Posts Tagged ‘perlongher’

seemingly innocuous questions

When I asked Nukie next door if his new kindergarten teacher was nice, he thought a second and then said rather hopefully, “I think she is nice, she doesn’t hit me!”


Which made it doubly awful that Moomin picked a couple of hours later to threaten him with a shoe and yell that he was going to hit him for laughing. Nukie (a huge robust child especially next to Moomin) was actually cowering.

Made Moomin copy out lines about not being a mean person who hits people. (Later… after defusing the incident and then declaring it was time to come in.)

Horribly like an arrogant little prince… I can’t explain to him that N. gets locked out of his house until his mom gets home and that he sleeps in the utility shed… He is a good kid, very cheerful, kind to babies, bright, playful, smart, etc…. I always feed him if he’s here… I don’t feel like explaining this to Moomin would be productive at all. So, from Moomin’s point of view the dumb kid next door who can’t play chess or read shows up and he is forced to share his legos and they have tense conversations where they boast about knowing about some TV cartoon hero. And from my point of view I’m like, Dude, you are lucky to have a kid-next-door to play with at all.

T.’s mom talked a bit about her prospects post-divorce . I had assumed she was either rich or was an ex-marketing or high powered executivey person confident of getting a good job. But no – actually not and though she administrated language programs in various other countries, etc, Daly City U. would not accept her BA even though they let her in 1 semester of grad school and she made all As. Her 4-year degree from England does not count – It was 20 years ago and the school’s name has changed and her old profs are all gone and nothing can be properly certified. How… how could her husband leave, especially 1 year after adopting a baby (from Ch1na… what a huge effort… and then to leave apparently with no warning!) She seems amazingly calm , a bit bitter and despairing in a quiet way but determined to move on and seems to have faith she’ll figure something out.

Still it is sobering… we talked about not ever thinking it would happen to you but then it does – the way that it is near impossible to get back in, and everyone in acts sanctimonious about it while not themselves wanting to hire anyone who has managed small children for the last 6-7 years.

I remember my mom listing her momness as managerial experience on her first resume and it made perfect sense to me at the time.

Meanwhile I am very excited on this new poet. I spent much of today grappling with “Mala P1el” which is a mind breaker of a poem and extremely p3rlongher-like. I had a sighing moment where I imagined her translating my M. F. poem or several others that would be really hard in just the same way, to Spanish. she would be the perfect person to do it. And F. wrote back to my burbled madness speaking as if it were just a matter of my carelessly mentioning to X.Y. at Very Cool Small Press that I was thinking of doing it, and they would go for it. When… actually they do not even have any contact info on their web site and they are snootypants to the max. I would have NO idea how to contact them. And she tossed it out ther that of course C.L was not very hip to REAL radical revolutionary poems were they now… as I should know… so why bother. This made me laugh as it’s so true… they wet their pants only for already completely establishment-ized people – but i have hope anyway. One could be a token. It would be one thing if F. mentioned it casually to X at Very Cool Small Press. And ANOTHER if I do it… who they don’t know. I am very lucky to have any mentoring at all but always end up with the mentors who drop your hand about 1/4 of the way through the tunnel and prance off expecting you, too, to be able to see in the dark… they don’t know what dark IS… oh their casual careless exercise of power…. their crumbs!!!!!

up early thinking

Well, damn. I’m up too early. My plan for the day is to work on a medium-long poem translation that I have the vague hope of contacting the author. I will also go through my anthology and try to figure out who’s public domain for sure and who’s possibly not. And will re-contact CA lawyers for the arts. their guy was super nice to me and somehow (as with so many other things) I just dropped the ball. it seemed “too real” and also would require me to spend money on my projects, which is scary. The lawyer explained (free) how I should type up all my things I need to know in order of priority to me, and then he would go through and estimate how much each would cost, so i could make good decisions about which to tackle first.

Just to give an example of what I’m dealing with…. just one poem I translated, when I tried to get the north american serial rights or whatever, the publisher in venezuela asked me for 2000 bucks. I answered that that was a month’s rent and I don’t have a job and I was going to publish it myself in an edition of maybe 300-500 xerox copies that i would mostly give away. they never replied… I don’t even know if they own the rights. At this point I want proof – as just because some publisher says they own the rights doesn’t mean they do. Poem published in 1936; author dead maybe around 1972.

That is one of many many translation copyright problems I have.

It is hard for me to persist in taking action with these t hings. I tend to feel sad and then shrug and figure that I did it for its own sake and move on to the next thing, which is equally foolish. All completely against the good advice I was given.

Good advice:

make sure the rights are available or only choose to translate public domain stuff. (anything published before – not in – 1923). Or the author died before 1936. Then it is safe. Otherwise quite likely not. Goodbye, most of 20th century literature.

So I keep just translating it anyway.

The other strategy is to translate stuff by people who are alive and who give you direct permission (Though this is also fraught with peril since the author might not own the permissions and may not realize or respect that. Likely their publisher owns the rights.)

Therefore I do a ton of work and can’t publish it, which is insane of me to have spent my time doing… do you see? no magazine will even look at it. what publisher is going to take on a big unwieldy messy anthology, that will need lawyers in 14 different countries, even to figure out who the real rights owners are? you have to be aliki barnstone to pull it off. i.e. wealthy and connected.

I’m going to try anyway.

also consider what this does to literary quality. you translate a person because you know them personally and they give you the rights (which means an awful lot of people translate rather mediocre writers b/c they happen to have become friends). j.o.s. instead seems to go backpacking across country to find the really kickass poets. and that is what he keeps telling me i need to do. in some mad beat poet fantasy life, where I am not constantly unhealthy and smoke doesn’t make me ill and I have a knee transplant, I backpack up and down central and south america going to little poetry readings to meet the people whose work I admire, THEN develop the personal relationships, THEN do the translating and publishing.

meanwhile I have figured that I at least, from 6 years of making efforts to find other writing communities and from going to school and conferences… that i at least know people who know people who know a couple of the only living writers I have translated. So I wrote a bunch of emails yeterday inquiring. Probably will find out that some “real” person is already on top of it. (As when Professor F. warned me that some other prof from harvard is “on” perlongher…. Well, fuck me… )

What I’m saying is, there are a lot of reasons why trying is hard, aside from the ones in my head.

It is much easier to putter away in comfortable obscurity.

Not to mention my own work. Which i think is good and oddball and important. other poets read it or hear me do it and have a very “wtf why are you not famous” reaction. However unlike tiptree there are not only 5 magazines in the genre and no one is paying. Many… MOST… poetry magazines

a) charge a reading fee
b) dont accept unsolicited subs or have stuff lined up till 2008
c) the only unsolicited subs they take are in contests, which are vile moneymaking devices. (contest fee – many, many magazines and organizations are supported this way – I consider it deeply unethical)

I send stuff out a little bit anyway, to places that aren’t like that. (except, i continue pestering ‘field’ once a year, not sure why.)

But then i go to a literary event and 90% of it blows and people are so stuck up it amazes me. I

I published some little books anyway, xerox, hoping…. I put some nicanor parra work in my “cuts” anthology of bay area poets – becasue my co-edtior had once spoken to him on the phone and had an address. i called the number but it was disconnected and parra is like 90 anyway. damn the torpedos, i had already been translating parra for forever b/c i love his stuff, so i put them in the book. which we printed 400 copies … and split them… so I sold almost 200. (i have maybe 10 left.)

Am tempted to put everything i have ever written or translated up on the fucking web thus ruining any tiny chance of legitimacy i ever might have. and exposing myself and rook and moomin to total financial ruin from copyright lawsuit.

my own work, well, I know it’s good, there’s quite a lot of it, and most has never seen the light of day beyond a few readings… where the poets I like best always praise it as amazing… Which I trust (rather than thinking that it’s half the being-cute factor) And which pumps me up. Then you get into an environment (poisonous) like Daly City State where… I was just thinking of an acquaintance, F., and thinking “My god, why doesn’t she teach there” and then laughed as I realized the bitches in power there would never tolerate someone who is on fire as much as she is, whose poetry would show their up to be crap, who is charismatic rather than power-grubbing and calculating. It is in their interests to hire other mediocre people against which they think they will shine. Though I am not of F.’s caliber (quite) I think the same mechanics hurt my chances. Am instantly labelled a loose cannon (and a loose canon) and the talent hurts my chances not helps it. Logically … people like the poets at Daly City State should welcome insanely great quirky creative energy and hard workers… because in MY world… surrounding yourself with people who are as good or better than you in various ways makes your own work better, enhances a scene, makes a scene coalesce. But no… most people in any field do not want to hire someone who is superior to them or bigger than them, who is wider in mind…

You have any idea how much easier it is to live without the expectation that anything i do will ever bear fruit? but that too is very painful.

Well, at least i have a 200 page unpublished anthology of latin american women poets…. i do feel a sense of happy pride and achievement. and am excited to keep working on it. and i am incredibly lucky to have had the leisure to work on it.

I miss the 6 months or so that I did almost nothing but write poetry and think poetry, when i lost my job and after i gave up looking for a new one and when i still had babysittting anyway. my work was the best it has ever been and i could see even further into what i wanted to do. still the most amazing gift i have ever been given but still the one i will always feel extremely guilty for. i did it and can’t take it back or ever make up for it even with a Candy Factory job. basically… by having the babysitting i blew like 15K. but for that time i had a brief vision of what was possible and it was sweet. I accept that will never happen again.

greg hall once got very worked up on my behalf as he talked about my work. “you’re the real thing, man. i can’t rest or sleep until you’ve found your home”. tell me about it dude. I can’t either. i feel the same way about him as he drinks himself fast to death while working his night shift at the psych ward, writingn brilliant books and then throwing them away casually on a whim in enormous garbage bags… he should have a publisher following him around daily to catch the brilliance before he destroys it. i saved 2 books of his and ‘published’ 1. at least that much. It helps to know that he sees that I’m homeless too.

poetry reading tonight

Oh and I totally forgot to mention that I’m reading tonight at the Nomad Cafe in Oakland. It’s on Shattuck somewhere near Alcatraz or 65th st. but I don’t remember the exact details. Walking distance from Ashby BART. 7:00-9:00.  

Serene will read a few poems, and then I’ll go on and on until an enormous hook yanks me offstage, and then a break and an open mike.  They have good sandwiches at the cafe… I seem to remember it’s totally a goatcheese-pesto-blackforestham-panini sort of place.

I’ll read some poems, and I’d like to do a couple of my translations of Nestor Perlongher on a queerish audience. They’re strange poems, and they don’t make a huge amount of linear sense, and they work by talking around the subject.   So that the images will all be of starfish and rays of light and greasy film running through a projector and rayon shirts and feather boas, and every word has three meanings and interconnections to other words, but somewhere in the  middle you are hit by a blinding realization that the poem is all about the metaphysics of cocksucking.  They were VERY hard to translate and I would dig testing them out in front of people.  I’ll read some of the short ones in Spanish, but most in English.  And maybe a few of my translations of these poets from the 20s, the dirtiest ones I can find. 

If that sounds good, then I hope you show up!

On schmoozing

I had the nicest afternoon going to panels with Adriana… talking to people and hearing more poetry. though i did finally hear some really bad poetry. Oh my god, the sand castles one made me wince in pain!!! I’m so sorry… and I was even sorrier that everyone else seemed to love it and made that “hmmmm” of appreciation as if it were all profound. No way! I couldn’t believe it.

I finally got to hang out with Fred… he was saying how he has a lifelong fear of saying something trite, which is why he talks slowly, because he’s always trying to make it non-stupid. We agreed that kids should be raised to be social misfits, because if you think about it who the fuck are you trying to make them “fit in” with? Also, gossip about going to Cuba. He is so cool. I dont know how he teaches 4 classes and still translates all that he does. He’s so relaxing and low-key. and i told him all about general crook and the apaches… and tried to explain and demonstrate blogging.

then dinner with him and karen, who was here for the first time… and doing a neat project.. and just radiating a good air of confidence about everything. I felt all charged up and hopeful! they kept saying, “well why don’t you send that stuff OUT…” so that I realized I think i’ve sent it out, but I haven’t… or I did but never followed up…. It’s silly!

Then I was going up to my room for early bedtime – so virtuous – and ran into someone that Fred told me to talk to. and she was hilarious… and knew lots of “my” poets, at least had heard of them – and she told me I must go talk to this one guy who has a press. I said it felt too weird to whore myself out like that and though i am outgoing and like to talk about my projects it feels rude… like i actually have some diffidence about yammering about the projects to people who must get that all the time. She said you just should do it and it’s not that bad… So i chased him down and sort of did, but felt incredibly lame. And he kind of didn’t want to hear it just then – he wanted to have a drink and chill out! So I felt incredibly lame and stupid… Then Pam came up and introduced me to some other people and said they should hear about my million projects… and so I babbled and then in the middle realized they were more Owners of Presses and then I felt all dirty like an evil schmoozer! I think i have it too ingrained that when someone has the possiblity of actual power (over me) I avoid them. Even if it would be a positive thing. I liked them though… and they know Cid C. who … wow, it sucks that he died. I used to write letters with him… and I didn’t know he died. I guess he must have been in his 80s. I then tried to pimp this one translation he did in the 70s… feeling so massively uncomfortable about having talked myself up to them. (Oh, it’s so gross!) And I have permission from him to print it and do whatever I want with it. So… what if they did it? I wonder… I also pimped for A. Porcia’s aphorisms and said that they should be reprinted or even retranslated. Please! The dude talked about love of small chapbooks. I agree… but i recommended that they do some work to legitimize the form. for exampe – that is what bly and merwin did int he 50s, 60s, 70s… but are they doing it now? NO. is anyone copying them and getting where they got? NO. So, get them involved. bly would totally do it. I know he’s nice that way. he could write about the small-booklet form, and his own history with it, and be anti-snob about it, take an anti-snob stance. Fuck the people who get a giant attitude about “self-publishing” and little books — it is all about capital’s legitmizing power and has nothng to do with quality. (Same with webzines.) I am writing this down in part because if they do it, and it succeeds, I want someone to know it was me who suggested it and had all these ideas.

Then… hmmm… what to say… the dude was very drunk and I had to, well, keep asserting my mastery of my own physical space. Just too close, and hand on shoulder or knee. So I had to keep sticking out my knees and elbows to keep his body from touching mine, like playing elbonics on an airplane. That made me even more uncomfortable! Gah! I had to stand up, flee, and go over to say goodnight to Antonio who was telling a long funny story about a bus ride with a bus full of just-released prisoners. He is translating P3rlongher too and I am dying to see his versions… I offered to collaborate … I wonder if he’ll take me up on it? We didn’t commit to it but agreed that competition is stupid and grotesque and we wouldn’t be that way.

Then Pam was like “did you get what you wanted?” and I felt even more dirty! even if she meant “out of the whole conference experience”… I think she meant to imply that she had just facilitated my sucking-up or, to be kind, “networking”… You know, I’m really not sure! Maybe I am more comfortable being rhizomatic, like Cid. (who did not do what bly and merwin did.) As the people around me got drunker I started saying more obnoxious things, like, “in 50 years no one will give a flying fuck about dave eggers, but in 50 years cid corman will still be great” though I drank only water.

I feel sort of perturbed now! and I want to go home! but maybe in the morning will be cheerful again… tanyika and karen and I are going to hang out and walk around the village. if I can’t keep up with them i will go back in a taxi or on the metro.

this is going to be fun

I’m so excited… being at this conference is always like being lovebombed into a cult! I love all these people! Translators are such cool nerds.

Tomorrow the “eros in translation” panel is at the same time as the “anthologizing” panel. What to do?!

I am particularly excited at the bilingual reading that is all argentinian poets. And my roommate… wow, she rocks. She’s making an anthology of fiction that somehow relates to the tango. I can’t wait to geek out with her talking about anthologies but for now I’m trying to keep it zipped because she’s trying to finish writing down some notes for her panel tomorrow.

And also I met S.J.L. who is one of my translator-heroes! Because she tackled all these things that take extreme nerve to attempt to translate. Her stuff is bold and non-boring. And I like what she chose to translate. It makes me insane sometimes … all the Boom stuff and its nasssty hype! I’m sure I should not say that, but of course that makes me want to say it more. So, I often nitpick over SJL’s stuff and disagree. (Like, why, in Buenos Aires Affair, translate the bit where Gladys is reading Harper’s Bazaar and make her instead reading Elle? I don’t even need to ask this – I have published plenty that I’d love to take back and fix.) But I completely agree with the philosophy. I wonder what she would think of my putting the “hanky code” bit into Perlongher? I think it works and that my basic image of what’s going on is correct. and, also, I realize my slightly rabid fan-girlishness is silly as I only know a bit of her work, read some of her prefaces or introductions, and probably she has written a ton that I have never looked up…. but should.

Some very lovely people were all huggy on me and then they said ominous things about how they have to Talk to me about Projects. Hmm. That could be good… but I can imagine it being bad too, like “update our web site, energetic computer-person!” Which in that case I would say no.


I had a nice day lying around and pottering but I can’t even begin to express my bitterness that I have not been able to do the things I want to be doing. I am missing tagcamp, not working on my thesis, not ready for my conference, translations I wanted to read are unfinished, poems that are rocketing around in my head are unwritten. Stuff is happening all around and I am not part of it. I am coming unhinged. I keep thinking maybe today will be different and then it isn’t. Monday I will be having gross endoscopy and will feel like crap. Tues. I hope I will recover from that and I still have the vague dream that I might get my translation of Perlongher together somehow (tomorrow??) AND finish composite #2 which I guess should be the priority. Since I can read some other perlongher or some of my other translation at the conference. Which suddenly feels like a huge waste of time and money anyway. and all the joy is sucked out of getting to gallivant around montreal if I can’t even gallivant properly but instead will be shuffling around drearily and collapsing into armchairs trying not to look ill.

Meanwhile, half of me is still convinced that by sheer effort of will I could feel better if only I would cheer up.

Idea for dictionary aggregator or searcher

Here’s my dream web app… A searcher of multiple dictionaries, like, but from multiple languages. For example if want to know what “grada” means I might guess on Google Language Tools that it’s Spanish, or Portuguese, or Italian.

Why do I need this? Translating someone like Perlongher or Rosenmann-Taub, I run into words in every poem that aren’t in any of my Spanish dictionaries. They’re too obscure, they’re regional, or they’re actually from Catalan or they’re Brazilian slang, or something.

One could perhaps even customize or broaden — or tell the dictionary-aggregator to always slurp or spider or index the data from specific online sources, from slang dictionaries, collections of idioms, and glossaries — like this one of modern Venezuelan slang, or this extensive glossary of venezolanismos that I used in translating Arvelo Torrealba.

What I’d need back: something a lot like the return page, but I’d prefer it to have short definitions under each word and source, together on the top return page, without my having to click on each link to see if it’s relevant. Onelook gives it a good try – see this search for “grada” – but think how much better it could be!

killer hard work

Okay… I must focus like crazy! On the 3 things to be done.

One – work steadily every day on thesis essay.
two- finish Perlongher translation (before nov. 2)
three – i need one whole day at kinkos to print & layout composite#2. must be done before nov. 2.

Hmm. must order new printer cartridge – this time not a recycled one – the one I got from some discount scam palace completely sucked.

the land of too many ideas

Today I’m still overstimulated! It’s been a whole week of overstimulation ever since the mad scientist party.

Last night Quilty and I went to visit her friends Rosa and Cy… and they were so great… i was in awe of their fantastic garden, sort of small, a backyard garden on a slope with a tiny creek but so perfect!!! and they let me look at their books. I had fun trying to figure out whose were whose and asked where their book-reading overlapped. (O’Brien, Hornblower, theology, poetry). We sat on the deck and talked about everything… later Quilty teased me for saying flirty things to Cy about the size of his drum major’s staff back when he was a drum major for Cal in like… well, a long time ago! 1950-something?! Rosa says: she has ideopathic angioedema & hives and i should tell my sister that Doxepin is a miracle drug for it. It’s some psychotropic drug, but works perfectly. You take it right away when you start to feel the ominous feeling that you’re getting itchy and swelling up. Now, she almost never gets it except when her family visits and stresses her out. Also, she says she has the best hives allergist!

then we went to the wedding… I noticed the cute, smily femme-bride had not just VPL (visible panty line) but also VGL (visible garter lumps). I poked Quilty and pointed out that besides being incredibly hot, she was also surely wearing stockings under her sleek wedding dress. Quilty was too busy letching after the butchy bride to pay attention to the garter thing. We were both poking each other and shooting looks in the most misbehaving way. A nice talk with Rickie who is moving to colorado with her partner & they know all about cohousing in CO! discussion of neighborhoods and “playing outside”.

then we stopped by Quilty’s friends MB and Pablo’s house and had to scream outside the locked gate for them to let us in! OMFG but they had attractive books!!! They were super nice. The “whose are whose” game I think I got down – Pablo’s were the DeLoser & Guitar theory books, philosophy, art, and the poetry; MB’s were the Assata Chakur, Domitilia Chungarra de Barrios and the 12-volume set of human rights reports from Guatemala. Quilty got a nice set of spare curtains from them to bring back to Boston. Pablo needs a web site for his upcoming art show. I babbled a little bit about how much he should read P3rlongher — if he likes that kind of theory, and reads spanish, he will eat it up!

then on the way home quilter was in full steam ahead rant mode about waste and efficiency. We agree so completely on this. Why isn’t everything perfect? There is no reason why everyone could not have sufficient resources to not just survive but really try to go for their full potential. And there being a variety of perspectives on what a “wasted life” is, i.e. she knows a person who thinks she will go to hell and she thinks that same person is in hell now, and is living so narrow of a life and doesn’t have to be… And they don’t have to fight about it really but in the meantime why are people starving to death? That kind of waste. We then stayed up until 2am outlining our hypothetical dystopian/utopian novel. We have similar approaches to novel-writing, I think, and … god, I just really enjoy talking with her because we interrupt each other excitedly at a perfectly balanced rate! You know? Well- it’s just a magic thing to end up in a mad fierce conversation like that, and I value it beyond reason!

today Rook and I went to Debbie’s place and got to hang out with lots of people… I had a great time… I heard of several writers who look great & i’ve never heard of them… I’m drooling to read this whole giant series of Jane Duncan books and to ask Iris about them. And – found someone (Vy) who has read Air and we ran off to another room to talk about it — I am dying to talk about it!

Then off to dinner in theory but really we ended up dropping in on Dragonboy’s family so that he and Moomin could play. Monsters! cookies shaped like dinosaurs! amazing toys! a giant set of handmade wooden blocks that they made a zillion years ago! Discussion of what the plural of “triceratops” is — I vote for one triceratops, two triceratops; the Hippie voted for triceratopsii, Low voted for triceraturvies, and I mentioned that the whole class of dinos are called the ceratopsians; and that if one were drunk, it would be triceratipsy. Then we ate the cookies.

Rook is re-reading “A Brother’s Price” and taking notes. He gets a funny smile & says cryptic thigns about making a long game series based on it, or maybe- in the car driving home tonight – an rpg sourcebook. That would be so cool and he’s just the person to do it!

in progress, translating, long poems

I worked on my thesis yesterday… at least, I looked at it! A bunch of translations were polished up. I started listing the stuff I need to look up (again).

and I came across this, which I’d forgotten about. it looks like my rough draft translation of a poem by Rosario Castellanos. it says “1948” on it which is too late for my thesis project’s parameters… and I didn’t type up the spanish of it, so god knows where it is in my zillion binders of xeroxed stuff…


Why speak the names of gods, stars,
sea-foam of an invisible ocean,
pollen from the most distant gardens?
If life pains us, if each day arrives
rending its own guts, if each night falls
convulsed, assassinated.
If pain in someone wounds us, in a man
(to whom we’re not known, (we’ve never met, but who’s
present at every hour and is the victim
and the enemy and the beloved and all
which is lacking in us to be entire/whole.
Never say that (mist, dusk) is yours/your own
don’t drink up happiness in one gulp.
Look around you: there’s an other, there’s always an other.
It’s just that he breathes what suffocates you,
what he eats is your hunger.
He dies with the purest half of your death.

A lot of awkward phrasing, but I can tell it will clean up nice, whenever I can find the spanish to work on it again!

Now — I have two main things – the intro to the anthology, which I need to throw together quickly & just stop translating new poems for the anthology… ( I can do more later!) I have five files of notes and beginnings. also the bibliography and works cited are in a complete, complete mess!

and 2nd I want to finish a readable translation of Cadáveres by early November for a reading… I have to finish it, and practice it, and unfortunatly cut it down to excerpts as it has to fit into 15 minutes and it takes at least 20 to read it all! It’s a very long poem. It’s also really difficult to translate! And it will be hard to read aloud in a way that makes sense and compels the listeners. Because it’s so surreal and jumps from families, cops, dolls, jewels, hospitals, weddings, history, scenes of normality, to pants-shitting, zit-picking, dirty whores, slangy shocking nasty crudeness, bits of conversations.

Can I just mention again that it’s weirdly topical… it’s, well it’s about corpses floating in swamps and about fear & politics, silence and official cover-ups, the invisibility of the dead/disappeared.

Another reason I have been obsessed with this poem for 6months is that I have been thinking as a poet about long poems. I started writing long poems and playing with that as a form, in around 2001, with Woodbird Jazzophone… and I’m still doing it. How do you establish what you’re talking about? And ramble outwards and embrace more, and bring it inwards and back to the About? How do you expand the listener’s mind suddenly to realize it’s not about that, its about something else? I think Perlongher does it perfectly!

I am also in awe of his gradual expansion of rhythm. The poem starts with short verses that foray off from a base of octosyllabic couplets, or you could think of the octosyllabic lines as little hooks to get you listening and lull you into an expectation of listening. he might as well have said “Pongan atencion señores/ lo que le voy a cantal,” you know? (that’s what they always say at the beginning of songs… or some close variant. the stock phrases to give the singer a chance to think what to say.)

Under bushes
In vacant lots
On bridges
In ditches
There’s Cadavers

In the beat of a train that never stops
In the wake of a ship that founders
In a wavelet, vanishing
On the wharves the trainstations the springboards the seawalls
There’s Cadavers

In the fishermen’s nets
In the potholes of the crab-marsh
In she whose hair is caught
in an unfastened barrette
There’s Cadavers

Then gradually getting longer and dirtier and weirder…

In the [tepado] of she who unlumps herself, febrile, in the hipsway of she who’s turning tricks in that [yedra/ivy ??alley??vacant lot?], defenseless in
disembowlment, she who has hardly a coat to cover herself, just a little jacket, and in a chest full of pearls and vintage figurines, oldfashioned chinadolls like dead cockleshells from which
There’s Cadavers

You can see them, their ribbony guts have spilled floating in the swamp
in the seat of the pants messed up/ dirtied/soiled, and similarly, in the
trim/hem of the train of the girlfriend’s silk gown, she who doesn’t marry
because her boyfriend has
There’s Cadavers

A zillion verses later…..

In that which shoves in
that which gags tongueties
in what swallows
that which (me emputarra) (something between”pisses one off” and “fucks one up the ass”…)
in what amputates
what impales,
in that which – fucking whore!
There’s Cadavers

it can’t be sustained/endured: the haft
of the shovel that thrusts/drives/nails into the earth its rosary of (moss), the rosary
of the cross that impales on the wall the earth of one nail, the current
that subjects the (canes, rushes, reeds, bamboo) to the (prick, prick, pick) “tin, tin” – of the babyrattle , in the spit/phlegm that’s spit up…
There’s Cadavers

The married matron, who does a favor for the girl (passing her a good tip)[el punto bien] (a good word? stitch in knitting?)
the weaver woman who doesn’t get tired, who gets tired looking for [el punto bien]
discreet/prudent/wity/averagelysmart who doesn’t show/demonstrae/reveal anything
– and at the same time would give to understand that which passes -; the mistress of the factory, who saw the veins of the workerwomen warp themselves tactile(lly) on the looms – and gave that texture rhythmic/measured … lilac/foolish…
The (lianero tier-uper, cigar-wrapper?) she who procured (twist, screw in, coil) to the (spinning thread etc) , the (tack, thorn, sharp cunning crafty person)
There’s Cadavers

*sigh* okay, i’m getting with my big dictionaries and slang dictionaries now.