As you likely already know, being decimal based creatures, we love the number 10. Top 10. Ten best dressed. Ten things you can do with a leftover pumpkin. Etc. As such, I’d like to take this opportunity to announce in a celebratory voice: issue #10 of Subprimal Poetry Art/Music. It’s given me a great deal of enjoyment putting together these issues, having an opportunity to read/view/listen to works from writers and artists around the world.
For this issue, we once again have the pleasure of presenting work from various countries, some of which has been translated into English from its original language. Michael Goldman brings us a translation of Danish writer Cecil Bødker, and Andrew Sorokowski brings us work from Ukrainian writer Natalia Bilotserkivets.
This is of course in addition to the various other writers and artists who have sent their work our way for this issue. Alexander Chubar, Julio Cesar Villegas, Quin Nelson, Adrian Potter, Constantia Geronta, Patrick Cahill, Brittany Ackerman, Nels Hanson, Eileen Cunniffe, Tony Gloeggler, and William Doreski. Thank you all for your support and for entrusting us with your work.
We’ll take a short break until the next issue, but meanwhile, enjoy the edition that we’ve assembled this time around. Please spread the word and leave your thoughts on the various pieces in the comments section.
Victor D. Sandiego
It was you who did it.
The shadow of your handiwork
is on your face,
and since you spread
the hot glowing stones of your evil conscience
on the green earth around you
your feet will burn
as you walk.
Smoke will rise from the grass.
You cannot hide,
for your heels are trailing
the black ash-stains of truth,
and your darkened eyes
will open the earth around you,
stiffened lips will form
It was you who did it.
No one knows it yet
but the mark of the ass’s jawbone
is upon your forehead
and your hands’ bloody witness
cannot be buried.
Stoning in the grass.
Only the lie will house your fear.
Det er dig der har gjort det.
Skyggen af dine hænders værk
er over dit ansigt,
og netop fordi du spreder
din onde samvittigheds glohede sten
på grønjorden om dig
vil du brænde under fødderne
når du går.
Det vil ryge af græsset.
Du kan ikke gemme dig,
for sandhedens sorte askepletter
er sporet af dine hæle,
og dine formørkede øjne
vil åbne jorden omkring dig,
stivnede læber vil forme
Det er dig der har gjort det.
Ingen ved det endnu
men æselkæbens mærke
er på din pande
og dine hænders blodige viden
vil ikke begraves.
Stene i græsset.
Kun løgnen vil huse din frygt.
She fled the crime scene, unclothed, a killer. We tracked her through woodland, we tracked her through thickets, but she absorbed the light as she fled. Mosquito grit rose in her wake. Perfume, sweat, cuts, insects her clothing now. Wind swept back from a river she sought a deletion in her flight. Our flashlights’ yellow probes passed over the undergrowth. We moved…
Regarding his work, the artist says:
I want my works to convey order and unity, where different components are correlated and submitted to the wholeness of the composition. In this painting, the figure of Christ is merged with the cross, thus creating a unified symbol of sacrifice. This artwork is based on the inner structure and the cohesion of its elements that function as a whole. I hope my art provides not only an eye-pleasing environment but also gives intellectual pleasure.
Once it arrived, I could no longer decipher between right and wrong. It was a delightful amnesia, fragmented completeness accompanied by anxious music…
Close your eyes — that’s when you will see them.
That’s when you will see the sun become broken: the silent and surrendered mirror, suspended above bodies of bullet-laced wind. That is when you will hear the final sermon of the hanged priest.
The distant fields that once held maize and cassava now hold the corpses of tongues and villages. Keep your eyes closed, because that is when you are able…
I hope you forget those stories I told you
thousands of times
So they can return to you
like the reeds beneath the thaw
Matted and tangled, damp,
in yellows and browns
aching for sun
There’s life in those reeds
Moving through days
in sun, in your shadow
An ant may crawl across your skin
and you’ll find yourself
breaching your surface,
returning to your place
That palest azure you yearn to reach, tallest
Sierra citadel where heaven is, the river on
its true course you can follow to any ocean,
sail for island circled by emerald banks of
cloud, the cherry tree forever in bloom, one
season only after the long tilting of our Earth,
seeds sprouting unafraid of winter, a buried
treasure chest of doubloons become golden
suns worth more than pirates know, in silent
column each lost dog returning and the poor
children without coats in fog-bound freezing
San Joaquin now kings and queens arrayed
in finery, all royals bowing to one another as
ancient stars align in new constellations, Big
and Little Bear forming a single kind animal,
moon close enough to touch her risen auburn
cheek, the Rabbit pounding harder his elixir
of immortal life while deep undersea scarlet,
saffron, purple starfish arrange perfectly in
interlocking rings Saturn took for granted so
long, great whale breaching with its spouted
plume, raised flukes, jaws open past baleen
inviting older Jonah to emerge, ride westerly
swift humpback guarded by leaping dolphins
to the whirlpool, at center watery tower from
blue Atlantis the passenger climbs high until
ice-capped lesser Himalayan peaks and great
Everest disappear as dawn’s rooster wakes you
to discover featherless wings, the naked arms
too weak to lift a heart nostalgic for the sky.
Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego
The nurse hands the newborn
to his mother. Her husband stands
by the window, pats his pockets
like a cop searching a suspect,
finds his cigarettes and leaves
the room. Mary keeps still,
afraid she might wake the baby.
She counts fingers, toes,
nods each time she reaches
ten. She examines his thick
neck, slack jaw, fat rutted tongue
and wants to touch, stroke
his head, press her thumbs
into the small soft spot, squeeze
until her son screams sirens.
Reborn from scratch
I will take a leap and find myself on the horizon of a grey gun-powered city
And between the funnels I will find your crack, immortal sun
And I will flow in the rainy mud of the mist
There I will ask you again
“Was it you or was it a reflection on the lake that I was looking at
And instead of a tulip you were a cross I am bearing for years
Not knowing why I was chosen by fate
To be writing verses under his shadow?”
Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego
Камінна усмішка застигла на обличчі
старого міста. На травневий брук
повз бур’яни околиць вируша
дитини ненароджена душа.
На рівні вікон, де цвіте герань,
попід дахами чути порух рук,
як подих крил. І тінить таємниче
майдан квадратний з неба чорний грак.
Чому не спиш під полотном лляним
сорочки материнської, у шкірі,
м’якій і теплій, як молочний дим
садів, розквітлих на будинки сірі?
Пощо, дитя, так б’єшся в боротьбі
за власний крик, за перший крок, за тіло,
що в передсмертну мить лишить тобі
усмішку кам’яну й незрозумілу?..
The ancient city’s face is frozen in
A stony smile. Along the cobblestones
Of May, past weed-grown outskirts, an unborn
Child’s soul sets forth upon its way.
At window-height, where the geraniums bloom
Beneath the eaves, you can hear moving hands
Like wings’ breath. From the sky, mysteriously
A black rook casts its shadow on the square.
Why don’t you sleep beneath the linen cloth
Of the maternal gown, inside the skin
So soft and warm, like orchards’ milky smoke
A-blossom on the buildings’ grey?
Why, child, do you struggle in your battle
For your own cry, your first step, for your body,
Which at the moment of your death will leave you
A stony and unfathomable smile?
I am five at the indoor pool hanging onto the wall so I can see my mother outside reading on a lounge chair. This is the building I will live in until I am eight and we move to Florida because my Grandma passes away and we need a change. For now, the New York City skyline blocks the sun at different times of the day. My mother suns herself and reads and I watch her. I am afraid that she will die, for no reason in particular, except that I’ve recently realized she is my mother and I am her daughter and I will most likely outlive her. I do not want this to happen and…
Driving into a gauze of snowfall, I feel younger than I did at birth. The smile on the face of the landscape suggests how far the planet is willing to go to please me. But you look sullen in the passenger seat. You don’t think the elation of weather applies to you. Childhood on a simpler coast doused you in fog and blinded you to larger expressions in the Sierra Nevada. When the Donner Party learned about snow they realized that carnivores prowl in our depths and emerge on demand. You look as desperate and hungry as they did in their moment of apotheosis, but unlike certain religious people you avoid cannibalism even for the greater good. Not the politics now in power, however, self-devouring in full-length mirrors. Not the saw-toothed expressions of celebrities. No, the wit and wisdom of various ages converge in cloud-cover thick enough to conceal us from each other, at least for another term. Driving on these slick back roads doesn’t trouble me, but reading your pages as you turn them, reading out of the corner of my eye, distracts me so the blowing snow looks like exploded speech balloons. What were you saying? Speak up—the silence of the blizzard deafens me.
Lately I find myself less intimidated by the blank page (screen), and more by the thought of revising something I’ve already written. Not something in the early stages—usually when I’ve got a new project underway, I can’t wait to get back to it. The revisions I dread—or at least postpone far longer than I should—are on work I’ve already sent out into the world, one way or another. Writing I’ve workshopped at a conference, with feedback that now must be weighed. Writing I’ve submitted to literary journals that has been rejected often enough—even if some rejections have been encouraging—that I know I must reopen the file, reread my own work and wrestle with my pages.
Of course the ease with which we make revisions these days…