Karlo Mila Kiwi b. 1974
My father is “having fun”
cleaning the floor he uses the plugged in sink as a bucket wears rags on his feet and shimmies to a cleaning beat he asks me to read the label on the bottle for him he wants our floor to shine and laughs when (surprise) it does this is how I will remember him moonwalking across our kitchen floor rags under his feet “that’s how my mother taught me” he says “but I never take any note it takes me forty years to do what she say”
Ruth Miller South African 1919 – 1969
Written on wind or water
Word is flesh. Soon or later Flesh must speak in tones So dark they pierce the skin.
Stigmata are not revealed
At such times: There are wounds A Thomas would not dare To plunge his hand within.
Staceyann Chin Jamaican b. 1972
Earmark me images
speckles pretty with the tears of a child
open windows and summer
approaching ominous air-marked with the first green
over-turned poems forgotten mouths tinkling humor
soft sensible shoes cushion/support/words
they unwind me
orange and gray laces
swirled ice cream hinting the weather
may soon be
We present this work in honor of the Buddha’s birthday.
Yeshe Tsogyel Chinese c. 757 – 817
Listen, faithful Tibetans!
I am merging with the fundamental, the ground of all that is— physical pain and suffering are disappearing…
The son, the inner elements of my body,
is reuniting with the mother, the outer elements. Her physical remains will disappear into earth and stone.
The compassion of the Guru has never left me;
his manifestations fill all the world and call out to welcome me.
This wild lady has done everything;
Many times have I come and gone, but now, no longer. I am a Tibetan wife sent back to her family. I shall now appear as the Queen, the All-good, the Dharmakaya.
This self-sufficient black lady
has shaken things up far and wide; now the shaking will carry me away into the southwest.
I have finished with intrigues,
with the fervent cascades of schemes and deceptions; I am winding my way into the expanse of the Dharma.
I have mourned many men of Tibet who have left me behind—
but now I am the one who will go to the land of the Buddhas.
Translation by Tarthan Tulku
Hwang Jini Korean c. 1506 – c. 1560
Green water, do not boast
of your rapid flow from the blue mountains. It is hard to return when you’ve reached the blue sea. A full moon graces these peaceful hills: Won’t you rest a while?
Translation by David Bannon
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 100th birthday.
Dorothy Hewett Australian 1923 – 2002
Here they come the clever ladies
in their detachable Peter Pan collars their fringes their sober mein hiding such anger such subtle vices dizzying torments how do they manage to keep it intact that demeanour? Is it something they’ve learned? Not from George rough-hewn or Emily choking her mastiff down on the moors. No it’s Jane with her simpering smile her malice her maidenly virtues rustling through the 20th Century seminars sitting on platforms discussing manner and style how to instruct & parry impertinent questions.
Shangguan Wan’er Chinese 664 – 710
When first leaves fall on Lake Dongting,
I long for you, thousands of miles away. In heavy dew my scented quilt feels cold, At moonset, brocade screen deserted. I would play a Southland melody And crave to seal a letter to Jibei. The letter has no other message but This misery in living long apart.
Translation by Su Zhecong
Ursula Bethell Kiwi 1874 – 1945
When I am very earnestly digging
I lift my head sometimes, and look at the mountains, And muse upon them, muscles relaxing.
I think how freely the wild grasses flower there,
How grandly the storm-shaped trees are massed in their gorges, And the rain-worn rocks strewn in magnificent heaps.
Pioneer plants on those uplands find their own footing,
No vigorous growth, there, is an evil weed; All weathers are salutary.
It is only a little while since this hillside
Lay untrammelled likewise, Unceasingly swept by transmarine winds.
In a very little while, it may be,
When our impulsive limbs and our superior skulls Have to the soil restored several ounces of fertiliser,
The Mother of all will take charge again,
And soon wipe away with her elements Our small fond human enclosures.
We present this work in honor of the poet’s 135th birthday.
Berthe Bénichou-Aboulker Algerian 1888 – 1942
Everything grows intensely in your soil, Algeria!
Trees, flowers, and golden wheat, protected by Ceres, Juicy fruits, carnal fruits: Fatma, Rachel, Inès, Zohra the mulatto or the white Marie.
Why don’t I have, like a cantor, a flowery tongue
Aloe to celebrate the olive grove Where sometimes the shadow of Cervantes prowls Pirate’s prisoner in ancient Barbary.
Exhaling scents of mint and henna,
Cities of fiery growth and unbridled luxury: Algiers, Oran, Cirta, overflowing with sap
Open their white or golden arms like a fan
To receive the day. In iridescent prisms The rocks or the beach are transformed.
We present this work in honor of Mother’s Day.
Diane Di Prima American 1934 – 2020
when you break thru you’ll find a poet here not quite what one would choose.
I won’t promise
you’ll never go hungry or that you won’t be sad on this gutted breaking globe
but I can show you
baby enough to love to break your heart forever