translated by Pierre Joris
Autumn eats its leaf out of my hand: we are friends.
We shell time from the nuts and teach it to walk:
time returns to the shell.
In the mirror is Sunday,
in the dream we sleep,
the mouth speaks true.
My eye goes down to my lover’s sex:
we gaze at each other,
we speak of dark things,
we love each other like poppy and memory,
we sleep like wine in the seashells,
like the sea in the moon’s blood-beam.
We stand and embrace at the window, they watch us from the street:
it is time, for this to be known!
It is time that the stone took the trouble to bloom,
that unrest’s heart started to beat.
It’s time for it to be time.
It is time.
Aus der Hand frißt der Herbst mir sein Blatt: wir sind Freunde.
Wir schälen die Zeit aus den Nüssen und lehren sie gehn:
die Zeit kehrt zurück in die Schale.
Im Spiegel ist Sonntag,
im Traum wird geschlafen,
der Mund redet wahr.
Mein Aug steigt hinab zum Geschlecht der Geliebten:
wir sehen uns an,
wir sagen uns Dunkles,
wir lieben einander wie Mohn und Gedächtnis,
wir schlafen wie Wein in den Muscheln,
wie das Meer im Blutstrahl des Mondes.
Wir stehen umschlungen im Fenster, sie sehen uns zu von der Straße:
es ist Zeit, daß man weiß!
Es ist Zeit, daß der Stein sich zu blühen bequemt,
daß der Unrast ein Herz schlägt.
Es ist Zeit, daß es Zeit wird.
Es ist Zeit.
Copyright © 2020 by Pierre Joris. From Memory Rose into Threshold Speech: The Collected Earlier Poetry (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2020) by Paul Celan, translated by Pierre Joris. Used with the permission of the translator.
I’m watching an old movie in one corner
of my laptop and in another the shadows
nesting in your neck, the flickering frequencies
of your sweater, and remember the Jack Nicholson
tagline in that movie we almost watched then decided
against fearing the little taser of misogyny:
You make me want to be a better person. Sometimes
the only thing I want is to say marry me
even though we both think marriage is archaic and weird
or at least for us. It’s not marry me I want to say
but rather weld with me like a net we also sit in.
Oh FaceTime face and shadow neck and the almost synced
sound of our shared watching. You have a list of things
that are going to be the death of you,
and so do I, which we cover in our debriefings.
All of this is to say that distance makes my heart go farther
into the terrain of heartfelt and I love it: how ordinarily
classifiable it is like feeling literal figurative butterflies
in your stomach. The good being fundamental.
Surprising love can happen at any part of one’s life
like the pixels deciding when to flicker into bursts.
Copyright © 2020 by Carmen Giménez Smith. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 30, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
makes a lot
so does a bird
full of love
and the dogs
some money &
I don’t know
how to do
it & I’ll
one of them
shirt & glasses
Copyright © 2020 by Eileen Myles. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 3, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
I touch you as a lonely violin touches the suburbs of the faraway place patiently the river asks for its share of the drizzle and, bit by bit, a tomorrow passing in poems approaches so I carry faraway’s land and it carries me on travel’s road On a mare made of your virtues, my soul weaves a natural sky made of your shadows, one chrysalis at a time. I am the son of what you do in the earth, son of my wounds that have lit up the pomegranate blossoms in your closed-up gardens Out of jasmine the night’s blood streams white. Your perfume, my weakness and your secret, follows me like a snakebite. And your hair is a tent of wind autumn in color. I walk along with speech to the last of the words a bedouin told a pair of doves I palpate you as a violin palpates the silk of the faraway time and around me and you sprouts the grass of an ancient place—anew
From The Butterfly’s Burden (2007) by Mahmoud Darwish, translated by Fady Joudah, published by Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2007 by Mahmoud Darwish. Translation and preface copyright © 2007 by Fady Joudah. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up
From Lunch Poems by Frank O'Hara. Copyright © 1964 by Frank O'Hara. Reprinted by permission of City Lights Books. All rights reserved.