h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s






              mistranslation of Chinese “mosquito” riddle

Eloquence fits into the box
like mail delivered to the house.
Flanked by articulate and inarticulate
demands, I curtsey repeatedly.
Now you are talking again,
and eloquence is taking a smoke out back,
the smells of dinner settle,
our competing ideas of politeness shove shoulders.
You and I, beneath the roof.
One in the bath, the other talking.
Now donning our macaroni headdresses,
we prepare to listen.



               mistranslation after Chinese “clam” riddle

Come into my house!
The coffee is nothing like yours, of course. Let me bend over backwards for a moment.
[One more little thing to be done inside my secret room, so that I may greet you with
adequate composure.]
I’m sorry—you were saying?
This is my finest painting. It was ruined by a flock of storks settling upon the roof.
This is my second finest painting.
I carry drawers of assorted instructions upon my back every day! Per your request: the
menu for tonight.
The fragrance of thousands of instruction-bearers perfumes the soup. Sorry—I didn’t
catch that? Well, later— Let us assume our postures of gratitude and commence.


               mistranslation after Chinese “shrimp” riddle
Observe: the beautiful, cake-like house!
Thank you. I withdraw some sentence fragments from underneath my coat.
[How do they lean back like that and not fall over?]
Observe: the— !
And how did you get the paneling to— !
I put my elbow thus upon the piano. I prop malformed obsequities one upon the other.
They slide back towards me. The clock ticks over.
[What the hell are all these little gestures supposed to mean…]
Here are my appropriate remarks, on the occasion of your beautiful, cake-like house.
Here are my appropriate remarks, picked fresh today, for you, and I hope you know 
where to put them



Carry the light, heart, lift night from the house
after “Sitting Alone at Ching-t’ing Peak”

Carry the dead, the water under the house, fresh peaches, tar shingles blooming to the sky

Wind-blown postures and explanations stand above like night with all their papers

Across the roof, arms, cousins, thoughts of jasmine

Carry the shingles up
the word for jasmine
carry the light, house, lift your skirt
there is no authority but the sky.

I invite the seascape to a melancholy meal
                 after “Drinking in the Mountains with a Hermit Friend”

The table set with tears, sky rose to cover my house with its huge shoulders.

I stood on the roof of night, through the night, through the many nights, making offerings to the horizon.
It declined. I presented my appeal in all the proper boxes. An elaborate unfolding.
I might as well have offered it a gift. It would lift the lid and sniff. It would make excuses, and I would excuse it. Go to hell. I close my eyes and weep.

Copyright © 2009 Literary Pool, Inc.