Time to meet   is hard to find   and parting, too, is hard
The east wind   has no force   and a hundred flowers fail

Unless spring silkworms   reach their death   silk cannot be spun
When waxy candles   turn to ash   will tears begin to dry

In morning’s mirror   only worried   about her temples turning white
She recites at night   while I’m sure she feels   the chill glow of the moon

From this place   to Mount Penglai   is just a little road
Bluegreen bird   indulge me please   and spy a little glance

– Li Shangyin

translated by Lucas Klein

_

 

 

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It’s not that I want to say that poetry is disconnected from having
something to say; it’s just that everything I want to say eludes me. But if I

caught it I wouldn’t want it and you wouldn’t want it either. Maybe poetry

is what happens on the bus between wanting and having. I used to think it

was what happened on the bus between oakland and berkeley. And it was,
too, like violet texas in peoples’ voices, all kinda subtle transmission broke

off by stops and bells, repercussive riding, mobile contact, slow symposium.

Now, even in the absence of my office, I still want to move and so I have
to move but never get there in this whole extended region of not being
there, of stopping and saying not here, not here, and of that being, in the

end, pretty much all I have to say. What I want to say is that having

something to say is subordinate in the work of being true to the social life

in somebody else’s sound and grammar, its placement in my head, my

placement in the collective head as it moves on down the line. The

itinerant ensemble arrangement of the 40, and sometimes of the 15, is
where I started studying how to live in poetry. I want to transfer study as a
practice of revision on the edge, where ethics and aesthetics are in parallel

play. Some kind of homeless shift between reading and writing that
emerges in a set as our cut-up schedule, a willow’s diverse list of things,
point to point restlessness, interlocking schemes of material breaks, the

constantly renewed syllabus of a new composers guild in the middle of

enjoying itself. What we come together to try to do starts to look like what

we do when we come together to enjoy ourselves, handing saying what we

want for one another to one another in and out of words.

– Fred Moten. it’s not that I want to say

 

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O how bitter is the departure,

How hard and bitter the separation,

That separates a mother from her children,

And a bearer from her beloved ones.

With what voices can we mourn

A beloved, beautiful child,

Who sprouted and grew like a flower,

But quickly withered and vanished?

– Isaac of Antioch. from “Homily (Memra) on the Departure (Death) of Children”