Recording of “The Resonance of No”

dishes

“The Resonance of No,” was published in December 2016 in Gravel, and is included in my forthcoming chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, available for prepublication order at Finishing Line Press.

Music Credit: Cool Vibes Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

December Moon (1999)

 


December Moon (1999)

If loneliness breathes,
then rain is its heart,

always falling to its lowest point
before receding. Water graces us

daily in all its forms – the slowest
drop, the line of ice on the wall,

your breath, so soft and even
in the cool night. But no one,

no thing, can fill the void of
departure. You exhale and turn

away, and the air, with its empty
arms, embraces the space

you’ve left. I feel this daily,
whenever we part. At forty-one

I’ve known you half my life
but have loved you even longer,

through the millennium’s demise
and all that preceded or follows.

The brightest moon for a century to come
is but a shadow in your light.

 

This first appeared on the blog in October 2015. It’s hard to believe that I wrote “December Moon” nearly eighteen years ago. Busy with books, work and life, I didn’t write much in the nineties. But this, the last poem of that decade, recently surfaced. The sentiments are as true today as they were then. I am a lucky man.

streetfog

December Moon by Robert Okaji (translation)

Mary Tang’s translation, with recording in Cantonese!

Life is But This 命

Robert speaks in an universal language that I find easy to translate into Chinese (with permission by the poet).  My recording is in Cantonese.

歲終月 (一九九九年)。丘明 (Robert Okaji)

若寂寞有生命,

那雨是它的心,

總落至最深低處

才退。水萬般恩賜

千面天恩-最慢的

點滴,牆上的冰線,

你的氣息,在寒夜

那麼穩定那麼柔和。

但無人,無事能填那

離別的空虛。你轉身

背著我,呼出的氣息

像空手擁抱著你留下

的空間。每次你離去

每日此感。四十一歲的我

半世的相知,但愛比千歲

之前之後之終止更連綿

未來的一百個明月之中

最亮的也僅是你的陰影

(c) Mary Tang 2017

December Moon (1999) by Robert Okaji

If loneliness breathes,

then rain is its heart,

always falling to its lowest point

before receding. Water graces us

daily in all its forms – the slowest

drop, the line of ice on the wall,

your breath, so soft and even

in the cool night. But no one,

no thing, can fill the void of

departure. You exhale and turn

away, and the air, with its empty

arms, embraces the space

you’ve left. I feel this daily,

whenever we part. At forty-one

I’ve known you half my life

but have loved you even longer,

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Sunday Compulsion: Devi S. Laskar (Why I Write)

Welcome to “Sunday Compulsion,” in which creatives answer one question: Why do I create? Poet Devi S. Laskar kicks off this new weekly feature.

I’ve been writing poems since I was 9 years old. It’s who I am: a poet. I write nonfiction and I write short stories and novels and I do so because I have this desire to communicate. I am interested in all kinds of forms. And I love to read, which is probably why I live to write. I’m trying to write the stories and the poems I haven’t read yet.

Devi S. Laskar is a native of Chapel Hill, N.C. She holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York, an MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in journalism and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A former newspaper reporter, she is now a poet, photographer and artist. Her photographs include the cover of The Florida Review; and in the pages of Tiferet Journal and Blue Heron Review. Her art can be found currently on the cover of L.A. based Las Lunas Locas poetry anthology. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Blue Heron Review, which nominated her for Best of the Net 2016 & The Raleigh Review, which nominated her for Best New Poets 2016. She is an alumna of both TheOpEdProject and VONA/Voices, and served as a Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project poet in December 2015. She is also an alumna of Hedgebrook, and poetry workshops at the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. In 2016, she won first prize in poetry at the 27th Mendocino Coast Writers Conference contest. Finishing Line Press published the first of two chapbooks, “Gas & Food, No Lodging” in March 2017; and will publish “Anastasia Maps” later this year. She now lives in California.

You can get Devi’s book Gas & Food, No Lodging at Finishing Line Press and Amazon,
as well as Bookshop Santa Cruz and online at Barnes & Noble.

Read this review!

Read and listen to her poem “Unanswered, Untranslatable”

To learn more about Devi, visit her website, which includes links to her artaday, essays, and various publications her work has appeared in.

And this podcast.

 

 

Recording of “Scarecrow Remembers”

I’m still experimenting with recording. Here’s “Scarecrow Remembers,” which was first published at The High Window in December 2016.

 

Untitled from the 80s

Another untitled poem from the 80s…

wood and water
the wave of
fragrance so perfect

we seek to
obtain it as
if we could

be windows open
to a light
the gentlest cloud

would obscure still
spreading like one’s
final exhalation which

travels only to
disperse and become
at last another’s

You are the Name

You are the name
I whisper
to clouds.

Excerpt from “To the Light Entering the Shack One December Evening,” in From Every Moment a Second, available for prepublication order via Finishing Line Press. The poem first appeared in Shantih, in December 2016.