In the city of survivors everything’s put into words schematically. Sign plates under house numbers record how much violence has been done, which attempts failed. At the back of your book there’s a list of all the conclusions ever drawn – you’re a bad student if you don't read it. Number 1: remembering is learned, matter of both obedience and reluctance adopting the course of events.
In the city there’s a gigantic pond in which anyone can swim and cups and aspirins are distributed at the fountain. What they call mitigating circumstances rules here. Someone gives a speech about the patch on a brother's knee – as big as his breast pocket – all that’s left of him is my heart. Your book says commemoration can be learned too, matter of paying tribute to everything you’ve been taught.
In the city plots are devised as if they were houses that protect against cold and repetition. You’re a good student if you write your sources down correctly (collective memory’s a gift you claim at the age of fifteen). Applications are rarely rejected, matter of knowing that those who survived
can say: our past belongs to winners. In the city there are lots of mattress stores, survivors work there as advisors. When lying down they ask if you can be quiet at the right time, question authority at the right time, whether or not you can just go with the flow. If you can’t they pull you up by your feet and slide beneath another layer. Assure you now you’ll sleep real well.
There’s a group of risk managers, I am one of them. We meet in a house with tinted windows, assess the threats, split up shrewdly and take to the streets.
After just one block I’ve already scraped the scrapings off a paving stone, a crash off a car, a growl off a dog. I free bones of premature fractures, garages of calculation errors hidden deep in the steel structures. I remove fleeing from woman, early abandonment from child.
From what suffers pain and cold I remove contagion. I fix what grates bristly, drips rusty, stands helpless naked in the field. Compass needles down slowly engorged coat pockets, choking hazard for still breath, undercurrent in strange corridors, floodgates to speech
come evening I report: what’s gone wrong has been prevented, what cries can fall asleep in peace.
a green fish in a green sea a green fish in the shape of a rhombus .inconspicuous .and let’s say home is the yoke of fetters or better yet home iz the hollowed-out butt knot butt knot in color option wasp .and let’s say today the sun iz shining the sky set with green inchworms, the yoke thrown down, the butt knot near enough to green to blend in .and the sea-hare grazing and its gaze friendly and benign beneath its poisonous eyelids in the green haze .and the sea asp and the self-proclaimed sea asp taskmaster lie down on a hard bed, just a board on a cloth braided belly pressed to braided belly
Translated from the Ancient Greek by Fortunato Salazar
A Poem by Fernando Pessoa
Everything’s as sharp as a sunflower in my eyes.
I’m used to walking the roads Looking left and right And sometimes looking back ... And what I see each moment Is something I've never seen before, And I do that really well ... I can feel the wonder A child would if, on being born, He realized he was truly born ... I feel reborn with every moment To the constant newness of the world ...
I believe in the world as in a marigold, Because I see it. But I don't think about it Because to think is to not understand ... The world wasn’t made for us to think about (Thinking is a sickness of the eyes) But for us to look at it and be in accord.
I have no philosophy: I have senses ... I speak of Nature not because I know what it is But because I love it, and this is why I love it, Because the one who loves never knows what he loves Nor why he loves, nor what it means to love ...
To love is the greatest innocence, And the only innocence is not to think ...
shadows tell tales to the moon glow slow merge say / say again / say in-between bacteriogenesis on the surface of the heart no, never alone we are written together between reef and tide
our divide is thorny and distraught temperature drops from inner to surface body enough for me i could call it, maybe dove of ashes or ashen dove i blink out the autobiography between us i will always have the courage to not finish this poem
recorded river bed of biographers fluids trickling out in the futurity of lands so little left reading stalls at the point where your throat meets the waves i wet my lips in your same river twice
Translated from the French by Arielle Burgdorf
When Something Falls from a Window (Even the Smallest Thing) by Rainer Maria Rilke
How the law of gravity strong as an ocean current brings to bay each ball and berry and carries them to the navel of the world.
Each stone, blossom, and child is guarded by a grace ready for flight. Only we, in our arrogance, push out beyond what we belong to into empty space.
If we surrendered to the earth's intelligence we could rise up rooted, like trees. Instead we entangle ourselves in knots of our own making, namelessly alone outside each circle.
We must begin again to learn from things, like children, because they are in God's heart. They never left him. This is what things can teach us: to fall, to patiently trust our weightiness. Even a bird must do that before it can fly.
Almond Trees in Blossom by Rainer Maria Rilke
Almond trees in blossom: all we can do here is recognize our own earthly appearance that leaves no trace.
I’m always amazed at you, happy ones, at your demeanor, at how you wear the ephemeral ornament with eternal sense. Oh, if only we knew how to blossom: our heart would rise above every small danger and find peace in the greatest danger of all.
I Love the Dark Hours of My Being by Rainer Maria Rilke
I love the dark hours of my being. My senses deepen into them. There I can find, as in old letters, the days of my life already lived and read like a story, and understood.
They come with the knowing I can open to another life that is wide and limitless.
So I am sometimes like a tree rustling over a grave, making real the dream of the one its living roots hold tight: a dream once lost in anguish and song.