BUT IS IT POETRY? // Butchering

A medium size.
A medium density.
A medium price.
Generally, it’s dark blue
in the null assemblage point.

(Sometimes it becomes
red or green. But it’s kinda
my little secret.)
A fray is on the back edge
and a slight scent of joss sticks.

Dozens of defects…
The usual thing, in short.
Where is theurgy?
It’s a matter of arrows.
The bright red on the dark blue.

It’s my secret path,
my color-coded loophole,
my molded carcass.
A scheme of the primal cuts
for my gnostic butchering…

Numinous blades slip
and split along my axis.
The golden section…
I yield my offal and meat
under the Karma Cutter.

When my shanks sprawl out
and my round points to the east,
I distinctly hear
chuckling of a sacred cow
in esoteric silence.

 

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TONY: Butchering. Let’s discuss ‘Butchering’.

TATI: Okey-dokey. Let’s butcher ‘Butchering’. Get your knife, Tony the Ripper.

TONY: I’m a bit squeamish at the sight of blood and guts, so please forgive me if I happen to clunk on the floor in a dead faint during our conversation. Even the thought is distressing.

TATI: Don’t worry. There’s a yoga mat. Faint as you please.

TONY: How thoughtful! Have I ever told you how thoughtful you are?

TATI: Hmmm… Should I answer this question?

TONY: Well, questions usually precede answers. That’s how the universe works!

TATI: I will remember this piece of wisdom.

TONY: Anyway, I find that I need a dictionary whenever I read of one of your poems. So many unheard of words!

TATI: Should I say, “Sorry?”

TONY: No no no. Just explain what some of them mean is all. I’m a bit of a dim bulb, you know.

TATI: Who is a native here, Tony? What should I explain?

TONY: Everything! I mean, what’s it all about? And what do you mean by ‘null assemblage point’?

TATI: Have you read Carlos Castaneda?

TONY: No. Did he become a library book?

TATI: Assemblage point: In Castaneda’s works, the term means a locus of perception within the energy field of a being. Moving the assemblage point causes the being to perceive and interact with a different reality.

TONY: That sounds like meditating to me.

TATI: Does it make things clearer, Tony?

TONY: Marginally. I thought the poem was about your yoga mat. It is in the title after all.

TATI: Bingo, Captain Obvious! Yes. Do you know words ‘yoga’ and ‘mat’?

TONY: Of course! But what does ‘it becomes red or green’ mean? And why is that kinda your little secret?

TATI: The thing is… well… Once or twice I’ve had an interesting visual illusion during my lessons. I saw like my yoga mat changes its color.

TONY: Oh, so you find this embarrassing for other people to know? Sounds like a pretty cool altered state of consciousness thing to me! Unless, of course, you’re some kinda junkie. Are you a junkie?

TATI: What? Of course no, Tony! But who could believe I saw this and was completely sober? Could you?

TONY: That’s a fair point, but I always look like I’m stoned, even though I’m not. At least you look like a respectable modern woman, a professional whose integrity is not to be questioned.

TATI: Errmm… is it a compliment? OK. Thank you.

TONY: What I do find a little questionable are the last two stanzas in your poem. I have a feeling that you’re literally sacrificing yourself to some… well… I don’t know what.

TATI: Let me reread it.

TONY: Okay, you do that. I’ll remove all sharp objects from the room.

TATI: Done.

TONY: So, what are those stanzas actually about then?

TATI: Damn… it’s not very easy answering such questions actually…

TONY: Aw… Please do try! I wanna know if it’ll ever be safe to eat with cutlery in your presence again.

TATI: Actually, it’s about my state when I do my yoga. Tony, have you practiced yoga?

TONY: A little bit, yes.

TATI: Have you felt sometimes something special? Something that you can’t explain with words? Just feel with your skin, like goose bumps?

TONY: Admittedly, yes. It’s rare, but it has happened. In fact, it’s more like a deep calmness that comes over me.

TATI: Do you find it’s easy to express? To explain to other people what you feel?

TONY: Not always, no, but that’s what you’ve attempted to do with this poem, is it not?

TATI: Yes… and now I wonder if such things should be poemed at all. It looks like we swapped in our discussion. I asked more questions than you.

TONY: Yeah, I kinda dropped the ball there, didn’t I? I guess we can conclude that some things are better left unexplained and should just be experienced instead. But does this mean that in future you’ll refrain from writing odes to your yoga mat?

TATI: Nope.

TONY: Such a relief! A world without your poetry would be like a boiled egg without soldiers!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

TATI’S TRANSLATIONS // Lying Bare by Sudeep Sen

Your bare stomach is my pillow. When I turn my head to one side, warm air rises from the valley to lull me — on the other side, you shield my view of your face with your bosom — to devour me in the gorge near your heart.

Твой голый живот – это моя подушка. Я поворачиваю голову набок, и теплый убаюкивающий ветерок из долины ласкает мое лицо. Позади меня лежит горная гряда твоей груди, сорвавшись с которой, я разбился прямо около твоего сердца.

 

Poem by SUDEEP SEN
Translation by TETIANA ALEKSINA

© All rights reserved 2017

EARS WIDE OPEN // four in the morning

Dear Readers, Watchers, and Occasional Listeners, welcome to another instalment of Ears Wide Open!

Our main page states that you won’t find an overabundance of brightly coloured pictures, hit songs or other such paraphernalia here. Why? Because we simply want to keep your focus on our texts. This is a literary site after all!

We have, however, also been known to switch things up from time to time. Yes, we’re justifiably leery of shoehorning in things that don’t fit with what we do, but we also like to allow creativity’s natural flow to have its say. This time, we’re listening to that flow, and it’s taking on the form of one Magsi Rover.

Who is she? Well, we don’t know a whole lot about her yet, but we’re fairly certain (but cannot guarantee) that Magsi is a fellow WordPress blogger, Filipino, and loves to read things aloud. And we’re fairly certain that she’s read most of our stuff too. She’s even recorded a couple of our poems and sent them to us! How lucky are we?

Needless to say, our ears are wide open and receptive, and so we’ve decided to share one of her efforts with you, our Dear Readers, Watchers, and Occasional Listeners. Please do enjoy! Oh, and don’t be shy about joining our Ears Wide Open challenge. If you’d like to record one of your favourite poems by us, then please go right ahead and do so. The more the merrier!

 

four in the morning

time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
how to outrun what isn’t free?
i still don’t know what i can be

hope is easy
when it is the first time
hope is easy
when it is the first time
but not when bells have lost their chime
and not upwind the squalls of mimes

be my comfort
deadly jesus, yeah be my friend
be my comfort
deadly jesus, yeah be my friend
brake the wheel afore story’s end
my soul to keep and ever mend

time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
stars like dewdrops across my knee
lacuna matata on the cliffs of scree

 

Text by TONY SINGLE
Audio by MAGSI ROVER
Image by HERR TAMARIN
© All rights reserved 2017