Measure for Measure, November 2015
Updated: Jul 24, 2021
The Chain of Day and Night
God has ignited the fire showing him nothing – in every direction around him is space and only space in his winding heart he thinks amazed that the splendor of eternity’s beginning has been snuffed already Far away man has drawn back in surprise a flame revealing itself to him but every direction is space and only space in this way, imagination has deceived him the beginning, in one moment, has become the end Nothingness is raging against this reflection a breath, another, has made its shift reality’s mirror has shattered so now anyone exclaims “what is this? what is that?” space and only space, space and only space
—Miraji (1912-1949), Silsila-e roz o shab, translated from the Urdu by Meghan Hartman
I somehow manage to filter out all the inconsequential events in my life and call the rest “art.” I am the poet-in-residence on this plane. Wherever you are, you live there, unless you are dead. For some reason “dying” doesn’t work like “sleeping” even though they are the same. My grandfather cannot come to the phone because he is adead. I put on weight and call it art. If I did the things I say I did in my poetry, it would not be poetry. That’s because it would be “performance art.” With work, I, too, can be pop music. Some art jumps out of my hand and rolls around on the floor. I shout “hell no, I won’t go” but I have somewhere to be after this. I get a lot of head when I am in the shower. Is poetry like photography where you get a bunch, pick a few to eat, and digest them with your name on them? It’s up to other people to label my feelings, I don’t do that.