Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One Luminous Poison

from The Favors of the Moon
By Charles Baudelaire

The moon, who is caprice itself, looked through the window while you were sleeping in your cradle, and said to herself: "I like this child."

And softly she decended her staircase of clouds and, noiselessly, passed through the window-panes. Then she stretched herself out over you with the supple tenderness of a mother, and laid down her colors on your face. Ever since, the pupils of your eyes have remained green and your cheeks unusually pale. It was while contemplating this vistor that your eyes became so strangely enlarged; and she clasped your neck so tenderly that you have retained for ever the desire to weep.

However, in the expansion of her joy, the Moon filled the whole room with phosphorescent vapour, like a luminous poison; and all the living light thought and said: "You shall suffer forever the influence of my kiss. You shall be beautiful in my fashion. You shall love that which I love and that which loves me: water, clouds, silence and the night; the immense green sea...."

...And that, my dear, cursed, spoiled child, is why I am now lying at your feet, seeking in all your person the reflection of the formidable divinity, of the foreknowing godmother, the poisoning wet-nurse of all the lunatics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One Stone Sword

Modern Love I
By George Meredith

By this he knew she wept with waking eyes:
That, at his hand's light quiver by her head,
The strange low sobs that shook their common bed
Were called into her with a sharp surprise,
And strangled mute, like little gaping snakes,
Dreadfully venomous to him. She lay
Stone-still, and the long darkness flowed away
With muffled pulses. Then, as midnight makes
Her giant heart of Memory and Tears
Drink the pale drug of silence, and so beat
Sleep's heavy measure, they from head to feet
Were moveless, looking through their dead black years,
By vain regret scrawled over the blank wall.
Like sculptured effigies they might be seen
Upon their marriage-tomb, the sword between;
Each wishing for the sword that severs all.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One Suppurating Power

from Power
By Adrienne Rich

...Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
her wounds came from the same source as her power.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One Good Sale

I go to the house of my one true lover, the Lifter of Mountains.
When I see his beauty, I only crave him more.
At dusk I go to him, at dawn I return.
Whatever his pleasure, day and night I am his.
The clothes he gives me, I wear. The food he offers, I eat.
Where he wants me to be, I stay. If he wants to sell me, I want to be sold.

--Mirabai, translated by Robert Bly and Jane Hirshfield

One Persevering Seducer

You call an artist a seducer and are not aware that you are paying him the highest of compliments. The whole attitude of the artist towards the Universe is that of a seducer. For what does seduction mean but the ability to make, with infinite trouble, patience, and perseverance, the object upon which you concentrate your mind give forth, voluntarily and enraptured, its very core and essence?

--Isak Dinesen

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

One Righteous Murderess

from Clytemnestra Triumphant
By Aeschylus

So he goes down, and the life is bursting out of him--
great sprays of blood, and the murderous shower
wounds me, dyes me black and I, I revel
like the Earth when the spring rains come down
the blessed gifts of god, and the new green spear
splits the sheath and rips to birth in glory!

...I glory.
And if I'd pour upon his body the libation
it deserves, what wine could match my words?
It is right and more than right.

--Translated by Robert Fagles

One Undeceased Wanda

Wanda Why Aren't You Dead
By Wanda Coleman

wanda when are you gonna wear your hair down
wanda. that's a whore's name
wanda why ain't you rich
wanda you know no man in his right mind want a
ready-made family
why don't you lose weight
wanda why are you so angry
how come your feet are so goddamn big
can't you afford to move out of this hell hole
if i were you were you were you
wanda what is it like being black
i hear you don't like black men
tell me you're ac/dc. tell me you're a nympho. tell me you're
into chains
wanda i don't think you really mean that
you're joking. girl, you crazy
wanda what makes you so angry

wanda i think you need this
wanda you have no humor in you you too serious
wanda i didn't know i was hurting you
that was an accident
wanda i know what you're thinking

wanda i don't think they'll take that off of you

wanda why are you so angry

i'm sorry i didn't remember that that that
that that that was so important to you

wanda you're ALWAYS on the attack

wanda wanda wanda i wonder

why ain't you dead