Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Translation of “Dyr bul shchyl” by Alexei Kruchenykh

Russian zaum poem 
Дыр бул щыл
вы со бу
р л эз

English transliteration
Dyr bul shchyl
vy so bu
r l ez

Translation of "Dyr Bul Shchyl" into Unglish*
Pot nag chog
you be na
t g id

*With thanks for the term Unglish to mIEKAL aND

Monday, February 08, 2016

From "Mirror, or a Flash in the Pan" in #specialcharacters

$ $ $

Today, Ritar watches television; soon there will be no cable, so she must watch and watch and watch, drinking the gin she buys instead of meat and vegetables.

She sees that the reality shows have created a Malthusian generation. You’re eliminated. Fired. Out. Go home.

The reality shows train people in servitude as the 21st century wants it.

Despite humiliating, impossible challenges, despite verbal and physical abuse, no one wants to go home.

Perhaps there is no home to go to.

And despite the horror of going home, as though all contestants were ACAs born into hellholes, no one cares when someone goes home.

Contestants grovel before the judges and snipe at other contestants.

Fired. Out. Go home.

Snipe willingly, enthusiastically and eagerly.

Go home.

“At least it wasn’t me.” They not only think, they say.

Do it to Julia.

Competitors detract from one another, the performances of other competitors. Their characters. Their looks. Meanly.

It is, Ritar sees, class war: The judges are from the upper classes; contestants are usually poor. The shows deign to allow one working class hopeful entrée to their world, at least temporarily. Fame, if short-lived. The promise, if not the substance, of wealth. Temporarily, for a lottery time.

Do it to Julia.

As in the Project Runway episode with Team Luxe. In which the team, losing, made a pact not to “throw any of their members under the bus,” not to scapegoat anyone to go home. Solidarity, temporarily. And the persistent attempts, ultimately successful, of the judges to make them––the team, not the judges––choose someone to be sent home.
“Someone’s goin’ down,” snarled Michael Kors, later characterizing the group’s attempts at loyalty and cooperation as stupid, explaining “You have to be more self-sufficient.”

Betrayal and treachery, now termed selfsufficiency.

“Who is the weakest?”

“We don’t want to…”

“WHO is the weakest?”








Do it to Julia.

And the winner of Season 7 tells the world that he is inspired by Russian and German military fashion, walking with his lead model, who is wrapped in a swastika.

Do it to Julia.

And the lexicon of all these shows, television staples in a time of unemployment, is:

Step it up.

Work harder (for less money.)
Because you are inadequate.

Because your performance (painting, cooking, comedy routine, dance, enterprise, design, sewing, attitude) was not good enough. Was lousy, in fact. Should never have seen the light of day. Sucked.

Ditto: your face, pores, hair, legs, teeth, butt, breath, facial expression, feet.


Your too-happy, too-sensitive, too-creative, too-too-too-too self.

Sucked. Sucks.

And it wasn’t because we asked too much. Gave humiliating tasks. Judged unfairly.




Ciao. Auf wiedersehn. Toodles.

                                                              $ $ $

Sunday, February 07, 2016

He follows her

 He follows her with his voice; she sees him with her skin,
 and drinks him with her hands, in the storm touch which
 will crush his chest against her breast. The poppies pour

 their juice in the red rain which will crack, in time, all o-
 ther things. She drinks him with her hands. He follows
 her to her breast. She sees him with his chest, in this bo-

 dy not her own, but which, in the night, is hers. Like the
 heat that swells all  things, she sings the night with him.
 He follows her with his voice; she sees him with her skin

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Recording of New Life, a mistranslation of Joseph Brodsky

A recording of my mistranslation of Joseph Brodsky's poem "New Life" from the poet's last collection, Landscape with Flood (Paysage s navodneniem). Music is by the late Brant Lyon; produced by Jackie Sheeler. 

Listen to New Life.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

February issue of Plume now up!

The February issue of Plume is now live at www.plumepoetry.com
With poetry by Gail Mazur, Kelli Russell Agodon, Alan Shapiro, Carrie Etter, Carol Frost, Barbara Hamby, Devin Johnston, Thomas Lux, Christopher Shipman, Ron Smith, Geoffrey Young, Hélène Cardona translates work by José Manuel Cardona, Adam Tavel reviews Greta Stoddart’s ALIVE ALIVE O. Featured: Emmanuel Moses translated by Marilyn Hacker.


Christ was born in a cave, dark, dank, and blind;
The prophets imbibed hot pedal-pumped wine;
In the sunstroke lands of mirage, drought, and thorn,
Why, Nabi, were our "big" religions born?

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Sea (Sic)

(Readers: Please read the stanzas in any order you like.)

Ramon Fernandez, tell me, if you know,
the order of my words.

                                This body, wholly
holy, sings as best it can, lisping the mantra

                              Alone. Why did the
singing stop, and why? 

                         No, I never broke
an honest sweat, did I think the ocean
would forget?

                       In the horizon’s glance
I see a wave rise, rise, rise and die,
out of nowhere again, but why?

From In Paran.

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