Solar Eclipse by Francisco X. Alarcón (click here for full poem)

Solar Eclipse

I

Mother Moon embraces
Father Sun above the clouds –
we, their children, rejoice!

Mamá Luna abraza
a Papá Sol sobre las nubes –
sus hijos nos regocijamos

Tugann an Mháthair, an Ghealach,
Barróg don Athair, an Ghrian, os cionn na néalta –
Déanaimidne, a gcuid páistí, gairdeas dóibh!

II

the Moon eats the Sun
with kisses and caresses –
they’re making celestial love!

la Luna se come
al Sol a besos y caricias –
¡hacen amor celestial!

baineann an Ghealach plaic as an nGrian!
gona bpóga is gona mbarróga –
comhriachtain na spéire!

III

the Moon, the Sun impart
the lesson of Spring –
a wedding ring for all!

la Luna, el Sol dan
la lección primaveral –
¡a todos anillo nupcial!

insíonn an Ghealach is an Ghrian
ceacht earraigh an lae seo –
fáinne pósta do chách!

IV

when the Lady and
Lord of Duality made love –
primordial Big Bang!

la Señora y el Señor
de la Dualidad al amarse –
¡Big Bang primordial!

Ometecuhtli = Lord of Duality
Omecihuatl = Lady of Duality
Ometeotl = Deity of Duality

V

Earth, Moon, Sun
Serpent, Quetzal bird, Soul –
a blessing at hand!

Tlalticpactli, Metztli, Tonatiuh
Coatl, Quetzalli, Tonalli –
nahuatlatolli in matl

Tierra, Luna, Sol
Serpiente, Quetzal, Tonal –
¡bendición en mano!

an Domhan, an Ghealach, an Ghrian
an Nathair, an Quetzal, an tAnam –
ár mbeannú!

May 27, 2013

Irish (Gaelic) translations by Gabriel Rosenstock

from Francisco X. Alarcón’s new book published  by Poetic Matrix Press

Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus and Other Poems /
Mariposas sin fronteras: Haikus terrenales y otros poemas

Joan Michelson, London England

Lament

And are you gone from me?
And are you dead?
Who loved me always
and now prefer the wind.

And is it spring
with an untimely frost?
And are the bushes sticks?
And berry-flowers dew?

And do I waking wake?
And is this floor the earth?
And do I breathe in smoke?
And is this wind?

Oh are you not alive?
Who loved me as your own
and gave me seasons
buttered with the sun.

Song For Sleep

I sleep and hold your hand
and hold your hand in sleep.

A shrunken moon slides in.
The eucalyptus breathes.
The garden shed grows tall,
taller than the hedge.

And years roll on, roll on
until we have no years

Then like blossom floats 
an alphabet of dust. 
I hold in sleep your hand.
In sleep I hold your hand.

Bosnian Girl

When they had done with her and her mother
she climbed a tree and hung herself – a girl
in a red sweater that her mother had knitted.
This is one front page image I remember
from the Srebrenica massacre.
If we could live inside the memory of ‘Once
there was a village that was undisturbed’,
by now she’d be a mother knitting sweaters
for her own daughter. My fingers unbuckle
the woven belt she slung around a branch.
Her slim bare legs are swinging down.
Feet on earth again, up she springs and runs.

Zoo

The monkey cry, forbidden by Saul’s father
through the years in hiding, stunned Saul’s guests
and he himself, a man of sixty, dressed

in his best suit. It was the Leichenschmaus,
the funeral lunch, for his father. The family,
Saul and his one son, were seated

at the head table. Embossed white linen,
heavy silver, glassware. But the monkey cry,
as if repressed for fifty years, exploded

from within Saul’s throat. Down he slid,
a bulk onto the floor, knees pulled up,
fists against his eyes. Three years

they’d lived in the Ape House storage room
inside the Royal Artis Zoo. The keeper,
the only man they saw. His chimp, Kosheeba,

the worker, who delivered their monkey mash.
Saul’s world – the concrete floor, the straw
in which they lay, the wire cage in front

with climbing ropes and branches, and his mama
and his papa in matching matted mink,
long coats that papa stitched by hand.

Saul knew the feel of lining silk and fur,
and how it smelled, and to be small
against his father’s chest and feel the warmth

and hear the muffled lub-dub of the heart.
But how his family had ‘disappeared’;
who’d colluded; how it was condoned;

and the survival of several hundred Jews
inside the Royal Artis Zoo was fogged history.
It would be called up after Saul

shook himself to take his place again
beside his son and passed around a photo
found on Thursday when he’d found

his father dead. Dead and covered
with the coat he’d worn in hiding, the mink
in the photo from Liberation Day. To think

that his father had kept that coat to die
beneath it. To die with his hands stiff
against his ears as if he heard the cry,

a sound like a howl or a beseeching;
or that inside the worn-out wartime coat
the monkey cry lived on. Returned to self,

Saul looked around Restaurant Basaal.
No one met his gaze. The room, strangely
still, was loud with nothing to be heard.

Joan Michelson won first prize in the Bristol Poetry Competition, UK, 2015, first prize in the Torriano Competition, UK, 2014, and she received the Hamish Canham prize from the Poetry Society of England, 2012 and her poem ‘Self-Portrait with Secret’ was a Poetry Society newsletter selection Dec 2016.  Her writing has been selected for several British Council and Arts Council anthologies of New Writing. Her first collection, Toward the Heliopause was published by Poetic Matrix Press, CA, USA, 2011.  Her chapbook, Bloomvale Home, portraits of residents in a care home, by Original Plus Books, UK, 2016.  Forthcoming, 2017, from Sentinel Books, UK, a new collection, Landing Stage.  Forthcoming 2018, from The Finishing Line Press, KY, chapbook, ‘The Family Kitchen’. Originally from New England, USA, Joan lives in London, England.

20th Anniversary of Poetic Matrix Press

 

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Poetic Matrix Press was founded in the high mountain beauty of Yosemite in 1997, and has since grown into a press that is producing full-length books as fine as any that can be seen in any bookstore or library. We started by producing a newsletter of poetry and essays on the poetic experience, then in 2000 we put out a nationwide call for manuscripts and published a total of 4 manuscripts in chapbook format. Since 2001 we have published full length perfect bound books, including books by poets in New York, West Virginia, Northern, Central and Southern California as well as England and South Korea. We are currently publishing out of Madera, California.

2017 is the 20th Anniversary of Poetic Matrix Press, now with close to 60 full length books. We are into our year long celebration of these books. Work has began on the Poetic Matrix Press author anthology. We are looking to place 2 poems from each book plus a new piece from each author and an updated bio. If anyone reading this would like to recommend poems please do so. We will consider all recommendations in the final choices. We’ve begun showcasing these poems on our Forever Journal blog at our website www.poeticmatrix.com. We are planning a reading in the San Francisco Bay Area and one in San Diego. It has been a great 20 years and continues on.

*****

Sisyphus is a magazine that focuses on contemporary issues surrounding art, culture, and language.
Managing Editor, Charles Entrekin
http://sisyphuslitmag.org/

This month, American Identity Issue (with this author and others; including)
I Am a White Male
John Peterson (essay)

The Moon Drew a Feather Across My Bones
Eugene Berson (poetry)

Four Million Marchers and 600 Cities
Judy Brackett, Washington D.C.
Laena Wilder, San Francisco
Katherine Entrekin, Oakland

 

 

Raphael Block in Concert 3/16

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If you are going to be in the Bay Area do stop by for this concert. Raphael’s poetry is beautiful as is David’s music, the two together is a real treat.  You can pick up Raphael’s book as well; Stings Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems.   37e53786-ad62-4009-9e1c-3216066d9127

Iris Orpi – 5 Poems

Equinox

 

Like wings,

the reclaiming of the dark hours

arches across the rosy-eyed lull

of not knowing,

plumed in possibility

and iridescent visions,

flourishes of sacred geometry

stirring what once felt like

the night would go on without end.

There’s a sweet pain in awakening.

The voice of half-hearted

reckoning of day’s peak

catching on a sob

for the unfinished,

or for the beloved dreaming

that got defaced by the truth.

The inert limbs slowly embracing

a suffusion of fire.

There is that moment in turning

from what had once meant something

towards what is promised,

when the squaring of shoulders

exposes the symmetry of sound

catching up with the light,

imperfect form flanked

by efforts of divinity

to concede that it might

have been too dismissive of wisdom

coursed through the flesh.

It stretches behind you like wings.

Flight is nothing but the feeling

that touches you when

the sky becomes right-side up

and comes into view.

 

Ballast

Sometimes we turn to the darkness

as we stand on the edge

of oncoming, anticipated light

not because it is preferable

or necessary, but because

it comforts and gives a sense

of belonging to the things we carry

and wonder if they have a place

among the changes that are coming.

We mourn all deaths,

even those of what had never been

good for us, those that had been

slowly killing us the whole time.

Realizing they are lost to us

after all the pain of coming

to terms with their presence

and the makeshift beauty

we’ve contrived from the ways

they had made us suffer is

a fear and a melancholy of its own,

and a guilt too, almost

for a time outweighing our relief

for not having to suffer anymore.

Like the passing of a hero,

or the need for one,

making us again ordinary

and searching for the next

difficult thing to live for

so we could feel keenly alive.

When they call it self-preservation

we think about staying the same.

And then we call it a loss,

shedding the things that only

weigh us down. But to live

is to not drown, and at some point

we realize we are surrounded

by water. We get high on breathing

because the perilous tide outside

us is made of the same stuff

as the part liquid our spirits are.

We forget that we are souls

that have bodies. Our intimacy

with gravity and falling belies

how majestically we can rise

 

without denouncing the ground.

 

Salt and Aquamarine

And there you were,

the blue hour draped around you

like a shawl and all your

motivations a little disheveled.

The benign hush that

assumes the shapes of

what could have been overcome

blames nothing,

not even circumstance.

Some epiphanies are like

sea glass: broken

from a forgotten whole,

lost in rarely charted waters,

and with edges worn off by waves

that arch like the wings of fate.

It’s hard to tell from looking at you

where you really started.

You are part shipwreck

and part sunken treasure,

foggy and turquoise

and mystifying.

No one thinks less of a jewel for

forgoing a little clarity

for a few nights at sea,

for coming in to possession

of a thousand questions.

They make a pretty pattern,

hanging from your neck like amulets

and bringing out the depth

of passion in your eyes.

Nobody ever told you,

and they couldn’t even if they knew,

the birth you gave was going

to require a daily reimagining

of your own needs.

Every night a different sky.

It’s something you realize for yourself

when you find that the sun

rises on your right shoulder

while your love prefers

to weep on your left.

And the shawl of blue hour

fades into a night that hides you,

hides your rough places

without questioning.

It is kind to you because it

recognizes the way you gaze

at love: as if you expect to drown

and are giving it instructions

to collect your pieces

along the shore.

 

Tricks of Transcendence

Towards that beauty

we sail, half-mast

in dignified mourning

for the safe shore we

turned our backs on,

on freedom that comes in waves

and an innate promise that

sometimes lies about distances

and tastes like saltwater.

 

Somewhere, a part of us knew

that the days we were burning

would be the past of a life

that was coming. A time merely

to look back on, and love,

the way we understood it then,

would glimmer like beads of dew

in the wide open daylight of

what the future that arrived

revealed to us about ourselves.

That the stories we repeated,

raw and unresolved, over smoke

and expensive noise, would

later be just one of many filters

to a vision, and we would be

watching this world with

our hearts pulled in a direction

for reasons we cannot enunciate.

 

We still believe in what was

promised us back in the days

when there was no past

to lament, no stubborn mistakes

that stick to our perceptions

like paint on silk. We ask all

these illuminated questions

not because the answers

would redeem us, although

they do, but because all things

are bound to one another

and it’s how we get reminded

that we speak the language

of the universe that we are

certain is listening.

 

And towards that point

where the light gathers,

we faithfully make our way,

stumbling, the way untrained

faith sometimes stumbles,

taking it upon ourselves

to chase a bliss that someone

once told us we were worthy of,

that we would never have

believed otherwise, if it were

something we merely wanted

instead of a prophecy waiting

 

to be claimed.

 

Bequests from the Departed Light

It’s not the poems the stars write

that give the night its soul

not the light the moon

borrows from the sun

or the breath of silence

stirring between the trees

 

it’s a fragment of the blue

coaxed from the heaving tides

from passion’s forgotten oceans

and remembering having once

craved for rest when all

the city could spare

was a lonely furnished room

lit with your tamed vices

 

it’s the texture of that moment

when it came up in conversation

with a trusted friend

how best to spend the small hours

trapped between your skin

and the fire that claims

to be the estranged daughter

of the song no one else but you

could hear.

 

Bio: 

Iris Orpi is the author of the illustrated novel, The Espresso Effect (2010), and two books of collected poems, Beautiful Fever (2012) and Cognac for the Soul (2012). She was an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Contemporary American Poetry Prize given by the Chicago Poetry Press.

Poetic Matrix Press 20th Anniversary

In times like these, art has the power to make us feel less alone

Christina Patterson – The Guardian – Saturday, November 26, 2016

“As a citizen of the world in 2016,” says DiDonato (American opera singer Joyce DiDonato) in the introduction to (her) concert programme, “at times I feel overwhelmed by the temptation to spiral down into the turmoil and pessimism that threatens to invade all corners of our lives”. But the creators of “great art”, she says, show us “both our brutal nature and our elevated humanity.” Art, she says, “unifies, transcends borders” and “is a valiant path to peace”. I don’t know if art can be a path to peace. I don’t know if it could end the war in Syria, or create jobs in the so-called rust belt of America, or fill a £122bn Brexit “black hole”. What I do know is this. When bad things happen in the world, or in our lives, that art can make us feel less alone. And I know that to create the kind of art that hits us at the deepest levels, you need to be a master of your craft. You need, you could say, to be an expert. You need to think that expertise is good.

Raphael Block Video

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Dear friends,
Thank you for all your comments on the 5 minute documentary that serves  as my book trailer, too. It seems to have touched many of you!
We would really appreciate your help to get this film into the world. So, please consider posting this link https://vimeo.com/184929769 on your FaceBook Page.

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The documentary came into being thanks to Megan McFeely, who produced it and did the interviews. She has made her own compelling 40 minute documentary, As She Is, “ to reclaim, value, and live the feminine aspect of ourselves.” You will find more info on her site.              With love, Raphael

Earth

Each square inch

a harmony

of the dying

the dead

the living and the being born

Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems

www.raphaelblock.com

Poems from Raphael Block’s book, Strings of Shining Silence

Strings of Shining Silence

When shadows lengthen,
our breaths grow closer, and
bundled bodies huddle against
drizzle-slanting snow and rain.
To warmth we turn,
the nearness of a cello heartbeat;
strings of shining silence
fill my chest with crimson tones.
Each in-breath spins me into soundness
while with each outward rush of air—
though winds may shriek and squall,
clouds flash and crack—
shafts of sunlight— somehow—
slip through my being and unfold.

Blazing Trees

You have only to see
the blazing sunset through
the trees to be
in that dazzling presence
and catch a voice saying
“Take off your masks!”
With a clatter they land
all around, but you barely
notice because the fire
in your heart is bursting
toward that bright glow
on the horizon.
And when its last
glimmering rays are gone—
from human sight—
you’re left with a gateway
that will open
even in your dark hour.

Book order for Raphael Block

Friends of Poetic Matrix Press.  Here’s a great way to support Raphael Block, one of our authors, in his 2nd book with us and receive an early copy of the finished book.  Please show your support. Thanks John

Dear friends,

I would like you to join me in releasing my new book, Strings of Shining Silence: Earth-Love Poems.
Due for general publication in January 2017, if you pre-order now at http://raphaelblock.com/  you will receive a signed copy by mid-November.
On my website you will also find a short documentary made by Elias Koch on my life and work, which has been accepted as an entry to the Awareness Film Festival, LA.
I feel that I’m one of thousands of seeds sprouted by the Earth in this time of need. You, no doubt, are another such seed.

Raphael Block

-overheard at a DC bar.

Picked up somewhere on the net.

Truth is like poetry

and most people fucking hate poetry