it’s only that I think of you
as a wagon
or a mule with legs that
point to the stars

or a soft language
waiting to stroke a mirror
in a swamp

everyday is a new instrument
lavishly completed
like a part-time cane

the language of night is a prosperous sheet
full of delicate assumptions

the language of night is fragile
like a warm net full of rumors

I want to give you a box of signatures
that include all my perfect moments

– Frank Lima. Patchouli

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Maybe even now
green creepers
drape your home

As golden light forces in
through the chinks
you’ll come down
the heart’s river
to nestle in my bosom

I have planted the smiles
in the fair garden of pearls
As soon as you come and touch them
the smiles will blossom
and burst out laughing
They will lean back
in the shade of your lips

You know well
how the crimson lass
enters the blue house
opening the cloudy door

As homing birds return to their nests
the cows plod home blowing dust
and the jasmine blossoms
at the threshold of dusk
You don’t know though
why the flame-of-the-forest
reddens the sky.

– Anupama Basumatary. Maybe Even Now

translated by Pradip Acharya

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Little baby in the dark house,
You have seen the sun rise.
Why are you crying?
Why are you screaming?
You have disturbed the house god.

Who has disturbed me? says the house god.
It is the baby who has disturbed you.
Who scared me? says the house god.
The baby has disturbed you, the baby has scared you.
Making noises like a drunkard who cannot sit still on his stool.
He has disturbed your sleep.

Call the baby now, says the house god.

– Babylonian lullaby

translated by Richard Dumbrill

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… The light returns in silken lines.
You close your hand and see the gesture appear,
not furious, no, quiet and circumspect; you open your hand
and so everything comes to be:  like the wave’s ludic mishap,
the line that knows disaster, that returns,
sparks with light and recollection, auscultates. 

– Ángel Escobar. excerpt from Collection

translated by Kristin Dykstra

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Thus Beatrice. And those joyful spirits
transformed themselves to rings around fixed poles,
circling, like blazing comets, in their brightness.

And as wheels in the movements of a clock
turn in such a way that, to an observer,
the innermost seems standing still, the outermost to fly,

just so those dancers in their circling,
moving to a different measure, fast or slow,
let me gauge their wealth of gladness.

From the dancer I made out to be most precious
I saw come forth a flame so full of joy
that not one there produced a greater brightness.

Three times it circled Beatrice,
its song so filled with heavenly delight
my phantasy cannot repeat it.

And so my pen skips and I do not write it,
for our imagination is too crude, as is our speech,
to paint the subtler colors of the folds of bliss.

‘O my holy sister, who pray to us
with such devotion, by the ardor of your love
you draw me forth from that fair circle.’

Once the blessèd fire had come to rest,
for my lady it breathed forth these words,
just as here I’ve set them down.

And she: ‘O everlasting light of that great man
with whom our Lord did leave the keys,
which He brought down from this astounding joy,

‘test this man as you see fit on points,
both minor and essential, about the faith
by which you walked upon the sea.

‘Whether his love is just, and just his hope and faith,
is not concealed from you because your sight
can reach the place where all things are revealed.

‘But since this realm elects its citizens
by measure of true faith, it surely is his lot
to speak of it, that he may praise its glory.’

Just as the bachelor arms himself and does not speak
while the master is setting forth the question –
for discussion, not for final disposition –

– Dante Alighieri. Paradiso, Canto XXIV, lines 10-48

translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander

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