Under the secret part of desire, an albérchigo—
It’s there I see the opening of a scarf of concerto
He starts with cero
and ends with solo
I saw his face once, he stood inside, outside an algarazo,
now diwans are piled up in front of the window to keep his last echo
On the balcony, one forgotten azulejo —
when I look closer, I see our faces trapped, yes, it’s that photo
At the dark corner of the zoco
we hide letters in the back of a radio
This is one of the nicest group of poems to be published online that I’ve seen for a while. Especially worth reading the first, to Rafael Alberti.
I started a dream journal this week, at the urgings of someone dear to me. I hope it will keep me writing every day, or nearly. You can find the whole thing here. From last night:
We came to the foot of a knoll before my friend sat down in a patch of mud and said, “I have some whittling to do. You go on.” So I took my suitcase and began the climb. I hadn’t thought the hillside looked so steep or extensive when I stood in the flats below, and had not noticed the narrow squall line or its heavy rains that fell halfway to the hidden top. The blasts nearly carried me off, but I pushed through the storm with my suitcase held over my head. Before long I had made it to a pleasant stretch beyond the squall. Gradually the hillside leveled off, and I found myself in an open field.
A small group had gathered about a grounded balloon nearby, attending to some great commotion. After taking off my jacket and hanging it from a fig tree to dry, I walked over to see a cat among these people, struggling in their restraint.
“Are you sure we have to do this?” a man asked, as he tried to fit a monacle over the cat’s left eye.
“The doctor said,” insisted one of the women. “One balloon trip a week. He’ll only get worse if we keep him on land.”
“A pomegranate!” said another. To my surprise she was pointing at me. “Bring us a pomegranate, please!”
I turned to look back to the foot of our hill, but the squall, now much lower than before, obstructed my view. I wondered about my friend and whether she knew to look for cover.
“Please!” the woman called to me again, so I opened my suitcase to find a pomegranate and a knife. The sight of the fruit mollified the cat, and after I’d cut it open and handed it to him, he quietly went about his business of extracting each seed, cleaning it, and placing it in a wicker bowl. I watched as they lowered the cat into the basket of the balloon along with his things, and made their ascent.
An old man’s voice startled me then: “You’ve done your part. Go on.” He was dressed as a coal miner, and shone his headlight toward the storm. In his right hand he held out a ladder. I saw what seemed a tear in one of his eyes.
“I thought so,” I said, and threw the open suitcase into the squall. “But it is nice to have it confirmed by you.” After taking up the ladder, I walked on through the rolling green and found an unpaved road in persimmon country. Skiffs lined one side of the road, and each one had been filled with the orange fruits. Someone had inked an irrational number in blue on every persimmon I saw. Some ways ahead, an old woman stood in one of the skiffs with her eyes fixed on the sky.
“Is something wrong?” I asked as I approached.
“It’s my son, the cosmonaut. I’m afraid he’s hungry.” She looked down and started at the sight of my ladder. “Wouldn’t you take some persimmons to him? I’ll get my pail!”
As she readied herself, I set up my ladder in what I thought would be a good spot to one side of the road. The ladder reached up only three or four meters, but I thought I had to try, for her sake. It had clearly been bothering her for some time.
“His name is Terry, and he looks just like you,” she said when she handed me the pail. “I hope you find him. He always forgets to pack a lunch.”
I gave her a quick, determined nod. “I’ll do my best.”
“Oh, bless you!”
The climb only took a minute, and I had made it into space. My first thoughts were of loneliness and the storm, and I wondered what my friend had made at the foot of our hill. I sat at the top of the ladder and hugged the pail of persimmons to my chest. These fruits had no numbers, but had instead been marked with pictographs, and I thought perhaps I’d been employed to send a coded message to this cosmonaut whose whereabouts remained unknown. The old woman might have fooled me, might not be Terry’s mother at all.
Before I could think further on the matter, a passing balloon caught my eye. The group I had helped out earlier had descended again into fits, and I thought the pomegranate must not have lasted. Three of the crew screamed soundlessly, while the last stood petrified in the middle with a monacle in his eye. On his head, content and custodial, lay the cat.
O how far away and long gone
I believe the star
whose brightness I take in
has been dead a thousand years.
I believe that in the boat
gliding by I heard
something fearful being said.
In the house a clock
just struck …
What house? …
I’d like to step out of my heart
and be under the great sky.
I’d like to pray.
And surely one of all those stars
must still exist.
I believe I’d know
which one alone
which one like a white city
stands at its light’s end in the sky …
Maybe I will have a poem here every week, now. Marceline Desbordes-Valmore makes me want to master my French.
De l’ardente cigale
J’eus le destin,
Sa récolte frugale
Fut mon festin.
Mouillant mon seigle à peine
D’un peu de lait,
J’ai glané graine à graine
J’ai chanté comme j’aime
Rire et douleurs ;
L’oiseau des bois lui-même
Chante des pleurs ;
Et la sonore flamme,
Prouve bien que toute âme
Brûle en pleurant….
[Entire poem here.]
There are many nice cat videos on the internet, but not enough Arctic fox videos. Luckily Haukur Sigurdsson has started to correct that.
This is something that has been making its rounds today, but I’ll share it too. Art Spiegelman talks to Maurice Sendak: http://blowncovers.com/post/22653289640/well-miss-you
I haven’t read The Bat-Poet for years, or seen the pictures. For some reason it was the first thing I thought of.
I’ve been reading too many books at once for the past year, so I simplified. I am sticking to one at a time, while I wait for my Norwegian books to make it overseas. Right now I am on The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, one of my favorites.
“I couldn’t sleep,” Grandmother said, “and I got to thinking about sad things.” She sat up in bed and reached for her cigarettes. Sophia handed her the matches automatically, but she was thinking about other things.
“You’ve got two blankets, don’t you?” Sophia said.
“I mean it all seems to shrink up and glide away,” Grandmother said. “And things that were a lot of fun don’t mean anything any more. It makes me feel cheated, like what was the point? At least you ought to be able to talk about it.”
In other news, I found out about sweet potato noodles - and japchae - and will never be the same again. My grandpa and I are getting started on a project to put up a bluebird house by my grandma’s grave. She’s buried far enough away from the city that it might work. I’ve been sick a lot lately but the nights are nice still, and I’m not letting it get to me in the in-betweens. I was doing a lot of origami for a while and then stopped. I’m trying to write again. My sister writes so much more than I do, I have to catch up. Things are pretty okay, and will, I think, get better.
“Cloud streets around southern Greenland,” from MODIS.