Reading a Poem Chases the Blues

WROCLAW, 1945: Patty Dickson Pieczka

— In memory of Pola and Kazik

Surprised the day’s heart still beats 

when sunlight lies prone in the street,

and wounded trees, so thin and wasted, 

fan the scent of death lodged in his nose,

thunder rumbling his mind.

What could be restored from nothing?

He wades through the rubble of lives:

a broken helmet, machine-gun casings, 

shredded dress fabric. Unnamed fears

wind among flowerpot shards, a table leg, 

dreams crushed under crumbled buildings.

A hand grenade pin flashes from the ruins.

He imagines how it would look,

polished and hammered flat as the sun,

a wedding ring to sparkle from Pola’s finger.

from RETINA (xi): Pansy Maurer-Alvarez

that night in the train there was a presence, something unsaid and laid aside,

an understanding, a kind of acknowledgment of disorder, like that in gardens

where the rhythm of roots crowns summer but is neglected

faces lined with angles are weird with sharp glimpses and squares of shade

elapsed into physical nothing

the birds are steeply shaped and not red

crisp listening at windowsills at dusk is silver in bold disbelief, a stirring

quarrel, vertigo, its aftermath in spotlights 

then an unprotected echo crawls like an animal, exposes mouthfuls, arms

and runs

Sans titre: Diane Thivierge

Je vous écris

la langue tranchée

avec des mots

qui fendent la nuit

je reste ainsi

à compter mes mots neufs

virgules, apostrophes, accents

taillés dans le vif

des pupitres

où vous pourrez lire

ce que je n’ai jamais

osé vous dire.

Franca Mancinelli

from the sequence Gleamstranslated from the Italian by John Taylor 

wherever the flow of a river is broken up, after a leap or fall, the water

turns back into foam. The current is so strong that it keeps everything

that comes. Begins a struggle against a moving, impassable boundary.

-Swaying, brief wavering. Obedience to a white, devastating language.

Sometimes it’s a storm, or a rock bumped into, deviating the course. And

you find yourself free.

patterns of grief: Andrea Moorhead

I’ll take you with me into the rose-blue sea, into the silence between words, into the void black sleek blazing, into the skin of the night, the searching flares already extinguished, you’ll howl as we go, howl and twist around to see the fog rising, the slender aperture of the night close, open, close again and I’ll take you with me into the rose-blue sea, into the spaces between words, into the void that settles white cold and steel edged, into the whispering along the spine, into the murmuring of the heart, the silences between our feet, the silences that follow us, the silences that define and antagonize, the silences that are when we are no more.


      Backyard like a cotton field, four-foot drifts resemble a Himalayan Mountain range. Welded wire tomato cages engage drifts to their armpits. Three-rail split rail fence buried up to top rail. Graphite shadows carve Easter Isle visages into the drifts, drifts that flow like frozen streams & anaconda rivers. Drifts like conversations catatonic patients dream of when the sky spreads its symbolist nightgown over garter snakes’ mating ball of black telephone wires, Paleolithic power lines, & armadillo branches from a herd of oaks, elms, black walnuts, & a midnight spruce’s bristling fur.

      Silence resembles a suburban cougar avoiding kaleidoscopic patio gravel in favor of tranquil stones trimming the edge of a back porch in L.A. County.

      Twenty feet high nuzzling spindly maple branches, a squirrel’s nest dusted with snow mimics the huddled shoulders of an Andes condor.     

      Waiting, just waiting. 

INTERVAL 36: Ray Malone

to be gathered as the stone rolled

ran on to rest its weight settle 

in the dust under your feet set

itself there as fact obstinate

as your eye raised to the height it

dreamt of the heft it abandoned

for the depth drifting with the wind

the light things the feathers that lift

and fall from the air the late leaves

lying there with your head for thought

in your hands as still as the stone

in the stir of dirt still waiting

one day too to be gathered here

at home with the weight of the earth

Blancheur : André Roy

Ton corps gémit

à la manière des nuages

un délie au bleu rémanent

où chaque désir jouit en son cœur

par intelligence par lenteur

tes parfums jettent

leurs larmes de neige

Tourbières: Françoise Donadieu

Les allées du vent aux dalles de bruyère

À Frau de Vial

Dans les tourbières

De grands pins sont couchés

Et leur mort a laissé dans l’air

Un parfum de résine

Les tourbillons rageurs malmènent la hêtraie

C’est là que sans faillir croît la gentiane bleue.

La terre renversée: Flavio Ermini

Years and years I loved you when you lay in my womb. Joyce

La terre est un entassement de pages douloureuses, qui sont poussées vers le ciel au lever du vent et font penser au souffle.

Là où la sœur du sommeil se cache, se rendent visibles tant de petits murs. « tout annonce ta présence, ma lassitude, notre interminable patienter. »

on n’entend pas un bruit et tout événement s’ouvre en paroles animées qui serrent de toutes parts les choses. commencent ainsi sur la terre bien des récits privés de fondement. « des années durant je t’ai aimée lorsque tu me tendais la main. »

peu avant que la jeune fille se remette à marcher, le temps se met à renverser la terre, à faire tourner le ciel, à vider les maisons et à les emplir de nouvelles voix.
sans ce souffle, les lèvres se glacent et se serre le cœur.

Traduit par Robert Melançon

Lake Tiberias: Simon Anton Diego Baena

Spring ends, I’m afraid to imagine

a world with no water as it trickles

sparingly into the tub.

Every day, children die

of thirst, cradled in the moon’s shadow.

When I brought a jug of wine

into the wilderness,

I found the earth and its trees

burning at dawn,

the taste drying in my throat.

Omniverse 1: Silvia Scheibli

At the intersection of imagination & fire a belted kingfisher hibernates in my subconscious.  At the intersection of gun rights & vigilantes the not guilty verdict left thugs rubbing their hands by the flame of deception.  At the edge of my eyelashes imagination reveals an ‘out of order’ sign and a hidden cloud forest breathing with emerald jaguars.

To Save the Phenomenon: John Falk

Taut, a storm behind the grey

Shuddering to be born

Your hand on the soft

Material cloud

And the lightning it contains

Sleepless, wrists blue

From climbing trees

Now pinioned to the sky

Light, too fragile to form

Shadows, brims

Just at the abyss

Limbs spiked to sublunar tints

Remain undispersed.

Certainty Giving Way: Ute von Funcke

translated from the German by Stuart Friebert

Her bright eyes 

shadowed in black

her mouth, fully red 

no make-up, sincere

so why 

his fear

her blond lashes

could loosen

feathers in the wind 

which she’ll fly after

and just her white arm 

would be left in the black etui

certainty like

the gold ring on her finger


through the streets bearing

red flags, fanfares sounding,

marching in step, unintelligible

inflammatory words from loudspeakers.

Around the next corner, though,

people assumed

their true shape, rolled

up the flags and

toddled off.

Translated by Gerald Chapple

Le sang des autres: Anatoly Orlovsky

Je rêve d’une éclipse sans feu.

Suis-je une veine d’argile, un contre-cristal?

Je rêve de rouille exquise, de vie sans flammes. 

Le ciel n’y est plus, ni le granite des hautes herbes. 

Aux autres, tout le sang des nuages. Ma peau en berne, je n’y serai pas. 

J’y serai l’onde entière, la prière des glaces. 

Je rêve d’une éclipse en été. 

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