by Adam Zagajewski
I was strolling under the tents of trees
and raindrops occasionally reached me
as though asking:
Is your desire to suffer,
–the scent was spring, the scent sorrow
translated by Renata Gorczynski, Benjamin Ivry, and C.K. Williams
by Carl Sandburg
Nancy Hanks dreams by the fire;
Dreams, and the logs sputter,
And the yellow tongues climb.
Red lines lick their way in flickers.
Oh, sputter, logs.
Oh, dream, Nancy.
Time now for a beautiful child.
Time now for a tall man to come.
where do poems come from, you may
want to know: have you ever wondered:
do you care about the baby, not the
fetus: if you're like many people
you don't care about the poem, so why
care where it comes from, when you
mostly do care about babies and still
would just as soon skip the phylogeny:
wonder which comes first, the motion
or the feeling, or the event, perception,
connection: oceanward, you could
say that a rift of motion starts in
the doldrums, forms a progression,
but you can't derive what it derived
from: what unsettled a bit of air:
was it air's own weight, a change of
temperature and buoyancy, or did a
wing slice through, or a meteor, or
surely not a neutrino, so tiny: so
what causes anything to start: when
is the beginning of anything, all
beginnings begun: well, that's it:
there's a currency of feeling and it
flows as unformed, if noticeable, as
a drive, and describes a form of
itself, or else its energy picks up
some body here or there and marries
itself to that, creating narrative:
motion, going from here to there,
describes a swerve or arc or salience
and that is form: that is the seed
of form, born in the very bosom of
its substance, which is motion: next
to that, tell me what you think of
a sonnet or some fucking cookie-cutter:
I mustn't become high-handed: I'm
okay when I'm typing like this, tho:
I'm in motion and the worm I am
extruding has a long wiggle: it
seems to me as I look about that I
know some things well: but they are
about nothing: there is no seedcorn,
there are no potato eyes in my stuff:
my poems come out of a little tug of
rift in an oceanic doldrum: it's a
tiny little ship, an airship: fog
could drown it, saturate its jib:
who could get to Mars with that: if
I'm not to have a life, at least let
me tell you about it, that is, that
I'm not having it: that will make
me nearly think I'm having it: imagine
a life! of words: better than
nothing, better, better, bitter-bile
better: for what I meant was love:
now, don't blubber: poor comfort,
such poor comfort: twaddle:
All My Friends Are Finding New Beliefs
All my friends are finding new beliefs.
This one converts to Catholicism and this one to trees.
In a highly literary and hitherto religiously-indifferent Jew
God whomps on like a genetic generator.
Paleo, Keto, Zone, South Beach, Bourbon.
Exercise regimens so extreme she merges with machine.
One man marries a woman twenty years younger
and twice in one brunch uses the word verdant;
another’s brick-fisted belligerence gentles
into dementia, and one, after a decade of finical feints and teases
like a sandpiper at the edge of the sea,
decides to die.
Priesthoods and beasthoods, sombers and glees,
high-styled renunciations and avocations of dirt,
sobrieties, satieties, pilgrimages to the very bowels of being …
All my friends are finding new beliefs
and I am finding it harder and harder to keep track
of the new gods and the new loves,
and the old gods and the old loves,
and the days have daggers, and the mirrors motives,
and the planet’s turning faster and faster in the blackness,
and my nights, and my doubts, and my friends,
my beautiful, credible friends.
Nothing is quite alien or quite recognizable at this speed,
Though there is the suggestion of curve, a mutant
Curvature designed, I suppose, to soften or offset
The stiletto toes and karate arms that were too
Angular for her last car, A Corvette as knifed as Barbie
Herself, and not the bloodred of Italian Renaissance.
This is Attention. This is detail fitted to sheer
Velocity. For her knees, after all, are locked–
Once fitted into the driving pit, she can only accelerate
Into a future that becomes hauntingly like the past:
Nancy Drew in her yellow roadster, a convertible,
I always imagined, the means to an end
Almost criminal in its freedom, its motherlessness.
For Barbie, too, is innocent of parents, pressing
Her unloved breasts to the masculine wheel, gunning
The turn into the hallway and out over the maiming stairs,
Every jolt slamming her uterus into uselessness, sealed,
Sealed up and preserved, everything about her becoming
Pure Abstraction and the vehicle for Desire: to be Nancy,
To be Barbie, to feel the heaven of Imagination
Breathe its ether on your cheeks, rosying in the slipstream
As the speedster/roadster/Ferrari plummets over the rail
Into the ocean of waxed hardwood below. To crash and burn
And be retrieved. To unriddle the crime. To be
Barbie with a plot! That’s the soulful beauty of it.
That’s the dreaming child.
Not the dawn of Capital, the factories of Hong Kong
Reversing the currency in Beijing. Not the ovarian
Moon in eclipse. Just the dreaming child, the orphan,
Turning in slow motion in the air above the banister,
For whom ideas of gender and marketplace are nothings
Less than nothing. It’s the car she was born for.
It’s Barbie you mourn for.
The author’s book “Faith” for purchase.
Posted as a reaction to all of the Barbies that were surely given out for Christmas across the world 3 days ago.
I’m not fond of Barbie but the poem holds my attention.
by Carl Sandburg
The wishes on this child’s mouth
Came like snow on marsh cranberries;
The tamarack kept something for her;
The wind is ready to help her shoes.
The north has loved her; she will be
A Grandmother feeding geese on frosty
Mornings; she will understand
Early snow on the cranberries
Better and better then.