for Tomas Transtroemer
The line he draws on his notebook
stretches out, endlessly,
with the sound of an axe cutting the air,
and continues its silent judgement, where
the world is halved.
I’m on one side;
My deeds the other, falling soundlessly;
I cast my thought over
into the realm of inanity.
It bounces like a morning dew
on lifeless leaves.
Air is thinner there
than a breath.
I grab hold of the line —the edge of existence,
saved by an old hypothesis
I fish out from your eyes of dark sea
the rising new moon
and paint it into a golden sun.
For when you look at me, for a second,
my body unfurls like a dahlia in the late August.
Your touch will bring fruition,
Yes, your touch—
I write you into my poems but a poet is a liar.
For I’m just a stranger in a cafe falling into your stories, where
no spring will come and no winter’s ceremony
will grace a silent character like me, while
your eyes flow and dwell at no places.
My somber heart searches for you nonetheless,
and my body, like a dahlia…
I must praise your body;
It’s like the earth’s dark soil
spoiled by the tropical sun, redolent of harvest,
I bury my eager hands into your fertility,
and bring out the rich greenery.
I drink from your lips the nectar of life; spring
is in your saffron-colored perianth.
My body is burning,
from my loins to my eyes,
the battlefield of virtue and sin.
I’m a proud man, broken by you.
The vengeance of love bends me;
The pain of love crushes me;
And forgetfulness saves me.
Man speaks your name like a burning anathema,
and picks up your body where
butterflies of newspapers circle above you.
The yellow sun is in your hair, the darkened color
of tamed waters.
The warm yellow sun—
The quiet yellow sun—
Your death rides a black van;
Your death, more real than life, comes at five o’clock,
in a wedding tuxedo.
The sad blue sky’s clear dusts grope their way down
toward the city,
The asphalt roads glimmer like ice.
Red lights dim, like eyes deprived of sleep,
trying to understand the great mystery of the morning.
An old man stands at an empty phone booth,
looking at his map
on which a thousand places are marked,
with no names.
His walking stick dangles on his arm,
a compass uncertain of the south, where
the sun throws a shadow.
a black cat,
jumps into an open window, the curtain tied back and knotted.
An army of houses stand vigil on the first day
of a lunar winter