¿Cuánto cuesta? | How Much Does It Cost?

¿Cuánto cuesta?

¿Cuánto cuesta?
¿Cuánto cuesta?

Cuesta diez dólares,
Cuesta diez dólares cada uno.

¿Podemos entrar?
¿Podemos entrar?

Si tienen diez dólares,
Si tienen diez dólares
Y corazones llenos de canciones.

Si tienen diez dólares cada uno
Y corazones llenos de canciones,
Pueden entrar todos
Y quedarse hasta que sus corazones se rompan
Y salir con los ojos llenos de lágrimas.

How Much Does It Cost?

How much does it cost?
How much does it cost?

It costs ten dollars,
It costs ten dollars each.

Can we go in?
Can we go in?

If you have ten dollars,
If you’ve got ten dollars
And hearts full of song.

If you’ve got ten dollars each
And hearts full of song,
You can all come in
And stay till your hearts break
And leave with your eyes full of tears.

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Aquí y allá los pobres | The Poor, Here and There

Aquí y allá los pobres

Sólo somos polvo,
Sólo el polvo que es golpeado desde
De las alfombras de los ricos
Y soplado por el viento
Para enterrar a los pobres.

Estamos hechos de polvo,
Nuestros huesos, nuestra piel,
Nuestros cerebros blandos y grises,
Nuestras voces y palabras,
Nuestras delgadas esperanzas y deseos.

Los pobres siempre esperan
Aquí y allá bajo las ventanas
O fuera de las puertas por monedas,
O comida, o ropa vieja, hasta que
Nos disolvemos en la lluvia de los sueños.

The Poor, Here and There

We are only dust,
Only the dust that is beaten from
The carpets of the rich
And blown by the wind
To bury the poor.

We are made of dust,
Our bones, our skin,
Our soft, grey brains,
Our voices and words,
Our thin hopes and dreams.

The poor always wait
Here and there under windows
Or outside doors for coins
Or food or old clothes, until
We dissolve in the rain of dreams.

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Blood and Frost in a Stand of Birch (a redneck neurological noir in narrative verse)

Blood and Frost in a Stand of Birch (a redneck neurological noir in narrative verse)
for Lynn Henry and Andrew Griffin

All out-of-doors looked darkly in at him….
—Robert Frost, An Old Man’s Winter Night.

He didn’t hit me hard enough
to put me out when he clipped me
on the head with the new handle
for the limbing axe he’d just brought
back from town, but he put me down.
Somehow the chainsaw I’d been running

missed kicking back into my eyebrows.
And laying there in the snow looking
up into Duane’s face, ash flecking
from the cigarette burning as usual
in one corner of his mouth, I,
I didn’t have to wonder why.

Sally will tell you a different story,
the same one she told cops and courts
and maybe she’s got the truth of it
but it’s not what I remember—Well,
they say a crack on the head can change
a lot of things in the electric meat

that sits inside our skulls and sinters
all the daily dust of memory into
the jagged lost and found things we are.
And I know the doctors say I’ve changed
and I can see how they mean and know
in the front of my mind they’re right

but I don’t feel it—so I can’t believe it.
The way I remember that day, it was
like this: It was just after apple-picking,
the ladders were stowed, apples scratted,
pulp pressed, and the cider vats full.
The frost was settling into the soil,

making the lowland woods passable.
I was out there bringing down a birch,
working a stand we’d been waiting years
to harvest, and thinking how our father
when he’d get to winter drinking would
sit by the woodstove on snowy evenings

and recite poems. He was especially
partial to a line about a pathless wood
but the poem itself would piss him off.
“No boy’s ever lived too far from town
to learn baseball—all you need’s a stick,
and a rock wrapped in string—so

“don’t let me catch you little buggers
out there swinging on birches,” he could
never get over saying, “Because by god,
good birches make good switches
and good switches make red arses.
And it’s bright red arses you’ll have

“if that wood’s too bowed for the mill.”
That was what was in my head when it happened.
My father, the memory of birches, and
the feel of the chainsaw bucking in my palms.

As I said, he didn’t hit me hard enough
to put me out when he clipped me
on the head with the new handle
for the limbing axe he’d gone home to
whittle from a stick of ash, but he put me down.
Somehow the chainsaw I’d been running

only clipped my ear when it kicked back
at my head. And laying there in the leaves
looking up into Duane’s face, drying
white flecks of foam caked in the corners
of his mouth like stray ash blown from
his smoke, I didn’t have to wonder why.

There was no wind in the woods.
The ash was flaking off because
the tremor in his lower lip
was making his smoke bounce and dip
like the bobber on a fishing line
when a trout has just bit.

So he knew about Sally and me.
And brother, when it’s a brother
you’ve been messing around behind,
you take the axe handle to the head
and you take more lying down.
I took it. I took my bruises where

and as he gave them, shin to shoulder.
And then Duane picked me up, threw me
on the sledge behind the Massey-Harris
and dragged me over the frost heaves
and stumps of the wood road to my trailer,
dropped me beside the woodshed

and said, “She’s waiting for you.
And you’re done cutting wood with me,
and I am damn well done with you.
I ain’t broke none of your bones,
so you crawl inside best you can
and live or die as you choose.”

He left me there and headed back
to the woods. And I crawled inside
and Sally lay there bleeding from her mouth.
Her face was broke. Her jaw was crooked.
One cheekbone will never heal up straight, they say.
I think she visits sometimes, or so it seems,

and I tell her about Dad and how he said
he liked the broken moon better than the sun
as she never bothered his icicles or the snow
upon his roof and he swore the jolt of logs
shifting in the stove was her way of reaching down
to him. I think she visits sometimes, and softly

speaks of woods lovely dark and deep—
he headed back to our woods, I think
you know, and the chainsaw waited there
among the birches, blood, and frost.

—This is what you get when you mix a noir fiction addiction with obsession with things neurological and memories of Robert Frost.

Posted in Art is lies, Art is theft, Consciousness, Cryptomnesia, Memory, New poems, Noir, Poem tweets, Poetry, The Brain | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chewing the Fat

Hello, pork chop, my old friend,
I’m here to chew the fat again
And gnaw meat from your delicious bones
With my new dentures—teeth like stones!—
Then roll your taste upon my tongue in this
Committed carnivore’s mouth of violence.

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Alguna tarde lejana | Some Distant Evening

Alguna tarde lejana

Soy un anciano lavándome las manos
En el agua de la memoria cada día.

¿Me estás esperando? No tengo prisa,
No con estos océanos en mis ojos.

Pero detente alguna tarde lejana bajo
Un tilo junto al mar. Espera y escucha.

Escucha las hojas y las olas
Susurrando en lo profundo de la noche.

Me oirás allí también, contando
Los espacios entre las estrellas.

Some Distant Evening

I am an old man washing my hands
In the water of memory every day.

Are you waiting for me? I’m in no hurry,
Not with these oceans in my eyes.

But stop some distant evening under
A linden near the sea. Wait and listen.

Listen to the leaves and the waves
Whispering deep in the night.

You’ll hear me there too, counting
The spaces between the stars.

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Sobremesa | Shooting the Shit After Dinner


Es cuando los estómagos están pesados de sangre
Después de la rica y deliciosa comida
Que nos sentamos juntos en la mesa
Y hablamos de nada y de nadie
Como si lo supiéramos todo de todo,
Que nuestros pensamientos se hunden hacia
Nuestros pies cansados llenos de sangre
Y soñamos con dormir,
Saber que nosotros somos para la muerte
Como el sol a las estrellas.

Shooting the Shit After Dinner

It’s when our stomachs are heavy with blood
After rich and delicious food
That we sit together at the table
And talk about nothing and nobody
As if we know everything about everything,
That our thoughts sink towards
Our tired feet full of blood
And we dream of sleep,
Knowing that we are to death
As the sun is to the stars. 

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La nieve, pesada y suave |Snow, heavy and soft

La nieve, pesada y suave |
Snow, heavy and soft

¿Qué deciré hoy
Sobre la nieve? No sé…
Es invierno
Y tengo frío pero
Podría dormir fuera

What will I say today
About the snow? I don’t know—
It’s winter
And I’m cold but
I could sleep outside

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La nieve en el viento |Snow on the Wind

La nieve en el viento | Snow on the Wind

Tal vez mañana me despierte muerto y feliz
Pero hoy sonreiré por la ventana
A la nieve que cae, y veré

Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up dead and happy
But today I’ll smile out the window
At the falling snow, and watch

Los copos de nieve se convierten en mis recuerdos
Moviéndose cada vez más rápido
A cada momento con el viento.

The snowflakes become my memories
Moving faster and faster
Every moment on the wind.

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La marea inconsecuente | The Inconsequential Tide

Fuera, donde el agua es profunda,
Donde incluso las largas piernas
De las garzas azules son inútiles,
La luna tira de nosotros, siempre.

Out where the water is deep,
Where even the long legs
Of blue herons are useless,
The moon pulls at us, always.

La luna baila en el oceano,
Se balancea en el agua oscura que se eleva
En tus sueños; si te das ahora
A ambas, ¿qué sucederá? Te diré:

The moon dances in the ocean,
It sways in the dark water that rises
In your dreams; if you give yourself now
To both, what will happen? I’ll tell you:

Esta noche y la noche próxima y la próxima
También la luna bailará toda la noche
Con el oceano bajo las estrellas mientras
Mechones de algas oscuras flotan en la marea.

Tonight and the next night and the next too
The moon will dance all night long
With the ocean under the stars while
Strands of dark seaweed float on the tide.

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Adiós a octubre | Goodbye, October

Adiós a octubre | Goodbye October

Adiós a octubre. El año que viene
Tal vez nos encontremos de nuevo.
Pero hoy es el día de los muertos
Y nadie sabe si nos uniremos a ellos.

Goodbye, October. Next year
Maybe we’ll meet again.
But today is the day of the dead
And no one knows if we’ll join them.

Esta noche la luna será una guadaña
Y todos nosotros seremos como
El último grano maduro en el campo,
Esperando un beso en el cuello.

Tonight the moon will be a scythe
And all of us will be as
The last grain ripe in the field,
Waiting for a kiss on the neck.

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Tu corazón y su abrigo de invierno | Your Heart And Its Winter Coat

Algunos días el sol brilla
Y otros días llueve,
Pero por la noche las estrellas
Nunca eclipsan a la luna.

Some days the sun shines
And on other days it rains,
But at night the stars
Never outshine the moon.

Yo sé y tú también
Que te dejé después
Me has dado tu corazón
Y su abrigo de invierno.

I know and so do you
That I left you after
You gave me your heart
And its winter coat.

¿No hay nada te puedo decir
Ahora mientras los olores
De los viejos tiempos se vuelven
Finos en nuestros olfatos?

Is there nothing I can tell you
Now as the scents
Of the old days become
Thin in our nostrils?

Ya sé la respuesta,
No tienes que decirla. Yo sé
Como me voy a la noche con
Mi santo y obstinado silencio.

I already know the answer,
You don’t have to say it. I know
How I go into the night with
My holy, stubborn silence.

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Las lenguas saladas | Salty Tongues

Aquí, cerca del final del verano
en un parque tranquilo
no muy lejos del mar
oigo a los cuervos
y me parece

Here, near the end of summer
in a quiet park
not far from the sea,
I hear the crows
and it seems to me

Que cada vez que ahora
cualquiera de ellos habla
con su lengua salada
otra hoja de agosto se vuelve
marrón en los bordes

That each time now
any one of them speaks
in its salty tongue
another August leaf turns
brown at the edges

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Moon Haiku

Above me tonight
The pale, Brazilian half-moon—
No, wait, it’s waxing!

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July Moon

A crescent moon swings
In the eastern sky tonight
Against the white dunes—
We’ll fall now into that cool
Sea hissing against the sand

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Lindens, Again

I’m in love again
With all these July lindens
In the summer nights
The warm wind through my windows
Arrives laden with their musks

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Fer da Birds

June—how d’ya feel here
In da middle of da munt—
Dis rain on green leaves
And slugs slow on da sidewalks—
D’ya tink it’s all fer da birds?

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Half-moon, June

All day the half-moon
Sidled across the June sky,
Alone in the blue—
Now can it hide all night long
From the hordes of hungry stars?

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End of May

At the end of May,
after a night of warm, slow rain
outside my window,
which do you think is bluer—
the sky? me? forget-me-nots?

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May, Finally

Ah, May, finally
You’ve gazed all day once more at
The half-moon—and now
You open the magnolias’
Soft petals before us all

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All poems are stupid

All poems are stupid

Word after word
Verse after verse
They go on and on

Telling you things
You already know
And how to feel

Telling you what
Your eyes see every day
Your ears hear

Forget all the poems
You read already
They’re stupid, I tell you

All you need is
This bright voice of mine
You may hear now

The crows steal it
Each day to throw
Between them all day long

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