Monday, November 25, 2013



baby is an axe
baby is an axe handle 

baby listens to
the clear blue sky

one day
baby is clouds

baby is an anchor
down a well

baby’s hands
surrounded by water

left and right the oceans
baby tied to stone

baby is a bone sapling
soon it sprouts

baby is thin bones
like rain

baby tells wind
which way to breathe

the country of baby
needs its baby

baby a naked map
miles from here

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DEAR MAYOR (a poem for Rob Ford)


I imagine skinning you
and you romp around the city
guts only

we won’t save taxes
think of the costs
protecting your insides

dear Mayor we stretch your skin
a blanket around us
keeps us warm for winter

we come and go through orifices
I won’t make the orifice of the mayor joke
but I just did

dear Mayor
I think about grief

then that pinging sound
when everyone uses your stretched skin
to trampoline

babies there are babies
we bounce
I’m thinking only of the babies

we bounce
and the little pink heads which break
the clouds

and then
dear Mayor
the rain

Friday, November 08, 2013

Sounds about right: on a homophonic translation of a stanza of Rilke

I was teaching my poetry writing class at Mohawk college about alternate translation techniques and we discussed homophonic translation. I brought in a poem in German by Rilke and we set to 'translating' it.

For me, when using homophonic translation, it's possible to maintain the constraint of the original sound of the poem strictly, not allowing the poem to veer from the original phonemes. However, it's also possible to use the sounds and the associations of the words as a starting point, as a way of generating raw material which can then be revised.

I thought it might be interesting to post the original German stanza and then the various generations of edits stemming from this original, as I worked to create a working independent poem.

Seeing the various versions here, makes me think that I'd like to consider them all as stanzas of a longer poem—a series of variations with a kind of villanelle-like echo. I'll get back to you on that if I'm able to make something of the whole.

Homophonic translation of a stanza of Rilke


Sein Blick ist vom Vorübergehen der Stäbe
so müd geworden, daß er nichts mehr hält.
Ihm ist, als ob es tausend Stäbe gäbe
und hinter tausend Stäben keine Welt.

Sign black is come to stab my eyes
so muddy and wordy, that the night stops me
It is obsessed with a thousand stabs
and winter stabs our world with bitter kindness

Black sky comes to stab my eyes
and wordy the night stops
I’m obsessed with these thousand stabs
for winter stabs our world with its bitter kindness

The black sky stabs my eyes
The warden, so angry, the night stops
I’m obsessed: it must be a thousand stabs
And winter stabs our world with its bitter kindness

windows break the eyes
fracture into night
a thousand stars
winter with its bitter kindness

Monday, November 04, 2013

An astounding augmented reality bookwork by Amaranth Borsuk & Brad Bouse.

My discussion and interview with Amaranth Borsuk about her and Brad Bouse's astounding augmented reality bookwork, Between Page and Screen is now up at Jacket2.

Astounding discussion/review of Franzlations

Menachem Matthew Feuer wrote this mindblowingly great review/commentary about Hugh Thomas, Craig Conley and my book Franzlations: The Imaginary Kafka Parables.

His blog is about schlemiel theory. There is such a thing and, nu, it is fascinating.