Monday, October 11, 2010

Bird on My Shoulder

The Stairs Designed by Michelangelo
Laurentian Library, Basilica of San Lorenzo

to the Laurentian Library, Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence
—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Pharaohs’ legs and lapping double tongues…
tall sentinel figures rigidify themselves
around huge lapping—overlapping—shelves:
these monstrous ornamonumental stairs
resembling spreading pools whose younger,
smaller pools the parent pools devour
while escalator-licking upward and dour.

Those vigilant, impassive pilasters
might be witnessing, in pairs,
the operations of a downgrade funeral,
the corpus handed reverently down-
slope while every witness frowns.
Catastrophe, anointed & coronal.

The main event becomes the emergency slide
frantically hitched to the drowning plane.
This is the staircase of a library!
The stairs’ pietra serena should reassure us,
reflecting a noble Italy truly serene
—so why do we feel such frozen-unmusical strain
clambering this black, black, stone, stone, velvet, knees,
feet, calves laboring salmonlike up-chute into learning,
our muscles glazed over like dead fisheyes, yet burning?


Been to see Howl yet? Reviews are mixed; here’s a sampling:


Manzanita Writers Press and Writers Unlimited now has a page on Facebook. If you have a Facebook page, consider adding it to your "like" list. The page will provide information about upcoming events and provide exposure for the organization and its publications (good for contributors and participants alike). For those interested,  here is the link:!/pages/Manzanita-Writers-Press/142757305768507

This coming Friday, October 15, is the deadline for Issue #8 of WTF. See the b-board for details, as well as all the other swell happenings this week.


—Ágnes Nemes Nagy

I carried statues on the ship,
their enormous anonymous faces.
I carried statues on the ship
to the island, to take their places.
Between the ear and the nose
was an angle of ninety degrees,
for the rest their faces were blank.
I carried statues on the ship,
and in that way I sank.


—Ágnes Nemes Nagy

There's a bird perched on my shoulder,
twin-bird, bird born with me.
It's grown so large, grown so heavy,
each step I take is torture.

Dead weight, dead weight, dead weight on me.
I'd shove it off—it's tenacious,
it claws into my shoulder
like the roots of an oak tree.

An inch from my ear: the sound
of its horrible bird-heart throbbing.
If it flew off one day
I'd drop down to the ground.


—Ágnes Nemes Nagy

The fruit on the trees is aging fast,
aging too is the fruit on the grass,
just like after death.

At the weekend houses twilight nears.
The season even changes its life,
and north and south have been man and wife
for 26 thousand years.

26 thousand years have passed,
the fruit on the trees is aging fast.
July: you can hear in the garden grass tick
the falling fruits' uneven spastic
extrasystolic beats.


Today's LittleNip:

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

—D. Elton Trueblood



(Nagy's poems were translated from the Hungarian by Bruce Berlind.)