previous | next


I can write poems from sand, water and mud.
On the table I’ve written poems made of small pieces and crumbs of words.
I can write poems that bang.
Loud. Like the shutters. With a vengeance.
Poems made of rain. And poems for the poor made of tin.
I can write very great poems for you made from bits of cotton wool and send them off.
I can write agreeable poems for you on the porch.
Giant like haystacks and higher than the clouds.
I can write poems for you about fabulous landscapes while I lean over a plate
or scrub a dirty sink in a corner of the kitchen.
My wife and shouting children
stand below like a circus of grinning faces and I
jump into the water, an acrobat of words. Crystals seethe in my mouth, blend
into a thick word soup. I am writing poems now made of potatoes,
sickly poems,
ones that wound and tear and do harm, about my childhood about shame about rare
sensitivities and I can write poems for you and brush them off as if nothing had ever happened then,
a series of ornamental poems. Look, I’m getting up and waving them
like colorful ribbons to the echo of children’s laughter.
Light poems, light-footed poems.
If you wish I can write poems to order,
national poems   powerful striding poems   pleasant poems about my magic gardens
craftily opening at night for parties
for the tender body of pleasure and desire
poems of holiness, poems of abomination tfoo
poems praying, pleading poems on all fours
like beasts   poems poems poems   you are in a hurry I see I’m almost done I can
sketch very short ones out of this essence very quickly on several cloying sugar cubes
and a cup of coffee.

Translator's Note: tfoo: denotes the tradition of spitting, or making a sound like spitting, in order to ward off the evil eye. According to Joshua Trachtenberg in his classic Jewish Magic and Superstition (1939), for Jews, “The most powerful liquid, as we have seen, was supposed to be spittle [ . . . ] Therefore it was suggested that one may protect himself [ . . . ] by spitting three times, and even evil thoughts, which are the work of demons, may be dispelled in the same way.”