Friday, October 07, 2011

"..Open City"

"Today I want to see your eyes without anger
Brown city, growing on the hills.
Poems are short tragedies, portable, like transistor radios.
Paul lies on the ground, it's night, a torch, the smell of pitch.
Impatient glances in caf├ęs, someone yells, a small heap of coins lies on the table.
Why? Why not?
The roar of cars and scooters, hubbub of events.
Poetry often vanishes, leaving only matchsticks."

--Adam Zagajewski, from "Eternal Enemies"

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It Was Me

I only try to kill time
so that it wouldn't kill me.

Here, in the shadow of affluence,
the city waits in a deep ravine
where lives tick by methodically.

Their faces turned, expressionless,
climbing the cold step of a tram,
or shattering on steely waters.

Their throats clear familiar sounds
rendered foreign and hurried
and full of phlegm.

I wait behind curtains
the color of freeze-dried spring;
at some point you'll be back,
closer perhaps, though the distance persists.
It isn't you who's kept it this time--

somewhere over there I linger.
In the flurry of departure, it turns out,
that thing that kept nagging me,
the thing we forgot to pack,
that which stayed behind--

it was me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We are the clumsy passersby

When words fail me (or I fail them), sometimes the only consolation is the realization that I will never approach the greatness of what's been said:
We are the clumsy passersby, we push past each other with elbows,
with feet, with trousers, with suitcases,
we get off the train, the jet plane, the ship, we step down
in our wrinkled suits and sinister hats.
We are all guilty, we are all sinners,
we come from dead-end hotels or industrial peace,
this might be our last clean shirt,
we have misplaced our tie,
yet even so, on the edge of panic, pompous,
sons of bitches who move in the highest circles
or quiet types who don't owe anything to anybody,
we are one and the same, the same in time's eyes,
or in solitude's: we are the poor devils
who earn a living and a death working
bureautragically or in the usual ways,
sitting down or packed together in subway stations,
boats, mines, research centers, jails,
universities, breweries,
(under our clothes the same thirsty skin),
(the hair, the same hair, only in different colors).

-Pablo Neruda

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Little Testament" by Joe Bolton

Whatever the night is,
I’d tell you it’s the heaving mass
Inside somebody’s kicked skull,
A dark so dark that intricate things begin to shine
Like a snail’s trail,
Like the lights strung out like cheap beads
Along some city street
Where people work and dream and die.
I don’t say live.
                      From a distance,
The city looks like broken glass
You see in any city lot
Under the faint, faithless chant
Of streetlamps.
                      South of the city, too,
The Spanish chapel without faith—
Is merely sad and lovely as the flowered dress
Of the girl who sweeps the chapel steps at dawn,
Or as the girl herself whose eyes
Won’t meet your eyes, or as the dust
That seems to resurrect itself
Wherever she’s just swept.

You can already tell I have nothing
To offer you beyond this flash of hope, this echo
Fading as it ranges westward
Across a continent that can, at night,
Still seem nearly empty.
                      Mine is the one
Window left lit as you walk
Through this neighborhood and through this night
That quicken your step.
                      And the night
Keeps coming back, as if you were the one
Returning to it—moments
When you hear what sounds like hell’s orchestra
Blasting from a car,
Or when what you’re afraid of seems to drift
Close to the shore of whatever river
You love:
                      Ohio, Mississippi, Rio Grande.

When now fails,
Was is all there is;
Elsewhere we lose always.
My cigarette smoke floating off in the night
Is the fire of my autobiography in ashes.

We only win at trying not
To be.
                      But anybody
Can tell you that—can call escape pride,
Meanness humility,
The arc and hiss of a match flicked into the water
The deep brief love they once felt for the world.

What little they find in my pockets
When it’s over,
                      You can have.


-from "The Last Nostalgia"



Sunday, January 02, 2011

New year, new beginnings!

Just like one year has to end for another to begin, new beginnings often mean new endings, as well. I have finally handed over the reins of PhillyPoetry.com, and the new administrator of the site, Sherone, has kindly featured me as the Spotlight Artist of the month.


Thank you, Sherone, for that, and for taking on this labor of love. I wish you the best of luck with the site in the New Year & beyond! And I kindly ask all of you to continue to use and support the site so that poetry may continue to flourish in Philadelphia.