martes, 21 de septiembre de 2010

Kerry Shawn Keys: Poems.

Kerry Shawn Keys








At Kant’s Grave

A history lesson first and last.
 The Brits blitzed the cathedral
at Königsberg, preparing the Soviets to take a wrecking ball to it,
harsh censer swinging Mayakovski-style against the fascist farts
embodied in a resurrected dinosaur of Lutheran bricks.
The town, currently boasts, according to the guidebooks, bulldozers,
contraband and prostitutes, AIDS and dilapidated streets.
Neighboring one holy, reconstructed wall, Kant’s sepulcher lies
chipped and gray, an apt example of moral perfection and God’s.
No matter, this philosophical devil never took the tour except
by books, and his aesthetics were confined to Newton and Leibniz.
Tangential to the gravesite, the filthy Pregolya River gurgles and lisps
with a subdued, Wagnerian breath of ancient, Prussian Gods.
Their hardship is to resurface into the light that falls from without.
Kant’s, no doubt, to yield to the heavy rains that prime this sacred ground.


Instead of a blanket, the paragraph fits snug over my legs. It’s cold.
The first sentence touches my pelvis, and when the dorm-matron
          arrives for inspection, my feet won’t stick out with the tab
          of morphine scotch-taped to the ankle.
Everyone is robbed at birth. Paco might say robed in the roles
          of choice and chance.
I wanted to attach my first spoken word to the big toe on the left foot,
          but tonight the connotations go nowhere and I’m falling asleep.
          Which fork shall I follow.
Anyway, an angel substituted her wing for that wish, and the paragraph
          is warm enough. It’s cold outside.
Rilke never disclosed if angels have sex---this one sticks her pudendum
          next to my participle, and she tells me that one of her favorite mortals
          spanks her with his prick. I invent another tense.
It’s her misleading hair in the deep orange light that conjures up the river,
          and the hammock by the river, and the moonlight floating in the canal
          by the towpath. My father’s brother drowned there.
Do souls really leave the body at times and then lose their way
          trying to return. Nameless, the soul is a shadow.
Some friends want to be burnt so their souls will wander the earth forever.
Narcissus drowned. Is reincarnation a form of recycling.
Snow falls all over the sheets. The paragraph is soaked. They stole the roof
          for planking for the boat. Lepers and insects are issued special tickets.
          Harpies don’t need visas. Bicycles are forbidden. Centaurs
          are declared indivisible. All other conjugations are given waivers.
It’s cold. So cold the thunder inside the diamond on top of the mountain
          is difficult to see. To carry the lightning with me at all times,
          I spent hours memorizing the sutra.
The performance should go like this: you awaken and lean over and kiss
          my cheeks ever so lightly. Immediately, I imagine you are a deer
          and I am lichen and sweetfern. Those on the hillside with standing
          room only want to sit secured to my lap with your breath grazing the back
          of their necks. Just before the last act if I tell you I love you, don’t shove
          my words back into my mouth or fan me with your other wing.
The scene is already starting to resemble a nightmare.
Let’s switch the design:
The sea is here in the room. It grows. Grows larger and spreads itself like a blanket
over the snow. The world is tepid. I am starting to eat my own words. The sun
sinks into your pores and then into my eyes. A dragon is dancing a mazurka.
Orpheus gives birth to a flounder. An orphan is peeling a papaya. Peter Pan
arrives and takes my hand. I watch it disappear in the floodlights. The current
is shapeless, iridescent, almost mother-of-pearl, a coracle of silence interwoven
with filaments of rushlight. You open the window. There is no window. We vanish
like snowflakes into the equatorial heat....


           for J.L.B.

          from an uncertain, classified manual

Organisms Are Divided Into:

a)  belonging to the General
b)  amputated
c)  between airplanes and the ocean
d)  tamed
e)  toad-suckers
f)  what from very far away cannot be seen
g)  beached
h)  didactic
i)   red wharf-rats with fleas
j)   not included in future classifications
k)  cowardly
l)   one-winged birds tangled in webs
m) extinct
n)  painted with a very sharp knife
o)  et alibi
p)  having just broken its bones
q)  what from very close looks like a mutilated egg.

Kerry Shawn Keys (Harrisburg,PA. 1946) Has dozens of books to his credit, including translations from Portuguese and Lithuanian, and his own poems informed by rural America and Europe, and Brazil and India (Peace Corps) where he lived for considerable time. His work ranges from theatre-dance pieces to flamenco songs to meditations on the Tao Te Ching, and is often lyrical with intense ontological concerns. Of late, he has been writing prose wonderscripts, and monologues for the stage. A children’s book, The Land of People, received a Lithuanian laureate in 2008 for artwork he co-authored. He performs with the free jazz percussionist and sound-constellation artist, Vladimir Tarasov – Prior Records released their CD in 2006. His most recent book is Transporting, a cloak of rhapsodies (2010). Keys received the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America in 1992, and in 2005 a National Endowment For The Arts Literature Fellowship. He received a Translation Laureate Award from the Lithuanian Writers Union in 2003. He was a Senior Fulbright Research grantee for African-Brazilian studies, and is a member of the Lithuanian Writers Union and PEN. Selected poems have appeared in Czech and Lithuanian.