Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Johannes Göransson

Softpiece for authors (traumatology):

You rawed up
the corporate material
we cut from a bull’s face
two hours ago
it was such a joy
to chalk over your iris

Ett mjukstycke för försårade författare (tramatik):

Du råade upp
företags materialen
hettan distraherade helt
det skurna tjurhuvet
två timmar sedan
det var så skönt
att krita över din irislilja


The whole being is being held together by a tough yet stretchable membrane:

Shake mute out
a woman’s
body with moths
there are more
warning signals
but none are
as chalked in
the crowded
assault display

Den hela varelsen är blindgrundad i hinnor som får plats:

Skaka stumma ut
en kvinnas
kropp med fnattfjärilar
det finns många
men ingen är lika
inkritad i det trängda


Caption the sound of film melting with insects:

The white anatomy is
arrived picked clean from
a bird’s-eye-perspective
shingles swans clash
with infected abdomens
the segments are absent
in the against-animals
the unsound is derived
from rinsed materials

Rubriken låter som filmen smälter med insekter:

Den vita anatomin är
anländen renplockad från
ett fågelperspektiv
shinglar svaner klår
ihop med infekterade
abdomen peforerad som
en monolog ar tomdriven
installerad i motdjur
och motljud kommer från
rensad material

Johannes Göransson translated Remainland: Selected Poems of Aase Berg (Action Books, 2005) and Ideals Clearance by Henry Parland (Ugly Duckling, 2007). Two books of his poems will be published next year: A New Quarantine Will Take My Place (Apostrophe Books) and Pilot (Natträngslighet) (Fairy Tale Review), from which these poems are taken. He was born in Sweden but he lives in Indiana. Johannes blogs at exoskeleton-johannes.blogspot.com.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kathleen Rooney


Ambulatory sisters—
sister somnambulists—
sorority of sleep-hikers—
we are crossing a bridge.
We’ve crossed our uncle
& our fiancés will be cross,
but we’ve got a long list,
a lot of items to cross off.
We’ve crossed ourselves
with the sign of the cross
& we are crossing the span
to the island of Valdares.
Birds squawk aubades
with Portuguese lyrics &
cocks throw their crows
from yard to dirty yard.
Fishermen throw nets
into murky waters. Sister
sleep-walkers, we won’t
wake yet. The new church
they’re building looks like
a ship, or a Bishop’s mitre.
As the sky gets lighter,
I tell Beth, it’s beautiful.
She says, be careful—
the magic hours, twilight
& dawn, are the best times
to get beaten, raped, or robbed.
As the street-lights flick off or on,
your eyes adjust poorly to changes
in motion. It has to do with
the rods & cones in your eyes.

We are still over the river.
Can it ever be crossed?
I pop the G out of bridge
& drop it in the bay. I say
bride aloud. G is for groom,
but R is for Rooney & R
is for room. This is not
a western. This is not
a noir. Our grooms don’t
know where we are. All four
of our eyes are closed, but
I see Beth smoking, alone,
in the cone of a streetlight.
Kathy, she takes me by
the shoulder. She shakes me,
Did you listen? I’m just
the stenographer, but Beth,
the photographer, knows all
about the difference between
man’s light & God’s light.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press. Her first book is Reading With Oprah (2005), and her poems have appeared recently in AGNI On-line, Small Spiral Notebook, and Smartish Pace. Her essay "Live Nude Girl" appears in Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers (Random House, 2006).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Matthew Thorburn

—After Liu Tsung-Yuan
Used to be, my fingers were newsprinted with toner.
How smiley I was, how happy to help. But they’ve taken

away my nametag. Pushed me past the happy glass
of KINKO’S and into this new world. Oodles of time now

to roam free by bus, size up the sidewalks. Happy
go lucky as any landlocked youth could be. Sunrise finds me

still asleep, copying and collating my colored paper
dreams, and each happy night I try not to consider myself

in the yellow light reflected on my side of the bus window.
Cleaning ladies nod like fat chickens, their feet happy

to be up on the seats behind me. No one out here making
or even begging for change can say I’m not happy

as a clam as I drift all day long under my gray
shell of a sky. I say this, happily, to no one but me.

Horn of Plenty

Like this paper horn of flowers tipped
across an arm. I’m jostled, poked
with it—it’s how happiness happens
here in the subway. Asters to zinnias
and violets, deep oranges, crennelated
yellow and cream, the faint brushwork
of babies breath, miscellaneous greens
and I’m off now, past the turnstile,
the stairs, and into Astoria. How’s this
cornucopia work? One thing plus
another, and repeat. Say, a boy in a red
suit with a birdcage on one side,
a cat on the other. Like the boy is
blond, the suit too short—and what’s
in the cage, where’d that cat go?
But that’s Goya. Try Gershwin. This is
Steinway Street. Let’s say everything
green. These ladies’ saris, mint green,
sunlit against the black-green, deckled
green hedge. High in the tea-green trees
each green nest awaits a green bird.
Or like the coffee klatch of sparrows
outside my window. Each morning
they file this reminder: you’re human,
you’re human
. And everything else
I can’t shoehorn in here, piled up like
the fish, pale pink and dark pink,
stacked row upon row in this
fishmonger’s ice, beneath the swirly
frothy cherry blossoms. I’d let it go
almost, I would, almost all of it now
to have what’s next, right here, what just
makes it into my eye—that flicker, this
watery light, that bit of distant tinsel
the magpie drops everything for.

Like It’s Going Out of Style

He played hard to get. She played
harder. He stuffed ten pounds of shit
in a five-pound sack, but she wasn’t impressed.
She had her ducks in a row. He wore

a lot of different hats. She wanted to get down
to the nitty gritty, but he preferred brass tacks.
The trouble was no bee in her bonnet, no bug
up his ass. What might have been love

was a wolf content to wear wolf’s clothing.
The trouble with trying to think
outside the box, she said, is first getting in.
Old hat, Lord knows, but it fit like

a glove. They were two birds
trying to get hit with the same stone.

Matthew Thorburn’s first book is Subject to Change (New Issues, 2004). His poems have also appeared recently or are forthcoming in The Paris Review, Pool and Poetry Northwest. This year he’s reading 100 books of poems at