Pierre Joris (Luxembourg/USA): Two Poems

READING EDMOND JABÈS

Here, the end of the word, of the book, of chance.

Desert!
Drop that dice. It is useless.

Here, the end of the game, of resemblance.
The infinite, by the interpretation of its letters
Denies the end.

Here, the end cannot be denied. It is infinite.

Here is not the place
Nor even the trace.

Here is sand.

ON MILES 13TH BIRTHDAY

& the sun rises at 7:05 a.m.
over the Habbous quarter in Casablanca
song birds that use the sky and the house
open house open to the sky to
the train vibrates walls
open to smells of Maghreb
the call of the muezzin at 4:30 a.m.
even though (even though?)
the windows have elegant bars
speech-grilles? sight-grills?
porous borders, but borders.
The cocks have been crowing
for an hour
I have been reading Kateb Yacine
on revolution, on the necessary fight
against arabo-islamism (feeling
relieved that he did not
need to see the horrors of the nineties
in his country — that place with the
“tourist” name, “The Islands” — who
would call a country the islands?
But who would call a country simply
the West, when it clearly has all four
directions? And when can I say
that syllable made my day,
my yesterday, reading Zrika
to the last glass at dinner,
the syllable of “ahh”
comes with or from the tea —
the idea, no the aaah that
is invisible link between
mouth & mint,
sugar & green tea,
in a pot shaped, he wrote,
like the country we call
the West.

Mark Young (Australia/New Zealand): Two Poems

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

Even when costumed
as a cloud of
comets, light, for all
practical purposes,
travels in lines too fine
to be detected easily.
That's why opera
is mainly words & music,
although its name derives
from the root for work
& work = energy &
energy is sometimes
light in certain wave-
lengths. But not in
this, & not enough
for dancing to be
clearly seen by. So
it calls in sick, & the
show goes on without
it. The audience
is none the wiser.

A DAY AT THE RACES

Most pathogens have
poor Latin, survive
only through their
ability to oxidize &
turn the surface
certain colours. Across
short distances the
males are nomadic
but still manage to
extend their range by
over-dubbing, Fender-
bending as it's
known in the
trade. The females
stay at home during
the breeding season,
support the patriarchy,
are supported by a
small allowance, enough
to cover living costs
& maintain their
health. Earlier & later
though they are the
true journeymen, under-
take long voyages of
exploration, discover
new bodies of evidence
or parts of speech
which they then bring
home pre-digested to
make it easier for the
following generations.

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