Friday, September 12, 2014

Juan Carlos Galeano's "History"

Poem of the Week: 
Juan Carlos Galeano
      

 
History
In the north we hunted many buffalo
whose lard warmed us all winter.

But in the jungle they told us that to bring more light
we should throw more trees into the sun's furnace.

One day our hand slipped and tossed in the entire jungle
with its birds, fish, and rivers.

Now we spend a lot of time gazing at the stars
and our daily menu almost never changes.

Today we hunted down a cloud
that was going to become winter in New York City



***

From The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Ann Fisher-Wirth and Laura Gray Street. (Trinity University Press, San Antonio, Texas.) Used by permission.


JUAN CARLOS GALEANO was born in the Colombian Amazon. He is the author of several books of poetry and translations of American poetry. His work inspired by Amazonian cosmologies has been published and anthologized internationally and widely translated. Magazines and journals such as The Atlantic Monthly, Field, PloughsharesTriQuarterly,and Antioch Review have published his poems. Other works include a collection of folktales Cuentos amazónicos (2014), Folktales of the Amazon (2009), as well as a film he co-directed and co-produced, The Trees Have a Mother (2008). He teaches Latin American poetry and cultures of the Amazon at Florida State University.
***    

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Early Prophetic Opening by George Fox

"And the Lord answered that it was needful I should have a sense of all conditions, how else should I speak to all conditions; and in this I saw the infinite love of God. I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness. And in that also I saw the infinite love of God; and I had great openings." from Early Prophetic Openings by George Fox

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sergey Gandlevsky poem in audio



My translation of the untranslateable Russian poet Sergey Gandlevsky,Сергей Гандлевский, whose "All at once—things in the corridor" will be part of a future collection in English.
http://www.lyrikline.org/ru/stihotvoreniya/vsyo-razom-veshi-v-koridore-10818#

For more Gandlevsky (in bilingual edition):
To purchase directly from Zephyr Press, go here:
http://www.zephyrpress.org/books_europe.php#kindred
If you're interested in losing more bookstores, you can go here:
http://www.amazon.com/Kindred-Orphanhood-Selected-Gandlevsky-Thoughts/dp/0939010755

Monday, August 4, 2014

Deema Shehabi's "Of Harvest and Flight"

Deema Shehabi is the granddaughter of the former mayor of Gaza, though she grew up in exile and now lives in California. I can think of no other way to honor Palestinians from Gaza, and their predicament, than to quote one as eloquent as Deema.

OF HARVEST AND FLIGHT by Deema Shehabi


Beneath a wet harvest of stars in a Gaza sky,
my mother tells me how orchards
once hid the breach of fallen oranges,
and how during a glowing night

of beseeching God in prayer,
when the night nets every breath
of every prayer,
my uncle, a child then, took flight

from the roof of the house.
The vigilant earth had softened
just before his body fell to the ground,
but still there's no succumbing to flight's abandon;

our bodies keep falling on mattresses,
piles of them are laid out on living room floors
to sleep multitudes of wedding visitors:
the men in their gowns

taunt roosters until dusk,
while women taunt
with liquid harvest in their eyes,
and night spirits and soldiers

continue to search the house
between midnight and three in the morning.
On the night of my uncle's nuptial,
I watch my mother as she passes

a tray of cigarettes to rows of radiant guests
with a fuschia flower in her hair . . . .
Years before this, I found a photograph
of her sitting on my father's lap,

slender legs swept beneath her,
like willow filaments in river light.
His arm was firm around her waist;
his eyes bristled, as though the years of his youth

were borders holding him back
and waiting to be scattered.
Those were the years when my mother
drew curtains tightly over windows

to shut out the frost world of the Potomac;
she sifted through pieces of news
with her chest hunched over a radio,
as though each piece when found

became a story and within it
a space for holding our endless
debris.  But in truth,
it was only 1967, during the war,

three years before I was born . . . .
But tonight, in Gaza beneath the stars,
I turn towards my mother
and ask her how a daughter

can possibly grow beyond
her mother's flight.  There's no answer;
instead she leans over me
with unreadable long-ago eyes

and points to the old wall:
the unbolting of our roots there,
beside this bitter lemon tree,
and here was the crumbling

of the house of jasmine
arching over doorways,
the house of roosters
and child-flight legends,

this house of girls
with eyes like simmering seeds.


© by Deema K. Shehabi
http://www.valpo.edu/vpr/shehabiof.html
http://www.fringemagazine.org/lit/features/deema-shehabi-poet-in-exile/
http://www.press53.com/BioShehabi.html

Sunday, July 27, 2014

On the Attitude Toward Children in Times of War, by Dahlia Ravikovitch (translated by Chana Bloch)

This is from Chana Bloch, in response to the deaths in Gaza:

I have no words. This is by Dahlia Ravikovitch (1936-2005), one of the great Hebrew poets of our time, acclaimed for her poetry, admired and vilified for her political activism...Chana Bloch

On the Attitude toward Children in Times of War

He who destroys thirty babies  
it is as if he'd destroyed three hundred babies,
and toddlers too,    
or even eight-and-a-half year olds;
in a year, God willing, they'd be soldiers
in the Palestine Liberation Army.  

Benighted children,     
at their age
they don't even have a real world view.
And their future is shrouded, too:       
refugee shacks, unwashed faces,
sewage flowing in the streets,
infected eyes,
a negative outlook on life.

And thus began the flight from city to village,
from village to burrows in the hills.
As when a man did flee from a lion,
as when he did flee from a bear,
as when he did flee from a cannon,
from an airplane, from our own troops.  

He who destroys thirty babies,
it is as if he'd destroyed one thousand and thirty,
or one thousand and seventy,
thousand upon thousand.
And for that alone shall he find  
no peace.

from Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch
trans. Chana Bloch & Chana Kronfeld (Norton 2009).

     Author's note: This is a variation on a poem by Natan Zach that deals [satirically] with the question of whether there were exaggerations in the number of children reported killed in the [1982] Lebanon War. 
     Lines 1-2, He who destroyscf. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 4:5: "He who destroys a single human soul . . . , it is as if he had destroyed an entire world." 
     Lines 16-17, As when a man: Amos 5:19, about the danger of apocalyptic yearnings. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

new Split This Rock poem: Nicholas Samaras' "Anxiety Attack at 27,000 Feet"

 
                                                                               May 23, 2014
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Poem of the Week:   
Nicholas Samaras   
                Nicholas Samaras headshot



Anxiety Attack at 27,000 Feet



What is that red throbbing over the sound of engines?
Why is a distant war still being talked about in the media?
I can't see my home or Iraq or the Middle East
outside this bowed rectangle of blue altitude.
Who brought these children here?
How will this raven-haired girl grow into her life?
There is no way I can die with this room full of Bostonians.
Why is the serrated coast of New York approaching so.....rapidly?
How many of these faces will separate before the plane.....lands?
We go blind in this whiteness as my stomach descends
and, somewhere far in the back, I can hear an animal.....wailing.
Why am I wearing this black suit of my comfortable life?
Into what country will we even touch down? What if we.....splinter
and explode upon landing, the moment of our most hope and .....relief?
How will my body feel enjoined to metal, shrouded in.....upholstery?
I wish everyone peace, as we slam into the earth of our.....making.
But what is that red throbbing and these murmurs building?
What are all these stern looks of kindness and concern
as hands hold my hands and place the mask over my.....breathing face?

 
  
-Nicholas Samaras    
  
Used by permission.
  
  
Nicholas Samaras won The Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for his first book, Hands of the Saddlemaker. His new book, American Psalm, World Psalm, is now out withAshland Poetry Press (2014). He lives in West Nyack, New York.
 
 
***   
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Be one of the first 11 to give a gift of $250 or more and we'll send you a copy of the March issue of Poetrymagazine, which includes a special portfolio of the 2014 festival featured poets, signed by all 16 poets. A collectors' item!  

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

From David Tomas Martinez's poem "Forgetting Willie James Jones"

Poem of the Week:   
David Tomas Martinez                
David Tomas Martinez 

1.

(from the poem "Forgetting Willie James Jones")


It's not water to wine to swallow harm,
though many of us have,

and changing the name
of Ozark Street to Willie Jones Street,
won't resuscitate,

won't expose how the sun roars across rows of faces
at the funeral for a seventeen-year-old-boy,

won't stop the double slapping
of the screen door against a frame,
causing a grandmother, by habit, to yell out, Willie.

It can't deafen the trophies in a dead teenager's room.
That day in '94 I felt strong.

I walked down the street with nickel bags of weed
in the belt loops of my Dickies,

and a bandana strung from my pocket.

That's when I thought trouble could be run from,
could be avoided by never sitting
with your back to the door
or near a window.

I swore by long days and strutted along a rusted past,
shook dice and smoked with the boys

that posted on the corners:
and men cruising in coupes, men built so big
they took up both seats,
I rode with them that summer.

That was the season death walked alongside us all,
wagging its haunches and twisting its collared neck
at a bird glittering along a branch.

Willie was shot in that heat,
with a stolen pistol,
in the front yard of a party.

It poked a hole
no bigger than a pebble
in his body.

The shooters came from my high school:
we sometimes smoked in the bungalow
bathrooms during lunch.

A few weeks before Willie got shot,
Maurice had been killed--

An awning after rain,
Maurice and Willie
sagged from the weight.

Some say it is better
to be carried by six
than judged by twelve.

Some say the summer of '94
in Southeast San Diego
was just another summer.


-David Tomas Martinez

Used by permission.
From Hustle (Sarabande Books, 2014)

David Tomas Martinez's work has been published or is forthcoming in Forklift, Ohio, Poetry InternationalGulf CoastDrunken BoatRHINOAmpersandCaldera Review,Verse JunkiesCalifornia Journal of PoeticsToe Good, and others. Martinez has been featured or written about in Poets & WritersHoustonia MagazineHouston Art & Culture,Houston ChronicleSan Antonio Express NewsBorder VoicesBuzzfeed, and NBC Latino. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Houston's Creative Writing program, with an emphasis in Poetry. Martinez is also the Reviews and Interviews Editor for Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and a CantoMundo Fellow. His debut collection of poetry, Hustle, will be released May 13, 2014by Sarabande Books.
***

 
We strive to preserve the text formatting of poems over e-mail, but certain e-mail programs may distort how characters, fonts, indents, and line wraps appear.
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Please feel free to forward Split This Rock Poem of the Week widely. We just ask you to include all of the information in this email, including this request. Thanks!
  
If you are interested in reading past poems of the week, feel free to visit the blog archive.  
Poem of the Week Open Call Closed 

Split This Rock's Poem of the Week series is currently closed. We will be re-opening submissions later this spring. Keep an eye out. Thanks for understanding!
Support Split This Rock 

Please support Split This Rock, the national network of activist poets. Donations are fully tax-deductible. 

Click here to donate. Or send a check payable to "Split This Rock" to: Split This Rock, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036. Many thanks!

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Split This Rock