Sunday, December 7, 2014

Siestas y desperezos

The Irish had planted potatoes there.
The first Fall my family dug them up
and ate them.

That must have been about A.D. 1952.

In Spring in the cold clean river
we hunted watercress and ate it as salad.

In Summer we went north to Ipswich
and spent all day on the rocks
gathering periwinkles,
brought them back iced--buckets of them,
spent all day with needles
pricking them out of their shells,
for a sauce never sold
in any market.

We ate them over linguine
cooked in huge pots
in Rosa's magnificent kitchen.

Friday was fish day.

Masses were Latin.

There is really no way to recall the night sky.

There was less night light in those days.

The air was clean.

Laid out on your back
on the moist grass
where the potatoes
had been hiding,
was a universe above.

Half of the huge oak
had been blasted away by the hurricane.

The ancient miniature pear tree survived,
bore endless fruit every Fall.

It filled bushel baskets.

We ate them.

More came.

Some fermented on the concrete slab
over which laundry was hung and dried.

They smelled like brandy.

Laundry was white and heavy.

There was much linen.

It smelled like ozone.

Skippy the Collie chased cars
and was killed, died howling
and bleeding on the front porch.

Blood smells metallic.

It is hard to remember what world it was.

Massachusetts? Middlesex County?

E. A. Costa 7 December 2014 Granada, Nicaragua

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Poetry Is F_____g up (Alcman Q.E.D.)

            "Another thing these gentlemen seem not to know 
             is that poetry and history offer different wares, and
             have their separate rules...."

                         Lucian of Samosata  (tr. Fowler & Fowler) 

Poetry is f_____g up.


Dead poets: n_ s___ t____.

No such thing.

Poetry is what happens between words when no one is looking.


Why say one thing with one word
when you can sing everything with two?


Explaining the endless endurance
of love poetry.

He said.
She said.

And by the way
what did Alcman
love when he threw away
his shield?

And by the way
what did Alcman
love when he lyricized
throwing away
his shield?

Being openly unshielded?
By a bush?

These verses
and melodies
Alcman discovered
by paying close attention to:

f_____g up.


Fooling around with two,
with tú and you &
other partridges
in a pair tree.




Naso beware.


E. A. Costa 8 December 2014 Granada, Nicaragua
Nota Bene: As far as is known, Archilochus, soldier and poet, was the first to drop his shield in battle and run, then treat the event in a poem, vowing to get another one just as good. Thus began the figure called the rhipsaspia, or the throwing down of the shield, known also in regard to Alcaeus and Anacreon and later used by Horace, who fled the battle of Philippi, relicta non bene parmula (“my little shield having been left behind not at all nicely”). Did Horace actually carry a shield in the battle to throw down, and not only that one by definition small enough not to hinder running?? It is the best with topoi and figures, poetic and otherwise, to leave the question open. Alcman unshielded, on the other hand, is a modern expansion.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

El candado cansado

       Encúrvase el dedo y ya tienes el espacio....

                                             Álvaro Urtecho


They are strangling themselves
with strange love's black hands
to the vast amusement of a third man
in a third land with a third eye
and three ugly feet.

Who has a clue? Who has the key? They do.
It is in their right back pocket.

Both of them rocket for it. Both hands struggle.

And the band plays on.


What is the space between two songs?

Does nothing have its reasons,
like all other reasons invented
after the fact?

Does the size of vacuity matter?

Does it have its vicinities and seasons and changes of face,
like the moon?

To half a glass eye it adds a crescent
and becomes gibbous, growing slowly
to eclipse.

Like a clipper ship around the horn
a new world is born freighting frost
to San Francisco and back in long round days
at sea.

Both of them rocket for it. Both hands struggle.

And the band plays on.


Tell me, good people,
who is your creator but the devil,
whom you yourself invented and treasured
with all the secret pleasures of a sleeping
secret Egyptian,

whose long whiles lay stock still along the Nile
for four thousand years,

with ears like the jackal
and a nose like the three noses
of the platypus who smells

Fickle she was this river,
this shoelace through mountain waste,
fickle and fish-tasting but trickable
by immobile Pharaonic bluff.

Which while was that?
Which Nile—white or blue?

Both of them rocket for it. Both hands struggle.

And the band plays on.


Your chaos
written in blood
is nothing new or huge
screwed tightly on the Canopic jar
of putative new anatomy and knowledge.

You are not the river.

You are not the barge.

You are not the driver.

You are not the sea—neither of you,

nor even the universal crocodile
shitting your tripes into the muddy flow
of rising brown water in flood.

You are the ersatz & exchangeable ant,
red and black, picayune and huge,
whose phases are dunce cap and corner,
honed and wired and mass-producing
nosegays distinct and fungible
on a bed of invisible roses.

Come the locust.
Come the groundhog.
Come the pubic lobster.
Come the bullfrog.
Come the giraffe of sunset.
Come lunatic laughter in silhouette.

Both of them rocket for it. Both hands struggle.

And the band plays on.


The third ant and real.
The third authentic bee.
The third wolf and the third feral dog.
The third bear. The third hare. The third cat.
The third termite & the third acacia tree.

The beating of the Book of the Dead
door to door, floor to floor,
evangelizing islands and isthmuses,
sanitizing, harmonizing, simonizing
twilight into one more false dawn.

Let loose all your death.

Let loose all dolor.

Let loose the dull colors of your last curse
and shake the newborn earth
into morbidity.

No one will remember you.

No one will know your name.

No one will know you were here or there
for a year or a million or a day.

No one will resurrect you.

No one will reconstruct you.

You do not matter.

And as you pass hand in hand
through two performances in platinum
at the same and different time,
and the goose is cooked,

the band plays on.

E. A. Costa 4 December, 2014 Granada, Nicaragua

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Prueba ontológica (Ontological Proof)

                           Cur dea mulier?

Señor Walker y sus filibusteros
destruyeron la mujer bellísima
que era la ciudad de Granada.

Los Granadinos lloraron.

Y después de las lágrimas
grabadas en memoria y imagen
la construyeron de nuevo
aún más bella que antes....

E. A. Costa Granada, Nicaragua noviembre 27, 2014

Ontological Proof
                       Cur dea mulier?

Mr. Walker and his filibusters
ravaged the exquisite woman
who was the city of Granada.

The Granadinos wept.

And after all the tears
graven in memory and image
they raised her anew
even fairer than before....

[Translated E. A. Costa]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Galleta de mar (The Sand Dollar)

On the vacant beach
white as first snow
a mountain bicycle
and a man nearby
stooped over the sand.

He gestures--”¡Venga! ¡Mire!--
¿Habla español?”


Y esto. ¿Qué es? ¿Cómo se llama esto?

He holds up a sand dollar.

Es una criatura del mar que vive
bajo la arena como una almeja...

¡Qué bonita! ¡Qué bonita!...”

He traces the star
gently with his finger
as if it were a lover.

Sí, el mar es lugar
con cosas bonitas sin fin...”

On the vacant beach
white as one's first snow
a mountain bike
and a man nearby
stooped over the sand....

E. A. Costa San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua  18 noviembre 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Gorgias Resartus

              Omnis scientia est de universali,
                quod est unum in multis, quia de
                singularibus non est  scientia... 
                                                     (Duns Scotus)

The individuum does not exist.

If the individuum exists, it is not knowable.

If the individuum is knowable, it is not communicable.

E. A. Costa 30 October, 2014 Granada, Nicaragua

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

La Bala (Salomón de la Selva)

La bala

La bala que me hiera
será bala con alma.
El alma de esa bala
será como sería
la canción de una rosa
si las flores cantaran
o el olor de un topacio
si las piedras olieran,
o la piel de una música
si nos fuese posible
tocar a las canciones
desnudas con las manos.

Si me hiere el cerebro
me dirá: yo buscaba
sondear tu pensamiento.

Y si me hiere el pecho
me dirá: ¡Yo quería
decirte que te quiero!

Salomón de la Selva

The Bullet

The bullet that wounds me
will be a bullet with soul.
The soul of the bullet will be
as might be the song of a rose
if flowers could sing,
or the smell of a topaz
if stones had fragrance,
or the skin of music
if it were possible for us
to touch songs stripped bare
with our hands.

If it smashes into my brain
it will tell me: I was trying to sound out
your thought.

If it wounds me in the heart
it will tell me: I wanted to tell you
it is you I long for.

Tr. E. A. Costa 28 October, 2014 Granada, Nicaragua

[Original photo EAC. Click on image to enlarge]