November 2017 Vol. II No. XI
Not your ordinary poetry magazine!
If good coffee (or just the concept of coffee), great books, sharp wit, and great authors excite you, we are for you!
with S. Ye Laird
Remember the month of November... in this issue we offer Andrew Graham-Yooll's "Remember Monica" and Tiffany Higgins 'Dance, dance while the hive collapses' as part of our 2018 Anthony Poetry Translation Prize, as our plan still undergoes a crystallization process in the next few months, to hash out target languages list and judges and prize etc etc...
Mario Carreño, the painter we ignore from Havana Time 2009. "Yet not even his biographer, Marilu Ortiz de Rozas, knew what the artist felt on those return journeys. Carreño didn’t make public statements upon his return to Chile, nor did he comment about those to his closest friends."
Andrew Graham-Yooll , born in (1944) in Argentina of Scottish and English parents. He has published about thirty books and was the editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald ( founded in 1876) up to December 2007. In London, he worked on the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and was editor of Index on Censorship. He writes his own poetry and translates other poets from Spanish into English, and British and US poets into Spanish. He has four children and seven grandchildren. 'Memories of Monica' was first published in July issue of Triada in Spain with bilingual text in English and Spanish.
MEMORIES OF MONICA by Andrew Graham-Yooll
How will I describe her beauty when only pictures can be seen?
The wonder of her is not in photos, well, maybe some parts;
but I want a great portrait to show shapes, the bumps, the pieces,
elation came just watching her, feeling her joy, seeing her sadness.
I remember Monica… her laughter.
What has a meaning at this time of pain? Harsh stabbing questions?
Yes, her laughter, the laughter. I miss that, as when I said, “Your
breasts are beautiful.” She laughed. “I never thought they were,
nobody admired them.” Two divine flowers overflowed my hands
and seemed to slip like fine warm sand through parted fingers;
“Yes … they are.” She laughed sweetly. “I was taught they were
for feeding kids,” she said. “That’s all. If we had met earlier...
Just that.” Anger rises from hurt, sorrow from tears that can’t dry.
I remember Monica… her joy.
As she climbed to hang her heart on winter roughened branches,
all grey, except her face full of pleasure: from the ground I looked
up her shorts and stated what I saw. She let herself down, loudly
admonishing amid peals of laughter. I must recall this much again.
A shabby patter of recollections with empty words, the fingers,
the arms, the nose, eyes, lips too, of course, each claims an Ode…
Then come outbursts of fury enhanced with odious ire, cancer does
that, devastating the gentleness of pity from a depth without words.
I remember Monica… her pain.
Oh, words. My word! They sound useless, repetitive, childish almost,
not even as useful as flooding tears might be. So trite in repetition,
I must tell her, you know, that the fig tree has small early leaves.
The vines sprout, so with the orange, the lemon, blossoms all about.
I remember Monica… the pity.
Not fully felt, because the injury is not mine, the cause unknown,
blasted with the bad breath of piercing injury. We ask why. Why?
As if we were none to blame for nought never ever. Easy it was,
“Just a back ache, no more.” She didn’t want to know sooner.
I remember Monica… the loss.
How many tears will we shed before the sadness of solitude is bearable?
How can joy shine in memory while the guilt of loss prevails? Only
the forgotten are dead. But if memory keeps life to assist our escape
from the welts of ending I could stay in possession of all of dear you.
Sylvia Plath Collected Poems
The Bee Meeting
Who are these people at the bridge to meet me? They are the villagers------
The rector, the midwife, the sexton, the agent for bees.
In my sleeveless summery dress I have no protection,
And they are all gloved and covered, why did nobody tell me?
They are smiling and taking out veils tacked to ancient hats.
I am nude as a chicken neck, does nobody love me?
Yes, here is the secretary of bees with her white shop smock,
Buttoning the cuffs at my wrists and the slit from my neck to my knees.
Now I am milkweed silk, the bees will not notice.
They will not smell my fear, my fear, my fear.
Which is the rector now, is it that man in black?
Which is the midwife, is that her blue coat?
Everybody is nodding a square black head, they are knights in visors,
Breastplates of cheesecloth knotted under the armpits.
Their smiles and their voices are changing. I am led through a bean field.
Strips of tinfoil winking like people,
Feather dusters fanning their hands in a sea of bean flowers,
Creamy bean flowers with black eyes and leaves like bored hearts.
Is it blood clots the tendrils are dragging up that string?
No, no, it is scarlet flowers that will one day be edible.
Now they are giving me a fashionable white straw Italian hat
And a black veil that molds to my face, they are making me one of them.
They are leading me to the shorn grove, the circle of hives.
Is it the hawthorn that smells so sick?
The barren body of hawthorn, etherizing its children.
Is it some operation that is taking place?
It is the surgeon my neighbors are waiting for,
This apparition in a green helmet,
Shining gloves and white suit.
Is it the butcher, the grocer, the postman, someone I know?
I cannot run, I am rooted, and the gorse hurts me
With its yellow purses, its spiky armory.
I could not run without having to run forever.
The white hive is snug as a virgin,
Sealing off her brood cells, her honey, and quietly humming.
Smoke rolls and scarves in the grove.
The mind of the hive thinks this is the end of everything.
Here they come, the outriders, on their hysterical elastics.
If I stand very still, they will think I am cow-parsley,
A gullible head untouched by their animosity,
Not even nodding, a personage in a hedgerow.
The villagers open the chambers, they are hunting the queen.
Is she hiding, is she eating honey? She is very clever.
She is old, old, old, she must live another year, and she knows it.
While in their fingerjoint cells the new virgins
Dream of a duel they will win inevitably,
A curtain of wax dividing them from the bride flight,
The upflight of the murderess into a heaven that loves her.
The villagers are moving the virgins, there will be no killing.
The old queen does not show herself, is she so ungrateful?
I am exhausted, I am exhausted------
Pillar of white in a blackout of knives.
I am the magician's girl who does not flinch.
The villagers are untying their disguises, they are shaking hands.
Whose is that long white box in the grove, what have they accomplished, why am I cold.
3 October 1962
养蜂集会, translation by 'Getting 1, forgetting 2'
Translator: 得一忘二 Jinghua Fan, bilingual poet/translator, currently teaches and doing literary research in Singapore. Author of two poetry books. Prof. Fan has done extensive research in the field of Sylvia Plath study, both in English and translation into Chinese. his English blog based in Singapore , and blog in Chinese ( based in Mainland China)
传说 by Mao Jing 茅境
Legendary - translation into English by S. Ye
There are legendary characters in mythology,
they pass down the light of being
To the generation of farmers, the lights are sputtering
flickering drunken flames, adorned each other's face
as if from an empty bottle, the last drop of wine seeping into tombs.
Gut wrenching stories, always tried to bury it all
yet sorrow and rage festering together inside of you.
In the end, we must all take our leave,
but you were the center beam of the playhouse
you floored other actors
you saw the light beneath frozen well.
Rumor shall live, light and fire shall live
Faith shall live, angst and hatred shall live
Waistline of fair maiden, carried our mirky desire
Abandoned Forbidden city, abandoned birthplaces
A couple long leg Egrets, a couple spiders
after you left the ruined playhouse
They raised their heads and looked on.
"At Melville's Tomb" by Hart Crane
Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge
The dice of drowned men's bones he saw bequeath
An embassy. Their numbers as he watched,
Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured.
And wrecks passed without sound of bells,
The calyx of death's bounty giving back
A scattered chapter, livid hieroglyph,
The portent wound in corridors of shells.
Then in the circuit calm of one vast coil,
Its lashings charmed and malice reconciled,
Frosted eyes there were that lifted altars;
And silent answers crept across the stars.
Compass, quadrant and sextant contrive
No farther tides . . . High in the azure steeps
Monody shall not wake the mariner.
This fabulous shadow only the sea keeps.
在梅尔维尔墓前 ( Hart Crane)
-- 赵毅衡 译
I encountered this most fabulous blog entry on Hart Crane's 'At Melville's Tomb' from Tuesday Poem site, by Zireaux, author of "Kamal: a Novel in Verse". The translation into Chinese is done by Professor Henry Yi-heng Zhao: Writer, poet, critic. Ph.D . in Comparative Literature at University of California at Berkeley, Professor at School of Asian and African Studies, University of London. Main works: The Uneasy Narrator: Chinese Fiction from the Traditional to the Modern, Towards a Modern Zen Theatre, etc. Special thanks to Prof. Henry Zhao for granting us permission to publish his translation on our November issue.
More links on ecological poetics :
"Why Ecopoetry?" by John Shoptaw ; Redstart: An Ecological Poetics By Forrest Gander & John Kinsella
Dance, Dance, While the Hive Collapses BY TIFFANY HIGGINS
Oh my, oh my, I lose myself
I study atlases and cirrus paths
in search of traces of it, of you
of that thing, of that song
I keep pressing my ear to the current
of air to hear ...
I hear it and it disappears
It was all I wanted to do in this life
to sense that phantom tap
on my nerves, to allow myself
to be hit by it, attacked, aroused
until, as if someone else, I arise
I dance my part in paradise
I read that bees who’ve drunk
can’t waggle to indicate
to others where the best
nectar is located
(you and I also long to map
for each other the sweetest
suck of sap)
Workers carry far less food
back to the waiting hive.
They wander, wobble
can’t bring their way
can’t bring it back
to the colony.
Some hives collapse
I desire to say that I, I
would do it differently
I would be the bee, bloomed
that still would shake out a wiggle
like the finger’s signature
on the iPad at checkout:
not quite you, but still identity
more like a wave than solid you
yet enough to signify:
There, there, in the far off field
spiked acanthus, trumpets of datura
in the abandoned lot
on the corner of International and High
the mystic assignation
the golden throat of light:
gorge, gorge, take
your fill, I would cry
before I too failed
and my bumbling body lay down to die
Tiffany Higgins is the author of And Aeneas Stares into Her Helmet (2009), selected by Evie Shockley as the winner of the 2008 Carolina Wren Press Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in the Massachusetts Review, Taos Journal of Poetry and Art, Prelude, Catamaran Literary Reader, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Higgins translates contemporary Brazilian writing and blogs on Brazil. She teaches at several colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area. This poem first appeared in January 2016 Ecojustice Poetry Foundation site.
I’d dance my last dance
to rescue the hive
yes, I’d carry the amber whirrers
out alive ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Or not. Perhaps I too would succumb
to the corn syrup, chemical
piped into our supply.
(I, too, longing to find my
way to you,
would go off course.)
Alas. There is still melody,
rhythm, someone is streaking
out in air, droning
around the phonograph, which is the grooved
heart valve of the black vinyl
divine who is winding this universe.
Someone is dancing us.
Will it be you? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dance, dance, as the hive collapses
Dance, dance, while the colony disassembles
Dance the occasion
Dance the gorgeous design ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
inside the honey
of our lit up veins ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
between the stripes and streams
of these swift rays