The Poetry of Noni Benegas Read by Robin Ouzman Hislop Translated from Spanish by Noël Valis

From BURNING CARTOGRAPHY
The Poetry of Noni Benegas
Translated by Noël Valis

Another Light
For Paul Virilio

Groping through the house, blind steps
of chalk
with the light of dreams
suddenly opaque or radiant
Who shimmers that screen
in the darkened brain?
Like skin withering on the inside
the mystery of that glow persists

Otra luz
A Paul Virilio

A tientas por la casa con pasos
de tiza
con la luz de los sueños
tan pronto opaca o radiante
¿Quién alumbra esa pantalla
en el cerebro a oscuras?
Como la piel se aja desde dentro
el misterio de ese fulgor persiste

**

A Flower
For Ana Basualdo

The camellia sliver in the wake
of the boat at night
when the petal draws back
a trembling universe
like the line of flotation

**

Una flor
Ana Basualdo

La tenue camelia en la estela
del barco nocturno
cuando el pétalo descorre
un universo trémulo
como la línea de flotación

**

Traveling

Travelers who reach Medina de Raj-Kasar
are surprised to see its image repeated
–for instance—in the guide’s
topaz ring or in the pool-encircled moat
or even in the festive fountain’s inner courtyard
Travelers who reach Medina de Raj-Kasar
after crossing between two moons
the desert of Al-Ahmir
sigh before the delicate towers and dream
of filigreed chambers and soothful hookahs
Do travelers reach Medina
or someone reach Raj-Kasar at a precise moment
dusty curious indolent?
Medina de Raj-Kasar traveling toward the Atlas
of travelers
is pleasantly surprised before the fresh-faced passenger
standing intrepid in the middle
of the glittering oasis

**

Viajar

Los viajeros que llegan a la Medina de Raj-Kasar
se sorprenden al divisar su imagen repetida
–pongamos por caso—en el anillo de topacio
del guía o en la acequia que rodea el foso
o aun en la fuente que acoge el patio interior
Los viajeros que arriban a la Medina de Raj-Kasar
luego de atravesar entre dos lunas
el desierto de Al-Ahmir
suspiran ante las finas torres y sueñan
con el salón filigranado y el narguile conciliador
¿Llegan los viajeros a la Medina
alguien arriba en un momento preciso a Raj-Kasar
polvoriento curioso indolente?
La Medina de Raj-Kasar viajando hacia los viajeros
del Atlas
se sorprende gratamente ante el rubicundo pasajero
que se alza impávido en medio
del iridiscente oasis

**

Frida Kahlo
For Jan Lumas

Was it a work of art or her desire? a column
like harvested steel then fangs like jade
careening steeply
It beat with the bold haste
of temples foretold: the wind adrift
in teeth the eyebrows a buffalo bower
the stamp of the sphinx on asphalt
Was it a work of art or her desire? a column
of damp chalk posed day after day beneath the
agile pupil forever flowering

**

Frida Kahlo
A Jan Lumas

¿Era una obra de arte o su deseo ? una columna
de símil de acero segada más una alta carena
de colmillos de jade
Latía con la prisa impávida
de los templos futuros: el viento entornado
entre los dientes las cejas de dosel de búfalo
la impronta de esfinge sobre el asfalto
¿Era una obra de arte o su deseo ? una columna
de tiza húmeda posada día tras día bajo la
ágil pupila en floración perenne

**

Interruptions

Is it true her face keeps the impressions
of wakefulness,
the landscape seen through the train window
fleetingly deciphered;
is it true her face is interrupted?

Seated across from me
was the sacred icon
of an old Hollywood actress
old age stamped in her features,
not definitively decayed,
but very close.

In improbable transit
those features;
an abandoned aerodrome
with grass on the runway and wind
from the ends of the world.

But there is a canal
that boats go up, of liquid
crystal, oars and noises and houses
alive on its banks,

Her face swarms
swirling with malice.
Could she only have seen what she saw?
As if something were suspended
between two canals
in the stagnant waters of her cheek . . .

Is it true her face is interrupted,
what if the interruption isn’t a landscape or a sound
but simply me?


**

Interrupciones

¿Hasta qué punto su rostro guarda las impresiones
de la vigilia,
el paisaje visto a través de la ventanilla
descifrado por momentos;
hasta qué punto su rostro tiene interrupciones?

Sentada frente a mí
era un Buey Apis que era
una vieja actriz de Hollywood
pues anunciaba la vejez en sus rasgos,
no definitivamente añeja,
pero ya próxima.

De tránsito improbable
esos rasgos;
cerrado un aeródromo en desuso
con hierbas en la pista y viento
de techo del mundo.

Mas hay un canal
que las barcas remontan de cristal
fluido, remos y ruidos y casas
vivas en las orillas,

hay un hormigueo en su rostro
hecho de malicia y remolinos.
¿Sólo habrá visto lo que vio?
Si algo quedara en suspenso
entre dos canales
en el remanso de la mejilla . . .

¿Hasta qué punto su rostro tiene interrupciones,
si la interrupción no fuera paisaje o sonido
sino simplemente yo?

**

 

 
Noni Benegas, born in Buenos Aires and resident in Spain since 1977, is the author of seven books of poetry; a selection is collected in El Ángel de lo súbito, Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, (Madrid, 2014). Burning Cartography, Ed. Host, (Austin TX, 2007 and 2011) is a selection of these poems in English, and Animaux Sacrés, Ed. Al Manar (Séte 2013) in French. She has won the Platero Prize from the UN in Geneva; the Miguel Hernández National Prize for Poetry, as well as Vila de Martorell award, the Rubén Darío Prize from Palma in Mallorca, the Esquío Prize in Galicia. She is the author of the influential anthology of contemporary Spanish women poets Ellas tienen la palabra, Ed. Hiperión (Madrid, 2008, 4th edition) whose introductory essay, with a new prologue, articles, interviews and an epilogue has been recently collected by Ed. Fondo de Cultura Economica in 2017 with the same title. Ellas Resisten. Mujeres poetas y artistas (1994-2019) is a selection of her essays on women writers and artists published by Ed. Huerga & Fierro
 
 
Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times ; at Artvilla.com
You may visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds)

AMERICAN MOBILE. A Poem by EM Schorb.

      The pure products of America go crazy . . .
    —William Carlos Williams
      Miss Smith, she dead.

 
. . . my blind left eye don’t stop me
I swivel quick around then get ahead
back at the panorama
striped down and then back up the hill
to any future peak greened brown black cut through
white striped like up the leg on a uniform
the wind don’t wall me
my aerodynamics
they’d lift my license for my eye full of sugar
but I still drink
that VA doctor’s lower’n fish shit
no beer no way
but I drink Lite test my blood take my insulin
I eat right mostly but my Drake’s cakes
I’m thirty-three feet back
sixty-six long times to here
always dreamed of motorhoming
free to be you and me
Maxine’s you
she sips at that beer
stares through the wraparound
like she’s watching home movies
and shoots bytes at me like look there
did you see that
she’s frightened at being sixty next week
I told her look at me—you plus six
and I’m still steering
still truckin’ but I never was a trucker
was a kid a soldier a vet a cop and
a guard at Disney’s that was my whole damned life
that back there behind me on the road
but it comes along with me in my sugar-eye
my shotup shoulder from War Two
my skin cancer from standing all those years in the sun
reflecting off tarmac and parked cars at Disney World
 
Max says look Jersey plates
she says Joisey we started out in Jersey
we fell in love haven’t slept together in years
Max thinks I’m not well interested
but it’s the sugar
I don’t tell nobody not even her not especially her
suppose she knew I couldn’t
what kind of man would she think
look she says back in back her mother sees it too
I don’t know what it is must be on my blind side
but I don’t say no way I let them know
I’m blind as a blackboard over there
not hurtling along at eighty
they’d piss their beer
you got to hold to your lane
the old lady’s nearly ninety but full of it
not only beer either if you know
look Max says
shut up Max but I don’t say it
I don’t listen about Alabama moons
Georgia peaches glorious Asheville leaves
I talk to myself my only friend
they suck me in like black holes
the old lady and Max everything goes
into them nothing out toward me
did I believe in love
I’ve stopped laughing even
I’ve been driving too long
 
I see us off the edge of a cliff if I don’t keep him awake
old man hunched up at the wheel was he my hero
I think there’s something wrong with his eyes now
the way he jerks around to see I’ve noticed
I ride not swiveled in a bucket by a tilted instrument pod
but sometimes behind him astraddle his first Harley
his long blond hair snapping in my eyes no helmets
my fingers feeling in the deep holes
through his shoulder and his ribs
where the sniper’s bullet drilled through
he died he said and came alive again on a table in England
I still wore his white dress shirt
hanging out over my rolled-up blue jeans
shiny pennies in my loafers
Frank Sinatra made me scream Elvis my one daughter
Buddy’s blonde princess the Dead my grandson
nobody sings anymore all back there somewhere
with my mother boozed up at ninety
a Depression-made cheapskate
sipping cheap port
and a hundred thousand in the bank
how did we get here
 
where are we going why must I come
Harry could save me
clever with life how left-handed he
mangled his right hand in the leather machine
made them think he was right-handed
more compensation
at last a little house and money in the bank
and I got us out of Jersey
like war in the project then
the Sixties the long hot summers
bullets through the windows
down to Max and Buddy in Orlando to my little house
Harry why must I travel with them
the youngsters even are old but Harry’s gone
crazy at the end
fighting in the trenches again
Argonne Belleau Wood
gone on the road behind us
dead and buried in Orlando
buried and lost his grave lost
we are going to sue
I have no place to put flowers
no place to talk to him anymore
they lost my Harry
tough leather guy from Brooklyn
tough guy so sweet once
poor old crazy man
gone back to the trenches back to Pershing
mustardgas and Belleau Wood
another world so far away
to his grave at ninety-five
I don’t want cable
only my one soap-opera station
only my wine
don’t even want life to come back
what is the wind
Star stories say some of us are aliens
supermarket tabloids Maxine calls them
and tries to make me think they print lies
sometimes I think Buddy and maybe even Maxine too
I bore her but maybe pod people have taken over her body
like that old movie
maybe she isn’t Maxine at all she doesn’t act like Maxine
I could have a baby too
like the hundred year old woman in Australia
it would kill me at ninety they must eat something
yogurt like those Russians who live forever aliens too
and the little girl no older than smaller than
who had quadruplets by a tom cat
all of them born with whiskers
the pictures were right there I saw them
whiskers and pointed ears and long tails I saw them
what is that going by where are they taking me
 
“Good Housekeeping” said
the kitchen was the warm womb
of the colonial home and early-American women
would stand at the hearth watching the turkey turn
as they pumped up the flames
packing sandwiches for an airline ain’t exactly
the big time but we made it
Buddy and I paid off the American dream
for his bedroom and my bedroom
and the alligators down on the lawn
to the rock seawall wanting sun
what’s life
put the rocks back put
back build up fall put back
two slices Wonder Bread
one slice waterpumped ham mayo mustard
my long thin fingers all little silver scars
I’m nobody what did I deserve
not Buddy and my mother anyway
sixty ain’t the end yet
not even with all my loose belly skin and
stupid strokefoot dragging when I’m tired
like Buddy on Omaha Beach
but I got it right through the head
like being brain-shot and nine weeks in the hospital
stealing our money
there she is sipping her wine at ninety
defying nature and three out of five of us kids with strokes
always demanding maybe she gave us the strokes
but nobody’s dead yet they say we are all lucky
so that’s what luck is not being dead
a case could be made
 
driving into the dusk is like driving into a dream
better hit the lights
that big cluster of stars down there
I aim my good eye on ahead
now in the dusk it gets tricky
but I don’t let Max know
extreme macular degeneration
sugar-induced doc says
then he says you got varicose veins in your eye
laser beams he says burn ’em out
so I see blue for a week from the dye
and the blue fades to gray and that’s it
my credit’s good
social security veteran’s pension Disney retirement
I’m a triple dipper
plus equity in the house poor boy makes good
I’m driving fifty thousand dollars across America
like I started out with anything but
a piano-teaching widowed mother
like I had a chance in life
I play my own tapes me at the organ
singing Willy Nelson songs
“On the Road Again” Max hates my music
she’s jealous but says I could of made a living
at it could of but couldn’t take the joints
composed some myself guitar piano organ
my tape plays “King of the Road”
my plates say NO MORTGAGE NO BOSS
NO JOB NO WORRIES I’M RETIRED
twenty years standing in the sun eating Twinkies skin cancer
Harry thought Max could do better
he never had a home like ours right on the gators’ water
he’d say he never had alligators on his lawn either
only stinkbugs in his old palm tree
sometimes I miss fighting with him
him on the Kaiser me on Hitler
who was worse all ancient history
even the Commies are dead
nothing left for Freedom to fight
and the world moves moves into the next century
away from us what we did and needed
it’ll all be computers and new people
no more like us we’re dinosaurs
old people but we move
and we take our houses with us like hermit crabs
we circle Asheville in leaves we land at Normandy
not ten minutes in and all my bones break
until I wake up on the table in England
purple heart silver star
I remember the sea swashing puffs of smoke
our flag it still stands yesterday’s news who cares
Max is sarcastic once she was proud
I can’t help it Max
it’s the sugar sugar
 
. . . who betrayed me so many times with his Harley
with somebody else’s legs around him
fingers in his wounds
hot stuff and joins the police
to wear his beautiful blue uniform
and ride his police cycle with his blond hair
fluffed all around his blue visored hat
and me pregnant alone with his blonde love in my stomach
stud making a fool of his wife making a fool of his life
with nogood burgling cops only Orlando left for us
thank the chief who saved us and that was when I began
when I began I began began to be old
 
Maxine looks like me at sixty
you could compare her to a picture of me then
O Harry do you remember
where are we
North Carolina
why are we here climbing this mountain
full of beautiful leaves
is that heaven up there what is that up there
a jetstream
a flying saucer
why don’t we just stay home
where I know where things are
they don’t think about me how I can’t see
how I wish Harry were here
how he was when he was young
so neat courtly so kind and sweet
not like at the end afraid of the Hun
hiding under the table gone crazy old man
with old-timers disease
it was all there again for him
no time had happened
no me no all that life all wiped out
and he was there again and it made me wonder
if we aren’t all just here or there or where are we
 
Asheville we pack it in at Nashville
Max and the old lady won’t go to the Grand Ole Opry
so I’ll leave them to themselves
I’ll go like I always said I would
could hear it in Jersey when I was a kid
could hear it all over the country
Hank Williams Minnie Pearl Tex Ritter Hillbilly Heaven
a southern yankee I never get enough of that wonderful stuff
Max says we should of gone the other route
to Memphis first Graceland Elvis can wait I say
but it turns out to be Hank Williams Junior and Rockabilly
not like I dreamed of it glitz and bang
even a vet can yearn for the old sweetstuff
Junior’s daddy the original Hank the real thing
the lyrics were in a language I could understand
we fought the wars and longed for love
they march for peace and seem to hate
like I’m still waiting for the fat lady to sing
President Truman even introduced Kate
Smith to the Queen
as “America” Oh beautiful for spacious skies
but the Opry’s like the rest of it now
maybe we should try Dollyland at Pigeon Forge
no Max wouldn’t like it because
 
angels come to our door but Buddy won’t let them in
do you know these are the last days
not if you have something spiritual
it’s on Earth
he was sent by the God of Love
that’s why Graceland is a church
even if it’s like they say
that his body ate twenty Big Macs a day
his soul had to live on Earth didn’t it had to eat
so Buddy’s blonde daughter tells me
my daughter too but more his blonde like him
now nearly bald not her him not dark like me
well gray but if Elvis could bring happiness
then he is a god
 
he’s one of those aliens Max
he was sent here to sing and bring love
they say Graceland is more beautiful than Heaven
that it’s all blue like the sky with no clouds
no thunderbooms and tin-roof rain clatter
where are we
 
like when Buddy grinds his choppers
he is eating us up in his sleep
our night war like our day war cannibal
shoved our beds apart into separate rooms
trumpets saxophones trombones
Buddy names my snoring while he grinds on
and her crazy on the convertible back there
all night coughs and chatters in her sleep
about chicken wing prices
it’s like a gone-nuts orchestra
OOMPA OOMPA OOMPA CLICKETY-CLICK BLAH BLAH
his teeth telling how much he hates his life
at different times broken uppers and lowers
life that never did what he wanted it to do
we rocked that motorpark in Nashville
hooked up Winnebago nearly laughed itself free
electric lines tore out as it rolled over on its side
and later shaking with screaming
Mama and I had sucked the city of any last drop
of Southern Comfort
Buddy never came back from the Opry till it was dying out
drunk himself from shit-kicking with urban cowboys
I told him his sugar’ll kill him he sleeps grinding his life
like steak into hamburger I’m his life
what’s life
Mama refuses to die until we do
gray and stroked and sugared and beer’d under
but how could we leave her at home who’d watch her
nobody’ll take her in if we go she has to go
won’t go to nursing home no way you know no how
and I don’t mean not to go go go before I die
thank GOD for Winnebagos
next stopover next postcard
P.S. life’s a war and you can’t give up
love Max at sixty
 
heaven is a place like Graceland
they say Elvis’s daughter owns it now
she’s the spitting image spitting image
listen Max at least the foreigners don’t own Graceland
like they do everything else
it ain’t true that we don’t work as hard as the Japs
but the unions Max I never did trust the unions
 
you think like a scab-cop
my father was a union man Buddy
 
her father was a union man
Harry was always a good union man
and a good Democrat
 
if they’re good for anything the aliens’ll be UNION
if I didn’t belong to a union
do you think they’d of paid me so much
for making lousy sandwiches
did you get enough sleep
we should of gone to Graceland first
read a “Reader’s Digest” article once
first it was the farmlife held us to place
then industry mills and trading and
later the big factories up north
made cities centers now no more
anyone anywhere now the computers
no more fixed life no more unions no more
democrats no more stay put go go go
like the damned beatniks hippies used to do
on the road in the sky
a whole corporation inside your portable
computer workforce anywhere
regions don’t mean nothing cities countries
my country ’tis of thee
I’m caught between the old lady back there
and my grandson
he’ll be part of it the brave new world he said
college boy and his kids won’t even know
what we were
can’t you just see it grandpa
no boundaries no borders
even space the moon Mars
business everywhere signals flying through the air
caught between times becoming part of it
losing it at the same time
with my sugar walking down the street
I never noticed how sweet beer is
injections they’ll be able to fix that too grandpa
and the whole world and even space
will become AMERICA
 
you look at your mother and you think
how could I have come out of that sixty years ago
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Max
it’s a chorus of whiskey-cracked voices
a duo of dead and gone ghosts
calling back over their shoulders
it’s bye-bye Maxine you’re as good as dead
with your mastectomied pumped-up plastic tits
what’d you need them for for him
could of caused the stroke I’m told
but then why my brother and sister stroked out too
my face I had burned with acid and scraped
for him forty years ago
acne pits from her tea and cheap day-old cake
to stuff us just before supper all of us
faces like burned-red moons
from her brother-can-you-spare-a-dime
cheap Depression soul
the old man back from Belleau Wood
mustard gas and the formaldehyde stink of the tannery
the whole goddamned century’s been a war
I could live to see the end of it
no more goddamned Twentieth Century
now we fight each other we can’t stop fighting
we’re like three hairy-assed Marines
landing on each other’s beaches
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Maxine
Christ he kissed me breath like death blow out my candle
if I could I’d blow them out of the Winnebago
and get my wish a little time on earth alone a little life before I die
 
Max was always tough even as a little girl
she always fought
her father’d have to drag her off
from a fight but he was proud
my Max don’t take no shit he said
 
we had to be tough Jersey we all glow in the dark
better than hard cold and cheap
we had nothin’ but trouble like the plague
Nineteen-Nineteen she says
the doughboys brought the influenza back from Europe
all those displaced persons
my best girlfriend died of it everybody
was dying you’re too young to know
good to be too young for some things
why do you think God does it
screw that
God helps them who help themselves Buddy
he likes that one damned Republican
but he’s right it’s like Elvis
a success a blond guy with black hair and a cape
God loves us all Max He’s sending them to help us
well He’s got a damned funny way of showing it
your granddaughter says He sent Elvis
or is it Elvis sent her
I told her he came in on a saucer
they’ll all be here soon
 
Buddy singing playing the organ he installed
coming in on a wing and a prayer
his feet pumping he loves to show off
he says Harry was just a leather worker
says my mother taught piano class will tell
your people don’t have no class no way
then it’s a Donnybrook
in the musical world
 
in heaven this couldn’t of happened
if Max would spell me
I’d go back and get drunk with the old lady
sit in my Seat w/Telescoping Pedestal
and stare at her until I could see inside her BRAIN
but Max won’t spell me won’t drive no way no how
just sucks in sixpacks and farts at speed bumps
I’m mustard gassed like Harry at Belleau Wood
turn on the BTU’s she says watch out
open the vents here comes Max
but she admits it was damned embarrassing
we got the Arizona state troopers all over us
here’s the old lady telling the pump jockey
at our time of life we want full service telling him
I’M BEING KIDNAPPED BY ALIENS
I have a lovely home in Orlando
they’re forcing me to go with them
they want my money a hundred thousand dollars
it belongs to Harry he earned it with the wrong hand
call the police help help
it takes some explaining but I tell them me I’m an ex-cop
look I say but they got me and Max over a car hood
if I had one of those BIG FOOT trucks
I’d drive right over top of this traffic jam
crushing cars like an angry giant
that’s why everybody loves Big Foot
I look at the cops and twirl
my finger in a circle at my temple
nuts the both of them I say
they feel sorry for me and because I’m an ex-cop
 
get real Buddy do you think God’s in California
or in the Painted Desert or the Petrified Forest
I want to see the first Disney place is all
Max is mad like Mel great roadman
people say it’s the end of America
from the coast there on it’s out forever
and the sea climbs into the sky
Buddy it’s your music
sometimes you sound like some godawful poet
song of the open road Max
there’s good trucker songs Max
trucker poets cowboy poets
you’re ignorant Max
don’t start Buddy don’t start
I tell you what Buddy
Vegas is God
you get a bucketful of change and pull handles
until something good happens
gangsters built Vegas Max
gangsters built everything Buddy
Bugsy Siegel is God and Vegas is heaven
for shame Maxine
what do you know Mama
it’s all a chance and to hell with your aliens
can’t you see saucers Maxine
clouds Mama we’re in the mountains
Sierra Nevadas Mama
I’m not your mother I’m hers maybe
and the white bombs of love
like the Star says it’s Elvis in his saucer
lots of Elvises because this is the end of time
they have big dark eyes and sideburns down to here
real smooth cheeks and they wear wonderful jumpsuits
with colors like Las Vegas that night
the first or second so it was stacks of colors
and everything blinking they wear clothes like that
with glittery things hanging down from their sleeves
I was a little girl when Dreamland burned down
my mother your grandmother Maxine
said you could see Dreamland burning from Jersey
I had been to Coney Island I had been to Dreamland
I’m sure I saw Vesuvius erupt and a great naval battle
where New York was bombarded by foreign ships
and then an American admiral went out
and defeated all of them
you see children it is all a dream
and you keep waking up to something new
we aren’t really here at all we are here
and somewhere else at the same time in Dreamland
Meet me tonight in Dreamland under the silvery moon
my mother used to play that one Mama
I am not your mother don’t call me Mama
you’re alone in the world Harry never liked you
motorcycle-head he called you
Maxine’s got me if she is Maxine
of course I’m Maxine
Christ of course white bombs
SNOW
where are we Maxine
if I smashed this pedal down down hill
I saw a movie once about a wagon train full of people
heading west on Donner tha’s it the Donner party
they were going over these very mountains they were up here
high like this and there was a blizzard and they got caught
and they couldn’t get down out of it
blizzard starved and they began to eat each other
don’t look at me Buddy
the saucers will save us
they’ll snatch us up into Graceland
they can do anything they can make us fly
can they take us back to where they came from
is it a musical place
of course it’s a musical place
Elvis is King
yeah Graceland is the real true blue heaven
beyond the cheap chicken wings of the world Mama
beyond the world Maxine
or whoever you are
Buddy my ears just popped
we’re climbing Max
it’s getting dark Buddy
you better stop
can’t stop on the highway
some articulated eighteenwheeler
some BIG FOOT
come behind us
no visibility
now I nail my one good eye
to the white-dark wraparound
like one big cataract
faint red lights
turning off ahead
now nothing
down there’s a turn
somewhere down there
I hit the gas down hard to the floor
it’s dark and white like being wrapped in ermine
if we weren’t doing eighty ninety a hundred
it’s like a toboggan like the OLYMPICS
SWOOSH SWOOSH and we’re out off in SPACE
the cold moon and stars ahead
I push my WING-EXTENDER BUTTON
and now it’s STAR TREK
THE PANORAMA OF SPACE
I can see through the thick clusters of stars
ahead there deep
GOD’S BRIGHT MUSICAL CASTLE
but the saucers hold us floating in air
HIGH OVER GRACELAND
you can see the lights
I told them I told them
and THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS
of GOLDEN COINS COME GLITTERING
CRASHING OUT
 
 
 
 
 
E.M. Schorb’s Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
 
Other works include 50 Poems, Hill House New York; Words in Passing, The New Formalist Press; The Ideologues and Other Retrospec­tive Poems, Aldrich Press; Eclectica Americana, Hill House New York; Manhattan Spleen, Aldrich Press; Last Exit to East Hampton, Kelsay Books; and The Poor Boy, Dragon’s Teeth Press, Living Poets Series. The title poem, “The Poor Boy,” was awarded the International Keats Poetry Prize by London Literary Editions, Ltd., judged by Howard Sergeant.
 
Schorb’s novel, Paradise Square, received the Grand Prize for Fiction from the International eBook Award Founda­tion at the Frankfurt Book Fair. A Portable Chaos was the First Prize Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction. His latest novel, R&R, a Sex Comedy, has won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor. But Schorb maintains that he is first and foremost a poet, and his poetry has appeared in numerous publi­ca­tions, such as Agenda (UK), The American Scholar (US), Frank (FR), The Hudson Review (US), Stand (UK), Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), Queen’s Quarterly (CA), The Yale Review (US), and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.

CODA: THE GHOSTS GO HOME. A Poem by EM Schorb.

      O lost and by the wind grieved,
      ghost, come back again.
      —Thomas Wolfe

. . . so this is luck says Maxine
you can take your freaking luck and shove it
Mama says it was the aliens who helped us
hundreds of flying saucers piloted by
Elvises in sequined pod suits
they lifted us off the cliff
I told you they would I told you
she’s nuts Buddy we’re dead right now
dead and floating away Max dispersing smoke
and just when I thought I was going to heaven
to God’s bright musical castle
where I could play the organ
play Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland
for all the heavenly days of my death
O.K. Buddy but what in hell do you think
I’m travelling for
we left the other goddamned Disney place
three thousand miles back
I want to get away from it all
that’s my heaven
every place is the same Max
every place is Disneyland
now don’t you start sniveling Mama
but home is where the heart is
my heart is with Harry in Orlando
poor old Alzheimer man
I loved him so much
for God’s sake we got all freaking bummed out
I sent a card back home to tell
how you’ve acted you son-of-a-bitch you killed us
and I think you did it on purpose
you think you can drive through space now Buddy
still steering Max
Maxine
what Mama
you children are enough to drive me out of my mind
but the National Star
and the Pod People keep me sane
look at all that space
can you fly this thing Buddy
an American G.I. can do anything he has to do Mama
Buddy sometimes you remind me of Harry
why thanks Mama
doughboys is what we called G.I.s in my day
like you he came back full of holes
but gassed in Belleau Wood
beautiful name to be so horrible
I know I don’t tell you very much
but now that I know we are all going to
heaven together or somewhere
well wherever the pod people take us
I love you both
we love you too Mama
don’t we Max
O.K. so all us suckers love each other
just keep this smoke floating
Mama I think Maxine is blubbering up
crocodile tears Buddy she’s hard as a rock
no Mama you should see her up here
shut up Buddy
she’s had too much beer
no I think the crash is just now sinking in on me
but I’m not going to stop drinking my Lite
I don’t care if I’m dead
you are dead Max we’re all dead
Buddy are you sure you can fly are you
does smoke rise up from a fire
and finally vanish in the sky
I keep on truckin’ like I always done Max
through war and peace Mama
our flag must still wave
through hell and high water Max
I could go on flying this big beautiful
Winnebago with the eagle wing span of an
Enola Gay forever across America
back and forth across this great big
God bless America country

FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA
 
 
E.M. Schorb’s Murderer’s Day, was awarded the Verna Emery Poetry Prize and published by Purdue University Press, and a subsequent collection, Time and Fevers, was the recipient of the Writer’s Digest International Self-Published Award for Poetry and also an Eric Hoffer Award.
 
Other works include 50 Poems, Hill House New York; Words in Passing, The New Formalist Press; The Ideologues and Other Retrospec­tive Poems, Aldrich Press; Eclectica Americana, Hill House New York; Manhattan Spleen, Aldrich Press; Last Exit to East Hampton, Kelsay Books; and The Poor Boy, Dragon’s Teeth Press, Living Poets Series. The title poem, “The Poor Boy,” was awarded the International Keats Poetry Prize by London Literary Editions, Ltd., judged by Howard Sergeant.
 
Schorb’s novel, Paradise Square, received the Grand Prize for Fiction from the International eBook Award Founda­tion at the Frankfurt Book Fair. A Portable Chaos was the First Prize Winner of the Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction. His latest novel, R&R, a Sex Comedy, has won the Beverly Hills Book Award for Humor. But Schorb maintains that he is first and foremost a poet, and his poetry has appeared in numerous publi­ca­tions, such as Agenda (UK), The American Scholar (US), Frank (FR), The Hudson Review (US), Stand (UK), Poetry Salzburg Review (AU), Queen’s Quarterly (CA), The Yale Review (US), and Oxford Poetry (UK), among others.

Poetry, National Literature Prize 2018, Francisca Aguirre, Translated from Spanish by Amparo Arróspide & Robin Ouzman Hislop

Francisca Aguirre, Premio Nacional de las Letras 2018 El jurado la ha elegido 
“por estar su poesía (la más machadiana de la generación del medio siglo)
entre la desolación y la clarividencia, la lucidez y el dolor"

Francisca Aguirre, National Literature Prize 2018
The jury chose it "because its poetry is (the most Machadian* of the generation 
of the half century) between desolation and clairvoyance, lucidity and pain"

* In the tradition of Antonio Machado

https://elpais.com/cultura/2018/11/13

Francisca Aguirre was born in 1930 in Alicante, Spain, and fled with her family to France 
at the end of the Spanish Civil War, where they lived in political exile.  When the Germans 
invaded Paris in 1942, her family was forced to return to Spain, where her father, painter 
Lorenzo Aguirre, was subsequently murdered by Francisco Franco's regime.  
Aguirre published Ítaca (1972), currently available in English (Ithaca [2004]), when she was 
42 years old. Her work has garnered much critical success, winning the Leopoldo Panero, 
Premio Ciudad de Irún, and Premio Galliana, among other literary prizes.  
Aguirre is married to the poet Félix Grande and is the mother of poet Guadalupe Grande.



From "NANAS PARA DORMIR DESPERDICIOS"

LULLABIES TO LULL THROWN AWAYS

by FRANCISCA AGUIRRE

Translated by Amparo Arrospíde & Robin Ouzman Hislop ***

NANA DE LAS SOBRAS                                                                             A Esperanza y Manuel Rico Vaya

canción la de las sobras, eso sí
                      que era una nana para dormir el hambre.
Vaya canción aquella
                      que cantaba mi abuela con aquella voz
que era la voz de la misericordia
disfrazada de voz angelical.
                             Porque la voz de mi abuela
nos cantaba la canción de las sobras.
                             Y nosotras, que no conocíamos el pan,
cantábamos con ella que
                             las sobras de pan eran sagradas,
las sobras de pan nunca se tiran.

Siempre recordaré su hermosa voz
cantando aquella nana mientras el hambre nos dormía.
                                         **
LULLABY FOR LEFTOVERS                                                          To  Esperanza and Manuel Rico

Well, a leftovers song,
                    that truly was a lullaby to lull hunger to sleep.
Wow, that song 
                    my grandmother sang with a voice
that was the voice of mercy
disguised as the voice of an angel.
                              Because my grandmother´s voice
sang for us the leftovers song.
                              And we, who did not know bread,
sang together with her that
                              bread leftovers were holy,
bread leftovers shall never be thrown away.

I will always remember her beautiful voice
singing that lullaby while hunger lulled us to sleep.

                                                                                                       **

NANA DE LAS HOJAS CAÍDAS                                                                       
                                                                                                                       A Marián Hierro
Casi todo lo que se pierde tiene música,
                                                             una música oculta, inolvidable.
Pero las hojas, esas criaturas parlanchinas
que son la voz de nuestros árboles,
                    tienen, como la luz, el agua y las libélulas
una nana secreta y soñadora.
                    Lo que se pierde, siempre nos deja
                       un rastro misterioso y cantarín.

Las hojas verdes o doradas
              cantan su desamparo mientras juegan al corro.
Cantan mientras los árboles las llaman
como llaman las madres a sus hijos
sabiendo que es inútil, que han crecido
                     y que se han ido a recorrer el mundo.

                                                                                                      ****

LULLABY FOR FALLEN LEAVES
                                                                                                                     To Marián Hierro

Almost everything which is lost has a music,
                                                                     a hidden, unforgettable music.
But leaves, those chattering creatures
who are the voices of our trees
                       have -- like light, water and dragonflies --
a secret dreamy lullaby.
                                   That which is lost to us, always leaves
                                           the mysterious trace of its song.
Green or golden leaves
                        sing of their neglect as they dance their ring a ring of roses.
They sing while trees call to them
as mothers do calling their children
knowing it is futile, as they have grown up
                                     and left to travel the world over.
                                                                                          
                                                                                                                               **

NANA DE LAS CARTAS VIEJAS

Tienen el olor desvalido del abandono
y el tono macilento del silencio.
Son desperdicios de la memoria, residuos de dolor, 
                                                   y hay que cantarles muy bajito
para que no despierten de su letargo.
En ocasiones las manos se tropiezan con ellas
                                                  y el pulso se acelera
porque notamos que las palabras	
                                                 como si fueran mariposas
quieren bailar delante de nosotros
y volver a contarnos el secreto
                                                 que duerme entre sus páginas.
Son las abandonadas,
                                 los residuos de un tiempo de desdicha,
relatan pormenores de un combate
                                 y al rozarlas oímos el tristísimo andar
de los presos en los penales.

                                                                                                         **

LULLABY FOR OLD LETTERS

They give off the helpless smell of neglectfulness
and the emaciated tone of silence.
They are memory´s cast offs, residues of pain
                                                   and should be sung to in a low croon
so as not to awaken them from their lethargy.
Sometimes your hands chance upon them
                                                   and your pulse races
because we realize that words
                                                   wish to dance before us
as if they were butterflies
and tell us again the secret
                                                  sleeping inside their pages.
They are the neglected,
                                                  the remnants of unhappy times,
recounting the details of a struggle
                                                  and as we brush them we hear the saddest steps
of prisoners in jails.

                                                                                                          **

NANA DEL HUMO

La nana del humo tiene muchos detractores,
casi nadie quiere cantarla.
                                            Muchos dicen que el humo los ahoga,
otros piensan que eso de dormir al humo
                                            no les da buena espina,
que tiene algo de gafe.
                                   El humo no resulta de fiar:
en cuanto asoma su perfil oscuro
todo son malas conjeturas:
                                             se nos está quemando el bosque,
aquella casa debe de estar ardiendo.
El humo es un extraño desperdicio,
                                             tiene muy mala prensa.
Es un abandonado,
                                   es un incomprendido;
casi nadie recuerda que el humo es un vocero,
un triste avisador de lo que se nos avecina.
Y por eso, cuando lo escucho vocear con impotencia
yo le canto la nana del silencio
                                   para que no se sienta solo.
                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                       **

LULLABY FOR SMOKE

The lullaby for smoke doesn´t get many supporters,
almost nobody wants to sing its song.
                                               Many say smoke stifles them,
others think to lull smoke to sleep
                                               makes them queasy, 
that it´s a bit of a jinx.
                                  Smoke is not trustworthy:
as soon as it rears its dark head
it conjures up conjectures
                                                        -- a forest fire,
a house burning down.
Smoke is a weird remain,
                                             it´s got bad reports.
It´s a reject,
                                  it´s a misunderstood thing;
almost nobody remembers smoke is a herald,
a sad forwarner of what looms over us.
That´s why, when I hear it calling out helplessly,
I sing to it the lullaby for silence
                                             so that it doesn´t feel so lonely.


                                                                                                     ***
Translators:

Amparo Arrospide (Argentina) is a Spanish poet and translator. She has published 
seven poetry collections, Mosaicos bajo la hiedra, Alucinación en dos actos y algunos 
poemas, Pañuelos de usar y tirar, Presencia en el Misterio, En el Oido del Viento, 
Hormigas en Diáspora and Jaccuzzi, as well as poems, short stories and articles on 
literary and film criticism in anthologies and in both national and foreign magazines. 
She has received numerous awards. 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include 
All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist 
the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande 
and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. 
See Robin performing his work Performance (University of Leeds) and his latest 
Collected Poems Volume at  Next-Arrivals 

Kidney. A Poem by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

 
1.
In the Bessarabian night
I got knocked on the head
and my left kidney was stolen
but there was charity there—
the thugs could have taken both kidneys
They could have harvested all my organs
I wonder why they didn’t
 
2.
My grandfather hid in a basement
on the Bessarabian night in 1903
when the gentiles went mad
and killed Jews
 
3.
The thieves didn’t know that I’ve suffered terribly from kidney stones
mostly on the left side
I wonder if their doctor will discover
the many chunks of calcium oxalate lurking inside
and if he will clean them out
before he installs the kidney
in a new person
 
Perhaps the recipient will consequently suffer from kidney disease
and will curse the son of a bitch who donated that organ
not knowing that it was taken from him
involuntarily
after he was struck in the head with a blunt object
I’ve suffered blinding headaches ever since
I have terrible ringing in my ears
 
4.
My grandfather escaped Bessarabia
also known as Moldova
He escaped with all his organs
and what little money he could scrape together
and what little intelligence he had
His sons thought he was a stupid man
and hated him
hated him also because he was cruel to them
 
He was cruel because he was frightened
and depressed
but how could he ever explain those things
to his newly American sons
whose future was so bright
despite Anti-Semitism
which, fortunately for them, was waning?
 
 


 
 
Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over fourteen-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including quite a few in POETRY LIFE AND TIMES. He has been nominated for numerous prizes, and was awarded the 2017 Booranga Writers’ Centre (Australia) Prize for Fiction. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a Print Edition . To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Robin Ouzman Hislop is Editor of Poetry Life and Times his publications include All the Babble of the Souk and Cartoon Molecules collected poems and Key of Mist the recently published Tesserae translations from Spanish poets Guadalupe Grande and Carmen Crespo visit Aquillrelle.com/Author Robin Ouzman Hislop about author. See Robin performing his work Performance (Leeds University) .