Note: These poems are spoken-to-written translations, erasures of poems, and in some cases letters, that were first gathered from various languages by Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson, and then read aloud during the 2007 Naropa University Summer Writing Program lecture, “Translations from Experimental Romanticism.”  Many of the original poems from which this collection is derived can be found in Volume 3 of Poems for the Millennium. Many thanks are due to the translators and especially to Jerome Rothenberg for helping me to piece together the fragments of my memory into proper citations.


                                                   Open   
                                                   after Dionysios Solomos

A hunter slices through water --- devours a naked warrior.

             Worlds open in the mouth.
                                      I mate with stars,
                                       laughing flowers,
                                                            seeds,
                                                                the sky.
                     I harmonize with sea stones,       bidding stars to rise.

            Can you hear this heart yearn for your face?

                   Stricken in sea foam,     I sweetly kiss my own hands       and fly. 


                                                 Within         
                                                after Percy Bysshe Shelley

                                         We'll construct temples  
                               with currencies of currents   
                                                 for a spirit in stone    
                                                  A grave re-grown    
                                              with green viperous hair
                               A radiance that mocks the torture within

                              Light pours from the cave
                                                                           An insane surprise!                                                            
                            Tempestuous flairs fill the midnight sky.

            Her lonely terror     a serpent's dream          
                                                                                 Her countenance locked.

                                    Our us         
                                    after Arno Holz
       

I want to draw my hands through all secrets and stars
        through each little chirp in a bird's nest.

    I lay on my ocean bed    pushing open my shining eyes.

I am a blue bloom who once lived in the jungle       an under-water iris.

My love drinks from a rhinoceros horn.   We are pipe smoke.
                                                                                                 I can't control it.
The streetwalkers twitter like birds. 

I imagine you imagine          their silver bladders         golden vaginas.

                                           Moan            
                                                  Probably after Mikhail Lermontov


       I whisper motley -- a spider in a whirl of vanity.

             O bliss!       I am a bird dissolving in flight!

              Ruined,       I rest in grass beside the pond.

I walk to the village over crackling leaves.

     My heart squeezes in my breast,   thinking of my love moaning under a storm.

          I cannot see myself through my delusions.

                     Blooming,         I want to burst into you.

                                    Let Me              
                                      after John Keats


Pardon, when I sing your secrets back to you:

Your wing├ęd eyes show through singing grass,

hushing flowers breathe all around you.
                                                                          I fall to embrace you there. 

      No altar to lay your celestial body on.

     Only your sweet mouth loosened like butterflies.

       Let me sing and sigh for you, among your flowers, the grove of you.

                                                                                              No more pines, only aspens.

I'll tremble for you among the bees beneath the mountains.

We'll sleep there.  I’ll leave everything soft and shining for you. 
                                                                                                        Let my warm love in.

     Do                 
                                          
                                               after Emily Dickinson


The heart of a bird pierced by an arrow    Would you weep    dear one?  

I was made as I am.  
My constructed heart has swollen;   I can't carry it like a baby anymore.

I asked you for revision,     and you altered me.

            My eyes     
                           Your smile
                                                 Our breath.

I would breathe your breath:       I would fill with it. 
I would come nearer to you than I ought.    It's a trick I play on my heart.
I do not see you.  My eyes do not laugh. You do not smile. 

      Your heart, does it sing in the night?   Is it set like mine, a little to the left?
 
Arrows
                                                                                               after Emily Dickinson


I find my love everywhere.   I advance and retreat.
I shoot my arrows and hide in leaves.

hawk heart pierced      downy bosom spread      to pull out the blade

           Shoot back!    Pierce me!     With our words entwined!

                           Say to me,  yours and mine.
 
Willing
                                                                                              after Walt Whitman


Look out from your window.     I will catch you with my eyes.

       Cloth lapsing,   the darkness advancing.

             Licking
                           and liquor after touching.


Little Deaths
                                                                                         after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Tombs  dancing  squeezing 
Juicy cheeks’ taste on beaks in the crowd
Bountiful death!    I cannot squeeze past this girl in the alley.
If your cunt is like this alley,   bring me into it.
                                                         Write on my stone that I loved life.

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