Nocturne with a Line from Porchia

bureau

Nocturne with a Line from Porchia

Everything is nothing, but afterwards.
I rise and the moon disturbs the darkness,
revealing symbols, a few stolen words
on the bureau. Tomorrow I’ll express
my gratitude by disappearing be-
fore I’m found, which is to say goodbye
before hello, a paradigm for the
prepossessed. Compton tells us to imply
what’s missing, like Van Gogh or Bill Monroe,
but why listen to the dead before they’ve
stopped speaking? Unfortunately we throw
out the bad with the good, only to save
the worst. I return to bed, and the floor
spins. Nothing is everything, but before.

 

This first appeared in The Blue Hour Magazine in December 2014, and is also included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform. The line “Everything is nothing, but afterwards” comes from Antonio Porchia’s Voices, translated by W.S. Merwin. Porchia wrote one book in his lifetime, but what a book it was! Often described as a collection of aphorisms, Voices is so much more – each time I open the book, I find new meaning in old lines.

Vincent

Dog

photo(18)

 

Dog

Not away, but after
or contrary,

the reversal indicative
and untoward: scratching,

she spirals to the perfect
spot between us, touching both,

then sighs. In comfort, in ecstasy,
in contentment, who can say?

But we sigh in response.

 

SONY DSC

“Dog” first appeared on the blog in October 2014. The photo is of Apollonia, aka Apple.

Reliquary

lantern 


Reliquary

If only the sky could contain you, I would sleep.

Instead I rise and limp through the fog to my shack.

Sip coffee, strum E-minor, arrange words. Listen.

The earth, too, considers you limitless.

Disassembling the chord note by note, I reminisce.

How the indistinct commits its magic.

Indirection, implication. Camouflage. The missing.

Fingers follow the path more readily than the eye.

If the flatted third disappears, what remains?

My body knows its beginning and suspects its end.

The first and the fifth inform our options.

Filling space, consuming time. Rationing pleasure.

I twist my hand, and ignoring the tendon, play the note.

Your last days concluded this vessel. I retain you.

 
music

 

Recording of On The Burden of Flowering

“On the Burden of Flowering” first appeared in Panoply in August 2016, and is included in my chapbook, From Every Moment a Second, which is available for pre-publication order until Friday, August 11.

 

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

On Parting (after Tu Mu)

file000736221785

On Parting (after Tu Mu)

This much fondness numbs me.
I ache behind my drink, and cannot smile.
The candle too, hates parting,
and drips tears for us at dawn.

 

A non-poet friend asked why I’m dabbling in these adaptations. After all, she said, they’ve already been translated. Why do you breathe, I replied, admittedly a dissatisfying, snarky and evasive answer. So I thought about it. Why, indeed. The usual justifications apply: as exercises in diction and rhythm, it’s fun, it’s challenging. But the truth is I love these poems, these poets, and working through the pieces allows me to inhabit the poems in a way I can’t by simply reading them. And there is a hope, however feeble, of adding to the conversation a slight nuance or a bit of texture without detracting from or eroding the original.

 

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Much feeling but seem all without feeling
Think feel glass before smile not develop
Candle have heart too reluctant to part
Instead person shed tear at dawn

red_coat

This first appeared on the blog in October 2014.

Staircase at Fifteen

staircase

Staircase at Fifteen

Ascending, her centrifugal
influence captures me

and I follow,
breathless,
witless, wordless,

despite all longing
and shared

discretions, in spite
of the thundering
pulse
and the incessant
demand to act
or run.

She pauses, looks
down, sees
nothing.

Suddenly freed,
spinning off
and slowing down,
shrinking,

far below, on equal
footing but so
apart,

never to meet
in truth, unable
to define direction or

motive, I remain
fixed as she moves
higher, far away, close

but up,
always up.

planetarium

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/