Categories
Poetry

Diaspora

by Jacob Fidoten | Poetry | Spring 2018

Drawing by Julia Friend

like nylon on nylon a sound I have always felt deeper than the ear—shalom he said first meeting me shalom before I started shalom when I was finished shalom when hot oil anointed my forehead reverberated 

the next day an uninhibited music but still scratching internally this lousy phallus never taught me to catch a football but I still learned to fear emasculation 

there are too many people to blame in a day I like to compromise and blame myself I move through streets with the tepid entropy of cannabis burnt in the dense summer air surrounding the brittle branch posture held rigid by urge 

quickly dispersed as we collapse into briar those tangles always stiffen and the eyes gloss over in defense cover is blown by the thin line of tear salt on the glasses 

the covenant was made to burden the breaker the manna was bug shit and we still thanked god he called me weak and I thanked him on the way out 

Categories
Poetry

Sometimes Walk Outside

by Gillian Pasley | Poetry | Spring 2018

Drawing by Lexi Mitchell

Sometimes walk outside
Sometimes walk outside on streets where you live Sometimes live
Sometimes walk on broken glass
Sometimes walk outside on streets where you live
Sometimes die on streets Sometimes walk on broken glass
Sometimes die on broken glass on streets where you live
Sometimes die on streets
Sometimes die outside on streets where you live Sometimes die on broken glass on
streets where you live
Sometimes die outside
Sometimes die outside on streets where you live
Sometimes live on streets where people die Sometimes die outside
Sometimes live on broken glass
Sometimes live on streets where people die
Sometimes live inside but die on streets Sometimes live on broken glass
Sometimes walk on broken glass on streets where you live
Sometimes live inside but die on streets
Sometimes live Sometimes walk on broken glass on streets where you live
Sometimes walk outside. 

Categories
Parallax

Translation: Les Colchiques

by Guillaume Apollianaire | translated by Emma March | Parallax | Fall 2017

Image by Rachel Weinstein

The first time I heard Apollinaire, my sister was reciting “Les Colchiques” from memory at the dinner table. When she finished I leaned forward and asked her, Who wrote that? Later that night, I found Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligrammes, his war poetry, and his life story scattered throughout various websites. Born in 1880 in Rome, Apollinaire was raised trilingual, which later allowed him to gain popularity in the Parisian circle of artists forming at the time. He fought in World War I, and was severely injured. He died shortly thereafter in 1918. “Les Colchiques” was published in his 1913 book Alcools.

Most of Apollinaire’s poetry, infused with linguistic, formal, and visual distortions, does not lend itself generously to the process of translation. In fact, I was first drawn to the task of translating this poem after reading renditions from other artists. No one sought to preserve the poem’s beauty, but rather attempted literal translations of the French. The difficulties of translation are magnified within Apollinaire’s work because he uses language as a form. In “Les Colchiques,” for example, he inverts sentences to confuse the images of eyes with the images of flowers in a way that leaves the reader unsure whether the flowers are blooming in the subject’s eyes or in the meadow.

Apollinaire so masters his ambiguous language that by the end of the poem, the reader is not convinced they have read a love poem. Rather, they are left in Apollinaire’s poisonous meadow, grazing with the cows and unsure what the metaphor was to begin with. Where Apollinaire does allow for solid ground is in the sonic beauty of his poem, how the words compliment one another and create cyclical waves of tones and rhymes. It is precisely that aspect of his poetry that gave me the confidence to stray from a literal translation and try to find a similar, albeit inferior, language in English.


Les Colchiques

Le pré est vénéneux mais joli en automne
Les vaches y paissant
Lentement s’empoisonnent
Le colchique couleur de cerne et de lilas
Y fleurit tes yeux sont comme cette fleur-la
Violâtres comme leur cerne et comme cet automne
Et ma vie pour tes yeux lentement s’empoisonne.

Les enfants de l’école viennent avec fracas
Vêtus de hoquetons et jouant de l’harmonica
Ils cueillent les colchiques qui sont comme des mères
Filles de leurs filles et sont couleur de tes paupières
Qui battent comme les fleurs battent au vent dement

Le gardien du troupeau chante tout doucement
Tandis que lentes et meuglant les vaches abandonnent
Pour toujours ce grand pré mal fleuri par l’automne.

The Crocuses

The meadow holds its poison in the autumn
The grazing cows there
slowly dying
The crocus shaded lilac color
flowers where your eyes are tired
Violet like their shadows and this autumn
And for your eyes I feed my life this poison.

Schoolchildren in the meadow making noise
dressed in uniforms and playing flutes
They gather crocuses—their mothers
daughters of their daughters and the color of your eyelids
shivering like flowers in the delirious wind

The cowherd sings gently
While the lowing cows slowly abandon
forever this meadow fed poisonously by autumn.

Categories
Poetry

Three Week Old Adult

by Camille Pass | Poetry | Fall 2017

Image by Emily Rogers

There is loneliness in subdivided headings and columns but there is also a space with frozen margaritas and hands rubbing your back. Many love languages later you decide what’s best on the yellow quilt. Many love languages later, it’s the little things that get you, the lights being put up in your apartment or an offering of soup. When the little things are given they are gone and so are the little parts of you. There is so much time left and elapsed that it holds to your pinky toes that you suddenly become very aware of in damp boots. Kissing is pretty gross but so is asking to be loved. Especially when you try speaking to the lakes that come rushing by minutes apart on the highway out the passenger window. Socked feet in the sunny spot on the dashboard we keep throttling a dead chicken with these questions.

These days night dreams get scarier and scarier and you have to walk around for a bit in the apartment to remind interlocking limbs where things are and that she is dead now. She died in your mother’s arms in the house you grew up in. Not the house in the neighborhood that they once dubbed, “Jew Town,” but the one that still technically you belong to. Her legs crumpled on the gravel—it is our fault. She loved to sleep and sleep she did in my mother’s arms because that’s what you do when you are ready to go. “We didn’t want to ruin your Friday night” because that’s all I live for here in the tundras of Ohio, another beer in the same bar. Childhood ends with the death of your childhood pet, and I am a fresh three week-ed adult.

Resistant to change and the weather my mother decided that grass wasn’t fit for Southern California and though this was met with applause by the neighbors the short limbs on her daughter’s long terriered body would no longer find support in the lawn holes burned by her piss. I memorized the view of a second story window in my teen years believing in the foreverness of moments and the witch’s house next door—no one in or out except family and loud children on Sundays to use the pool. Immortalizing the gnarled tree in the front yard splitting into two still self-sustaining lives. I painted and I sang songs out the window collecting the parts of myself to give to others thinking they were important, thinking I was bigger than my twin sized bed.

They chopped the limbs off last year when the witch died and the corner property was finally up for sale. We walked by dusk purple in bare feet, I never put her on a leash especially when there was nowhere to go. She acknowledged her freedom by taking her time with each tree and turning around occasionally to see that my body was still there. We raced for the last stretch of block around the corner to the peeling grey back gate every time, even when she shouldn’t have been running.

Rituals persist in the life of a household dog, hours at a time outside spread on her belly with her snout poking out through the crack in the fence and the concrete. My father, the most emotionally insulated or stunted member of the family shed a tear the morning after when he turned on the kitchen lights and made coffee without her. In her old age she never wanted to be touched. In a way I believe that it was because she didn’t want us to feel the bones coming through. Very far away, I settle into my bed knowing she left us at home. I think about how my home will probably be the next corner lot to go after the witch’s house.

I told a fortune teller my problems at the bar the next night. Choosing to write on an intricate questionnaire form in capital letters rather than checking off boxes for what I thought was wrong with me: LOVE HURTS. She thought I was probably referring to the numbskull boy to my left and the current running between our fingers, but that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I had been talking about the kind of love that starts on your sixth birthday and dies after your twenty-first. She made me pull out a card from her tarot deck and laughed as she read the word “success” out loud. Almost scoffing she told me, “Y’know maybe I’m reading it wrong” and sipped her third mixed drink. She asked me how old I was and I told her three weeks since my childhood dog died. Then she adjusted her wig pulling it higher over her scalp and giggled a little scratching words onto a faded prescription pad. I walked away and read it to myself. She just wrote: “Chill the fuck out,” and she’s probably right.

Categories
Poetry

Uber Dream

by Julian Meltzer | Poetry | Fall 2017

Calligraphy by Ramzy Lakos

I have this dream,
mom, where I’m
your Uber driver,
after your legs are
too weak for the subway,
I don’t know you,
of course, but
you are beautiful,
in the way middle-
aged, fashion-conscious
women can be, as
you walk deliberately
from the doorstep of
your apartment I barely
notice the way you
favor your right leg, not
knowing how long it’s taken
you to walk unaided.
I call, Elizabeth?
out the window, you nod,
smiling as you climb
into the backseat.

We make small talk; I’m
surprised—you’re every inch
Upper East Side in your black
woolen shawl and your
Marc Jacobs bag but
friendlier, you thank me
for the Poland Springs
bottle I’ve left in the backseat
but decline my offer of
a mint. We chat all the way
to your acupuncture
appointment and, because
you’ve won me over,
I idle outside, a half-hour maybe.
You don’t seem surprised that I’ve
waited when you return, but smaller
somehow, there’s the limp again, I’m
certain, and an extra wrinkle or
two, have I imagined them? I drive
you to the apothecary, your therapist, a
Reiki practitioner—you shrinking
all the while, aging, your eyes sinking,
your walk to and from
each building becoming
more obviously laborious. You ask
about my family and we share
a smile through the rearview mirror over
my beautiful baby niece, Anita. On the way out
from the Homeopath’s office
you stagger, barely catch yourself,
I rush to take your purse
and your arm, guide you to my car and
tuck you in. Now our chatter dances
around cancer, as I drive you to your
appointment with the famous
Doctor Nicholas and, by silent
agreement, accompany you inside.

When we emerge
I’m livid, as I tuck
you into the back-
seat, I want to beg
you to go to a real
oncologist, that man
is clearly a quack, peddling
false-hope, hippie Chemo
and sure it makes your
hair fall out, all over
the backseat, but with one
look at his tasteful waiting
room, the quiet music, his dead
smile and syrupy drawl, I wanted to
rush you over to Sloan Kettering
or even Bellevue, anywhere
else. But of course I’m just your
Uber driver, so I put on the CD of
Healing Tibetan Chanting the doctor
sold you and we head to
the Aromatherapist’s, the
Chiropractor’s, the Wig-
maker’s, the Kombucha
Shop, the Toxin Masseur,
the NAET Practitioner, the
Cancer Coach, the Hot
Stone Masseur, the Cupping
Masseur, the Foot Masseur,
the Dietitian, the Juice Bar, the
Kimchi Shop, the Spiritual
Healer, the Acupressurist, the
Astrologist, the Yogi—you aging
all the while, shriveling everywhere but
your midsection, which begins
ballooning, and there are no smiles
from either of us and where’s
your Marc Jacobs bag? Where’s
your wig now? Your black shawl is
gone, replaced by something paper-
thin, polka-dotted, split down
the back, and you’re wearing
just fuzzy gray socks
with those sticky, grip-
dots on the bottom
and you’re not sitting
but stretched out,
seatbeltless, across the
backseat like a
shitty cot, so I
drive slowly with
my hazards on until
we pull up to the Hospice
on Eastchester and Bassett
and I have to carry you,
your lightness terrifies me,
as we pass through
the automatic doors
you loll up to me
and whisper,
Where are we?