“The Stargazer’s Legacy” – Vasko Popa


The Stargazer’s Legacy

His words were left after him
More beautiful than the world
No one dares to look at them long

They wait around time’s turnings
Greater than men
Who can pronounce them

They lie on the mute earth
Heavier than the bones of life
Death wasn’t able
To Carry off as dowry

No one can lift them
No one can drop them

The falling stars tuck their heads
In the shadows of his words

– Vasko Popa, trans. Charles Simic

from Tumblr https://seekingstars.tumblr.com/post/629538431102533632

Sunset on 14th Street – Alex Dimitrov


I don’t want to sound unreasonable
but I need to be in love immediately.
I can’t watch this sunset
on 14th Street by myself.
Everyone is walking fast
right after therapy, texting back
their lovers orange hearts
and unicorns—it’s insane to me.
They’re missing this free sunset
willingly! Or even worse
they’re going home to cook
and read this sad poem online.
Let me tell you something,
people have quit smoking.
They don’t get drinks
but they juice. There are
way too many photos
and most all of us look better
in them than we do in life.
What happened? This is
truly so embarrassing!
I want to make a case
for 1440 minutes every day
where we stop whatever else
is going on and look each other
in the eyes. Like dogs.
Like morning newspapers
in evening light. So long!
So much for this short drama.
We will die one day
and our cheap headlines
won’t apply to anything.
The internet will be forgotten.
All the praise and pandering.
I’d really rather take a hike
and by the way, I’m gay.
The sunset too is homosexual.
At least today, between
the buildings which are moody
and the trees (which honestly)
they look a bit unhealthy here.
They’re anxious. They’re concerned.
They’re wondering why
I’m broke and lonely
in Manhattan—though of course
I’ll never say it—and besides
it’s almost spring. It’s fine.
It’s goth. Hello! The truth is
no one will remember us.
We’re only specks of dust
or one—one speck of dust.
Some brutes who screamed
for everything to look at us.
Well, look at us. Still terrible
and awful. Awful and pretending
we’re not terrible. Such righteous
saints! Repeating easy lines,
performing our great politics.
It’s just so very boring,
the real mystery in fact
is how we managed to make room
for love at all. Punk rock,
avant-garde cinema.
I love you, reader
but you should know
the sunset’s over now.
I’m standing right in front of
Nowhere bar, dehydrated
and quite scared
but absolutely willing
to keep going. It makes sense
you do the same. It’s far
too late for crying and quite
useless too. You can be sad
and still look so good. You can
say New York is beautiful
and it wouldn’t be a headline
and it wouldn’t be a lie.
Just take a cab and not the 6,
it’s never once in ten years
been on time. It’s orbiting
some other world
where there are sunsets
every hour and no money
and no us—that’s luck!
The way to get there
clearly wasn’t written down.
Don’t let that stop you though.
Look at the sky. Kiss everyone
you can for sure.

from Tumblr https://seekingstars.tumblr.com/post/629357248907444224

Don’t read books! – Yang Wanli (12th century)

Don’t read books!

Don’t chant poems!

When you read books your eyeballs wither away

leaving the bare sockets.

When you chant poems your heart leaks out slowly

with each word.

People say reading books is enjoyable.

People say chanting poems is fun.

But if your lips constantly make a sound

like an insect chirping in autumn,

you will only turn into a haggard old man.

And even if you don’t turn into a haggard old man,

it’s annoying for others to have to hear you.

It’s so much better

to close your eyes, sit in your study,

lower the curtains, sweep the floor,

burn incense.

It’s beautiful to listen to the wind,

listen to the rain,

take a walk when you feel energetic,

and when you’re tired go to sleep.

from Tumblr https://seekingstars.tumblr.com/post/629266641996349440

Samurai Song – Robert Pinsky


When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

from Tumblr https://seekingstars.tumblr.com/post/629191141995184128

Existence: Thich Nhat Hanh


It is night.
Rain pelts the roof.
The soul awakens
to a flooded Earth—
a sea of storm
then passing.

In that short moment,
shifting lines and shapes,
barely seen.

Before the passing moment tilts
and falls to melancholy,
laughter sounds
in quiet raindrops.

“This poem was written in Saigon in 1965. It was raining hard. There was so much death and killing, so much destruction. And yet in one moment, I could hear the laughter in a raindrop.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

from Tumblr https://seekingstars.tumblr.com/post/628965792571146240