Stimulus: Illustrations by Natalia Gonchareva from Sergei Bobrov’s, Gardeners Over The Vines.

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Issue 20 · June 2020

Translating Pasolini

Translating Pasolini

Poems by Pier Paolo Pasolini, from Carne e cielo. Translated by E.H.  —  The clouds sink into the hot puddles of blue and the branches vanish in the sun. This is the time when I laugh, when I cry, this is the time when I await grace, this is the time I'm happy, this...

Gardeners

Gardeners

When I think of vines, I think of Faulkner. I recall the Reconstruction south. I associate bad things collapsing, Being reclaimed by nature. Returning to the primeval order of things. Of better, stronger, more efficient structures Slowly, carefully, fastidiously...

Cadaqués, Spain

Color of sea, color of cloud It will rain later, the fishermen say the vastness of blue broken by white buildings, red boat, lingering glow of almost sleeping sun. The cathedral is on fire. Burning light within catches the fading rose of daylight on whitewashed walls....
The Light at the End of the World

The Light at the End of the World

“This is the way the world ends, Not with a bang, But a whimper.” - T. S. Eliot When the world ends, it ends in a whisper. With a single breath, everything stops. Mid-kiss, mid-argument, mid-prayer, mid-song humanity ceases to exist. The grind of machines, the cry of...

The Eroding Shore

The Eroding Shore

The shadows, remote – the fugitive memories, remainings and echoes of vague history - are as quick and contingent as the fox or the hawk, even the hare, those wild and unruly shades, fleeting, just seen, little more than a shadow, a tint, a flicker of presence...

Sublimation

This is the moment, this, when yesterday Encroaches on tomorrow, holds it fast And drags it by the neck into the past, Blindfolded through the riches of today. These warm arms, this free breath, this crystal light: All this puts me in mind of that cold steel Gauntlet...
Stranglethorne

Stranglethorne

As night fell, a wind picked up in the harbour. The lines of fishing-boats rattled; gulls went screeching about the lanes.  Errands complete, the vicar of Northport sat warm, if regretful, opposite his friend the bookseller.

Shutterbug

Shutterbug

Brown didn’t open the letter right away. He went upstairs, tossed the letter on his desk, and started looking through boxes. He sifted through old poems and unfinished stories, contact sheets from which he’d always intended to print, and student papers he’d never...

Pygmalion And Galatea

"In the meantime he sculpted ivory happily … and gave it form … and he fell in love with his own work … He wonders at her and drinks in passionate fires … gives her kisses and he thinks kisses are returned. He speaks and he holds the work and thinks his fingers are...
This Small, This Great World

This Small, This Great World

It was the most naked landscape, and still the most colourful. The rocky slopes of the mountains, with no trees on their spine, would absorb the beaming sunlight and set their core on fire. A fire of life, of no ashes, for it was the sheer cliffs that had to make the...

Picking Weeds

Picking Weeds

The infinite reward of the end! Must it be infinite? It’s certain it is. It is nothing, And nothing is everything- as well as everything; that if the end brought it all We’d confuse that this was it- nothing settles us without confusion: All is appropriately all. You...

Mariam Madrid

In 1980 I left my country and my family. I fled to Spain because I heard they were accepting Iranian refugees. I thought I could change my name from Mariam to Maria. A new name for a new life. I came to Madrid with a bag full of clothes and books. I worked as a maid...
Late Day Contemplation

Late Day Contemplation

A storm obscures the back range in thick gray clouds. Here we get only the wind and errant drops of rain that never reach the ground. Last year’s bunch grass stands in the embrace of this season’s green; its golden shafts with wheat-like spears rise into molten sun,...

Last Dance

Last Dance

As we dance The dance Of loss and isolation I hold you against The coming Of cold grey days Behind the bones Of forgotten whales Like the end Of our time Desperate In our bleak absurdities As we dance the dance Of yesterdays   John is a social worker working in...

La Vieja

"Then she took up a knife which she had hidden beneath her robe, and plunged it into her heart, collapsing from her wound; she died there amid the cries of her husband and father." - Livy, History of Rome   In the days of noisy summer afternoons, I didn’t yet...
Field Street

Field Street

Field Street is a stench and an abscess.  It is lurid and vile and strewn with the wreckage of broken pavement, broken dreams and ruined souls.  It is alive with sordid energy that arouses the senses.  The scent of cheap perfume merges with the sweet smell of street...

A Tomb in the Garden

A Tomb in the Garden

The garden of the rose villa had been advertised as ‘a hectare of possibility,’ but in reality the builder had used the plot as a burial site for construction detritus, although neither Henry nor his wife noticed initially or perhaps they didn’t want to see. He and...

[A rhododendron just before it opens]

A rhododendron just before it opens, rain about to form, engorgement of a breast. But it is January: chill shuts down the buds. There is no rain, no nursling child. I grew up in a world of promises, flared skirts and smiles, the sun was mild, its rays straight lines....
Mendocino Sunset & River

Mendocino Sunset & River

Mendocino Sunset   A breaking wave rolls among algae-covered rock crevasses and lifts kelp to the cove. White wrinkles wrap basalt shoulders, statues in the sea. Fragrant in the water,   towing in the night. The gulls active, swooping— One shout builds upon another,...

Pruning The Flowers

Pruning The Flowers

An Experiment in Rewriting 'The Red Flowers of Actaeon' sans thorns   The goddess bathed in the twilight, in the radiance of the moon she was meant to protect, and it was in this light that Actaeon found her, lying idle in a stream. Far from her brother’s prying...

An Unexpected Meeting & Golgotha

An Unexpected Meeting   Upon the keen tip of a branch stuck in a mess of grass, on a sandbank newly uncovered by the sea, sits a white oval— ice-clear, ghostly. What are you, flowering canvas among the sand and grass? The oval stirs, turning, and becomes the...
Mrs. Bondazza

Mrs. Bondazza

“Just shuffle the cards, dear,” Mrs. Bondazza said. “I want to get your vibrations from them. That’s it, dear. Now give them back to me.” We sat in the cluttered front room of her small house, the gypsy and I on opposite sides of a wobbly card table with a portrait of...

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