For all who attended Nina Kossman’s
International Bilingual Poetry Reading
Treacherous fidelity, I had held onto you
So closely that I was obliged to betray you.
For your idiom, as everyone knows, is untranslatable.
So, I betrayed you, my Love.
I betrayed you in the most shameless manner,
Finding signs and motifs in my own time,
Which I felt corresponded to your own original sin.
I who seem to be living in a time
So completely bereft of metaphor, in a world
So literal that ordinary people feel compelled
To stand up and confess in public to the most
Intimate things, as if in some kind of travesty of memory,
So that Mnemosyne herself blushes,
And even you yourself turn your face away, for shame.
For Diana Manole
Her mouth opens and all of the heat
Of the winds comes from out of
Mesopotamia. Is that the Tower at Ur?
I ask myself, seen from the Bird’s
Eye shot out of the sky
And who is now tumbling
To its final resting place
At the very foot of the last step of the stairs.
Down in the very basement
Where immigrants might watch drain-pipes
Like Londoners might watch tennis balls
On the centre court at Wimbledon.
For Linda Morales
Your tongue tapped out the words
Like a Flamenco Dancer would
Tap out the thrill of steps,
Just as taut and diligent.
The diligence of tongues
The diligence of dancers
The words tapping out like steps
The iambs moving in patterns.
So taut and rapid were the movements,
Thrilling my ear just like the words
And ideas thrilled my mind,
Dancing there like only poems can dance.