Tuesday, 27 July 2010

back on the bike

after a bit of a hazy time what with work and mystery illness i lag far too long off the bike. i do get the rohloff winter/touring machine together but the bodging means a downhill tyre on the back which is just stupid and that's before the dodginess of the rohloff. the theory is good but the practicality cycles like a tractor.

but aside from all of that, whisper it, i've kind of gone off the mountain bike. maybe it's because i haven't bothered with the likes of the three tens or such like so far this year (who needs to cycle round the same old forest again and again) or maybe it's just because i'm enjoying my new bikes - the trek was instantly splendid, the bmc is becoming so. whatever this year the road is king.

so today i decide i'll go out in the afternoon for a cheeky wee fifty around all the steepest hills i know. and while i don't have to take the van to necessarily mountain bike the road bike provides a myriad of top routes straight from the door. i could wangle a bit of a sixty i think without having to compromise too much on main roads but beyond that for an afternoon trundle i'm not prepared to go.

i think i saw two cars off the main drag! and while there was little in the way of wildlife - a sea eagle and that was about it - the plantlife more than made up for it. it's wild raspberry season where i live so as soon as t came back from work we were straight back out again to harvest the fruits of my scouting mission. no-one here appears to eat them, preferring to spend a fortune on the frankly inferior product down the supermarket (i do have raspberries growing in the garden but the wild ones are better). we've had a bit of a gorge on these lately so t now has us putting them all away in the freezer so that come the long nights we can crack out some of the summer sun!

now we're just waiting for the blue berries, the brambles and the hips!

the tour

and again the tour is over. so how was it?

first things first. contador/schleck. i warmed more to contador this year than i had last year not least because of this advert. but at the same time it turns out that contador and schleck are so chummy off the bike they're not long off holiday together. problematic in a stage race i'd say (fignon - what a guy!). so chaingate? i was surprised when it happened but in retrospect it's a race. what're they going to do next? hang back because someone - evans/basso - isn't feeling well? schleck should've had his bike maintained/changed gear properly.

plus i don't think contador was in the best form. sure schleck attacked a bit but not as much as he could have. the time trial was great for him but just showed how off contador was even allowing for those wags in his team car lying to him about his 'deficit'. i think contador's emotion at the end gave an insight into the true story.

it was interesting too to see his relationship with vinokourov. vino's always going to be a tainted pleasure now but great to see him doing his vino thing again and better than in the giro. tho at the same time still riding for the team.

the mountains. anthony charteau. who? great result and one fo many for the french who got their best haul of stage wins since the eighties. laziness coupled with waaaay too much time in front of eurosport had me not reading the french papers but i'm guessing it was a mix of francocentric glee coupled with the usual handwringing about the state of french cycling, the demise of the tour and how it was better in the old days.

the points. poor old thor hushovd just doesn't have the legs for it these days which is a shame as tactically he seemed the most able. a shame too for robbie mcewan who you have to feel could've snatched more had he not had to cope with photographers flinging themselves at him. as it was a fine victory for pettachi, who's now got the points jersey in all the grand tours, a record that was overshadowed by the contador/schleck shenanigans but will be rearing its head in a drug investigation soonish. as for cavendish. what a great finish in the last stage. he may be many things but not quick at the end isn't one of them.

the race. i thought it was great. i loved both the avoriaz and tourmalet stages and the arrangement of the stages generally. there wasn't that dip in the third week for breakaways/sprinters and i didn't miss (surprisingly) either the team time trial or a second individual time trial. and it was great to see more and more young riders coming through in a grand tour.

which of course means armstrong. basso was poorly but had been poor anyway. poor old evans was broken but you have to feel that maybe, just maybe the efforts of the pair of them in the giro were coming back to haunt them. someone whose efforts in the giro extended only to the prologue was bradley wiggins. sky must be thinking about all that garmin transfer money as he failed to much of anything beyond moaning about his form and wearing progressively more comedy sunglasses. given the general arrogance of sky it's hard to feel much sympathy tho well done to thomas lofkvist who finshed in a cheeky seventeenth and surely must be a better all round prospect than wiggins who should maybe concentrate on his speed rather than climbing.

but armstrong, poor old puncturing, crashing armstrong who loves the tour so much he kissed the ground more than the pope. this was cheery armstrong rather than the stone faced patron of yesteryear which would've been good had it not also been past your sell by date armstrong. worse still, esp in light of the contador/vino pairing at astana, it was an armstrong who may not have been at his best but still didn't discernably ride for leipheimer or anyone else, somewhat ironic given chris horner's performance. at thirty nine. thirty nine lance! armstrong it appears may be be many things but a team player rather than a leader isn't one of them. and all this before the comedy of the jerseys on the last stage. one could almost hear the collective grinding of teeth of the world's accumulated lance haters.

of whom i'm not one but i'm still glad to see him gone. i got a real sense this year of that old era of cycling passing and new names emerging to take their place. true, cycling will never be drug free but i'd like to think drug use will never be as endemic as it used to be. of course it's not quite gone as the fda investigation in the wake of the landis accusations will doubtless roll on and on but it's on its way.

which begs the question. what will the lanceophiles/phobics do now? better yet, what next for greg lemond? i've been bemused by the frequency with which lemond's 'pure' tour has been referenced this year. as opposed to what - the other two, or the two that he didn't win? i feel sorry for lemond, he hasn't had the best luck either professionally or in business, even before a vast lance centred conspiracy theory and i find it difficult to watch his old performances now in the light of that.

but surely there should be some sort of special legal categorisation known as the lemond defence. i think the cycling armchair warriors have missed out on this. aside from a couple of odd blood results, the 'i only took multivitamins' excuse, lemond's commitment to pushing performance in every other area except drugs which he would never, ever do, aside form all of that lemond should be commended for the 'everyone else is doing this but not me, i rose above it all' line that should now be called 'the lemond defense'.

witness in recent times. richard virenque. richard, your entire team are doping, we got the drugs, your team mates are telling us you doped. virenque employs the lemond defense. it wasn't me, i am the only pure cyclist - and then employs a spin on the lemond, the virenque blub.

tyler hamilton. tyler, tyler after all those broken collar bone heroics how could you? but he did. and he too tried a variation. the 'it was my dead unborn twin what did for me' get out. but it didn't.

floyd landis. the signs were there early on that landis wasn't going to master the lemond defence as he touted a skinful of alcohol as a performance enhancing drug rather than a godawful attempt at masking the shedload of testosterone he'd got down him. this before some shameful blackmailing attempts and then of course he makes the cardinal error of admitting it was true all along.

but of course lance armstrong. possibly the most convincing practitioner of the lemond defence since...lemond. a denial so cast iron that the denial itself begins to look doubtful. why is lemond so pissed off? because lance has stolen his fire. armstrong has taken the lemond defense and made it his own. in the future maybe it'll be known as the armstrong defense and lemond will fester and sue. but then only the most commited of online presences will surely care.

in the end all that bothers me is how it affects those on the hard end of the livestrong campaign. seeing that level of belief at first hand is really quite affecting, if not disturbing. whatever the truth of the allegations the effect on those people is something all of those in the lance debate should be squaring with their own consciences. because that really isn't about a bike race.

Friday, 23 July 2010

john agard

Alternative Anthem

Put the kettle on
Put the kettle on
It is the British answer
To Armageddon.

Never mind taxes rise
Never mind trains are late
One thing you can be sure of
and that’s the kettle, mate.

It’s not whether you lose
It’s not whether you win
It’s whether or not
you’ve plugged the kettle in.

May the kettle ever his
May the kettle ever steam
It is the engine
that drives our nation’s dream.

Long live the kettle
that rules over us
May it be limescale free
and may it never rust.

Sing it on the beaches
Sing it from the housetops
The sun may set on empire
but the kettle never stops

juan ramon jimenez

To the bridge of love

To the bridge of love,
old stone between tall cliffs

- eternal meeting place, red evening ,
I come with my heart.

- My beloved is only water,
that always passes away, and does not deceive,
that always passes away, and does not change,
that always passes away, and does not end.

trns james wright

Thursday, 22 July 2010

roberto juarroz

From Sixth Vertical Poetry

The bell is full of wind
though it does not ring.
The bird is full of flight
though it is still.
The sky is full of clouds
though it is alone.
The word is full of voice
though no one speaks it.
Everything is full of fleeing
though there are no roads.

Everything is fleeing
toward its presence.

trans by W. S. Merwin

yannis papaionnou

Nights Without Hope (Rebetiko Song)

Late nights without hope
I walk the streets alone.
Before your shuttered window
I spend sad hours.

How I long to meet you
to find old joys again,
again to give you kisses
so black despair will leave.

But who knows where you wander
There in some foreign land.
I wonder if you think of me
or suffer for someone else.

trans Gail Holst-Warhaft

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

dennis brutus

Mario Benedetti

They Hanged Him, I Said Dismissively

They hanged him, I said dismissively
having no other way to say he died
or that he was a dear friend
or that work wove us most intimately
in common tasks, ambitions, desires.
Now he is dead: I dare not think
of the anguish that drove him to where he was
or the apin at their hands he must have faced
or how much he was racked by my distress:
now, it is still easiest to say, they hanged him

wole soyinka

The Hunchback of Dugbe

I wondered always where
He walked at night, or lay
Where earth might seem
Suddenly in labour when he sighed.

By day stooped at public drains
Intense at bath or washing cotton holes,
An ant’s blown load upon
A child’s entangled scrawl
The calmest nudist
Of the roadside lunatics.

The devil cam one sane night
On parole from hell, lace curtains
Sieved light dancing pebbles
On his vast creation egg

His cement mixer borne
On crossed cassava sticks.

Not in disdain, but in truth immune
From song or terror, taxi turns
And sale fuss of the mad, beyond
Ugliness or beauty, whom thought-sealing
Solemnly transfigures – the world
Spins on his spine, in still illusion.

But the bell-tower of his thin
Buttocks rings pure tones on the Dugbe
A horse penis loin to crooked knees
Side-slapping on his thighs

At night he prowls, a cask
Of silence; on his lone matrix
Pigeon eggs of light dance in and out
Of dark, and he walks in motley.


days of work looking forward to the bike and now stuck in the house with the rain. i did actually do some work on my wet bike yesterday but it's not done what with it not being winter and all and i don't want to wreck the others with water (i.e. i'm too lazy to do a proper cleaning job!)

of course i should be writing or painting or somesuch but i have an overwhelming urge to doze. eat and watch dumbass movies....

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

jang jin-sung

For 100 won, my daughter I sell

Exhausted, in the midst of the market she stood
"For 100 won, my daughter I sell"
Heavy medallion of sorrow
A cardboard around her neck she had hung
Next to her young daughter
Exhausted, in the midst of the market she stood

A deaf-mute the mother
She gazed down at the ground, just ignoring
The curses the people all threw
As they glared
At the mother who sold
Her motherhood, her own flesh and blood

Her tears dried up
Though her daughter, upon learning
Her mother would perish of a deadly disease
Had buried her face in the mother’s long skirt
And bellowed, and cried
But the mother stood still
And her lips only quivered

Unable she was to give thanks to the soldier
Who slipped a hundred won into her hand
As he uttered
"It is your motherhood,
And not the daughter I'm buying
She took the money, and ran

A mother she was,
And the 100 won she had taken
She spent on a loaf of wheat bread
Toward her daughter she ran
As fast as she could
And pressed the bread on the child's lips
"Forgive me, my child"
In the midst of the market she stood
And she wailed.

trans unknown

branko miljkovic

In Vain I wake her

I wake her for the sun that explains itself in plants
For sky stretched between the fingers
I wake her for words that burn my throat
I love her with my ears.
End of the world should be reached and drops of dew found in grass.
I wake her for some distant things that look like these here,
For people who, without forehead or name, go along the street,
For anonymous words, for squares I wake her,
For manufactured landscapes of public parks.
I wake her for this planet of ours which may become a mine
In bloodshed sky
For smiles in stones, friends fallen asleep between two battles
When sky was no longer a big birdcage but
An airport
My love full of others is a part of dawn,
I wake her for the dawn, for love, for myself, for others,
I wake her, even if it is more in vain than to call a bird
That landed forever
She must have said: let him look for me and see that I am gone
That woman with the hands of a child that I love
That child fallen asleep with tears still not wiped, which I wake
In vain in vain in vain
In vain I wake her
For she will wake up different and new
In vain I wake her
For her mouth will not be able to tell
In vain I wake her
You know the water runs through but says nothing
In vain I wake her
A lost name should be promised someone's face in sand
If this is not so cut off my arms and turn me into stone

trans by Nicholas Cobic

esther jansma


As roses open without you seeing it,
a rose is a rose is, is suddenly knowing:
what was said repeats itself - missing something
is plural - keeps opening in the now

and you don't grasp how. You lie in the heart
and you wait and nothingness seeks you, nothingness
sleeps you to the light, continues to unfold
as it falls into itself.

trans James Brockway

Monday, 19 July 2010

dezider banga


Oh Roma, Oh you my people
You my people with a face of bronze
From a fire of thousand years
Oh, how many times the world has hurt you
For your children
Not one star will be lit!?
You never built cathedrals
Fire is your church
For which you get down on your knees
With black eyes you pray
To fire you confess
You have been silent for thousand years
Above your silent lips
A forest grew
A forest of unfulfilled Romany wishes!

Trans unknown

daniele pantano


On this chair, as I am every morning, waiting
For the cappuccino and brioche to arrive,

And the girl with the oldest hands in the world,
I sense exile is a city reared by eternal artifice.

All sweet violence and thought and repetition.

Beyond what history has left of this topography,
The cup is whiteness, the coffee brown semen.

My first sip makes her appear with provender
And sandals from behind the insignificant ruins.

But for the time being, ruins are eucalyptus trees.
And she not a girl on her way to feed chickens

But a face concealed by dripping nets. Dressed
In black sails and hair dyed a Roman blonde.

The lips of her soul are burning sages, I know.
Her name, I don't. Only her hands matter.

Laden with broached scars, they remind me—
Home is where children sprout in rippled soil.

Where footsteps are mosaics of possibility.

To go on. Finish breakfast. Read the line
That ends in God's breath. Again.

trans by daniele pantano

roberto sosa


To Eduardo Bähr and Víctor Meza

Life moves on and drops its rotten apple.

Time turns and all creation changes. Beasts

will turn to foam and jails to kindergartens.

Gold, its infinity, or the hate of man for man

will be by the end of this affair

mere paper birds.

Meanwhile our great day doesn’t dawn.

We live like those

whose hands are in the fire

who know Time

as a noose around the neck.

Trees burst into tears for fellow trees.

I'’m moving on. Before long

so will you.

trans by JoAnne Engelbert

Sunday, 18 July 2010

veronica volkow

The Washerwoman

She feels her hands, scabrous as fish,
blind fish striking against the rock,
incessantly against the rock for years and years;
she watches the night pierced with eyes,
humid, slippery glances,
the mute faces shifting, disappearing,
brilliant glances of girls,
the dazed look of exhausted mothers.
The day ends and people return to their houses
and water runs from the faucet monotonously as a song,
the water has lost the shape of pipes,
lost the memory of its mountain source
and has pounded out its course,
besieged by obstacles
like the feet, like the eyes, like the hands.
She looks at shadows people drag along,
shadows on the walls, corners, the streets
fugitive ink that marks beaten roads,
desperate roads, laborious,
looking for only, perhaps, a fidelity.

trans by Forrest Gander

charles nokan

My Head is Immense

My head is immense
I have a toad's eyes
A horn stands on the nape of my neck
But a magical music surges
from me.
What tree exhales such rare
Dark beauty, how can you spring
from a toad's wallow? How can you
flow from lonely ugliness?
You who took on, you think
that the voice of my instrument
buys my freedom, that I am fluidity, thought
which flies.
No, there is nothing in me
but a pool of sadness.

Trans unknown

wirndzerem g. barfee

Serious Words This Season

He insisted that the contention
Was all about rigged contracts,
Was all about recurrent ellipses and eclipses
Deliberated opacities formed each rendezvous
Around transactions of sovereignty.

These are again serious words to him
This seven-year season rekindled

He is so obsessed with them-
An agitated sorcerer to unyielding incantations,
That he addicts them to infinite oracular permutations
Until language is deconstructed to volatile gibberish:

An apocalyptic tongue that whispers loud presages
Of sinister days on the streets of genetic volcanicity
So, the taunted citizen, he feigns he’d curl a soft smoke

Goes out on these very streets into a small curbshop,
Buys a box of matches, rolls up his political cigar
And ignites a rebellion with a single match stick.

And, again, these are just possibilities...
The Cardinal maybe, had foreread kindred scriptures
In the angry smoke of his darkened eyes.

Wirndzerem G. Barfee

Saturday, 17 July 2010

kofi awanoor

They Shall Know

Voices, single row of nights
where the birds long died;
the iron clang of the door.
What dreams are possible here?
John pitted with smallpox
sat near the wayside shop

Outing once in three weeks
flags, buntings
signs announce the fair.
Silence over the city
we wind our way through the sleep walkers
My keepers chatting gaily
of power and politics and power
for governments, national language
trials and reprieves.

At the end they gave me an egg
and two pieces of white bread
which I broke before my wife.
It is exactly one month today.

peter semolic

Les Casseurs

Doris Lessing writes that the beginning of the end
will start in the suburbs. Kids will no longer be enthusiastic
about motorbikes, and take to arms. Armed in groups they will
march to the city center, over barricades of barbed wire,
over the tank barriers, over policeman’s corpses,
through homes, stores, parks…
They will come armed to the teeth, with crazed drunken
eyes, with Walkmen that will outcry
the screams of victims. They will come hungry for the city center,
for flashing advertisements, lit shop-windows,
five-star finger-clean restaurants.
They will come, jobless, pushed
to damp crumbling suburbs,
returned to the concrete beehives of skyscrapers. They
will come to take what belongs to them,
and destroy that which they were deprived of.

trans Lili Potpara

alistair te ariki campbell

Gallipoli Peninsula

It was magical when flowers
appeared on the upper reaches –
not that we saw much of the upper reaches.
But when we did,
we were reminded of home
when spring clothed the hills with flowers.
The dead lying among them
seemed to be asleep.
I can never forget the early mornings,
before the killings started up,
when the sea was like a mirror
under little wisps of cloud
breathing on its surface, so dazzling
it hurt the eye.
and the ships, so many of them,
they darkened the sea.
But the evenings too were magical,
with such hues in the sky
over Macedonia,
so many colours, gold bars,
green, red, and yellow.
We noticed these things,
when the firing stopped and we had respite.
It was good to feel,
during such moments,
that we were human beings once more,
delighting in little things,
in just being human.

Friday, 16 July 2010

fernando pessoa

Written in a Book Abandoned on the Trip

I come from around Beja.
I’m going to the centre of Lisbon.
I’m not bringing anything and won’t find a thing.
I feel the exhaustion from what I won’t find.
And my yearning comes not from the past or the future.
In this book I have inscribed the image of my dead design:
I was, like the grasses, and never uprooted.

(as Alvaro de Campos)

trans by Edward Honig and Susan M. Brown

evan jones

A Line From Keats

The south-coast sun, the play of light and air,
The rain, indeed, and all that varied weather,
Mirrored all our delight and wantonness.
Breath could move your ruffled hair
As we lay there at last at peace together,
Perfect and unconcerned in nakedness.

Moments of discord swelled up and were gone:
I stalked out once into the feathery rain
And drove away, because you would not call me.
I cam back with my tarnished honours on
Within an hour; at once you made it plain
That you would spare no effort to enthral me.

It was my darling here, my darling there
As we joined in a clear festivity
Needing no celebration
Needing no more occasion than our bare
Desire to come together: you and I,
Bright in that burning week of consummation.

All stories, you once said, should have this end:
To change the burden slightly, long ago
These lovers fled away into the calm
Easily I became your ‘dearest friend’
And now am someone that you scarcely know,
A memory that you balance in our palm.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

malika o'lahsen

It Took One Hundred Years

They are cutting up into pieces
My body and my sun
They are cutting them up into pieces
You will be white
You will be black

It took
One hundred years
To make me a savage
It took
One hundred years
Even more

They are cutting everything up into pieces
They are clipping out pictures
With border barbed wire
They are cutting up my body
To make it into History

trans by Eric Sellin

gladys campagnola

If you arrive today

If you arrive today, remember
that you have to come first to my patio.
Which flag should I wave for you to know
that truly I am waiting for you?
And how can I contain myself
so that I don't set off a serious scandal:
greeting from so far away
a brother.

Tell me which language you understand best
and I'll decide to study it.
I don't want there to be interference
although we speak in signs.

It's in this we have experience:
for centuries we began to understand.
After so much practice, perhaps with you
we'll finally see the results --.

(Oh no -- without realizing it,
without wanting to, I've made come out the bitter tone
of the person who knows all the limits
and cannot avoid them.)

Sit here. On the side, the jasmine
will scent you with white.
See how fresh the water is from this jar.
And how sweet the fruit from the guava tree.

I'm still waiting for you here, under the generous
shade of the mango tree.
It is January. It is Saturday.
Don't delay any more, my brother.

trans unknown

mario benedetti

Tactic and Strategy

My tactic is
to look at you
to learn how you are
to love you as you are
my tactic is
to talk to you
and to listen to you
to build with words
an indestructible bridge
my tactic is
to remain in your memories
I don't know how
with what pretext
but to remain with you
my tactic is
to be frank
and to know that you're frank
and not to sell to ourselves
so that between us
there is no curtain
nor abyss
my strategy is
in contrast
deeper and
more simple
my strategy is
that one of these days
I don't know how
with what pretext
you finally
need me.

how to wake your partner

1. arrive home to smell that she has recently been eating popcorn

2. be affected by this lovely aroma and decide to make some yourself

3. put popcorn in microwave.

4.ignore the instruction to 'keep an eye' on the contents

5. ignore the popping sound of popcorn at the ready

6. the microwave explodes

7. the popcorn is on fire

8. your partner is wakened from restful sleep


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

patrizia cavalli

Now that the time seems all mine

Now that the time seems all mine
and no one calls me for lunch or dinner
now that I can stay to watch
how a cloud loosens and loses its color,
how a cat walks on the roof
in the immense luxury of a prowl, now
that what waits for me every day
is the unlimited length of a night
where there is no call and no longer a reason
to undress in a hurry to rest inside
the blinding sweetness of a body that waits for me,
now that the morning no longer has a beginning
and silently leaves me to my plans,
to all the cadences of my voice, now
suddenly I would like a prison

trans by Judith Baumel

carlos drummond de andrade

Don’t Kill Yourself

Carlos, calm down, love
is what you are seeing:
a kiss today, tomorrow no kiss,
the day after tomorrow is Sunday
and nobody knows what will happen
on Monday.

It’s useless to resist
or to commit suicide.
Don’t kill yourself. Don’t kill yourself.
Save all of yourself for the wedding
though nobody knows when or if
it will ever come.

Carlos, earthy Carlos, love
spent the night with you
and your deepest self
is raising a terrible racket,
saints in procession,
ads for the best soap,
a racket for which nobody knows
the why or wherefor.

Meanwhile, you walk
upright, unhappy.
You are the palm tree, you are the shout
that nobody heard in the theatre
and all the lights went out.
Love in darkness, no, in daylight
is always sad, Carlos, my boy,
don’t tell anyone
nobody knows or will know.

trans Mark Strand

yi won


Rather than spread open the morning paper smelling of ink
at dawn I lightly double-click onto the odorless Internet
I click the complimentary PDF that shows me
exactly the image of a printed newspaper page
The KOSDAQ has no wings now
Total short-term foreign debt of 50,000,000,000 dollars
With each click a page of the newspaper turns
I continuously click the world
With a click one world collapses and
another one rises
The sun floats up There’s a chip installed in the sun too
I look at a 12-page article: ‘The computer picks up
a wireless signal from my body in which fiber optics carrying
microscopic electrodes have been grafted into my arms’ nerve structure.’
and click onto the website of Kevin Warwick who dreams of the first-ever
human robot I am the 28,412th visitor
I have a gene I want to insert too
With my right hand’s forefinger moving the mouse around
I click onto my e-mail A message arrived last night also
I click the attached file that k of Toronto has sent
Red roses drip dew from their petals and
Bloom inside a white picket fence
The flowers sent by k haven’t wilted
I immediately click on the dialpad of the free Internet phone
I click k’s phone number
I become connected across 6589 miles
Even I may be a program that someone’s installed
Moving the slippery mouse around with my right hand I
Click on literature I click on periodicals
I click into the April issue of the literary webzine Novel
The ‘Little Prince’ on the cover who says ‘The desert is beautiful
because somewhere it’s hiding a spring.’
constantly changes the scene around him I open the window a bit more and
click onto the Internet bookstore Aladdin I look at the list of new publications
I click to order Paul Auster’s The Music of Chance at a 20% discount
and René Girard’s Violence and the Sacred at 15% off
Outside my window mundane affairs bumping around
inside a produce truck in a four-beat rhythm koong-chak koong-chak koong-chak-ja koongchak
I take up the four-beat bongjak music time and
idly looking at the street the truck is on click its map
I follow one of the routes out of Seoul and arrive at
Hwaôm Temple The sound of a wooden bell spreads out from the camellias arrayed
in front of the inner temple Hands together in prayer
I click on one of the 60%-discount coupons for a condo in the Chiri Mountains
Onto my knees under the printer
a coupon drops down like a camellia petal I
click the I attached to the camellia petal
Zero categories and 177 sites come up
as the search result for the word I
But where am I
Searching for I I click each site in order
lunacy movie India and I…splIt
…comIng out…suIng alone…And I, Inc.…
storIes I want to Impart…the earth and I….
I can hear the click of the double-humped camel’s hooves

An oasis is nearby
Continuing on I click therefore I am

trans by Walter K. Lew

jules supervielle

Rain and the Tyrants

I stand and watch the rain
Falling in pools which make
Our grave old planet shine;
The clear rain falling, just the same
As that which fell in Homer’s time
And hat which dropped in Villon’s day
Falling on mother and on child
As on the passive backs of sheep
Rain saying all it has to say
Again and yet again, and yet
Without the power to make less hard
The wooden heads of tyrants or
To soften their stone hearts,
And powerless to make them feel
Amazement as they ought;
A drizzling rain which falls
Across all Europe’s map,
Wrapping all men alive
In the same moist envelope;
Despite the soldiers loading arms,
Despite the newspapers’ alarms,
Despite all this, all that,
A shower of drizzling rain
Making the flags hang wet.

trans by David Gascoyne

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

best video

there was a time when i was into surfing. while a bad shoulder and a move away from the waves have put paid to that i still can't shake the habit of watching the coast. what i never got the habit for was watching surfing videos.e ach to their own but for me these were the visual equivalent of watching paint dry. there's always an exception tho and this is it.how much time!! lol

and as if i didn't feel bad enough about my lack of bike skill i came across this. watch it right to the end - if i tried that i'd have to book an ambulance in advance!

amy gerstler

A Non-Christian on Sunday

Now we heathens have the town to ourselves.
We lie around, munching award winning pickles
and hunks of coarse seeded bread smeared
with soft, sweet cheese. The streets seem
evacuated, as if Godzilla had been sighted
on the horizon kicking down skyscrapers
and flattening cabs. Only two people
are lined up to see a popular movie
in which the good guy and the bad guy trade
faces. Churches burst into song. Trees wish
for a big wind. Burnt bacon and domestic tension
scent the air. So do whiffs of lawnmower exhaust
mixed with the colorless blood of clipped hedges.
For whatever’s about to come crashing down
on our heads, be it bliss-filled or heinous,
make us grateful, OK? Hints of the savior’s
flavour buzz on our tongues, like crumbs
of a sleeping pill shaped like a snowflake.

henrik nordbrandt

If Giacometti had been along

Everything has its limit, people say.
Each day I stand at a new one
and so come to think
about infinity, this
world’s strangest word
because only language contains it
within language itself, so then
a limit is thereby set.
It is clear, though
like its background colorless
like grief
that has consumed all colors
so their absence
stands out all the clearer.
The picture can be called
The Blue Desert and placed
on the other side of itself
in the next room
so with these words meaning
becomes sand.
Has everything come along?
Like it I bring only
the contents of my pockets.
So perhaps what is missing
could be a statue
of myself.
It would be incredibly tall
and made of iron, in the second person singular.

trans Thom Satterlee

a cup of tea

you know it's that time...!

Monday, 12 July 2010

gabriela mistral


Sleep, my child; because of you
The western skies their light efface;
There is no glitter save the dew,
Nor any whiteness, save my face.

My little son, because you dream,
The road lies hushed, in peace unfurled,
Nothing murmurs save the stream;
I am alone in a sleeping world.

A slow mist drowns the silent land,
A blue sigh fades in darkening skies;
Like a gentle, soothing hand
Upon the earth a quiet lies.

Not my child alone I’ve sung,
Cradling him, to easy sleep;
The earth too, as my cradle swung,
Drifted into slumber deep.

trans Alice Jane McVan

georg trakl


At nightfall they carried the stranger
Into the room of the dead;
An odour of tar; the red plane tree’s soft rustling;
Dark flight of jackdaws, the guard marched
on the square.
The sun has sunk in black linen; forever
this bygone evening returns.
In the next room the sister is playing a Schubert sonata.
So softly sinks her smile into the ruined fountain,
Which rustles bluish in the twilight. Oh, how ancient
our lineage.
Someone whispers below in the garden; someone has
left this black heaven.
Aroma of apples on top of the cupboard. Grandmother
is lighting the golden candles.

Oh, how mild is autumn. Softly our footsteps ring out
in the old park
Beneath tall trees. Oh, how sober is the hyancinthine
face of twilight.
The blue spring at your feet, mysterious your mouth’s
red stillness
Made sombre by the leaves slumber, the dark gold
of decayed sunflowers.
Your lids are heavy with poppy and dream siftly
against my brow.
Gentle bells quiver in the breast. A blue cloud
Your face sunk over me in the twilight.
A song for guitar rings out from an unknown tavern,
The wild elder bushes there, a long bygone
November day,
Familiar steps on the dusking stairway, the sight of beams
turned brown,
An open window, at which a sweet hope lingered –
Unspeakable it all is, Oh God one falls to one’s knees

Oh how dark is this night. A crimson flame
Died at my mouth. In the stillness
The anxious soul’s lonely music fades to perish.
Enough, when drunk with wine the head sinks down
into the gutter.

trans Will Stone

yosano akiko

From The Channel Boat

What shall I wear to sleep alone?
An under-kimono of silk crepe
dyed the hushed red of dawn.
It touches the skin
like the heavy mist falls on flowers.
Every time I wear it I’m glad
I was born a woman.

In the candle’s glowing flame
its smallest motion
has a beauty hat makes me catch my breath
even in this bedroom without you.
It’s strange but
as I slip under the quilts
in the cold February bed
my heart returns to the days
when I was a girl and first loved you.

My husband traveller
are you sleeping now in France?
If a bird of paradise comes into your dreams
it is me.

trans Janine Beichman

Saturday, 10 July 2010

and then the rest was done

two months! after a month it felt like a while so was most likely the best time to take another bit of time off. life has been occupied with much cycling (comedy cycling tan - oh yes!), only a bit of writing, more painting, surprising amounts of gardening and the ongoing sorting out of stuff. all very pleasant.

i've get the computer activity to a minimum and i have to say, for the summer at least and outside of maintaining contacts, i'd highly recommend it. i did discover, courtesy of t, that i can schedule these posts so i've rather lazily prepared this post in advance. currently i'm somewhere down in dumfries and galloway. i may be racing, i may not. i look forward to finding out!