Archive for the 'poetry' Category

“first writing since” by Suheir Hammad

Think of it as an antidote to jingoistic propoganda masquerading as grief and remembrance that we’ll be bombarded with today.

Neruda meme!

Begun by Sylvia, then continued here and here and here and here. And now here, and next with you if you choose to post a poem by Pablo Neruda, with English translation, on your blog.

It was hard to choose just one, but I chose this one because, despite my love of poetry, it’s one of the few poems I’ve memorized in my life, and the only one I’ve memorized in Spanish. (Sonnet XI, “I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair” was a close second.)


No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio,
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo por que no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.


I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexity or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

(translation by Stephen Tapscott)

Green Memory

Green Memory (1951)
Langston Hughes

A wonderful time–the War:
when money rolled in
and blood rolled out.

But blood
was far away
from here–

Money was near.

Who Said It Was Simple

I’m a bit behind on the blogging and probably won’t catch up until next week. But I just stumbled upon this brilliant poem by Audre Lorde, one of the few by her that I haven’t read before. It reminded me of the recent conflicts that I’ve witnessed between certain white feminist bloggers and women of color (also feminist) bloggers, especially the drama that was playing out at blac(k)ademic. This poem seems a good response to said white feminists.

Who Said It Was Simple
Audre Lorde

There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in color
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.