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Poetry

Arbeitsleben III

September 8, 2020

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Navigator

September 7, 2020

This is my translation of «Навигатор» by Борис Гребенщиков [Boris Grebenshchikov].

Crossbow firmly in hand,
And my samurai sword 'twixt my molars,
In a virtual vest, as a rule though, most often, without—
Unfamiliar to you, I soar soft 'twixt the subway controllers,
Argent thief in the night, midst the skies black and white make my route.

On the paintings of saints, I'm—
Invisible inklings of motion,
On the CNN news, I'm—the line after which there is naught,
But to those in the night, I'm—
A mystical star's swirling notion,
And the ultimate glow for all those who knew they'd been forgot...

Navigator! O sing me canzóne another,
But, of course, I'll return—wait for me at the last gates; you ought
Give this turn one more thought—to my heart I will hold close my lover,
And to those with a sword—
I will tell them, "Shalom lehitraot!"

And as long—à la guerre comme à la guerre—all's unworried.
From the dawning of time, we stand still at our daydreams' confines;
In monastical calm, we're—
Associates of the chief Warrior;
Through the infrared sights
We're like Riot Police of the Skies.

Navigator! O sing me canzóne another;
But, of course, I'll return—wait for me at the glad gates; you ought
Give this turn one more thought—to my heart I will hold close my lover,
And, to those with a sword—
I will tell them..."Shalom lehitraot!"

Yellow Shines the Moon (USB)

September 5, 2020

This is my translation of «Желтая луна (USB)» by Борис Гребенщиков [Boris Grebenshchikov].

To Sophie Grace Shields

If you want, you give your heart right to me,
Just because, or with USB;
And maybe in a flash like each other we'll think—
Just as long as we have the same kind of link.

How can I now hear you if I am without ears?
The bats have nested in computers for years,
And up above the reeds the moon is unglued.
I have such a feeling that we're just about screwed.

Minuses don't always make a plus, don't forget.
Hot pagan blues there lie in wait in the 'Net,
The moon is yellow, almost at the tallest of roofs.
Quiet, fast asleep—could you be? Tell me the truth...

Sun's headed downwards, so then
The moon grabs its chance.
Shame to be such a wise guy—
Know it all in advance.
All my lines have curled into
Rings in this place;
How can I see you more clearly
When the spotlights shine straight in my face?

You'll be the heavens where
Loll clouds in their soft arcs;
I'll be an ocean wanting
Fishermen's barks.
All my lines have curled into
Rings in this place;
How can I see you more clearly
When the spotlights shine straight in my face?

So then, if you want to, give your heart right to me:
FireWire or just USB.
Maybe in a flash like each other we'll think—
God knows, you and I, we have the same kind of link.

On Warp and Weft

September 1, 2020

To Sophie Grace Shields

So much depends
On ordering of things.

Every time I uncouple two socks,
I see in my hands:

On the left—I love you—and
On the right—I love.

The Foot of Fate

August 14, 2020

This is my translation of «Нога судьбы» by Борис Гребенщиков [Boris Grebenshchikov].

To Max Nemtsov,
Gregory Khmelnitsky,
and Sophie Grace Shields


Bykolai Optoed of youth knew little to none.
Bykolai Optoed was for heists on the run.
But in the first month he came,
With a lift shaved his face;
He on turquoise would suck, chew chunks of amber with grace;
Oceans sang like the mares staring stallions right into their manes.
He burnt corporate Lukoil and its slick filling station—
For no reason, at all.
Out of respect for the flames.

Ekaterina-s-Peskov we had considered a star,
Until a visiting mordvin gnawed through wires to guitars...
She even laughed at the fact that in love he was not;
She would eat for her breakfast men of his lot;
All the generals' daughters, they "you can't" still can't quite understand.
And as for everyone else, then to them she would utter—
Who needs foes like these fucks,
When we have friends just like these in the end?

Acid jazz is a triumph; rock 'n' roll is a stiff.
And the DJ has clenched in his teeth a cold riff.
"Banzai!" then shouted the waiters, then fell with their troughs;
To him she whispered, "My darling!"
He had whispered, "Crawl off!"
That they'd never get far it was amply clear as the day.
Eight whole days in a tractor rolling through snowy steppes...
Beauty never has easily given a way.

At Tobolsk there's a reach where the pollock can nest;
To Ceylon and Cathay hunting trails are there pressed—
When the fish fly and jump in open mouths with their might,
Well, in these other words, it's feng shui but not quite,
She there holds female business;
He there dances, smokes shrooms until late.
All the elders, they say of them, "Om mani padme hum,"
That in translation often denotes—
The foot of fate.

portrait of wife as refrigerator light

July 7, 2020
To Rod Moody-Corbett

I put on my boots of doom

I go out to the yard
in my hands
a perambulator of death

the dandelions bow their heads
to me  and are no more


all crimes are crimes of passion

the narcissus blooms
at the front of the house
the clematis explodes

you break up the barbarous driftwood
in your hands it crumbles


between the donkeys and now

i titrate my feelings
I pray for wind
I reach for your comma toes

i consider the girl who has mushrooms growing out of her face who when it rains avoids her boyfriend who is upset for a reason he does not understand but suspects that in actuality the girl avoids him because of the mushrooms growing out of her face


postprandial promenades

remind me that I have given birth
to many a dog  at low battery o'clock
the sir must stir

to be shown the rhythm of business
to be shorn


jesus rose

but we missed
the decisive moment
we forgot

his eyes had flashed
his hair had floated


thus now remains the question

should I
after groans
and sighs and feelings

have the strength to clean
the coffee off the ceiling


things spoken in pentameter

are true  things spoken
in a halting anapest are false
and before the evening falls

we return the power
tools to our parents

and fake it 'til we

found poem XI or Go Fish II

July 7, 2020
To Laurie Ricou

steelhead is not salmon

salmon trout and steelhead
are types of trout

an entirely different fish
from the same family of fish

as salmon


salmon is always a salmon

but a steelhead starts its life out
as a rainbow trout

if the rainbow trout
migrates to the ocean

it becomes a steelhead


if it never goes to the ocean

it stays a rainbow trout
for its entire life

because they are closely
related (and taste similar

steelhead is sometimes marketed


as steelhead salmon  (the store
    had it improperly labeled
  as such

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