looking at pictures

Leonard Durso

you’re there
in front of me
one dimensional, of course
but I remember more dimensions
the sound of your laugh
a kid’s laugh, really
but can we be held
accountable
for what we inherit
that smile
that always just happened
without planning
or thinking
a natural reaction
to life
around you
and your eyes
open, clear
looking at the world
from a distance
and yet full of mischief
whenever you laughed
the tilt of your head
the length of your neck
the way your left shoulder
dips to the side
there’s a sea behind you
on a coast
a faraway coast
a lifetime ago
your lifetime
and mine
in a world long gone
that I won’t be returning to
any time soon

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Richard Price on writing

Leonard Durso

The books that made me want to be a writer were books like Hubert Selby’s Last Exit to Brooklyn, where I recognized people who were somewhat meaner and more desperate than the people I grew up with, but who were much closer to my experience than anything I’d ever read before. I mean, I didn’t have a red pony. I didn’t grow up in nineteenth-century London. With Last Exit to Brooklyn, I realized that my own life and world were valid grounds for literature, and that if I wrote about the things that I knew it was honorable–that old corny thing: I searched the world over for treasures, not realizing there were diamonds in my own backyard.

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Another translation of a major Turkish writer by Rukiye Uçar on FORGOTTEN HOPES.

FORGOTTEN HOPES

cahit-sitki-taranci

-Youth is such a thing-

I quiver deep inside with a voice every day,

Every time the clock chimes, repeatedly:

“What have you done of your field, where is the harvest?

Will you proceed into the night with nothing in your hands?

Just think! You are halfway through your life.

Youth is such a thing that comes and goes;

And after that you are left out on a limb;

You run from one window to another.”

Oh those days I could not know the value of,

The bunch of roses I threw away without smelling,

The fountain whose water I wasted,

The blowing wind I could not set sail against!

Yet, the waters tend to flow to the west,

The sound of the nightingale on the tree has changed

Shadows are settling on my window;

Your time is coming, oh memories.

(Cahit Sıtkı Tarancı, Gençlik Böyledir İşte, Varlık, July 1, 1937)

-Translated by Rukiye Uçar…

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Lord Hsieh’s Pavilion by Li Pai (Li Po)

The place where Lord Hsieh said goodbye
everything here makes me sad
the departing travelers the moon in the sky
the deserted mountain the current in the stream
the flowers by the pond the longer spring days
the bamboo outside the window the sounds of autumn nights
today and the past are connected
in this song about a journey long ago

translated by Red Pine