Magazine article World Literature Today

Six Poems: From "Standing on Earth"

Magazine article World Literature Today

Six Poems: From "Standing on Earth"

Article excerpt


No one remembers his birth

No one has ever returned from the dead

Words and death give meaning to everything

Only meeting those surrounded by death

do words become proportionate

You're standing there

your back to the window

A star flickers near your eyes.

Maybe the distance between us

is longer than the life of all words

I come to bed with you

in the prehistory of words

That star died centuries ago

That light is just the last breath


through the void between stars

through the void between words

I kiss you

and I don't know

through what void

what words


A woman uses makeup

in her effort to be a goddess.

No woman

uses makeup trying to be human.

She says: look at me

pray to me.

In the solitude of all the goddesses

she gives birth to the children

half mortal

half immortal.

I always fail

to describe her artificial beauty

in my poetry.

As much as the poem does not need beauty

she needs my kisses.

what history

the flavor of this kiss has passed


No woman

could make me naked

could expose me or cover me up.

The voice I hear is coming from an imaginary corner

unseen hands open my shirt

my skin trembles

and the cities built on it collapse

and my body disappears in a cloud of dust.

I close the curtains

I unplug the phone

I lie down on the floor

and people are fleeing in the dust cloud of my body

in pajama bottoms, in underpants, naked.

Cracks open in the ground of my skin

antique jars come to the surface,

the skeletons of women buried in me

birthday presents, letters, photos.

The voice I hear enters the cracks in my skin.

But now the room's walls are moist

now the roof is leaking

now the doorbell is wet

I open the door

and the stairs are flooded.

Your shoes, your voice, are soaking.

You open the windows

You sweep up the fragments of words.

Kiss by kiss,

you stitch together the cracks in my body

You wrap me up.

I hear your voice rising from a dark corner.

I do not shake

in your embrace.

It's night.

You've leftthe house.

Stars are dust.

Nakedness is dust.

Every night

my room

goes dark,

gets light.


You looked at me

and a faraway window opened and closed.

You stroked me

and I got wet

from the rain beyond that window.

You are here beside me

and with your every movement

something moves in the distance

which makes something move in me.

I was born in the year of your exile.

In your eyes a woman was making dolls.

In the shape of all her dead she was making dolls

and was setting them

on the windowsill in front of my eyes.

One had my hat on his head.

Another was wearing my shoes.

I was being created from her losses.

You were looking at me

and the rain was still raining

on your suitcases

and the shoes and the hats of the dead.

I kiss you

and we exchange



Death is when the heart does not beat and the clock beats.

Love is when the heart beats and the clock does not beat.

Perhaps this simple comparison explains

why you glanced at your watch.

You knew that waiting is the dense endurance of eternity

and love, the miracle of mortals,

makes eternity ashamed,

but death does not wait for anybody.

The long summer afternoon

was going down on coffins and clock towers

the ruins knew

and you did not know

that war makes waiting invalid

and saving life

the whole Truth. …

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