Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the flower

by pamba*

translated from the akkadian by horace p sternwall

there is a flower
that will only open
when time stops

o traveler do not wait
upon the sun
but hasten from this place

this wall of the dreams of kings
this palace of beggars
this council house of skulls

did you dream of stopping time
it has already devoured you
as the sand devours the sea

as tilgath devoured babylon
as nabopolassar devoured assyria
as alexander devoured egypt

as the owl devours the mouse
o traveler do not wait
but hasten from this place

that those who laugh
at the wanderings of men
may send you a drop of rain

a tear from the eye
of the beast
that devours you

* pamba (c 1 ad - 50 ad) was one of the last poets to write in akkadian. nothing is known of him (her?)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

the aesthete

i awoke quite weak and weary
from a dream of aesthetic theory
heard cats fighting in the street
and the windows rattle with wind and sleet

the leering, winking night
was a symphony of fright
the radiators cold as death
the air filled with my frozen breath

i put on my shoes and socks
took a dollar from my cigar box
though my debts i could not tally
from my garret did i sally

to the street so dark and drear
with no companion but my fear
and the lights of kentucky fried chicken
toward which my steps did quicken

and found the street so dark and fearsome
oh if only i could hear some
of the voices from the past
to wash away my guilt at last

some fragments of long ago
which with the wind would blow
my all-encompassing despair
through my wet and whispering air

and leave me just a shell
on the dark doorstep of hell
happily devouring my share
of the colonel's crispy golden fare

a basket of legs and wings
to my journey finally brings
the glow of stilled and final time
i never found in art or crime