Sunday, June 21, 2015

Paul Sampson

A Middle Manager, Newly Dead, Learns That Tibetan Buddhism Is True

Bardo, they call this. Jail is more like it.
"Don't worry," they tell me. "You'll be out in no time."
No time! Little joke there, eternity humor.
Very funny. "No time." Cute. I get it.

So this is the deal: you keep doing it over,
no telling how often. "Get it right, get it perfect,
you can stop, no more troubles." It doesn't sound likely.

And doesn't seem fair. Each "Life," as they call it,
you start over, pig-ignorant, misleading road map,
expected to learn what you missed on the last trip,
in spite of distractions, incessant annoyance,
orders from everyone, dozens of voices,
all claiming authority, threatening punishments,
always enough to keep you off balance.

Then on short notice, it's pack up, it's over.
The return trip is usually painful and scary,
and back in your cubicle at Bardo's Head Office,
you desk has been filling with karmic account books
that need straightening out. "So how was it?" they ask you.
"I scarcely remember. Too short, that's for damn sure,"
and you get down to business, reporting to demons
(this much seems familiar) until the next journey.

The end of it all? The retirement program?
"Nirvana," they tell you. No details to speak of;
"The End of Desire." It had better be worth it.

--Paul Sampson

fr. Dirge in a Resolutely Major Key [Unicorn Press, 2006]

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Rosmarie Waldrop . . .

The Grandeur of the Mountains

Could the grandeur of the mountains be inhaled by a village girl? How fraught the bond between warm-blooded animals. The governing classes had no intention of loosening their grip. The more snow piled up undenied on the snowbank the more shadows of clouds moved across "household slavery." What does it mean to put a word between quotation marks? Thanks to the discoveries of Darwin the structural plan of every species is laid down in two strands.

How wonderfully the air is laid down on shadows. She had left her widowed mother to discover the grandeur of the mountains. Above a certain solitude no trees grow. Snowballing denoted making few concessions to women. What is passed from generation to generation is a structure of detail like the lacing of boots. Whereas inverted commas take their distance from language.

Such as the accessories of light, heat, electricity, laced boots. Soon she was pregnant. The more rapidly commas were snowballing the harder the resolve to maintain symbols of order. For proper understanding use distance from language. Sometimes slight errors occur above a certain solitude. The sense has been shifted, but not cut into mouthfuls.

This air, then, those we call animals suck in by mouthfuls. In October, there was a severe storm among the symbols of order. This is what is known as genetic mutation. Solitude engulfed the accessories. The vast, shifting grandeur of the mountains. Sexual tolerance was confined within commas, suspended within its history, weighted and therefore thought.

The old woman knew her daughter was near her time. Air is decomposed in the lungs and therefore thought. But genes are grouped into larger units called history. The word enclosed within quotation marks is waiting for its moment of revenge. The governing classes did not confine covert storms, but fidelity to one's wife remained a warm-blooded option. No smoke rising in the public realm.

Part of what they inhale is distributed with the arterial blood (warm). The broken door banged backwards and forwards on its hinges. Only in exceptional cases does a mutation enable an organism to adapt more profitably to solitude. She wrapped her daughter in a quilt. The clergy showed themselves unprepared to overturn the institution of "household slavery." He who puts a word in quotation marks can no longer rid himself of it.

--Rosmarie Waldrop

fr. CrossConnect [Vol. 2, issue 3; Feb. 2007]

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Miroslav Holub

The Minotaur's Thoughts on Poetry

Certainly this thing exists. For
on dark nights when, unseen,
I walk through the snail-like windings of the street
the sound of my own roar reaches me
from a great distance.

Yes. This thing exits. For surely
even cicadas were once of gigantic stature
and today you can find mammoths' nests
under a pebble. The earth, of course,
is lighter than it once was.

Besides, evolution is nothing but
a long string of false steps;
and it may happen that a severed head
will sing.

And it's not due, as many believe, to
the invention of words. Blood
in the corners of the mouth is substantially
more ancient and the cores of the rocky planets
are heated by the grinding of teeth.

Certainly this thing exists.
a thousand bulls want to be
And vice versa.

--fr. Intensive Care (Oberlin College Press, 1996)
tr. Ewald Osers