in the divorce i separate to two piles books: english love songs: arabic
my angers my schooling my long repeating name english english arabic
i am someone’s daughter but i am american born it shows in my short memory
my ahistoric glamour my clumsy tongue when i forget the word for [ ] in arabic
i sleep unbroken dark hours on airplanes home & dream i’ve missed my
connecting flight i dream a new & fluent mouth full of gauzy swathes of arabic
i dream my alternate selves each with a face borrowed from photographs of
the girl who became my grandmother brows & body rounded & cursive like arabic
but wake to the usual borderlands i crowd shining slivers of english to my mouth
iris crocus inlet heron how dare i love a word without knowing it in arabic
& what even is translation is immigration without irony safia
means pure all my life it’s been true even in my clouded arabic
Copyright © 2017 by Safia Elhillo. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 13, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
Rain fell in a post-romantic way.
Heads in the planets, toes tucked
under carpets, that’s how we got our bodies
through. The translator made the sign
for twenty horses backing away from
a lump of sugar. Yes, you.
When I said did you want me
I meant me in the general sense.
The drink we drank was cordial.
In a spoon, the ceiling fan whirled.
The Old World smoked in the fireplace.
Glum was the woman in the ostrich feather hat.
Copyright © 2006 by Matthea Harvey. Reprinted with permission of the author.
A silver Lucifer serves cocaine in cornucopia To some somnambulists of adolescent thighs draped in satirical draperies Peris in livery prepare Lethe for posthumous parvenues Delirious Avenues lit with the chandelier souls of infusoria from Pharoah's tombstones lead to mercurial doomsdays Odious oasis in furrowed phosphorous--- the eye-white sky-light white-light district of lunar lusts ---Stellectric signs "Wing shows on Starway" "Zodiac carrousel" Cyclones of ecstatic dust and ashes whirl crusaders from hallucinatory citadels of shattered glass into evacuate craters A flock of dreams browse on Necropolis From the shores of oval oceans in the oxidized Orient Onyx-eyed Odalisques and ornithologists observe the flight of Eros obsolete And "Immortality" mildews... in the museums of the moon "Nocturnal cyclops" "Crystal concubine" ------- Pocked with personification the fossil virgin of the skies waxes and wanes----
From The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems of Mina Loy, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by the Estate of Mina Loy. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
The best part
is when we’re tired
of it all
in the same degree,
a fatigue we imagine
to be temporary,
and we lie near each other,
What’s done is done,
we don’t say,
to begin our transaction,
each letting go of something
bringing it to mind
until we’re lighter,
and a current
runs between us
where our toes touch.
It feels unconditional.
Remember this, we don't say:
The Little Mermaid
was able to absorb
to form legs.
This meant that
and that everything is played out
Copyright © 2015 by Rae Armantrout. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 3, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
Fruit from one vine tangles with another
Making a mess of the intended harvest, yet
the lack of calculation is welcome
that accident that shifts bodies from shadows
into a locus of light midday bright & caustic
wounds un-healed newsreel cameras trap
this old & angry man in a bespoke suit lifting
white pages & refusing to read them, mumbles
unwelcome threats & thanks the nation
the nation kicks him out—finally defiant
after years of misrule, disruption, murder
and the choked voice youth terrorized
he wants more blood on his hands so that
when he enters his version of paradise
all will be red.
Copyright © 2018 by Patricia Spears Jones. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 22, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.