Monday, March 2, 2015

Salida de los poetas invitados hacia el aeropuerto


                     Cuando por mí descienden y se agrupan
                     anchas temperaturas matinales,
                     y han gran fiesta cerval en los caminos.

                                                      Eunice Odio

I.

They fall through attenuated clouds

from all points of a tiny map:

Laplanders singing reindeer,

Tobagonians on water skis,

Icelanders rowing inflatable longboats.


Arrived, others sum:

“We! We poets of the world! 1, 2, 3...n + 1,

We the invited--Nosotros los invitados!”



II.

“Long ago,” says a pair of yellow shoes,

“I had a long talk with Professor Morelli.”

“Who is Professor Morelli?” asks the red dress.

“Professor Morelli is dead,” answers the shoes.

“When did he die?” asks the dress.

“I don't know,” answers the shoes, “in fact
he was dead when we had our walk.”

“I see,” says the dress.



III.

Growing fingernails and beards,

in sandals and shaking hands,

wearing berets, scarfs and tropical shirts,

patting one another on the back,

strolling, eating and drinking,

smoking, hawking books and autographing,

they read viva voce and try to raise the dead.

It is less fiesta than carnival in the streets.



IV.

“Professor Morelli used an alias,” whispers the shoes,

"He was a critic of Renaissance painting.”

“I see,” whispers the dress, “but why are we whispering. No one hears us anyway?”

“Why not?”



V.

It is February

(Februa Romani dixere piamina patres)

when social evils--la arrogancia,

la soberbia, el desamor, & el machismo)

are specimened, cleansed, loaded into a coffin,

and marched to the sweet sea,

where they are dumped unceremoniously

like so much middle class plastic.

Beggars, mystified, watch intently.



VI.

In morning coolness
by the sweetwater sea
a boy on a bicycle
leads a chestnut stallion
galloping behind
on the long slack rope....

The radio blares:

¡ATENCIÓN! ¡MUCHA ATENCIÓN!

Las Señoras Arrogancia y Soberbia son muertas.

Los Senores Desamor y Machismo son muertos.

The funeral cortege is leaving from the Church of Mercy.

¡Descansen en paz!



VII.

Roundtables
(no knights)
Books Fair
(and unfair)
Craft(s) & crafty.


“POETIC IDENTITY CARNIVAL”
(thematic racemes of ego)


Folk dances, music, recitals.


LOUDSPEAKERS & Privatized Enterprise
(including hard and soft sell):


¡Es tiempo para dar vivas al amor!


¡Viva amor!


¡Es tiempo para la ESPERANZA de una humanidad
más sensible, más justa, menos violenta!


¡Viva esperanza!”



VIII.


“Are you a poetess?” asks the shoes.


“I am not invited,” responds the red dress.


“You speak English, it seems.”

The dead speak no natural language.”


“Aren't we speaking English?” says the shoes.


“You may think so,” says the dress, “but what
would your Professor Morelli say?”


“Robert Frost says that poetry is what is lost in translation”, says the shoes.


“And Vincente Huidobro says poetry is what is translatable”, says the dress.


“From and into what?”


“Exactly. Professor Morelli retails
that the most identifying features
of a great painter's work are minor details
churned out reflexively, like ears.”


“Ears?”


“Yes—earlobes too.”



IX.


Domingo, day of rest—before dawn:
the rhythm of a push cart
on the fastidiously laid
paving blocks of the street,
horse trots, motorcycle rasps,
loud speeding trucks, a few automobiles.


Stray dogs bark in the local dialect.


Bicycles add to a silence everyone hears.


Cock crows.



X.


Face finely carved marble, tresses long and black,
lips painted fire-red like the dress.


“What's your name?”


“My family name on earth is Hate.”


“Hate? Your name is Hate?”


The dress, long and shoulderless,
flows behind as she turns and glides away.


Tú soñarás conmigo esta noche,” she says
and is gone.



XI.

The invited collect apophoreta & depart for the airport.
They disport, they shake, they embrace and disappear without a trace.
The winged word is avión.



XII.


By the open door
of the Iglesia de Guadalupe
a young man draws the ropes
rhythmically like oars,
rowing the sound of bells
throughout the town.


Vultures soar over freshwater waves churned by high wind.


One shoe says to the other:


“Look!”


She stands on the beach,
white naked vapor
facing the sunrise, arms raised
in supplication:


Arrogancia! You are the overweening hubris of our seas fresh and salt!


Soberbia!--you are our mad and invincible pride!


Desamor!—you are the intricate wiles of our mind!


Machismo—you are our bravery and courage at any cost!


The beggars, mystified, listen carefully.





XIII.


The yellow shoes awake,
rub their eyelets left and right
& gaze at one another in fright.



E. A. Costa 2 March, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The State Of The Barnum


                   L’information, c’est la poésie du pouvoir
                                                                Guy Debord

Tonight we turn the page.

Combat over. Thank you
for your service to the one percent.


Be we freer than any nation
to write “future”.

Ben and Rebekah home to dinner every night.

New tools to stop bailouts (until the future).

Middle class work.

EARN my veto.

Everyone gets a FAIR shot.

Let's get back to World War I + II

'Wages not the job of government.
Waging war the job...'

I want I want I want....
Not everybody gets.

Let's write, “Bright future”
100 times on the blackboard
 which is green.

Thank you God.

E. A. Costa  21 January 2015  Granada, Nicaragua

Friday, January 16, 2015

El Capitan (Scaled)


….the testimony of the other climber
                in the Jurassic Records....


Called well who climbs as a duet
with nineteen fingers up a spell
of particulars like razors in concrete.

It is a chess game and a logic tree
branching luxuriously in the brain
done as endless tasks and mindless pain.

It is a game of go, of place and area,
where the other side doesn't care
except to stand granite-still and stare.

But this is day. At night under ancient moons
the frozen face becomes a high white sea strewn
with glowing shadows hewn two-faced out of stone.

Of those monuments it is decreed: he will never speak,
and only find again as times gone by on another peak.

E. A. Costa  15 January, 2015  Granada, Nicaragua






Sunday, January 4, 2015

Logica Universalis


Being just anybody is a thankless task.

Everyone asks questions but no one wants answers.

What they want in the end is approval:

that anyone is the exception, and they the universal.

Eugene Costa 4 January 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ritornelle


                         “Tell me more quickly what I lost by this....”

                                                                (William Empson)

In endless undressed summer
we kissed with the same lips,
shared the same secret,
slept in the self-same dream:

The cream and music of her skin
is an aria in heat, coloring and flushing,
blushing and cooling, turning burnished
copper in the sun.

In immeasurable tryst she sweats
& glistens like a harlot at full gallop,
twisting and arching, murmuring and squirming,
burning luminous through the night....

Who numbers how long a while it lasted--
how many suns & moons, how many comets and eclipses,
how many solstices:

It is an opera of two characters in search
of welded flesh, with spacious entr'acte
in equatorial Africa, horned and prickly,
voracious in hunger & lioness' bloody lipstick....

How long was the desert night and cold sand,
with rattlers and scorpions under darting feet,
dancing the self-same gypsum in one intoxicating beat:

It is the ballet in which the ballerina first discovers hips,
snaking locomotively under the severest, gravest star,
animating a sandpainting diagrammatic with hourglass hours...

Does anyone know when winter came, when music fell
frozen to the snow?

Which physicists, which mathematicians name the cosmos
where self-same twice-born near invisible smile persists
through burning eyes of ice?

E. A. Costa 3 January, 2015 Granada, Nicaragua

Monday, December 22, 2014

Polenta Gat' (or: Quantum Cookery)

[dedicado a Danilo Salamanca, hombre culto y erudito]

                            "Méfiez-vous du rêve de l'autre,
                            parce que si vous êtes pris dans
                            le rêve de l'autre, vous êtes foutu."

                                                     (Gilles Deleuze)

(1)

Father had two friends, Sicilians & stonemasons,
with skills long ago lost in New England.

Nowadays they would be Mexicans.

They were slow friends and fast—amici.

When they got together Father would
always bring up the small matter of polenta gat'
& they would all have a hearty laugh.



(2)

Lenny was from West Virginia
& one of the two best hunters
in the wide world.

The other was a bear hunter, mostly Kodiak and Grizzly.

“I always kill cats when I am in the field
after small game,” Lenny said.

“I see them as competitors”, he said,
“and better hunters than I am.”

“Do you eat them?”

A strange look and at that moment
a garter snake slithered through green tomatos.

Lenny started.

“A snake!”, he said, “Kill it!”.

“It's a garter snake and it eats insects...”

“A snake is a snake—you can't trust a snake”,
Lenny said.

“Well, I suppose if you grew up where there
were rattlers and depended on unthinking
reflex....”

Soon enough we were at polenta gat'.

“What's that?”, said Lenny.

“Cornmeal mush with cat.”

“With cat?” said Lenny.

“With cat.”

“Have to be real hungry to cook that,” said Lenny,
“let alone look at it and eat it.”

And they all had a hearty laugh.

The bear hunter never ran into domesticated cat.

Wolves & coyotes & cougars ate them.

Who knows, maybe bears too.



(3)

It had selectmen
so it was a town
but very large
and west of Boston.

Before Suburbs
there was one
Chinese Restaurant.

The Cantonese family
lived on the second floor.

When he got his driver's license
his friend, the son, every morning
picked up the cook in Boston
and drove him back every evening.

The cook, also Cantonese, was paid
a very healthy salary.

The food was very good.

Everyone ate there, sometimes once a week,
other times once in a while.

The running gag was that
chicken was sometimes cat.

“Flied lice with cat,” my father said,
“like the Sicilians.”

They all had a hearty laugh.

The Cantonese never serve cat for chicken.

It is considered too much a delicacy
to waste on most roundeyes.



(4)

The older and larger Chinatown
in Chicago is Cantonese.

Many of the families came to the city
after building the transcontinental railroad.

They were very close-mouthed & clannish.

There were rumors that there was a whole lot
of gambling going on in the large building
that housed the Brotherhood Association.

There were occasional raids
by disinterested police.

Mahjong?

The charges never amounted to much.

What do betting slips for Mahjong look like?

After the Yankees climbed into their helicopters
from the roof of the embassy in Saigon,
large numbers of Vietnamese arrived Chicago.

Some of the Vietnamese were Chinese,
but from Vietnam.

Soon they were speaking three tongues.

Soon there opened a Chinatown North,
with mostly restuarants advertising Chinese,
and one or two serving recipes of 'Nam.

Soon the rumor ran through all the old neighborhoods,
to wit:

when the Vietnamese moved in, all the cats and dogs
disappeared,

even pigeons,

& Vietnamese could even be seen collecting
the fruit that fell on public sidewalks
in large plastic bags.

Polenta gat' came up again.

“With cat?” she said.

She had learned a limited amount
during a year in Italy.

“Sicilians”, he said.

“The French and others will always
mention the World War,” he said,
“The Sicilians never bother, for
what does war have to do with it?”

And they all had a hearty laugh.

The Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown North
was superb.

According to a professoress of German,
on a good day and if you knew someone
you could get dog.

Of course immediately after the war
the Germans for some time ate almost
anything.

It is not recorded how quickly and easily
the Vietnamese discovered U. S. beef
to be quite tender.

Or did they already know?



(5)

Some years ago
long before the Olympics
the mayor of Beijing
decided there were
too many dogs
in that fair city.

He ordered that all dogs owned as pets
be killed.

Food dogs were excepted.

Surely because transient.

Patriotic Beijingers complied & killed
all their pets on the same day.

And then they....



(6)

It is a Korean restaurant
with Chinese horoscopes.
on the placemats.

“Look,” he says, “it is the year of the Rat!”

“The rat?”, she says.

“For the Chinese the Rat is a sign of good luck.”

“The rat?”

“The Rat—shu in the third tone. Look at the character--

See the head with its jaws and teeth? See its legs and tail?
Graphically it aims at something like 'the Gnawer'...”


The rat?”, she says, “Good luck?”


The ancient Chinese had no cats,” he says,
The domesticated cat originates in Egypt
and spreads to Europe. But the Chinese
got it very late. So the rat is a sign of luck.”


The rat?”


Naturally. From much stored rice and grain
arise many rats. So rats are a sign of prosperity.”


Rats?”


The Thais and many other people in Asia eat rats.
Which adds another aspect—animal protein.”


Rats?”


Not city rats. Country rats and well-fed
at that, like squirrels.”


Squirrels?”


The Romans were very fond of honeyed dormice.”


Question?”


Yes?”


Do Koreans eat rats?”


Well, this beef is too tough to be dog.”


And they all had a hearty laugh.


E. A. Costa Granada, Nicaragua 22 December, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

De Rimbaud--L'étoile a pleuré rose...


L'étoile a pleuré rose au coeur de tes oreilles,
L'infini roulé blanc de ta nuque à tes reins ;
La mer a perlé rousse à tes mammes vermeilles
Et l'Homme saigné noir à ton flanc souverain.

Arthur Rimbaud


La estrella lloró rosa en el corazón de tus orejas,
El infinito roló blanco de tu nuca a tus riñones--
El mar perló rojizo a tus tetas bermejas
Y el hombre sangró negro a tu flanco soberano.

[tr. E. A. Costa]


The star has mewled rose in the core of your ears,
infinity veered white from your nape to your small--
sea pearled red with your vermillion nipples
& mankind bled black at your all-reigning side.


[tr. E. A. Costa]

Granada, Nicaragua 27 November 2014