Spring is finally here — and with it comes the opportunity to spruce up our picket grounds! Here are some of the poems, words and ideas bubbling up on the Main Gate lines.
Andrew Winchur – from “Love Comes to the City”
Love comes to the City
It has them very upset
They watch us on closed monitors
They have us build rooms that they can watch us from
They eat animal out of plastic cups
They fall asleep and they suffer the same incestuous dream
The news makes us crazy
We forget to be dying
We let go of our mouths and our hands
We have the strangest question
We fly a black kite over the snow
Judith’s eyes tugging and spooled
Love comes to the city
In tiny plots — the caring of gardens
Along the thoroughfare — white bikes for our dead
Behind our factory—the faintest trace of cardamom
Consoling a traveler — the poet Hafez
Love comes to the city
Its poems circle through the samizdat rooms
Its colours defame the frowning monument
Its anthem sings through the kitchen of the safe house
Judith’s white and blue electric guitar
Eduardo Galleano – Mapamundi
This inscription was performed as part of Picket Parade Performance, on Wednesday, April 28th.
It steals with one hand what it lends with the other.
The more they pay, the more they owe.
The more they get, the less they have.
The more they sell, the less they earn.
Rose Browne – Do You…
Do you see me?
Am I just a shadow
to be ignored
in my absence?
Or in your forgetting
am I no more
than a faded
Bertolt Brecht – Poems Belonging to a Reader For Those Who Live in Cities
The cities were built for you. They are eager to welcome you.
The doors of the houses are wide open. The meal is
Ready on the Table.
As the cities are very big
Experts have drawn maps for
Those who do not know the programme, showing clearly
The quickest way to reach
As nobody knew exactly what you wanted
You are of course expected to suggest improvements.
Here or there
There may be some little thing not quite to your taste
But that will be put right at once
Without your having to lift a finger.
In short, you will be
In the best possible hands. Everything is completely ready.
Need do is come.
Carmen Ocampo – from “I Walk You All, I Miss All of You”
I walk you all, I miss all of you
all your wealth is your sin
your wealth your sentence
Unlove comes to occupy you
bleeding your beauty
piercing of encroachment your skin
The blood mingles with water
and your memory of pain and death
resists proudly, staying alive
Louise Erdrich – “Life Will Break You…” (from The Painted Drum)
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.
Vero Diaz (Untitled)
i know the white aniquila mi warmth
it takes away my sanity
it slowly walks in
steals the reserves of sweats
the sweats safely living in the blue tin box
loved in the storage
it comes uninvited and steals it all
it might leave all the wrappings
just like my sister and brother did back in the warm country
I know its the minus degrees
the snow ridden wastelands
the frozen scenery that just cannot keep me free
it locks in my breath
it locks in my ability to be
it locks all my will to create
keeps me still
still not ready to be courageous enough
to walk outside in blizzards
im in a shock
my body is in organized picket lines
YOU MUST LEAVE
– writing from the warmth of my bed
It is—insomnia’s husks,
It is—the soot of crooked candles,
It is—the first morning stroke
From hundreds of white bell towers…
It is—the warm windowsill
Under the Chernigov moon,
It is—bees, it is—clover sweet,
It is—dust, and gloom, and sultry heat.
I live at the very edge of the century.
One can feel the wind from a great page-
which God and you and I have filled with writing-
turning high above in foreign hands now.
One can feel the brightness of the new leaf,
on which anything can still be entered.
The silent forces tests its breadth and eye each other darkly.
Wednesday, March 25th
Edgar Lee Masters – Thomas Rhodes (from Spoon River) Very well, you liberals,
And navigators into realms intellectual,
You sailors through heights imaginative,
Blown about by erratic currents, tumbling into air pockets,
You Margaret Fuller Slacks, Petits, And Tennessee Claflin Shopes–
You found with all your boasted wisdom
How hard at the last it is
To keep the soul from splitting into cellular atoms.
While we, seekers of earth’s treasures,
Getters and hoarders of gold,
Are self-contained, compact, harmonized,
Even to the end.
Tuesday, March 24th
In solidarity with Israeli Apartheid Week 2015:
Mahmoud Darwish – The Earth is Closing On Us The Earth is closing on us, pushing us through the last passage and we tear off our limbs to pass through.
The Earth is squeezing us. I wish we were its wheat so we could die and live again. I wish the Earth was our mother
So she’d be kind to us. I wish we were pictures on the rocks for our dreams to carry
As mirrors. We saw the faces of those who will throw our children
Out of the window of this last space. Our star will hang up mirrors.
Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds fly after the last sky?
Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air? We will write our names with scarlet steam,
We will cut off the hand of the song to be finished by our flesh.
We will die here, here in the last passage. Here and here our blood will plant its olive tree.
Friday, March 20th Rainer Maria Rilke – “In All These Things Toward Which I Feel…”
In all these things toward which I feel
This kinship and closeness, I always find you:
Basking like seed in the very smallest
And giving yourself greatly to the great.
Such is the wondrous game the forces play
As they flow so selflessly through the things:
Swelling in roots, narrowing in the long stems,
And in the blooming crowns: a resurrection.
C.P. Cavafy – Walls With no consideration, no pity, no shame,
they have built walls around me, thick and high.
And now I sit here feeling hopeless.
I can’t think of anything else: this fate gnaws my mind—
because I had so much to do outside.
When they were building the walls, how could I not have noticed!
But I never heard the builders, not a sound.