Thursday, September 23, 2010

Poem by Cola Hines

Princess of light and dark in equal measure,

your fluorescent brow hovers where I attempt

sleep. At ease, I urge inane,

inept, uninterested sentries of

my better sense, whose bosses left

by the last unannounced

thing that want

to reach you: but better sense

impales, and fades, over

exposure left — & trusted instinct

tells you I preserve still

detachment. Blink and turn,

it’s night again, and we’re marooned,

unlit, unacknowledged: dark and light.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The fan by KT McVeigh

I used to turn it on to drown out your snoring

Those random little screams and German exclamations you’d leak in your sleep

Urgent moans you’d emit every time I closed my eyes

I don’t think I got through one night without hearing you,

Before I got that fan

And then I couldn’t sleep without it

Even after you stopped talking to yourself

I convinced myself I needed it

And became accustomed to the sound of it

And turning it on meant it was finally time to pass through

To my beautiful second life

Where I was home and my mom was in the kitchen cooking something that wasn’t intended to feed 400 people and I would lie down in my room in complete darkness with the stars on my ceiling and consider that, cosmically, I may be completely worthless and that my life might begin and end without notice, but right where I was, I was happy.

Maybe this is all just a dream.

Do you ever think that what you think is happening isn’t even there?

What if the only things real are the things that you feel?

What if death is the end of the dream

And you wake up on the other side

Surprise! The state of your hair was a joke

And the clothes that you wore were a lie

Then something as simple as my mom downstairs

Is so wonderful it makes me want to cry.

And it was July

At my grandmother’s house

And my sister turned on the fan

And suddenly, unexplainably, there were tears in my eyes

And I was begging her to turn it off! Turn it off, please

Because I was in my old room with her

Eyes wide open in the dark

Trying to imagine myself away

Listening to its dull whir

And now, tonight

With so much left to do

It has only seemed fitting since I arrived to have the fan on

But the truth is, I am alone

And I reach up and flip the switch without a second thought

And it turns slowly and abruptly I am encompassed by this silence so loud

I feel like I’m swimming through jello

And since day one

The fan was white noise.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Translation of poem by Branko Miljković

In Vain I Wake Her

I wake her because of the sun explaining itself through plants

because of the sky spread between fingers

I wake her because of words that chafe the throat

I love her with my ears

one must go to the ends of the earth and find the dew on the grass

I wake her because of distant things that resemble things here

because of people with no foreheads and names passing in the street

because of anonymous names of squares I wake her

because of manufactured landscapes of public parks

I wake her because of our planet which might be a mine in the bloody sky

because of smiles in stone, of friends who fell asleep between two battles

when the heavens were no longer a huge cage for birds, but an airport

my love is full of others; it is part of dawn

I wake her because of the dawn because of love because of myself because of the other

I wake her although that is more hopeless than calling to a bird grounded forever

For sure she has said: Let him look for me and see that I’m not there

That woman with the hands of a girl I love

that child who fell asleep not wiping off the tears I wake her

in vain in vain in vain

I wake her in vain

because her lips won’t be able to tell her

I wake her in vain

somebody’s face in the sand must be promised to the forgotten name

if not then cut off my hands and transform me to stone

Translated by Nick Benson and Kristina Vušković

poem by Branko Miljković (1934-1961)