April 29 – Asah

I call my Beloved Asah, meaning:


a cool spring day, the sun
flowing warm on my belly
new grass dew washing
winter from my back,
writhing and wriggling,
flinging my fine four legs
free as falling whirlybirds,
while the world waits,
breath held, for
me to rise and run

April 28 – None of us deserved this revision

None of us deserved this


None of us deserved this, but still
we’d been tried, judged, pronounced guilty.
We’d believed that sexy was a path
to power, that all those slasher movie bloodbaths
meant nothing. We’d believed that our lives
could be more than what it had taken to survive
to now, to posting an ad for sexual services
for sale on Craig’s List. Undeserved,
how our lives were as invisible as our corpses
left to rot in brush. They have her torso
but my left arm and don’t know it yet.
My skull, current-carried, now rests
between Natalee’s legs and Laci’s head
in the great barrier reef of the disposable dead.

April 27 – In summary

In summary

She was one I once
loved. ¾ of lyric
poetry comes next.


Author’s confession – this was, at first, a several page long pathetic whining love-lost poem-like object. The point of lyric poetry being to describe the emotional flash, and not the narrative, I cut it down to only the last two lines, which serve quite well to tell everything that needs to be told and are considerably less embarrassing.

April 25 – None of us deserved this

None of us deserved this


None of us deserved this, but still
we are held accountable. We’d bought
the lie that sexy was the same as having
power, we’d believed we had a right
to walk to work, to go to school, to live
in the city, to live in the country. We’d survived
through everything it took to bring us to post
an ad for sex on Craig’s list. Undeserved,
how our lives were as invisible as our bodies
left to rot in brush. They have his skull
but my mandible and don’t know it yet.
My skull, current-washed, now rests
between Natalee’s legs and Laci’s head,
in the great barrier reef of the disposable dead.

April 24 – Anti-semitism

Anti-semitism
January, 1983


my great-uncle’s living room
Terra Haute, IN, late,
watching a WWII documentary

with him

because knowing where he was
was safer than not knowing

he was mesmerized, always,
by all things Nazi

Battle of the Bulge survivor

In the back bedroom, his wife
lay dying of cancer, weak, wasting,
terrified— no longer

my Great-Aunt Ann,
mother of 7 and still time for me

she’d seen no doctors
had no pain drugs, hankies
from constant nosebleeds piling up
unwashed

For healing, his god must suffice

3 of his children sterile—
measles

In the dark he turned to me
They deserved it. The Jews.

What?

What Hitler did. They deserved it. They killed Jesus.

I went to my great-aunt
to her dark room
where he wouldn’t come

She died that spring

only now can I say
none of us deserved it

April 23 – Evolution

A big chunk of this poem was from a new work workshop poem which eventually become “The Bull Sea Lion.” This entire first section about flying and gravity and such fell away from that pieced as it was written and rewritten. But this morning I read a piece in National Geographic about the discovery of fossils showing how whales evolved from land mammals to ocean mammals, and remembered what I’d written and went looking for it. The title definitely came from reading that piece!


Evolution


Flying, only a matter of matter
free from the weight of predisposition

A dream        I am the ancestor common to
condor and whale, astounding

bulk astoundingly agile, soaring at will
through water and air

Flying—our nature, one and all,
before we thought to fall

Gravity was less, then, levity
the law before any creature

evolved a brain that thought to warn
look before you leap

April 18 Fibonacci Poetry

While I think I’m missing some major understanding of its importance to math theory, I love the idea of the perfection, the repetition, of the Fibonacci curve. In a librarian’s listserve discussion of National Poetry Month, someone this link to a piece about Fibonacci poetry, or “Fibs.” What a great writing prompt!

Essentially, the form is this pattern, done either in syllables or words:

1
1
2
3
5
8

since in the Fibonacci curve sequence the next number is the sum of the two before, the pattern would continue 13, 21, 34, etc

Two quick responses



wash
rinse
spin damp
dry, fold, wear again
laundry equals infinity


you
me
waiting
patiently
for our lives to join
as tightly as our bodies have

These feel a little like haiku in their forced brevity, but that breaks down as the lines get longer.

Fun!

April 22 – Shez “Be rough, do not be indifferent”

Ok, this is where translating gets really really interesting. I used google translator first, as a way to get a very rough sense of the poem, and it translated the last line as “your glass sun attitude.” Huh? So then I started using a dictionary one word at a time, and still got only “attitude sunlight a cup/glass of you/to you.” Still not much sense to be had there.

THEN I switched dictionaries and learned that word being translated as glass or cup is also an Arabic word, course slang for “female sex organ.” OOOOOhhh. That makes much more sense, and of course Israeli Hebrew is full of Arabic words. In terms of my sense of the poem, I’ve put in the word “cunt,” but with much ambivalence because I love the word cunt, it is very positive for me, while here the sense is supposed to be insulting, demeaning. The work will go on.

But there is something really exciting happening here, a strength, directness, violence in the language that is incredibly powerful. I want to make this make sense because I want to deeply get what she is saying. And that’s where translating gets really really interesting, too.

This is a very early start on this poem. The first few lines might be the opposite of what I have here, “be” for “do not be” or the other way around. Right now I’ve stumbled on a combination that allows the poem to make emotional sense to me. Doesn’t translating always reveal the emotional live of the translator alongside that of the poet? I think it must.



תִּהְיִי גַּסָּה תִּהְיִּי קְצָת אֲדִישָׁה


תִּהְיִי קָשָׁה וּלְרֶגַע
תִּהְיִי כָּל כָּךְ רַכָּה
וְתֵלְכִי שֶׁאֲנִי
לֹא אוּכַל
לִחְיוֹת
בְּלִי הַמַּכּוֹת שֶׁלָּךְ
תִּבְעֲטִי בִּי
תִּצְעֲקִי עָלַי
תִּירְקִי
תְּקַלְלִי אֶת הַיּוֹם שֶׁנּוֹלַדְתִּי
תְּקַלְלִי אֶת אִמִּי
תִּצְיֲקִי לְזכְרָהּ
תָּקִימִי גַּל אַשְׁפָּה לְיַד קִבְרָהּ
צוֹאַת כְּלָבִים תְּגַלְגְּלִי עַל מְרִיצָה
וּתְזַיְּנִי אוֹתִי שָׁם בְּרַגְלַיִם פְּשׂוּקוֹת
שֶׁאֶבֶן הַמַּצֵּבָה קָרָה קָרָה
וְיחֹם הַשֶׁמֶשׁ בַּכּוּס שֶׁלָּךְ



Be rough, do not be indifferent
Shez, translated by Elliott batTzedek

Don’t be hard right now,
be like this, all soft,
and I will go
It’s impossible
to live
without your blows
Kick me
Scream at me
Spit
Curse the day I was born
curse my mother
insult her memory,
erect a garbage pile on her grave,
roll in wheelbarrows of dog shit,
Fuck me there, legs spread apart
on the cold stone, cold tombstone,
let the sunlight arouse this cunt that is yours

April 21 – When you took me down

When you took me down


you placed 1 pomegranate seed
on my tongue
sweet sweet blood          I begged
then for the 5 still in hand

When you offered me
6 more I offered you my
breasts         you crushed seeds in your teeth
licked until my nipples
dripped red

Thus I came to owe you 1 year

The next 12 seeds I hid in the lips
of my clear-cut vulva          lay awaiting
discovery          of this promised 2nd year

60 seeds you slid into my
vagina then fucked me as no one ever had
sweet sweet blood running
made me        virgin          yours

5 years owed a down payment towards

the 1200 seeds I smashed to dye
my wedding dress sweet sweet blood red
swinging through our Descension Capoeira
half the guests jealous          half, appalled


with a nod to poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil, whose “At Medusa’s Hair Salon” I read before falling asleep last night, sending my mind into the realm of Greek myth such that the outline of this poem came to me and got scrawled on paper before I fell asleep. Don’t miss her excellent At the Drive-In Volcano.