The die is cast

The die is cast in a cathedral of
Loam; the principality of error

Grunts a jovial truce that bumps
Power against soil; whether you

See whole depends on what invades
Your vision: the trim or the cut.

Here then is my song at your
Feet; the repetition of revision

Will attempt to steal a whisper,
The jacket of mist collating the

Vagaries of form with the wish of
Opened soil and undead proddings.

The dagger sinks in

The dagger sinks in
Where grass has no
Home, where death took leave,
Where the bright claws of rust
Meet corpuscles of greed, lost
& felled, the maker of
Halves and halves not.

I have heard it said that one who excels in safeguarding his own life does not meet with rhinoceros or tiger when traveling on land nor is he touched by weapons when charging into an army. There is nowhere for the rhinoceros to pitch its horn; there is nowhere for the tiger to place its claws; there is nowhere for the weapon to lodge its blade. Why is this so? Because for him there is no realm of death. Lao Tzu.

For what
shall I wield a dagger
O lord?

What can I pluck it out of,
or stab it in

when You are all the world?

O Ramanatha?
Dasimayya, translated by A.K. Ramanujan.

The word that forks some lightning

The word that forks some lightning
    opens up a knifewedge of open space

as saltwounds remember the homespun,
    as knuckles caress the loveskin that

works the silent shift, the mutehorn
    shrieks vapor, shrieks blankstare

out where the river bends, the sun
    gathers, and the grim worm kneads.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night. Dylan Thomas, from Do not go gentle into that good night

Pronounce flower, bee, teardrop, bread, storm

Pronounce flower, bee, teardrop, bread, storm.

That the grief of the teardrop can bark up a 
    Storm, that the shrill of your lover's harp
    Could beckon thread, blood, air, art.

I have dreams, I loved, I have earned my silence.

I have glowed in the dark of the sun's recipe
    For day and sinned as penance for climbing out
    Of the guilt that your teardrop bled.

When you learn that I have died, do not pronounce my name.

Do not sing of the meadow nor of the shame that
    Begets a hard silence, the name that flees its 
    Call, the slope that bleeds the rill.
When you learn that I have died, do not pronounce my name
because it will hold back my death and rest.
Your voice, which is the ringing of the five senses,
would be the dim beacon sought by my mist.
When you learn that I have died, whisper strange syllables.
Pronounce flower, bee, teardrop, bread, storm.
Do not let your lips find my eleven letters.
I have dreams, I loved, I have earned my silence.
Do not pronounce my name when you learn that I have died
from the dark earth I would come for your voice.
Do not pronounce my name, do not say my name
When you learn that I have died, do not pronounce my name.
Translation of Roque Dalton‘s poem.

craft & consequence


the wishbone of craft is deft 
with smoke from heaven's shop

of horrors; it is quick with
lament, slick with growth of

antiquity, prime with filial
foul, lush with trope & rime

the poem needs the pen and
not just the paper or else the
paper would write itself and that
is just silly; are you the pen or
the paper and can you wish otherwise?

if craft be your portal to open spaces
can you switch and pick one of the
children, feed her and let her grow
so that she feeds you? if craft could
answer that, you would feed many orphans.

listen, the red ant of tarred
pallor bawls

a screech, an ounce of astute
gammas and

poseidons launch theatrical
stunts of

very little consequence, but
the dance

goes mindlessly, mindfully on.

When I didn’t know myself – two takes on Akka Mahadevi

When I didn't know myself
where were you?
Like the colour in the gold,
you were in me.
I saw in you,
lord white as jasmine,
the paradox of your being
in me
without showing a limb.
(Mahadeviyakka; translated by A.K. Ramanujan)

Whence the limb of lost
arbitrage of love?

There dwells the price
of gold in me.

I saw you I think,
lord white as jasmine,
negotiating, settling debts
for me,
otherwise you weren’t there.

Lost in visible 
Gold present in a salient
Me, a ferocious
              mime, mine, lost.

Seeing through
Gold not being not yet
The blueprint of
              gold, dust, lost.