Give Me A Body, You Mountains by Lucian Blaga

I only have you, my temporary body–
I don’t adorn you with blue and yellow flowers–
your weak mud is too small for the terrible
soul I carry.

Give me a body, you mountains,
you seas,
give me a body capable of bearing
my madness in full!
Big earth, be my trunk,
be the chest for this furious heart,
be the shelter for the storms that toss me,
be the vessel of my stubborn self!

My great footsteps will then be heard
in the vast cosmos–
I will be unstoppable and free,
the way I am,
holy earth!

When I make love
I’ll stretch all my oceans to the sky,
they will be rolling, vigorous arms
to take and bend his waist,
to kiss his bright stars.

When I hate
I’ll smash under my stone feet
the poor trembling suns
and perhaps I’ll smile.

But I only have you, my temporary body.

translated  by Andrei Codrescu

A Day by Tudor Arghezi

Yesterday kept following me, all agog,
Like a starving dog,
Thinking it was leashed to my life with a belt,
With a rope or something–that is how it felt;
But reaching statues at a vacant lot
It turned back, seeing it was not.
Helpless and homeless it got lost
Though for a long time of rains and of frost
It had clung to me step by step, until today
At midday.

Whoever’s lost a day–long as his life has been–
Must seek it swiftly. Night is falling. Fog is setting in.

translated by Andrei Bantaş

Going-Back by Ion Vinea

Not today, not tomorrow: yesterday.
Where are the hours lost forever?
I long for the fading looks,
Voices call me like ghosts
Through the timeless remembrance.

I want the bleeding of the exhausted sun to come on lakes,
at sunset the buffalo bellowing,
the rustle of the gardens among the walls,
the wax fruit fragrance in the winter cellars,
the semi-darkness with perfume of camphor in the drawing room,
in the mirrors of waters of forgetfulness
and where the brother pasted away among torches.

I want the footsteps of my father climbing the stairs,
the brass gong to announce the supper,
I wish, mother, to hear my name, gentle and real,
whispered again
as it remained floating in the rubble of the thought.

I wish to close the magic in the house with the iron bar placed on the gate,
to trim in the niche the icon lamp
and alone in the dead area
Priam will bark in the night to the cold zodiac signs
until late, ominously, deserted,
while in the sheets scented with lavender water
I will fall asleep forever.

tranlated by Liviu Georgescu

Mission by Yehuda Amichai

Tell them it’s not just me,
Others too.
It happened,
And I couldn’t change a thing.

Repeat the words again,
Translate them into two or three languages
And look into their eyes, see how understanding
Rises in them. And how it dies like smoke.
And in the end, call in another voice,
A voice that folds into your heart.
Not for them anymore. See
They start their supper. Don’t sup with them.
Come back to me.

translated by Benjamin & Barbara Harshav

And After That The Rain by Yehuda Amichai

And after all that–the rain.
When we learned to read the book of lingering
And the book of parting,
When our hair learned all the winds
And our sweet free hours
Are trained to run all around
In the ring of time.

After all that–the rain.
A big salty sea
Comes to us, stammering
Sweet and heavy drops.

And after all that–the rain.
See, we too
Pour down
To the one who receives us and doesn’t remember,
the spring earth.

translated by Benjamin & Barbara Harshav

these days: a slight reworking

the heart sinks under memories
of other days
and I get to thinking
which is not necessarily a good thing
about those faces I see in the dark
try to remember names
personality quirks
the smell of a wet field
the sun breaking through the clouds
for instance
a dog gingerly picks his way along a beach
there are shells everywhere
and is it Gene or David
who stoops to pick one up
the dog looks up expecting a game
and that long haired woman with the green eyes
who will break my heart
in ways, at times
too numerous to mention
will make the world stop
and time
here in Izmir
moves forward
just the way it’s supposed to
dragging my mind along
but gently
to where it needs to go



“Ask any Puerto Rican… ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

another timely quote from Douglas Moore’s Art of Quotation blog

Art of Quotation

“Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person – ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

James A. Baldwin, writer


Trump takes to Twitter as Puerto Rico’s crisis Mounts:

View original post

in my dream: my mother

there you were
in my dream
as young as you were
when I was a kid
and you said
you were letting the past
but I could not
release it
I reminded you
of that Chinese restaurant
you always took me to
on our yearly pilgrimage
to Macys
during holiday season
then you smiled
as you faded from view
and my eyes
turned to liquid
and my heart
melted away

a fantasy: for Alex somewhere on the coast of California

I’m sitting on a train
going from one city
to another
in Italy
and a woman sits opposite me
wearing a blue dress
barely touching the knees
and heels
a scarf draped casually
around her slender neck
crosses her legs
leans back in the seat
and begins reading a novel
by Jose Saramago
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
in hardcover
in English
a sad smile lingers
on her lips
she stays intent on the book
not her cellphone
like so many I know see
and there I sit
rereading The Gospel According To Jesus Christ
and our eyes meet
just above our Saramagos
and words
which will come later
hang in the air
between us