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poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

the book of nothing

confession from belgrade

dispatches from the war against the world

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

the second coming (rebus)

gloss on rilke's ninth duino elegy

wine and roses

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa: a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of
omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic

the love of pierre de ronsard


the rich man and the leper


art, truth and bafflement





the maxims of michel de montaigne

revolutionary maxims

nice men and
suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story


lazarus the leper



one not one

an occitanian baby-hatch

ancient violence
in the amazon

home, sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

schopenhauer for muthafuckas


after a first cataract operation

never a pygmy

against money

did franco die ?

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you


londons of the mind &
dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

a holy dog and a
dog-headed saint

an albanian ikon

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

combatting normality


this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

combatting normality

fools for nothingness:
atheists & saints

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo








© Bettmann/CORBIS



Du wußtest nicht, was den Haufen
ausmacht. Ein Fremder fand
Bettler darin. Sie verkaufen
das Hohle aus ihrer Hand.

Sie zeigen dem Hergereisten
ihren Mund voll Mist,
und er darf (er kann es sich leisten)
sehn, wie ihr Aussatz frißt.

Es zergeht in ihren zerrührten
Augen sein fremdes Gesicht;
und sie freuen sich des Verführten
und speien, wenn er spricht.


trans-dapt-lation by Anthony Weir

You didn't want to know what was in that heap,
but anyone who came along could tell
it was a group of beggars hoping to sell
the emptiness of their pleading hands.

They show the uncomfortable gawker
mouths full of filth.
They let him, without bourgeois inhibitions
(and quite affordably)
examine their skin conditions.

His face distorts within the view
of their decomposing eyes.
They rejoice at his discomfort,
and, as he stammers his banalities,
they dribble, spit and spew.


my free translation of a sonnet from
Der Neuer Gedichte, Anderen Teil, 1908.

Headless, he glows! See in the slight
twist of his hips a kind of smile swerve
towards his broken neck. How the curve
of his chest dazzles with a light -

no - more like the glint from a still-living pelt.
An echo of a gaze gleams from a mere torso
as from an oil-lamp turned down low.
This mutilated marble stump can melt

our stony hearts, its radiance spreading far
beyond its broken surface, like a star.
On this small ruination there is nowhere

that does not greet you with an accusing stare.
This fragment that could sit upon a shelf
commands you now to change your very self.

substantially revised 2023



for comparison

Six translations of a poem from his

Book of Hours (Stundenbuch)



Du Dunkelheit, aus der ich stamme,
ich liebe dich mehr als die Flamme,
elche die Welt begrenzt,
indem sie glänzt
für irgendeinen Kreis,
aus dem heraus kein Wesen von ihr weiß.

Aber die Dunkelheit hält alles an sich:
Gestalten und Flammen, Tiere und mich,
wie sie's errafft,
Menschen und Mächte -

Und es kann sein: eine große Kraft
rührt sich in meiner Nachbarschaft.

Ich glaube an Nächte.

(Literal translation)

O darkness, from which/whence I spring
I love you more than the fire/flames

that encircle/fence/ the world/earth
for the fire encircles/encloses everyone / humankind
to close you off/exclude you
from their sight.

But darkness draws everything to it(self)
shapes and flames and animals and myself
How it enfolds them all
man and might / people and powers

It may be that a great power/energy/force/
a powerful presence
moves in my vicinity.

I believe in Nights.
Night is (nights are) my faith/certaint


a version

David Whyte

You darkness from which I come,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence out the world,
for the fire makes a circle
for everyone
so that no one sees you anymore.
But darkness holds it all:
the shape and the flame,
the animal and myself,
how it holds them,
all powers, all sight —

and it is possible: its great strength
is breaking into my body.
I have faith in the night.



a version

Robert Bly

You darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes
a circle of light for everyone,
and then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything:
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! —
powers and people —
and it is possible a great energy
is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.



a version

Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

You, darkness, of whom I am born —

I love you more than the flame
that limits the world
to the circle it illumines
and excludes all the rest.

But the darkness embraces everything:
shapes and shadows, creatures and me,
people, nations — just as they are.

It lets me imagine
a great presence stirring beside me.

I believe in the night.



a version

Annemarie S. Kidder

You darkness whence I came,
I love you more than the light
which marks the world's seam
by her gleaming for some orbit
apart from which
no-one knows who she is.

But the darkness holds it all in:
figures and flames, beasts and me,
whatever it may catch,
humans and rights -

It is possible that there might
be moving a power right next to me.

I believe in nights.



a version

Susan Ranson

Darkness of night, out of which I came,
I love you more than the flame
that circumscribes the world
by lending gleam,
who knows, to an orbit's circle,
beyond whose bounds we come up against the unknown.

Darkness confines all things embraced tight,
figures, flames, animals, me,
pulled into her sphere:
powers, people.

And as the senses flare it could be
that sheer force stirs near.

I believe in the night.



a version

Anthony Weir

I come from darkness,
the beloved, more nourishingly
lovely than the flaming light
which makes the world a prison
for whom it renders blind.

Darkness contains everything:
form, flame, being, beast and mind;
absorbs all panoply and might,
enfolds mankind.

I feel a power, a penetrating
presence come to me:
I am absorbed in Night.


more on translating Rilke >>




>> gloss on Rilke's Ninth Elegy >>


>> Two poems by Hans Magnus Enzensberger >>

on the problems of translation >>



combat normality
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