WORLD POETRY PORTFOLIO, #1
OOOCurated & Edited by Molossus Contributing Editor Sudeep Sen
Three Poems & Three Translations
Maria Jastrzębska was born in Warsaw and grew up in London. Her collections include Postcards From Poland (Working Press), Home From Home (Flarestack), and Syrena (Redbeck Press 2004). She co-edited the Forum Polek anthology. Her work appears in anthologies including Images of Women (Arrowhead 2006) and is featured on Poetry International Web. The translations in this issue arose from international workshops at THE SOUTH in Brighton and ‘Golden Boat’ in Ŝkocjan.
OOOIn memory of film director Krzysztof Kieślowski
They aren’t like the ones
on Xmas cards. Aren’t boys or men
so jealously guarding their God.
Aren’t chaste and their hair
is by no means automatically gold.
They’re not even invisible,
though you don’t notice them.
They wear gabardine, wool,
unobtrusive colours. Perform
miracles under your very nose.
Sitting on buses, park benches,
gliding through supermarkets.
They’re the ones you ignore at parties
without a second thought.
They blend in, as if trained for it.
Don’t confuse them with undercover
cops or spies as they watch you.
Don’t imagine they’ll smile
or bail you out. Some will be women,
some old. Expect only light.
By night children’s memories flicker like glow worms. Float to the surface of thoughts like enormous lilies or bloated bodies; break out like fevers and boils ready to burst by morning. A slap still stings. A door won’t open. A grown man’s penis felt rubbery to touch. His smile makes everything worthwhile. Liquorice coils round and round and the pipes stain your tongue. A door isn’t shut. A new penknife was your best present yet.
The sheer number of animals in this section astounds the adults leaving them a little embarrassed. There are androids and robots, supermen and miraculous women of course, incidental characters like a lollipop lady or the priest, but they are overshadowed by flocks of elephants leaning over the water’s edge to drink, snorting and trumpeting out great gulps, the spray flying up to the sky and back, disturbing shoals of blue butterflies.
Babcia Jadzia arrived on the train from Warsaw and began complaining about her liver. Now when anyone comes to the house – even the paraffin delivery man – she hurries round with a cloth wiping the door knobs after them, saying: you never know what you might catch.
Mama told me when she was a girl Babcia Jadzia used to catch bumble bees in her cupped hands. She’d hold them to her ear – without ever crushing them. They hummed, grumbling in the dark space between her palms and then she’d let them go. Back into sunlight. Mama always says she wishes she could hold a duckling even once. In July drizzle we walk round the ponds in Walpole Park to feed the birds and she says it again. In a whisper I ask her: What happened to Babcia Jadzia?
I Speak a Language Bare as a Forest Cut Down (III)
I speak a language bare as a forest cut down.
After the whining and raging of the chainsaw,
with its showers of sawdust, when snow won’t melt.
The moon’s friendly crown rises over the forest edge
on a cold night, heavy with thoughts.
I can still make out a squirrel’s pelt running
past me, I can weigh it up at a glance.
It stops, mad fool, unaware of the price on its head.
Or how its name will end up
when it dries, crumpled up by the infinite
like newspaper going up the chimney in flames.
Today everything’s running smoothly, masterfully,
skillfully, swiftly and tenderly.
In all of this there has to be something suspiciously
Jouni Inkala (b. 1966) lives in Helsinki. He studied foreign literature and philosophy at Helsinki University. He has published seven poetry collections and also written essays and columns in different forums. His Selected Poems 1992-2007 were published in Spring of 2007. His poetry has been translated into several languages.
31/10/04 Paris, Later on in the Afternoon, Museum of Jewish Art and History: Gold and Silver Bracelets
OOOChristophe Lamiot Enos
Two bracelets in the window
two bracelets of sun and moon,
sun and moon silver of moon
sun and moon gold of sun
sun gold and silver moon
moon and sun spun.
Gold braids, braids of silver
two bracelets forged from silver
moon braids silver forged
sun braids gold forged
chests of gold highlighting sun
moon chests highlighting silver.
A journey of sun circling wrist
sun circled bracelets of moon
of moon, sun, of gold, silver.
Christophe Lamiot Enos was born in Beaumont-le-Roger in France, spent over fifteen years in English-speaking countries, and now lives in Paris, France. Two literary essays, “Eau sur eau, les dictionnaires de Mallarmé, Flaubert, Bataille, Michaux, Leiris et Ponge “(Amsterdam: if you Rodopi, 1997) and “Littérature et hôpital, Balzac, Sue, Hugo” (Paris: Sciences en Situation, 1999) prefigure several verse narratives of his, including Des pommes et des oranges, Californie I—Berkeley, Sitôt Elke, illusion, and Albany—des pommes et des oranges, Californie II (Paris: Flammarion, 2000, 2003 and 2006).
from a longer sequence “Kuala Lumpur”
You wake up five minutes
before the alarm clock.
You pull on some clothes
straighten out your thoughts
knocking the moonlight over.
You’re an ocean of sky falling headlong.
Silence has always been a case of sparks flying.
Autumn nights grow
deep and clear.
My passion all of it
like the sea crashing
onto the letters of this poem.
My poem a huge skillet
Go on wind! Tear round the corner!
Sweep through the halls of the house!
The minute we move out
moonlight steps in.
Iztok Osojnik was born in 1951 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a poet, translator, artist, tour director, and mountain climber. He has published 24 books of poetry, 4 novels and 2 books of essays, as well as 3 books of poetry in English: Alluminations, and And Some Things Happen for the First Time (Modry Peter: Canada, 2001) and Mister Today (Jacaranda Press: California, 2004). His poems and essays have been translated and published in 20 languages. He is a recipient of many national and international awards.