
because you see
the black shape already implicit?

I will never be banished. I am the light,
your personal anguish and humiliation.
Do you dare
send me away as though
you were waiting for something better?

There is no better.
Only (for a short space)
the night sky like
a quarantine that sets you 
apart from your task.

Only (softly, fiercely)
the stars shining. Here,
in the room, the bedroom.
Saying I was brave, I resisted,
I set myself on fire.

POTD - This Azure Day by Seo Jung-ju

This Azure Day 

by Seo Jung-ju

On this blindingly azure day,
let us long for those we miss.

There, where autumn flowers sit,
green has given in to red.

Let the snow fall.
Let spring return.

What if you are alive when I die?
What if I am alive when you die?

On this blindingly azure day,
let us long for those we miss.

 

Translated by Chae-Pyong Song and Anne Rashid

 

푸르른 날/서정주

눈이 부시게 푸르른 날은
그리운 사람을 그리워하자.

저기 저기 저, 가을 꽃 자리
초록이 지쳐 단풍 드는데

눈이 내리면 어이하리야
봄이 또 오면 어이하리야

내가 죽고서 네가 산다면!
네가 죽고서 내가 산다면?

눈이 부시게 푸르른 날은
그리운 사람을 그리워 하자.

Poems of a Wanderer
By Midang So Chong-Ju, Chongju So, Chong-Ju So

POTD - La Víbora by Nicanor Parra

La Víbora

by Nicanor Parra

Durante largos años estuve condenado a adorar a una mujer despreciable
Sacrificarme por ella, sufrir humillaciones y burlas sin cuento,
Trabajar día y noche para alimentarla y vestirla,
Llevar a cabo algunos delitos, cometer algunas faltas,
A la luz de la luna realizar pequeños robos,
Falsificaciones de documentos comprometedores,
So pena de caer en descrédito ante sus ojos fascinantes.
En horas de comprensión solíamos concurrir a los parques
Y retratarnos juntos manejando una lancha a motor,
O nos íbamos a un café danzante
Donde nos entregábamos a un baile desenfrenado
Que se prolongaba hasta altas horas de la madrugada.
Largos años viví prisionero del encanto de aquella mujer
Que solía presentarse a mi oficina completamente desnuda
Ejecutando las contorsiones más difíciles de imaginar
Con el propósito de incorporar mi pobre alma a su órbita
Y, sobre todo, para extorsionarme hasta el último centavo.
Me prohibía estrictamente que me relacionase con mi familia.
Mis amigos eran separados de mí mediante libelos infamantes
Que la víbora hacía publicar en un diario de su propiedad.
Apasionada hasta el delirio no me daba un instante de tregua,
Exigiéndome perentoriamente que besara su boca
Y que contestase sin dilación sus necias preguntas,
Varias de ellas referentes a la eternidad y a la vida futura
Temas que producían en mí un lamentable estado de ánimo,
Zumbidos de oídos, entrecortadas náuseas, desvanecimientos prematuros
Que ella sabía aprovechar con ese espíritu práctico que la caracterizaba
Para vestirse rápidamente sin pérdida de tiempo
Y abandonar mi departamento dejándome con un palmo de narices.
Esta situación se prolongó por más de cinco años.
Por temporadas vivíamos juntos en una pieza redonda
Que pagábamos a medias en un barrio de lujo cerca del cementerio.
(Algunas noches hubimos de interrumpir nuestra luna de miel
Para hacer frente a las ratas que se colaban por la ventana).

Llevaba la víbora un minucioso libro de cuentas
En el que anotaba hasta el más mínimo centavo que yo le pedía en préstamo;
No me permitía usar el cepillo de dientes que yo mismo le había regalado
Y me acusaba de haber arruinado su juventud:
Lanzando llamas por los ojos me emplazaba a comparecer ante el juez
Y pagarle dentro de un plazo prudente parte de la deuda,
Pues ella necesitaba ese dinero para continuar sus estudios
Entonces hube de salir a la calle a vivir de la caridad pública,
Dormir en los bancos de las plazas,
Donde fui encontrado muchas veces moribundo por la policía
Entre las primeras hojas del otoño.
Felizmente aquel estado de cosas no pasó más adelante,
Porque cierta vez en que yo me encontraba en una plaza también
Posando frente a una cámara fotográfica
Unas deliciosas manos femeninas me vendaron de pronto la vista
Mientras una voz amada para mí me preguntaba quién soy yo.
Tú eres mi amor, respondí con serenidad.
¡Ángel mío, dijo ella nerviosamente,
Permite que me siente en tus rodillas una vez más!
Entonces pude percatarme de que ella se presentaba ahora provista de un pequeño taparrabos.
Fue un encuentro memorable, aunque lleno de notas discordantes:
Me he comprado una parcela, no lejos del matadero, exclamó,
Allí pienso construir una especie de pirámide.
En la que podamos pasar los últimos días de nuestra vida.
Ya he terminado mis estudios, me he recibido de abogado,
Dispongo de buen capital;
Dediquémonos a un negocio productivo, los dos, amor mío, agregó
Lejos del mundo construyamos nuestro nido.
Basta de sandeces, repliqué, tus planes me inspiran desconfianza,
Piensa que de un momento a otro mi verdadera mujer
Puede dejarnos a todos en la miseria más espantosa.
Mis hijos han crecido ya, el tiempo ha transcurrido,
Me siento profundamente agotado, déjame reposar un instante,
Tráeme un poco de agua, mujer,
Consígueme algo de comer en alguna parte,
Estoy muerto de hambre,
No puedo trabajar más para ti,
Todo ha terminado entre nosotros.


For years I was doomed to worship a contemptible woman

Sacrifice myself for her, endure endless humiliations and sneers, 

Work night and day to feed her and clothe her, 
Perform several crimes, commit several misdemeanors, 
Practice petty burglary by moonlight, 
Forge compromising documents, 
For fear of a scornful glance from her bewitching eyes. 
During brief phases of understanding we used to meet in parks 
And have ourselves photographed together driving a motorboat, 
Or we would go to a nightclub 
And fling ourselves into an orgy of dancing 
That went on until well after dawn.

For years I was under the spell of that woman. 
She used to appear in my office completely naked 
And perform contortions that defy the imagination, 
Simply to draw my poor soul into her orbit 
And above all to wring from me my last penny. 
She absolutely forbade me to have anything to do with my family. 
To get rid of my friends this viper made free with defamatory libels 
Which she published in a newspaper she owned. 
Passionate to the point of delirium, she never let up for an instant, 
Commanding me to kiss her on the mouth 
And to reply at once to her silly questions 
Concerning, among other things, eternity and the afterlife,
Subjects which upset me terribly, 
Producing buzzing in my ears, recurrent nausea, sudden fainting spells 
Which she turned to account with that practical turn of mind that distinguished her, 
Putting her clothes on without wasting a moment 
And clearing out of my apartment, leaving me flat.

This situation dragged on for five years and more. 
There were periods when we lived together in a round room 
In a plush district near the cemetery, sharing the rent. 
(Some nights we had to interrupt our honeymoon 
To cope with the rats that streamed in through the window.) 
The viper kept a meticulous account book 
In which she noted every penny I borrowed from her, 
She would not let me use the toothbrush I had given her myself, 
And she accused me of having ruined her youth: 
With her eyes flashing fire she threatened to take me to court 
And make me pay part of the debt within a reasonable period 
Since she needed the money to go on with her studies. 
Then I had to take to the street and live on public charity, 
Sleeping on park benches 
Where the police found me time and again, dying, 
Among the first leaves of autumn. 
Fortunately that state of affairs went no further, 
For one time -and again I was in a park, 
Posing for a photographer-
A pair of delicious feminine hands suddenly covered my eyes 
While a voice that I loved asked me: Who am I. 
You are my love, I answered serenely. 
My angel! she said nervously. 
Let me sit on your knees once again! 
It was then that I was able to ponder the fact that she was now wearing brief tights. 
It was a memorable meeting, though full of discordant notes. 
I have bought a plot of land not far from the slaughterhouse, she exclaimed. 
I plan to build a sort of pyramid there 
Where we can spend the rest of our days. 
I have finished my studies, I have been admitted to the bar, 
I have a tidy bit of capital at my disposal;
Let's go into some lucrative business, we two, my love, she added, 
Let's build our nest far from the world. 
Enough of your foolishness, I answered, I have no confidence in your plans. 
Bear in mind that my real wife 
Can at any moment leave both of us in the most frightful poverty. 
My children are grown up, time has elapsed, 
I feel utterly exhausted, let me have a minute's rest, 
Get me a little water, woman, 
Get me something to eat from somewhere, 
I'm starving, 
I can't work for you anymore, 
It's all over between us.

POTD - Death by Donald Revell

Donald Revell

Donald Revell

Death

Death calls my dog by the wrong name.
A little man when I was small, Death grew
Beside me, always taller, but always
Confused as I have almost never been.   
Confusion, like the heart, gets left behind
Early by a boy, abandoned the very moment
Futurity with her bare arms comes a-waltzing
Down the fire escapes to take his hand.

"Death," I said, "if your eyes were green
I would eat them."   

For what are days but the furnace of an eye?
If I could strip a sunflower bare to its bare soul,
I would rebuild it:
Green inside of green, ringed round by green.
There'd be nothing but new flowers anymore.
Absolute Christmas.

"Death," I said, "I know someone, a woman,
Who sank her teeth into the moon."

For what are space and time but the inventions
Of sorrowing men? The soul goes faster than light.
Eating the moon alive, it leaves space and time behind.
The soul is forgiveness because it knows forgiveness.
And the knowledge is whirligig.
Whirligig taught me to live outwardly.
Shoe shop. . . pizza parlor. . . surgical appliances. . .
All left behind me with the hooey.
My soul is my home.
An old star hounded by old starlight.

"Death, I ask you, whose only story
Is the end of the story, right from the start,
How is it I remember everything
That never happened and almost nothing that did?
Was I ever born?"

I think of the suicides, all of them thriving,
Many of them painting beautiful pictures.
I think of boys and girls murdered
In their first beauty, now with children of their own.
And I have a church in my mind, set cruelly ablaze,
And then the explosion of happy souls
Into the greeny, frozen Christmas Eve air:
Another good Christmas, a white choir.

Beside each other still,
My Death and I are a magical hermit.
Dear Mother, I miss you.
Dear reader, your eyes are now green,
Green as they used to be, before I was born.

POTD - Tracks by Tomas Tranströmer

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Tracks

by Tomas Tranströmer

2 A.M. moonlight. The train has stopped
out in a field. Far off sparks of light from a town,
flickering coldly on the horizon.

As when a man goes so deep into his dream
he will never remember he was there
when he returns again to his view.

Or when a person goes so deep into a sickness
that his days all become some flickering sparks, a swarm,
feeble and cold on the horizon.

The train is entirely motionless.

2 o’clock: strong moonlight, few stars.