Liz Waldner is the author of several poetry collections, with poems current or forthcoming in Poetry, New American Writing, The Journal, and The New Yorker. Her collection, Trust, won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Open Competition and will be published in early 2009. Together with Kamyar Arasteh, she also provided the translations of Forough Farrokzhad’s poetry appearing in this issue.
A Shady Little Pain
With my lunch came
an empty jar labeled nuance;
I opened it and poured it
on my little plate.
(I’m a Sagittarian;
moderation not for me.)
There was nothing I could ‘taste and see’
yet there’s a feeling that I ate
Reminds me of my sleepless night,
clouds incandescent with the moon,
And me with missing you—
what can nuance do?
Nuage in French is cloud
cloud in sky is breath
Breath in ear is heaven near
when yours is what I hear
But the sound on leaves of steady rain:
here’s only lunch again today.
A Shorter History of Impetus
The hour cometh
And almost now is
I leave again
You do not cry
I pack and unpack and pack and unpack
And I look for the next affordable room
It is boring to state fact so
State bird, state flower, so again
Afraid even the sentence will run out like the roof so revisit old sentence
A timed crime
The paint will peel here without you
Did some blistering thought assist?
No but you participated in your now as you could
Which was that of the two month dwelling
And the toaster with a sign stating how exactly it doesn’t work
My toast this morning was delicious
Perhaps you will follow it to Germany
And chew its homeland twelve ways?
I agree but such a thing never damaged by its signifier
Is there love (‘the beautiful parsley’) signifying for me? some home?
We have to watch and see
Tender is The Knight
He rode in on an Adirondack sort of garden chair, I’d have to say
if I had to say something about how he arrived.
Also, it’s a matter of how he arrives inside: he comes straight to my heart
through my eyes. His gaze provides a way through the maze—
The maze of— is it longing? Or merely being
all one’s habits of being?
That maze amazing in its opacity
Decide: so it’s habit, not longing which is rather a clear running stream
or an arrow imagining its flight to its destination
Quite clear: I ceased to be sole when he arrived—
He was hidden inside—
And inside himself hidden again, his Muktananda:
"It is better to love me there."
Within the city of Brahman which is the body, there is the heart,
and within the heart there is a little house.
A little horse eating the garden there beside his chair, so happy
when he strokes my hair, I live somewhere.
Who’s who, tender reader, tender grass, tender arrival, is up to you.
Tender under I mean unto. Render unto please her as you do.
Love is the armor you see yourself in, and also through.
Quixote’s knight of the moon-shaped mirror, not here.
Quester at rest. Mission accomplished.
Love bade me sit and eat.
The Adirondacks are not far from me here who is now far from you there
where is that chair.
So quietly you came to me.
Shudder, tremble, awake, aware.
O Lord of the night-blooming jasmine, you quest in the arrow of my longing,
the marrow of my being.
From who can hardly wait to be seen by you again, one
to meet in the heart, little house, only home
rare reader, fair rider, bender to flowers that scent only evenings’ airs.
Your pony boy or girl.