domingo, enero 28, 2007

Five Poems From Martins Iyoboyi

The Promise

These are my underlined agenda,
No doubt, I dare outline, about its potency.
Those before me cannot be said to be proud,
Much less the brains which computed, refined
These carefully considered opinions! –
Your opinion, I would say, pertaining the
Low nation-state, even the filth in it.
Now, just for convictions, those men,
Names word-wasting, even rabble-rousers,
Possessing the wand of thorough insight,
Advancement, not absent, even vision!
Now, pause a moment, come down to these things;
Shelter, even mendicants could be choosers!
Ridiculous, you might express, but I
Wholeheartedly, my mind’s bosom portray,
No more dead speeches, from disguised aspirants,
Just your concord and the people bloom!
Mark the word, more houses; I repeat, excuse
Me, beggars, when I finally sit, shall
Even, without fear (which shook in the past)
Come out and justice demands, you know,
Human right I’ll provide, in fuller scale!
Even in dreams, I see the convicts free,
No more shall those shackles bind them in jail.
Wonderful promises, no doubt, bear these
In your mind, I would tell my wise men which,
Provided you mind in satisfying colours; I
Say many (this key sector people look forward to)
Their fears I abolish, for how there
Holds costly learning in our own country!
Much folly this is, even decree this to
Tertiary sense.
But, you know, a price
Is all I demand. You know this, your verdict.
Now on June 12, the people play their one role.
O.K, here (this is the dove), our symbol.
Only stuff the in-scripted box with wads.
Our ticket only depends on your performance.
I present here four thousand naira, just
Minute, but manage this, a token of
Things ahead. Greater things shall duly come;
Light, water, free medical care, name it!
No more praise singing which leads to nothing.
Take my word and give me your heart, no more
No doubt, my victory shines even now,
Remember: dead talk yields vain promises!


Mother educated us to beware,
Of brimming tawdry enlightenment
Against antique satisfaction
Vortexes of gay brightness,
Across oceanic assets,
To ebullient shores,
Replete with boundless bounties
Took unawares yearning animation
To our demerits.
Those killing intrusions
Moonshine, without peace
Into moot jinx,
You are yet the beloved
Still in green optimism
Vim of dispirits ancestral –
Countenances speaking amalgamation
Bruised by new white fangs.

There Are No Foes

There are no foes but the leaders
who have assailed us with their bitter hate,
there is no poverty but the stolen wealth where the
nation bleeds to enrich foreign lands.
The leaders have tasted many a vice
and like vermin destroy the tissues of the land.

Hopes Harmattan Day

Yesterday, aliments defaced the earth,
Twigs derided, unsung of green
Nostalgia keeps beneath hope of afflatus
And cursory gazes become rancid
Hopes harmattan day
Succulent, demanding,
Inanimate flowers galvanized
By nimble caresses.

And fruits burst in binds
Truth leading the target
As onlookers, the mass, the applause
Cast, leading the encomiums
Pregnant glances raise the banner
Of union and progress.

That Fallen Brick

Let that ‘disaster’ consume
Yet inter deep the thing undressed
Lest ages oppress sharp disintegration
Beside the falling walls.

Where personable countenance asleep
Dreamt of victorious minds to come

I will gulp in careful gulping
Lost erudition, departed,
Now in the slivers of broken banks.

Catching phrases of wizened souls
And the pluck of forgotten falls.
Consume them, posterity
If a hothead portent hound
That put in the bleak-home of oblivion
These fertile means of my father.

Martins Iyoboyi was born in 1972 in Ebelle, in the Esan speaking part of Edo State of Nigeria. Losing his father at a tender age, indigence and want had compelled him to work as a farmer, insurance and tax agent, a teacher and a newspaper correspondent. Through dint of hard work and extreme sacrifices, he was able to educate himself at the Bayero University Kano, where he graduated with honours in Economics.

A prodigious reader and writer, his first book Gods Of The Idols, a play, was written when he was seventeen and since then he has averaged the production of four works a year. He has over forty works (poetry, drama and prose) which have not been published. He has always delighted in just sharing his works with a few of his friends without any concerted effort to have them published. However, it was not until late 2006 that he decided to have some of his poems sent to magazines for consideration. These therefore are his first published works to date.

miércoles, enero 24, 2007

Five Poems From Andrew Baron

Standing at such remove

Fixed (or moving) Standing

at such remove and from its hover the bird dives deep breaks

surface of the water the depths

of its hunger.

In a magazine in a waiting room I saw a photo

of home. Some kids were driving

through the desert and spotted

something on the scorched horizon. A television.

We saw it. A missile

hit a school (mostly children) and all talk was of how missiles

don’t hit schools the living screamed

out the back of our minds for their dead.

We turned it off, locked

the doors and fucked not to

stand at such remove.

Stand moved.

Dive deep.

Robert Creeley

If it would

have been

a convenience store it would

have been


all the time: there off the freeway and kept

by those we forget,

and outlive. Night

would have meant another fluorescent bulb there’s

no point here nothing

To champion or condemn we

could have gone in


goodbye Robert Creeley, and thanks.

Letter I

Dear Dru,

God is good.

The ground is so saturated

here the roots come loose,

a tree falls into their bedroom

and the couple on the news swears he’s the only thing

that saved them. Empathy

wakes us from the comfort of our atheism: I’m happy they’re alive.

I’m writing to tell you I’ve

discarded all gods but yours, ours.

All shades not present at the creation

when you shaved a candle onto the open phone book and left

me to read there in the sun, all artifacts

without this pulse are dust. Nothing

but what holds us through this distance, your voice

on the phone in a motel parking lot in the middle of the night

before I hang up and go inside, listen half-awake

to a man

on a velvet stage


for all to know what God is.



I see you

at times

as if through that classical veil, layed

by whatever illness or injury keeps

me poised on the edge

of elegy.

A rodeo clown can stand, transfixed

at the edge of bullshit

or can go on

averting the beast that would gore.

I give you this—

strong love

and in our weakness make

love strong.


A stone, a carcass, a chisel, a knife:

We’ve carved so

many turkeys

and left carcasses as witness of our joys.

Thankful it’s not worse, that chiseled

in stone the names of our own, our victims

and a monument too imposing to chisel out


again. again.

It’s happening again

this war in which they’ve used no napalm,

no carpet bombing of a land whose destruction

is the first and last we’ll ever hear

of it’s ever having lived. Again, thankful

for our hatred of these lies.

They say we’ve failed to give solutions.

They say we’re desperate to cohere.

So here:

Let’s chisel out a meal together from the breast of a dead bird

and carve our thanks in stone.

Andrew Baron studied at University of Salamanca and the University of Utah, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Romance Languages. His translations of poetry from French, Italian and Spanish appeared in the collection All Echoes and Shadows: A Selection of Poetry in Translation. He currently works as a Latino community organizer in Portland, Oregon.

Andrew Baron estudió en la Universidad de Salamanca y en la Universidad de Utah, de donde recibió un Bachelor of Arts en Lenguas Románticas. Sus traducciones ingleses de poesía en francés, italiano y castellano aparecen en All Echoes and Shadows: A Selection of Poetry in Translation. Baron trabaja como organizador en la comunidad hispana en Portland, Oregon.

martes, enero 16, 2007

Poetry by Danila Davydov in New English and Spanish Translations

A Short Epistle for Ulrike Meinhof

I don’t know why I am writing you

I don’t know much about you

I read your book and some other stuff here and there

I don’t know

It seems to me that your problem is analogous to mine

It seems to me that you weren’t really a “terrorist”

This word became a favorite of many

Long after your death

I live in Moscow and don’t know German

Drink and when I do

It becomes impossible to think over the details

So here I am drinking

Not wearing any pants

Just sitting, drinking, staring at the television

I’d rather you not see what they are showing

Nothing decent is ever on

And it isn’t because the world has become worse

Or because the television is a piece of shit

But simply

Because death takes its toll everywhere

I am a quiet person by nature

I don’t like cruelty

But when they torture children, old men, dogs, cats

I also want to kill

I am a quiet guy from the intelligentsia

I strain to imagine how it is possible to hurt another

But I know I could get into a brawl or kill someone

And this seems wrong

Ulrike! Tell me that it’s all in the past

Tell me: everything’s fine, that I shouldn’t over dramatize

But you don’t speak a word a word a word

Because you are not here

Translated by Peter Golub

Una Breve Epístola Para Ulrike Meinhof

No sé porque te escribo

No sé mucho de ti

Leí tu libro y otras cosas por aquí por allá

No sé

A mi me parece que tu problema es análogo al mió

A mi me parece que realmente no eres terrorista

Esta palabra se hizo favorita de muchos

Mucho después de tu muerte

Vivo en Moscú y no sé hablar alemán

Tomo y cuando lo hago

Se me hace imposible pensar en los detalles

Pues aquí estoy tomando

Sin llevar pantalones

Solo sentado, tomando, mirando la televisión

Preferiría que no vieras lo que se muestra

Jamás se ve nada decente por televisión

Y no es porque el mundo se hizo peor

Ni porque la televisión es una mierda

Sino simplemente

Porque la muerte se cobra por todos lados

Soy una persona callada por naturaleza

No me gusta la crueldad

Pero cuando torturan a niños, viejos, perros, gatos

Yo también quiero matar

Soy un hombre tranquilo de la inteligentzia

Me cuesta imaginar como es posible lastimar a otro

Pero yo sé que podría pelear o matar a alguien

Y eso me parece mal

Ulrike! Díme que todo está en el pasado

Díme: todo bien, que no debo exagerar

Pero no hablas ni una palabra ni una palabra ni una palabra

Porque no estás

Traducido por Andrew Haley

Danila Davydov (b. 1977) received his candidate of science degree in philology from Institute of Literature, Moscow. He is the author of dozens of articles on Russian poetry and literature. He was the editor of Brother's Cradle: The Debut Anthology of Poetry and a contributing editor to Nine Measurements: An Anthology of New Russian Poetry.

The transcript of Peter Golub’s interview with Davydov is available at Foundation Pit.