Christina Marrocco is a poet and prose writer from the Chicago area. Her work has appeared in Ovunque Siamo, Silverbirch Press, the Laurel Review and other journals. Her voice often addresses working class, women’s, and immigration issues.
Black Walnut Mouth
I had two Sicilian Grandfathers, and each held his first language
tight– somewhere between jaw and paunch,
never said where. In that place it settled more astringent
than a black walnut, more bitter than chicory, blue enamel pot,
stewed past midnight and thick with the keeping.
Madone! or Mangi, Meno male, their mother-tongue held tight
by force of will, so tight, so tight, so tight, so tight and still
tingling mouth, zapping minds,
careening synapses like
miners’ trucks gone
almost off the rails.
Watch how the squirrel floats up the fencepost as if pulled by string,
clutching bitter black walnuts to his chest. He peels them in the night,
leaves shards to stain the cement in front of my house.
I want to know how those old men cracked their teeth in the night,
dreamed in Sicilian, howled in Sicilian, loved my pale grandmothers in Sicilian.
When I hear fishmongers of Palermo,
When I hear wailing mosque-church-noise of Alcamo,
When I hear anything dark and ululating, I know
this is the reason I stand in line at the deli and ask for Mortadella
with a bitter little twirl in my tongue.
Rosalia Dechbery is a first-generation Italian American poet and educator.
“The Purple Forest”
My brother’s name should have been Jack,
or Charlie, a namesake of the misfit toy
who popped out of a box unexpectedly,
except, Frank surprised people by hiding.
He had a frustrating habit of disappearing
when we were kids. He liked to climb walls
and hide in the doorways, or stuff himself
into small enclosures, the family Houdini.
I would call his name and search nervously,
confident that I would eventually find him.
If I was lucky, he would even let me play one
of the games he invented, a secret escape
from the mundane outings we had no choice
but to be dragged along on. Adventures made
magical with his artistic visions that created
new worlds to visit, hidden from everyone else.
I remember he went missing in a department
store on Knickerbocker Avenue. I kept calling
his name. A small voice called back, find me,
his amusement, taunting like the Cheshire Cat.
I finally found him, sitting with his legs crossed
in the middle of a clothing rack. He whispered
in delight, flourishing, Welcome to The Purple Forest,
the little bit of Narnia he built for himself in Brooklyn.
Marzia Rahman is a fiction writer and translator based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her flashes have appeared in Star Literature, Arts and Letters, 101 Words, Postcard Shorts, Five of the Fifth, The Voices Project, Fewerthan500.com, Dribble Drabble Review, Paragraph Planet, Six Sentences and Writing Places Anthology UK. In 2018, her novella-in-flash ‘Life on the Edges’ has been longlisted for the Bath Novella in Flash Award Competition. She is currently working on a Novella in Flash.
Hidden Photographs, Lost Memories
Is it true when we migrate, we lose a few people from our past? Is it a fact or a fiction that once you leave your home, a new life takes shape, erasing the memories of bygone days?
I sit on a faded couch in my mother’s living room, an old album in my hand. I flip through the pages. Watch life playing in flashback— a giggling child in her mother’s arms, a six-year-old girl with her very old grandmother, a teenage girl in a black jumpsuit, a young blushing bride in a red sari. A funeral. A special photo I have yet to put into the album.
I pretend father is still alive and these are not pictures but stories. Stories of happy days, stories of bad days. Stories of champagne glasses and dumb boyfriends, hidden in closets.
I return the album from where I found it. Years of memories safely stored in an attic!
Back to the city. I search the drawers. Not a single photograph. Only solitude wrapped in a pall of midnight.
Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Harvard Review, South Carolina Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble.
“Would You Say the Shadows of
Fingers or the Shadow of Fingers?”
Trace hand with tongues of light.
Touch answers in philosophies of happiness.
I already said, as Jung,
examine the Shadow, but shadows?
There is a many muddling through this oneness.
I’d say brush the sky, this shirt, my cheek,
with fingertips of darkness.
I will tell you, let me tell you, let us
proclaim in the night-room calm:
there are words that welcome &
words that erase, words that push &
words that embrace.
I’d say each in its moment, &
you, what might you offer
in shadow, shadows,
fingers, contact, union?
“What the Hell Are West Virginians Doing This Weekend?”
—Matthew Dickman, “All-American Poem ”
We wait idle on the Interstate
watching cracked concrete stripped, replaced, smoothed over.
We’ve learned to savor going nowhere,
stalling to read the roadside memorial
as though a novel, were there words
instead of yellow roses wilting in a.m. cold.
After a lane clears, we might walk
hand-in-hand along the Kanawha,
the Cheat, the Ohio, the New, collecting sunrise/sunset—
some pale blur of pink reflecting
like speckled cheeks in another painting by Renoir.
Jennifer Romanello received her MFA from Hofstra University and is currently a Lecturer in the MS in Publishing program at Pace University. She was previously VP, Director of Publicity at Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and Grand Central Publishing, an imprint of Hachette Book Group.
Her name was Carmela Artusa,
C.A. the initials
she embroidered onto
her sheets, towels, and pillows.
The dowry her parents
bought with the money
they earned working the land,
hoping it would lead to a
They spent days looking
for the perfect red thread that would
stand out against the white
linen fabric, thread woven
on a loom with gentle care.
(Red would also repel
Carmela’s mother showed
her how to embroider an A,
followed by a C, or a big C
with the A embroidered within it,
choices Carmela could make.
Carmela dreaming of her
wedding as she bent over,
stitch by stitch, wondering
what her husband’s name
Lydia Renfro holds an MFA from Adelphi University and is the recipient of the Donald Everett Axinn Award for Fiction. Her work has appeared in Litro USA, The Blue Nib, Witches Mag, Miletus International Literature Magazine, WordCity Monthly, and others. She is currently the fiction editor for The Blue Nib and lives in Colorado.
When the Soldier, Who is Also Brother in This Poem, Goes Away
then I will not see him again for a long while,
and it will be just like the time I woke too late
for the drive to Lexington, lake-boat in tow and
fishing gear under the seat, sisters not welcome that day.
He goes, but then so do I, sometimes at once and
other times after or before, traveling ocean miles
and tea-zones, drinking time in all manner of cups,
and when we say goodbye it usually weighs soup-like on the
tongue, years of country living slipping off the rounded edges.
The term for us in our young-limb days was tow-headed,
also Crocket-inspired and brick-fireplace-nesters, with
book in hand always, my dears, book in hand always.
You must forgive the dashes—they do the job of
joining or separating, which is also the job of
middle children, left to our own buffers and concordats.
So what can I say to this one who is me, who is yet
stranger, gone to make his own nest in an unfamiliar field
forfeiting the relentless sky above our thicket country?
The phantom face I see always, illusive behind his
battle look, is soft with friendship and creek-memory.
Brother, I want you pretend-ready, not platoon-hard.
But I am thinking there are too many dashes now,
that it is time to end the lines and climb the stairs,
only you must not forget the snowbird you saw that day
and the poem you wrote, and the sorry you never
gave me, though it’s rightfully mine. And please
remember how our pillowcases matched and that
I would not tell on you but write to you instead.
They have flycatchers and thrushes where you are going—
I’m told they’re old-world but not unplained,
which is a prayer for the two of us, is it not?
Send Lauds to me with the Fieldfare, if she
can fly that far, and I promise I’ll return it,
lung deep and sweet with shining.
That is, until we walk together again in mountain mist,
That is, until we are aged with living and light with love.
Some years ago, John Eliot submitted the poem Friday Night Song for an anthology. The publisher turned it down but said it ought to be published. Encouraged, John wrote with new energy and purpose and within a couple of years had enough for a collection. As luck would have it, he met a small publisher, a ‘boutique bibliophile’ imprint called Mosaïque Press, who decided on the strength of his work to start a series of poetry ‘chapbooks’. Since then he’s published four collections with Mosaïque : Ssh!, Don’t Go, Turn on the Dark, and Canzoni del Venerdì Sera, a translation of his work into Italian. John is now poetry editor for Mosaique Press and with Italian and Romanian universities is editing translation anthologies.
She loves the Alhambra.
I prefer the altar piece.
Yes, the majesty of the architecture
Set in the sun of Granada
I can agree.
She turns away, as if in victory.
I sit in silence.
A Lamb that has so much to say.
Iris Dan, a former graduate of the Bucharest University, lives in Haifa, Israel, where she works as a translator. From the window of her Babel Tower, she sees the Mediterranean. She is a long-time member of the Voices Israel Community of Poets. She has published two poetry books and her poems appear regularly in the Voices Anthology and sometimes in online magazines.
THE LAST JUDGMENT
When their Messiah comes,
or comes again, or whatever,
when their dead
are risen from the graves –
I wonder if our dead
will be resurrected too.
In any case,
at their Last Judgment
we must have standing.
We must bear witness
how from the beginning
they harnessed us
to move their millstones
how they imprisoned us
while, being rivers,
we yearned to flow;
how they boasted
with their clean energy
while killing us slowly
with perfumed chemicals
they use for washing their clothes,
with stinking industrial waste
they pour into our waters;
with their expired drugs,
no longer effective
but still poisonous;
how day after day
we vomited on our shores
the poor limp bodies of dead fish;
how for birds and beasts
no more clean water
was left to drink,
no more prey to feed on;
how the bears no longer
brought their young to swim;
no longer did we see them
strain and ripple with pleasure
as they relieved themselves;
how the plants died out
whose thirst we had quenched;
how we choked to death,
with poison and loneliness and shame.
If only I had the tongue
to tell the court
the names of the species that perished
in our waters, on our shores;
they won’t bother with individuals,
though I remember individuals too:
that shiny pike, that serious heron,
that bee who knew first
when the trees were in bloom…
I trust that He who created us
before creating them
will understand our language;
in perfect faith I trust
that in His heavy book
He has all the names;
that He has counted
every tear we rivers have shed;
that we will get justice;
or at least will be heard.
I would not put my trust
in this court; nor do I
recognize its competence.
Who if not He
has appointed a greedy
to do as it pleases?
Who has put them
in charge of the world?
It will be
a farce of a judgment –
like the laws they keep drafting
allegedly to protect us.
They will receive
a ridiculous penance
will pay a ridiculous fine
and go on as before
in the newly redeemed world.
And who will judge the judges?
Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His chapbook, All the Songs Sung (Angel Flight Press), and his fourth poetry collection, The Broad Grin of Eternity (WordTech Editions) arrived in 2021. His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Chiron Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, and elsewhere.
The world is an empty dome with multitudes jammed
together on its periphery. They all know each other.
You don’t know any of them.
Your skin is stretched tight, a fleshy prison.
Siberia, the polar icecap, are tropical compared
to the gelid storm inside your chest.
Whatever you are is miniscule—
so tiny you could get lost navigating a grain of sand.
Margaret Kiernan is a 2021 Best of The Net Nominee for Creative Non-Fiction. She writes fiction, non-fiction essay, memoir, and poetry. She has had poetry and prose published, in hard back, in e-book, on-line. Literary Journals and magazines. She has multiple stories and poems in anthology collections and cultural publications, among which The Ekphrastic Review, The Blue Nib, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, etc.
Leaked ink in a Toby jug
Mr & Ms are Dead-
after Kathleen Jamie
They went their separate ways years before
bound by interference
the need to inflict pain
upon the fragile one
in five thousand years their dust
will remain apart.
One year to the day the undertaker returned
called for her
the end of days at the bungalow
for sale soon enough without the contents.
We began to unpack their rolled-up life, his room sparce hermit like
hers a treasure trove of the unused, like her love
The kitchen yielded chipped enamel dishes, drawers of cloths
trimmed with Belgian lace.
We smelled the paraffin oil bread oven, it seemed to leak
into their lives, into
varied needles held in rusty boxes, nestled near ceramic bed jars.
The ancient Underwood sat in the parlor, a relic from the Barracks. On the mantlepiece ancient Toby jugs held fountain pens; the ink leaked onto small boys’ hands when he entertained his grandsons, they charmed by a man who was their hero for all hours.
This space now his makeshift dayroom where he resides, daydreams of his former life, a police officer after a guerrilla fighter, awaits his burial day and the State Reveille bugle call.
Isaac Stackhouse Wheeler is a poet and translator best known for his work with co-translator Reilly Costigan-Humes on English renderings of novels by great contemporary Ukrainian author Serhiy Zhadan, including Voroshilovgrad, published by Deep Vellum, and The Orphanage, published by Yale University Press. Wheeler’s poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including the Big Windows Review, the Peacock Journal, and Sonic Boom. He holds an MA in Russian Translation from Columbia University and is currently earning another in English Secondary Education at CCNY. Wheeler’s first poetry collection, The Eleusinian Mysteries, is forthcoming from Aubade Publishing.
Third-Persona Poems [excerpt]
I have this one friend who can’t see anything
except her own drawings—or so she claimed
as she walked beside me through the woods, book open,
dodging oblong sketches of the trunks ahead.
I was skeptical; how exactly can a person depict a thing
without seeing it first? She said it was like everything
was molten, too hot to pour into her eye sockets,
but the strokes of her pencil made black molds
that yielded a visible world of lukewarm iron,
which she could inhabit comfortably—but pictures
are crude! What about vanishing points, hatching
to imitate volume, all the jerry-rigged techniques
artists use to flatten swarming clots of atoms to images
represented with the mere distribution of lead?
My friend shook her head with a forgiving sigh
and asked me when I last saw an atom.
Masha thinks all images are accurate.
Artists from previous eras never lied
and never faced technical limitations:
ancient commoners, simple as furrows
from ploughs or ruts from handcarts,
were literally composed of fewer lines
than their intricate stiff-limbed kings;
it really was only the man on the horse
who had any need for facial muscles,
and his troops managed fine as smears
of flesh tone with acclaiming eyes
and intermingling uniformed stumps;
the Soviet state had big red hands.
We used to be lovers, but when I held her,
the tenderness was tinged with fear
of what design she might conceive.
Joshua hurt me when I was a child,
so now he is a sprawling landscape
and I make him look down on it
from above—people had to learn that;
people didn’t always have maps
on the wall of Mrs. Snyder’s classroom
that showed the world spread out
on a plane as if viewed from on high—
seeing like that had to be invented
in parallel with charts, and ships, and empires.
So when Joshua sees himself so vast
that every hair is a jagged redwood
and every fold a flaccid dune,
and I put needles in his every surface,
I am hurting him with the kind of eyes
that have hurt entire continents.
Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and “Ghosts in the Desert” (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at http://emmalee1.wordpress.com.
How did she become the woman who couldn’t win?
The athlete in home-made dresses stitched with shame,
one of three women from one country on the podium
nervous but proud at the World Championships,
yet backed by a record of firsts: her signature triple
axel. But everyone remembers the injured knee scandal.
Her mother pushed her on the ice, denied bathroom breaks
and told her to be a champion at four years old on battered skates;
rebellion always punished. She grew, married young and badly,
divorced too late. She forgot to take spare skate laces
into the Championships. She knew only discipline’s sticks,
not the carrot. Her asthma worsened, she failed
grace. Everyone remembers the wrong scandal.
Anna Terék was born in Bačka Topola, Vojvodina, (former) Yugoslavia in 1984. She works as a school psychologist in Budapest. Her first book of poems, Tear of Smile (Mosolyszakadás) was published in 2007, the second, Danube Street (Duna utca) in 2011, it won the Ervin Sinkó
Prize. Her first drama, Jelentkezzenek a legjobbak! (Neka se jave najbolji!) premiered in the Serbian National Theater. Her third collection Dead women (Halott nők) got the Géza Csáth Prize and the János Sziveri Prize in 2017. It was translated into Croatian, German and Polish. Her latest book was published in 2020 with the title Back on the Sun (Háttal a napnak), it was awarded the Milán Füst Prize the same year.
Agnes Marton is a Hungarian-born poet, writer, librettist, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK), Reviews Editor at The Ofi Press and Art Curator at One Hand Clapping. Recent publications include her collection Captain Fly’s Bucket List and four chapbooks with Moria
Books (USA). She won the National Poetry Day Competition in the UK.
On The Way To Magadan
I’m wondering how far one’s desires
can be from another’s.
Aren’t you interested, mister?
You just laugh, oblivious
to the distance to Magadan.
What if we had gone
I would be watching the ice,
you’d be watching the endlessness,
this is how we would be mirrored
in flat-frozen Siberia.
Isn’t it how we exist?
and you seem to be infinite.
We would step on the ice
of Lake Baikal
so that we could listen
how it cracks.
We could’ve lived
a much happier life,
no matter how short.
It’s the most
You can’t tear or flake
you’ll still be attached
to this rotting world.
You’d be holding my hand,
I would kiss your mouth.
We could’ve coped
without the world
It was a short while, I spent it
on running away from you,
waiting, looking back:
would you catch up?
Your long legs
are difficult to overcome.
So is, mister, to look into
your light eyes.
While you walk down the street,
you draw the shadows
All of them.
I took to you.
I was fighting but to no avail.
True, you’ve seen war, much of it,
you are aware
how many moves
a capitulation must consist of.
One can be extremely smart,
a sharp word shot towards a good cause
And you fired upon me, mister.
A whole volley,
a cheerfully singing fire-squad
was hidden in your chest.
Now I’m wearing lacy holes.
Here we are,
on the shore of Lake Baikal,
on the way to Magadan.
You’re watching me, inviting me
to join you,
and I don’t dare step on the ice.
It’s almost whistling
while cracking under you.
The pain you have to carry
can earn you your real weight.
Everything could be crashed
if we both stepped
on the crackling ice of Lake Baikal
hand in hand.
For months, you didn’t give me time,
and now, with a smile, you ask me
to step on the ice, you’re waiting for me.
Well, waiting, not for an eternity,
but I should step, you don’t mind how slow.
I could’ve told you
how I fancied you:
I liked your blond beard, the way
you went grey, how lean you were.
And how odd, a light, thin body
can leave such deep traces.
Drops of rain add up
in your footprints.
See, there’s mud and puddles
here, in my chest.
They say, a path is trodden in us
by many people.
I know it’s a long way to Magadan.
I’m breathless already.
Every dawn tries to break
every night casts me off
and I keep skipping to avoid
the leaks of sharded time:
life is thin, even if we dance, mister,
finally every foot steps into ice-cold water,
and finds the way home.
I’m obstinate, watching you,
your face, your never-ending
Hey, what’s the use of the heart
torn out of me?
What can you do with it at home?
Shred it with sharp knives?
Cut lacy holes in it
and put it in the window?
Or would it be lost
in the clutter of your searched-through flat
in-between scattered sheets of paper?
How beautiful. Right.
You know it’s fine like this.
At least an undetected piece of me
and accompanies you
wherever you go.
Vajon mekkora távolság van
két ember vágyai között,
nem érdekli, uram?
Csak nevet, mit tudja maga,
Magadan milyen messze van.
Tudja, ha mégis
én a jeget nézném,
maga a végtelent,
abban a simára fagyott
Épp, ahogy vagyunk egyébként:
maga meg mint akinek
soha nincs vége.
a Bajkál-tó jegére,
És élhettünk volna
ez a kevés idő alatt is
És ez ebben ez
Hogy az ember nem tud
kiszakadni vagy leválni
erről a rothadó világról,
mindig benne marad.
Maga fogná a kezemet,
én csókolnám a száját,
és így egész boldogan
ha nincs körülöttünk
Ez a kevés idő alatt is
maga elől futottam
és vártam, néztem hátra:
vajon utolér-e majd.
A maga hosszú lábait
és épp ilyen nehéz nézni
a világos szemeit, uram.
Ahogy az utcán jár,
látni, hogy húzza
maga mögé mind
Látja, végül mégiscsak
Igaz, sok háborút látott,
hány mozdulatból kell állnia
Az ember lehet bármilyen okos,
egy-egy jó cél felé kilőtt
éles szó mindig telibe talál.
És maga lőtt rám, uram.
vidáman daloló kivégző osztag
bújt meg a mellkasában.
Én meg csipkésre lyukadtam.
Hát így állunk,
itt a Bajkál-tó szélén,
Néz engem, hívogat, hogy menjek,
én meg nem merek rálépni a jégre.
Szinte fütyül, ahogy reped
Az ember pont attól
nyeri el az igazi súlyát,
hogy hurcolni való
ha kézen fogva rálépnénk ketten
a Bajkál repedő jegére,
Hónapokig nem adott időt nekem,
most meg mosolyogva mondja,
hogy lépjek a jégre, vár rám.
Na, nem fog a végtelenségig várni,
de lépjek, mindegy, milyen lassan.
Pedig elmondhattam volna,
milyen szépnek is látom magát:
tetszik a szőke szakálla,
ahogy őszül, ahogy sovány.
S milyen furcsa, hogy egy
könnyű, vékony test
mégis ilyen mély nyomokat hagyhat.
A talpa nyomában gyűlnek
És látja, sár és tócsa van,
itt, a mellkasomban.
sokan taposnak ki bennünk
Tudom, hosszú az út Magadanig.
És már most nem bírom szusszal.
A hajnalok mindennap
megpróbálják kitörni a nyakam,
kivet magából az éjszaka,
és ugrálva kerülgetem
a szilánkosra tört idő lékjeit:
vékony az élet, és hiába táncolunk,
végül minden láb jéghideg vízbe lép,
Makacsul nézem magát,
az arcát, ahogy folyton csak
mit csinál otthon azzal a
belőlem kitépett szívvel?
Éles késekkel csíkokra vagdalja?
Vagy csipkésre lyuggatja,
és az ablakba teszi?
Vagy a feltúrt lakásában
szétszórt papírlapok között?
De szép ez, igen,
így jó ez, tudja maga.
Legalább marad ott
belőlem valami, amit
nem is vesz észre,
de elkíséri majd
Richard Skinner has published four books of poems with Smokestack, the most recent of which is ‘Invisible Sun’ (2021). Some of these translations will appear in his next pamphlet, ‘Dream Into Play’, forthcoming from Poetry Salzburg. Richard is Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy. He also runs a small press, Vanguard Editions, and is the current editor of 14 magazine.
Andrea Gibellini was born in Sassuolo, an industrial town surrounded by hills situated halfway between Modena and Bologna, where he still lives. He works in a bookshop. He has published many books of poems and his poems and writings on poetry have appeared in New Topics, Vieusseux Anthology, The Magazine of Books, Poetry, Oxford Poetry, Agenda and Poetry Review. He won the Premio Montale in 2001.
Two poems by Richard Skinner, translated by Andrea Gibellini:
The Summer of Red Mercedes
Your chestnut hair flared in the sun, an oil
spill in the ocean.
Beta-amyloids flushed our spines, a mass of
crill surfaced, pink-gold.
Legs pinned back like wings, our bodies systems of
pulleys and levers.
Your pubic bone lifted, a swan’s head, and after, we
cleaved apart, like slate.
L’estate della Mercedes rossa
La tua chioma color castano brillava nel sole,
una striscia d’olio versata nell’oceano.
Beta-amiloidi incendiavano le nostre vertebre,
quindi emerse una massa di crill, rosa-d’oro.
Piegate all’indietro le gambe erano ali inchiodate,
il sistema dei nostri corpi in battere e in levare.
Il tuo osso pubico risollevato era la testa di un cigno,
nel dividerci tra noi, come ardesia.
Isola di San Michele, Venice
“to step on an island is to die…”
It took me an age to find you,
your final port of call
obscured by a turmoil of long grass and eucalyptus.
On the mossy slab, the words:
Each glyph sharp as a knife,
cut to the bone.
The sun beats, peacocks cry,
pansies shrivel in the heat.
Each of these cimiteri is like a Chinese character
legible only from the sky.
Who reads them now?
Just the birds, who, passing over, break flight
and drop like a stone to the ground.
Isola di San Michele, Venezia
“calpestare un’isola è morire…”
Alla fine, anch’io, e quanto tempo per ritrovarti,
nel tuo ultimo porto oscurato
da un arabesco d’erba alta, da foglie d’eucalipti.
Incise le parole
sulla lastra muschiosa:
Ogni glifo incavato come coltello affilato,
I pavoni gridano, il sole percuote
le viole del pensiero
che nell’estate torrida sfioriscono.
Ogni cimitero è un ideogramma cinese
leggibile solo dal cielo.
E adesso chi li legge?
Spezzando il loro andare di passo
solo gli uccelli nel cadere a terra come pietra.
Two poems by Andrea Gibellini, translated by Richard Skinner:
Nel giardino davanti alla finestra
qualcuno ha aperto l’acqua in
un momento di silenzio intatto.
Il rumore violento del trapano
ha smesso di perforare la
parete di una casa.
La bufera ha scoperchiato
alcuni tetti, ha divelto gli alberi.
Automezzi di soccorso, quando la
luce è tornata e il cielo è ritornato
chiaro, hanno ripulito la strada da
rami, cartacce, tronchi. Alcuni alberi
hanno distrutto macchine, altri
si sono rovesciati all’indietro colpendo
vitigni, zone d’ombra.
In the garden
In the garden, in front of the window,
someone has started watering
in a moment of undisturbed silence.
The grating noise of drilling
the wall of a house
The storm has exposed
some roofs, uprooted trees.
When it becomes lighter,
and the sky has cleared,
rescue vehicles clear the roads of
branches, litter, tree trunks. Some trees
have destroyed cars, others have rolled backwards
into vines, areas of shadows.
In questo giardino della mente
io non voglio più dire niente.
È un disegno a china
che stasera proprio non voglio fare
mettere i nomi sopra le cose
e per sempre dirgli addio.
Non è facile e si può fare
ma nella mia poesia
non voglio nessuna teologia.
La tentazione di inserire
una casa un albero e un vento
seppure leggerissimo sul filo
e una canoa di fogli usati
e delle erbe non vere, gialle, violente
come i girasoli che sempre cercavi.
In this garden of minds
I don’t want to say anything anymore.
It’s an ink drawing on which
tonight I just don’t want to
add names to things
and forever say goodbye.
It is not easy and it can be done
but in my poetry
I don’t want any theology.
The temptation to insert
a house, a tree and a wind,
albeit very light, on the edge
of the current
and a canoe of used sheets
and untrue grasses, yellow, violent
like the sunflowers you were always looking for.
Jacques Fux is a writer and mathematician. He is the author of Antiterapias (Scriptum, 2012), winner of the São Paulo Literary Award; Brochadas: confissões sexuais de um jovem escritor (Rocco, 2015) – Award Cidade de Belo Horizonte Award; Meshugá: um romance sobre a loucura (José Olympio, 2016) – Award Manaus; and Nobel (José Olympio, 2018). He is also the author of Literature and Mathematics: Jorge Luis Borges, Georges Perec e o OULIPO (Perspectiva, 2016). His work has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Hebrew.
Elton Uliana is a Brazilian translator based in London. He has a master’s degree in Translation Studies from University College London (UCL), and a BA Hons. in English Literature from Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the co-editor of the Brazilian Translation Club at UCL and member of the Portuguese-English Translators Association (PELTA). His published work includes short stories by Carla Bessa (Asymptote), Ana Maria Machado (Alchemy), Sérgio Tavares (Bengaluru Review, Qorpus) and Jacques Fux (Tablet), and forthcoming Portuguese translation of three plays by Howard Barker (Temporal), as well as a collection of poems by Rufo Quintavalle (Rascunho).
The Mad Jew in the Garden of Species
Shver tsu zayn a yid [It’s hard being a Jew]
He thought that writing this book would be enjoyable. That the myths, beliefs and fallacies attributed to the mad Jew – meshuga – could be discussed light-heartedly. He envisaged demolishing these nonsensical arguments, creeds and theories through the use of irony. He expected the whole question of madness to be merely a game, but he was wrong.
He knew from the beginning that experiences could not be fully described in any particular way. That a novel could only emerge from the personal and unique perspective of each individual. He knew that in order to make each person’s fable exceptional and spectacular it would be necessary to seek new narrative forms. And that it was the task of a good writer to unveil the beauty and poetry behind these infinite stories and fictions. And so, he conceptualized a formal detachment from his own work in order to address these issues. He researched, scrutinized and sketched the life, fears and writings of each of the characters he created. He understood the loneliness and the repressed desire of his protagonists, as well as their suicides and searches, but he also manipulated and concealed them. And he thought that he could master his craft simply by being rational. From a distance. Without getting too involved. Just by playing with words. Sad illusion.
As the narrator started to devise and compose, he suddenly began to re-live his fears, uncertainties and insecurities. To remember vividly his most personal moments. And to become emotionally involvedwith his actors. And so, he went on, unhinged, gradually allowing his reason to retreat, and creating horrific monsters. His persistent nightmares became not only his, but everyone else’s. Whilst the torments, the suffering, and the self-hatred of others were entirely his. He was transformed into his own fictitious personalities. And he went mad with them.
(Originally published in: Fux, Jacques. Meshugá: um romance sobre a loucura [Meshuga: A Novel About Madness]. José Olimpo: Rio de Janeiro, 2016.)
Gabor G Gyukics, (b. 1958) Budapest born Hungarian-American poet (jazz-poet), translator, author of 11 books of poetry in five languages, 1 book of prose and 19 books of translations including A Transparent Lion, selected poetry of Attila József in English published in 2006 by Green Integer, an anthology of North American Indigenous poets in Hungarian published in 2015 and a brand new Contemporary Hungarian Poetry Anthology in English titled They’ll be Good for Seed published by White Pine Press in the fall of 2021. He was honored with the Hungarian Beat Poet Laureate Lifetime award in September 2020 by the National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. based in Connecticut. He is writing poetry in English and Hungarian. He published his third jazz poetry CD in English with three Hungarian jazz musicians (Béla Ágoston, Viktor Bori, Csaba Pengő) in 2018. At present he is living in Hungary.
Károly Bari (b. 1952) is a poet of prodigious ability and precocious achievement who at the age of seventeen published a volume of poetry of such startling originality and power that he immediately established himself as a major figure in Hungarian literature. Bari’s poetry features arresting imagery, passionate intensity, and exotic evocations of Gypsy life. He is also a storyteller, translator, editor, painter, and folklorist. Author of over forty publications in different genres. He received most of the major Hungarian literary prizes.
Passing sketches of splendor,
leaves departing from the branches, aged grass,
what was is leaving and approaching,
seaweed tied in the gray bundle of the lake,
veiled basement wall,
table, glass, knife,
objects do not know the world,
a cavity filled with designations,
and the breath equal to absence,
as if it wouldn’t exist,
as if it were lost
in the paws of prehistoric times,
as the prey of what not yet begun.
My God, can you hear, what I say?
It’s me who is speaking,
I’m ready to take the road again
after many years of wandering,
trees that lost their leaves
the meadows wounded
by the silver needles of
the furiously howling flowers
fighting with the seasons
all know about my preparation.
that can be touched by human notions
won’t free me from existence
whisper the fallen leaves,
what is the gate of finitude?
Where am I to go?
The calmness deters from
the adobe knot’s hidden fire:
the fiddle carved from the rose tree ran away
death-black-haired women split open their faces for it,
they have burnt a star to the sky’s forehead
with their breasts chopped off
because of some unfaithful nights,
at the midnight hours dragons paved the song-red land
wind circled the snow-white shirts of clouds,
crows rumbled with flashy wings,
the moon grieved on the backs of roving horses,
rose tree carved fiddle, where have you gone
with the fleeting time, with your back-stabbed music,
in the windows candles nurse your return,
memories lashed by lanky wings linger on the streets;
those who choke their hearts into music
cannot be forgotten!
Elmúlás vázlatai a ragyogásban,
ágaktól vált falevelek, megöregedett füvek,
távozik és közeleg, ami volt,
hínárok a tó szürke batyujába kötve,
asztal, pohár, kés,
a tárgyak nem ismerik a világot,
a megnevezésekkel teleöntött üreget,
s a távolléttel egyenrangú lélegzetet,
mintha nem lenne,
mintha ottveszett volna
előidők mancsai között,
a kezdetlenség zsákmányaként.
Hallod-e, amit mondok, Istenem?
sok évig tartó vándorlás után ismét útra készülök,
a lombjukat vesztett fák,
a záporok ezüst szúrásaitól kisebesedett rétek,
már tudnak készülődésemről
az évszakkal harcoló, vadul ordító virágok,
az emberi fogalmakkal megérinthető
nem kiszabadulás a létezésből,
suttogják a lehullott levelek,
a végesség minek a kapuja?
Vályogcsomók közt rejtező
tűztől visszaretten a nyugalom:
világgá ment a rózsafából faragott
hegedű, halál fekete hajú asszonyok
hasították meg érte arcukat,
hűtlen éjszakáikért levágott
mellükkel csillagot égettek
az ég homlokára, éjfélórában
az éneklő piros vidéken,
szél hordozta a fellegeket
villámló szárnyakkal a varjak,
elbitangolt lovak hátán kesergett a hold
rózsafából faragott hegedű, elmúlással
hátba szúrt énekeiddel hova mentél?
putrik ablakaiban visszatérésed virrasztják
a gyertyák, nyurga szelek korbácsolják
emlékre a fákat: nem lehet elfelejteni,
ki dalba fullasztotta szívét!