Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Bad Advice

by Grigoriy Oster

translated from the Russian by Tandava

You ask a stupid question,
you get a stupid answer.
So if one is in your head,
pirouetting like a dancer,
just evict it from your brain
and ask it of your father.
Let his mind spin and swirl
with all that boil and bother.


Вредные советы

Никогда вопросов глупых
Сам себе не задавай,
А не то еще глупее
Ты найдешь на них ответ
Если глупые вопросы
Появились в голове,
Задавай их сразу взрослым.
Пусть у них трещат мозги.

Monday, April 11, 2022

[after Pablo Neruda]

“Once again my words / turn to the waves.”
—Pablo Neruda, “Ode to Waves”

I took inspiration, once,
from the sea, and once again
from the sky, my
poems, my words
offered back to them in turn,
shyly, humbly, hoping merely to
see, if only from afar, the
muse as she turns, and waves.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Krishna’s Tritina

based on three words from a random word generator

I have no opposite.
In Me all things expand
in joyful abandon.

Seek to abandon
all that is opposite
to your will to expand,

then grow, reach, expand
until you are abandoned
by Delusion into its opposite.

The opposite of abandonment is expansion.

Tritina on a Tragedy of Toast

based on three words from a random word generator

The case has been established:
There has been a death
here, a man who was once the toast

of the town, is now just toast.
And this establishment
was the scene of his death:

an all-night diner, in which death
lurked among the eggs and toast,
in its poisonous patience established.

We have established that the cause of death was toast.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Nine Ways of Looking at a Pebble

after Wallace Stevens

A pebble on a beach:
one galaxy among many,
in a universe of sand.

What do you see under your feet?
The gravel, or the quartz?

A pebble on the ground
is a rock.
A pebble in a sling
is the fall of a mighty warrior.

The eye of the mountain
watches each of us
through the pebble.

Within each seed
lies hidden the mighty oak
of a boulder.

Infinite shades of gray
in an infinitesimal space.

the ultimate egalitarian,
reduces us all,
in the end,
to pebbles.

Fully present in every moment,
I am held in complete awareness
by the mere existence of a pebble
beneath a thousand mattresses.

From what mountain,
what lofty peak,
has this pebble fallen?
From what heights
has my own soul

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Middle School Pantoum

Our schedule is very easy:
Each minute is precisely timed,
and just in case it makes you queasy,
we’ve found a way to make it rhyme.

Each minute is precisely timed:
We’re doing Language Arts today,
and finding ways to make it rhyme.
At snack time we go out to play,

We’re doing Language Arts today,
and might just take a vocab test.
At snack time we go out to play,
then Understanding People’s next.

We might just take a vocab test,
but first we have to do some Art,
then Understanding People’s next.
Guitar and keyboard classes start,

but only after we have Art,
and Spanish also, once a week.
Guitar and keyboard classes start
to make my Math class sound like Greek.

Our Spanish class is once a week,
and though it might just make you queasy,
our Math class sounds a bit like Greek,
but the schedule’s really very easy.