make me real

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Untitled
Nadia Tuéni

Was I born of a lie
in a country that did not exist?

Am I one tribe at the confluence of two opposing bloods?

But perhaps I am not.
But of course I am not, your equations prove it,
even while lowering my voice I do not hear the sea,
nor do I hear the light.
Who will make me real?
Threatened, therefore living,
Wounded, therefore being,
Fearful, therefore frightening,
Erect, therefore a flame tree.

Who will make me real?

Original

Suis-je né d’un mensonge
dans un pays qui n’existait pas ?

Suis-je tribu au confluent de sangs contraires ?

Mais peut-être ne suis-je pas.
Certes je ne suis pas, vos équations le disent,
même en baissant la voix je n’entends pas la mer,
ni n’entends la lumière.
Qui me rendra présent ?
Menacé, donc vivant,
blessé, donc étant
peureux, donc effrayant,
debout, donc flamboyant.

Qui me rendra présent ?

Photo by Greg Becker on Unsplash

“we ourselves were eternity”

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Eternity
-Eugène Guillevic
Eternity
was never lost.

What we did not know

Was how to translate it into days,
skies, landscapes,

into words we said to others,
into authentic gestures.

But holding onto it for ourselves,
that was not difficult,

and there were even moments
When it seemed clear
That we ourselves were eternity.

Original

L’éternité
ne fut jamais perdue.

Ce qui nous a manqué
Fut plutôt de savoir

La traduire en journées,
En ciels, en paysages,

En paroles pour d’autres,
En gestes vérifiables.

Mais la garder pour nous
N’était pas difficile

Et les moments étaient présents
Où nous paraissait clair
Que nous étions l’éternité.

Photo by Daniel Roe on Unsplash

“cloudburst, sultry and dense”

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Memory works in strange ways. In one brief moment, an act is intense, organic and erotic. And like a “cloudburst, sultry and dense”, it dissipates in the mind, shedding density (and importance) to fade to almost nothing. It is only when the atmospheric pressure again changes that the mind wanders to stores of memory to find that moment again in the ever-expanding archive of moments.

Semen
Pablo Neruda
Because no words suffice for this cry
it lives as a blood-colored syllable.

And circles a ring of desire
like a cloudburst, sultry and dense:
red sulphate of quicklime, a secret sun
opening and closing the genital doors.

Original

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Photo by Kamal J on Unsplash

“a bore bores after death”

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Proofs
Tadeusz Różewicz
Death will not correct
a single line of verse
she is no proof-reader
she is no sympathetic
lady editor

a bad metaphor is immortal

a shoddy poet who has died
is a shoddy dead poet

a bore bores after death
a fool keeps up his foolish chatter
from beyond the grave

Original

Korekta
Śmierć nie poprawi
w zwrotce ani jednej linijki
to nie korektorka
to nie życzliwa pani
redaktorka

zła metafora jest nieśmiertelna

kiepski poeta który umarł
jest kiepskim zmarłym poetą

nudziarz po śmierci nudzi
głupiec zza grobu
jeszcze głupstwa gada

all-in

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Game
Umberto Saba
I’d staked such hope in it! But then,
once they were laid on the table,
all the cards were against me.

It was fate. I accept it. I don’t
scowl at it, I don’t complain,
as I used to do in clamorous youth.

Yet I know what straight might lead up,
ladder-like, to myself.
I rise
among friendly face, count my winnings.

Original

Partita

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“the heavens were hard above us”

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Because the idea of the mirror and its reflections – deceptive – hard to look at – bitter – angular – shying away from – never leave the mind.

We Did It
Yehuda Amichai

we did it

“scatter the ashes”

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Cremation
Robinson Jeffers
It nearly cancels my fear of death, my dearest said,
When I think of cremation. To rot in the earth
Is a loathsome end, but to roar up in flame – besides, I
am used to it,
I have flamed with love or fury so often in my life,
No wonder my body is tired, no wonder it is dying.
We had a great joy of my body. Scatter the ashes.