Najam Hosain Syed: Night a Burning Oven. Muslim poetry about desire and the body!

Night a Burning Oven

Throw your hand in and place the dough
Many were cooked over flat pans
Eyes were singed lighting damp wood
Now wear the coal of this heat in your eyes
Raise your arms and dance in it
Red wheat has sprouted during the course of time Night a burning oven
Throw your hand in and place the dough
Lay your virtues on the table
Serve yourself and feed yourself
Who knows when the day will rise, how it will rise
Whoever beheld the daybreak
Will not return to tell

Translated by Zubair Ahmad and Fauzia Rafiq
http://www.global.ucsb.edu/punjab/13.1.2_Ahmad.pdf

USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=8962523344

http://www.mptmagazine.com/author/najm-hosain-syed-5469/
“Najm Hosain Syed is the most significant Punjabi writer of post-Partition West Punjabi literature. He was born in 1936 in Batala eastern Punjab. After Partition in 1947, his family had to move to Lahore in Pakistan. He did his masters in English literature from Punjab University and joined Pakistan civil service and retired as Accountant General of Punjab.

He founded the Punjabi Sangat -literary study group- and the Majlis Shah Hussain -a publishing venture- in the early 1970s. During the time he also headed the post-graduate Department of Punjabi in Punjab University. He has authored more than 30 books of poetry, plays and creative non-fiction. “

Anna Akhmatova: memory, love, lust and loss.

Anna Akmatova: “Russian modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russin canon…Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. The strong and clear leading female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry.”

All three poems seem to show her at peace. I can’t believe that someone who decided not to emigrate from Russia but brave Stalin’s murderous reign is at peace. I think she was trying to convince herself that she is not on edge but balanced, not lost in pain of white death, nor off balanced by longing and lust. She says she is old, and it’s cold outside, and that something made her feel young and warm, the guest who wants to kiss her, who wants to own her, who wants to show her that the young men? women? know nothing of how to kiss. I think in the third poem she does wake up warm and happy, a saint’s day is a festivity -albeit one for the day the saint associated with your name, died. Not sure why communicants sleeplessly sleep. I read that waking up from sleep is seen as resurrection and that communicants partake in Jesus’ body’s resurrection. I found the line “may we not sleep in sins, but awake and rejoicing in his praises”. What that means together is not clear to me: maybe that she was rejoicing in his name-day while she was asleep, unconsciously celebrating already. That’s a nice thought about sleeping with happiness because of someone else’s joy.

Memory’s Voice

For O. A. Glebova-Sudeikina

‘What do you see, on the wall, dimly alive,
At that hour when the sunset eats the sky?

A seagull, on a blue cloth of waters,
Or perhaps it’s those Florentine gardens?

Or is it Tsarskoye Seloe’s vast view,
Where terror stepped out before you?

Or that one who left your captivity,
And walked into white death, freely?’

No, I see only the wall – that shows
Reflections of heaven’s dying glow.

The Guest

All’s as it was: the snowstorm’s
Fine flakes wet the window pane,
And I myself am not new-born,
But a man came to me today.

But, his dry hand touched
A petal with a light caress:
‘Tell me, how they kiss you,
Tell me, how you kiss.’

8th November 1913

Sunlight fills my room
With hot dust, lucent, grey.
I wake, and I remember:
Today is your saint’s day.
That’s why even the snow
Is warm beyond the window,
That’s why, sleeplessly,
Like a communicant, I slept.

Translated by A. S. Kline © 2005, 2012 All Rights Reserved.

“Her work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities and she is notable for choosing not to emigrate, and remaining in Russia, acting as witness to the atrocities around her. Her perennial themes include meditations on time and memory, and the difficulties of living and writing in the shadow of Stalinism.”

More easy to read information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Akhmatova

Breasts, beautiful breasts. 2/2

The Olympic Girl by John Betjeman.
[…]
Oh! would I were her racket press’d
With hard excitement to her breast
And swished into the sunlit air
Arm-high above her tousled hair,
[…]
And when the match is over, I
Would flop beside you, hear you sigh;
And then with what supreme caress,
You’d tuck me up into my press.
Fair tigress of the tennis courts,
So short in sleeve and strong in shorts,


Her foot sparkled like silver
splashing bath water
on her golden apple breasts,
grown heavy with their milk […]

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~Rufinus, 2nd century BCE

My breasts are like martinis

[…]

When I have a migraine and she reaches for me, I say
Josey, my breasts are like martinis. She nods, solemn:
People should keep their goddamn hands off yours. How
could we tell these jokes to the bartender? We can’t. He’ll never know.
I say it after scrubbing the kitchen cabinets, and she gets it:
dirty and wet. Walking in the wind, Josey says My breasts
are like martinis
 and I hail a cab, know she means shaking, ice cold.

Jill McDonough, Stanford University.

Her sweet weight on my Heart a Night 

Her sweet weight on my Heart a Night 
Had scarcely deigned to lie –
When, stirring, for Beliefs delight,
My bride had slipped away – If `twas a Dream – made solid – just
The Heaven to confirm – 
Or if Myself were dreamed of Her – 
The power to presume – With Him remain – who unto Me –
Gave – even as to All –
A Fiction superseding Faith –
By so much – as `twas real –

Emily Dickinson.

Your two breasts are like two fawns

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle
that browse among the lilies.

Song of Solomon 4:5 (1)

Have ye beheld (with much delight)
A red rose peeping through a white?
Or else a cherry (double graced)
Within a lily? Centre placed?
Or ever marked the pretty beam
A strawberry shows half drowned in cream?
Or seen rich rubies blushing through
A pure smooth pearl, and orient too?
So like to this, nay all the rest,
Is each neat niplet of her breast.
.
Her breast is fit for pearls by Emily Dickinson
.
Her breast is fit for pearls,
But I was not a “Diver”—
Her brow is fit for thrones
But I have not a crest.
Her heart is fit for home—
I—a Sparrow—build there
Sweet of twigs and twine
My perennial nest.
.
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The first part of this post about beautiful breasts is at:
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Lou Sullivan’s Birthday by Yani Robinson! Straight up Queer.

Yani Robinson. I like the title. Feels appropriate. Maybe this is what happens after a birthday and you’re home alone after the party. Except someone is helping pay the rent. So you’re not alone, just not together together. Somebody else on another floor is getting together. Habit, boredom, loneliness, masturbation. It’s not your party.

 

Lou Sullivan’s Birthday 

Sometimes when you’re broke
and another someone moves
in to help with rent

you wind up awake
at four AM, vaguely coked up
listening to two

boys have sex in the room
below you. Something tells you
to jerk off – why not

so you, on your phone
watch a cock appear in and
out of some stud’s mouth.

You thrust helplessly
into your hand, willing it
to be your lover’s

tongue and fist, but it’s not
going anywhere.

http://www.lambdaliterary.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/nepantla.ajournal.pdf

“NEPANTLA:
A JOURNAL DEDICATED TO QUEER POETS OF COLOR

WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE
Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color is an intentional community space. Our mission is to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community. Through this journal, we are attempting to center the lives and experiences of QPOC in contemporary America. Thus, we view the journal (and our reading series) as part of a whole artistic project and not individual fragments of work. We believe that (here) the high lyric must encounter colloquial narrative. Here, we must provide space to celebrate both our similarities and our differences. We are one community with an array of experiences; we write in different formats, in different tones, of different circumstances. Nepantla is not the sort of journal that can project a singular voice (not if we want to reflect the various realities of our community). Nepantla is a journal of multiplicity, of continual reinvention.

ACCOUNTABILITY CULTURE
Nepantla is NOT an apolitical literary journal. We stand strongly against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, xenophobia, etc. We do NOT believe in the notion of “craft” as an excuse to justify oppressive language. If (for some reason) you, the reader, feel discriminated against by the language used in our poems then please let us know. Keep us accountable. We have done our best to provide a safe space for the QPOC community. We hope you enjoy the fierceness!”

“Transient Sex” by Brent Reiten. Poet lost and found!

UPDATE January 5. BUY book here: http://www.sfelectricworks.com/newsletter/newsletter-15.01.02.transient-sex.html. Contact: judith(at)sfelectricworks.com
From an email by Jason Tesauro:
• A Dutch publisher has been in touch and is going to publish a translation in the Netherlands. (Brent’s response, “holy shit, that’s my favorite country.”)
• Brent’s Transient Sex muse and lover, Toni Bernbaum, left a comment at poetryfoundation.com: “So, Jason. This is her.” (It’s worth reading the rest.)
• Requests for books from around the world continue to pour in.
• They have contacted NPR, This American Life and the Moth.

Am trying to get this volume! Excited!

SEE ABOVE CHANGE of point of sale. Update: Poet is private. Email his contact journalist Jason Tesauro to get a copy into your hands. A couple hundred books still in circulation: $25 (but global drawing attention so might be going relatively fast). jt@themoderngentleman.com

Update 2: Ordered book. More poems soon.

Some quotes through Jason Tesauro http://www.poetryfoundation.org/article/249708#article

—“Sex With J.C. Knight”

“But when I got there he said, I just play
the piano and eat MDMA four times a day.
But I’ve been tapping into Indian spirits
who knew the earth before she hurt.”

—“Sex With Genevieve Bujold”

It was a dimestore revelation:
Tell her you’re a poet,
not a housepainter
[…]

— from another poem

“She was off to be a star again.
I was off to paint the Wagner’s house

Monterey gray with dark blue trim.”

Nikki Giovanni ”The Butterfly- hat tip Kim Crosby.

Image

“those things
which yo so laughingly call
hands are in fact two
brown butterflies fluttering
across the pleasure
they give my body”

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— Nikki Giovanni ”The Butterfly

 

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NEW and USED: http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=nikki+giovanni&sts=t

http://kimkatrincrosby.squarespace.com