The interior love poem
the deeper levels of the self
dates when the abandonment
of certain principles occurred
The role of courtesy—how to enter
a forest, how to touch
a master’s feet before lesson or performance
The art of the drum. The art of eye-painting.
How to cut an arrow. Gestures between lovers.
The pattern of teeth marks on skin
drawn by a monk from memory
The limits of betrayal. The five ways
a lover could mock an ex-lover
The skill in tentative messages
which included yes and no
but never the direct maybe
Nine finger and eye gestures
to signal key emotions
The small boats of solitude
Lyrics that rose
back into air
naked with guile
Our works and days
We knew how monsoons
would govern behaviour
and when to discover
the knowledge of the dead
hidden in clouds
in rivers, in unbroken rock
All this was burnt
or traded for power and wealth
from the eight compass points of vengeance
from the two levels of envy
Top Reads of 2019
Her Left Hand, The Darkness
Alison Smith on the week she spent with Ursula K. Le Guin.
Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova
This surreal tale from Haruki Murakami circles a Charlie Parker album that never existed. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
A monastic community persists after a ‘great chaos and collapse’ in this story by the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, Olga Tokarczuk. Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
Two poems from Rebecca Tamás’ collection WITCH.
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.