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Creation story

God’s child kept blocks in his apron’s pocket,
which it had been playing with in the clouds.
But when she, tired, bored, then wished to clear the decks
She saw into the box and could not fathom

how ever to fit them, neatly ordered stacked.
Because God was stern, but slept, so was no danger.
She let them drop, without a further glance
and made straight for a pretty sculpted angel.

The blocks fellthrough stark empty skies,
And reached an empty world, where
They remained as thrown.

Most shattered into hills and dales;
And those, whole, in one piece, formed here and there
the far wide cities and the smallest towns.

Translating, I departed from the rhymes and the almost rhymes out of necessity when the english words don’t rhyme and also because I want to show that Slauerhoff played with leaving out parts of speech, much like Joss Whedon encouraged in Buffy and Firefly. I think his play works especially well because the poem is about creating a world that is not there there and which has holes. Some of the loss of almost rhymes is sad because his choice of words was lovely. Learn Dutch!

“They remained as thrown” was the most difficult to translate because in Dutch part of the verb (“waren”=were) is left out but the last word of this line (geworpen=thrown) rhymes with the last word of the poem (dorpen). Anyway. It is a different poem in English. I love how Slauerhoff stops the story. Leaving the rest to our imagination. The whole poem stops and start and restarts at odd moments. How to play with language. When you read it aloud you need to leave space between inside some of the lines. Where depends on how you speak. The alliterations in the poem and inner rhymes are beautiful.

Also: I like he puts down the answer before we ask the question in the second stanza. He makes the lines work for him. Doesn’t let the mind dictate how he tells his story. Pay attention because G-d isn’t.

Third stanza is funny: you expect more but no.

Creation story

God’s child kept blocks in his apron’s pocket,
which it had been playing with in the clouds.
But when she, tired, bored, then wished to clear the decks
She saw into the box and could not fathom

how ever to fit them, neatly ordered stacked.
Because God was stern, but slept, so was no danger.
She let them drop, without a further glance
and made straight for a pretty sculpted angel.

The blocks fellthrough stark empty skies,
And reached an empty world, where
They remained as thrown.

Most shattered into hills and dales;
And those, whole, in one piece, formed here and there
the far wide cities and the smallest towns.

Dutch: Scheppingsverhaal.

Gods kind had blokken in zijn boezelaar,
Waarmee het in de wolken had gespeeld.
Maar toen zij op wou bergen, moe, verveeld,
Zag ze in de doos en wist niet hoe ze daar

In passen moesten, keurig ingedeeld.
Want God was streng, maar sliep – dus geen gevaar.
Zij liet ze vallen, zag er niet meer naar
Om en ging vlug naar een mooi engelbeeld.

De blokken vielen door een leeg heelal
En kwamen op een leege wereld, waar
Ze bleven zooals ze er heen geworpen.

De meeste sprongen stuk tot berg en dal.
En die heel bleven vormden hier en daar
De groote steden en de kleine dorpen.

© 1998, Erven J. Slauerhoff / K. Lekkerkerker / Uitgeverij Nijgh & Van Ditmar
From: Verzamelde gedichten
Publisher: Nijgh & Van Ditmar, Amsterdam, 1990.

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Sindiwe Magona on Nelson Mandela

Black South African poet, Sindiwe Magona reads her poem The Taste of Change -about Mandela.

She worked as a help, got her secondary school diploma through correspondence, Columbia University later on, worked for the UN.

The Taste of Change 

Mandela in jail No milk in my body
Mother at work I hungry

De Klerk free Mandela No milk in my body
Father at work I sick 

Mandela meets De Klerk People clap and dance
Rain come through my roof I cold

Change on every lip Father Mother and Me 
and Thousands others We die

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From Black Girl Dangerous: donate at http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/donate/

Black* Transwoman to Black Cis/Transman: An Open Letter/Poem for Trayvon and the Rest of Us

07/14/13

By KOKUMO

ATTENTION WORLD:

I, LOVE, BLACK* MEN.

From the drug dealers, heart surgeons, stuck at rock bottom, ten years sober, servin’ a dime to life, ex-con turned youth-minister, trans*, gay, D.L., paraplegic, Olympic gold-medal winnin’, current U.S. presidency presidin’, illiterate, artistic, broke as a joke, ballin’, dark-skindid, light-skindid, country-bama, Brooklyn-bred, OG, GD, Rasta bombaclot, to the European transplant and etc.

And no matter how many Jim Crow laws you revise, nothin’ can change that. I grew up with black* men. I’ve fought with black* men. And black* men have fought, for me. Hell, I was supposed to be, a black*, man. I’ve been insulted by black* men. I’ve been consoled by black* men. I’ve been schooled, had my socks knocked off, and mind blown by black* men. I’ve loved black* men, and had the privilege of having them love me back.

Therefore I KNOW BETTER. Black* men are human. They come complete with contributions as well as flaws. And black* men have a seemingly generational immortal dream to live. Therefore I KNOW BETTER than to believe you when say they deserve to die. Therefore I KNOW BETTER than to believe your propaganda. Therefore, I won’t.

ATTENTION BLACK MEN:

Black* transwoman to black* cis/trans* man. I revere and respect you for living brave in a world that hunts you with hypocritical indignation. I thank you for living in the body I couldn’t and doing it with such swag, intellect, and a vengeance.

As a black* transwoman I want you to know that I never abandoned you or took the easy way out. A war was waged on black* bodies the moment the first slave touched Virginian soil in the 1600′s. So I transitioned from “male” to “female” because I just needed to be in more comfortable battle fatigues.

ATTENTION BLACK* COMMUNITIES:

Trayvon Martin was my little brother, Emmitt Till, my North Carolina sharecropper forefathers, and me before I transitioned. Young, black*, male-bodied, and trying to figure out why my body owes the world an apology. Black* communities across the world, please hear me. Before I knew what trans* meant, I knew how black* felt. Non-LGBT black* people I beg of you. Discard your fear and join forces with your LGBT black* siblings. Because everyday we lose more and more of our sons. Ase.

All work published on BGD is the intellectual property of its writers. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission from BGD. Yes, linking to this post on Facebook and Twitter or elsewhere is okay.

KOKUMỌ is an African-American transgender woman and product of Chicago’s South Side. To KOKUMỌ surviving is passé. Therefore, she believes in sanctioning artistic, political, and actual space for other Trans, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) people of color to thrive in. In accordance to this belief and her name, she created KOKUMỌMEDIA. KOKUMỌMEDIA uses film, music, and literature to create and generate realistic depictions of TGI people of color.

SUPPORT BGD’s writers and help amplify the voices of queer and trans* people of color!

Follow us on Twitter: @blackgirldanger

Donate at http://www.blackgirldangerous.org/donate/

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Rape joke

Floored.’Rape Joke’ by Lockwood. Poem doing the rounds now.

“[…] The rape joke is that the next day he gave you Pet Sounds. No really. Pet Sounds. He said he was sorry and then he gave you Pet Sounds. Come on, that’s a little bit funny.

Admit it.”

“[…] The rape joke is that for the next five years all you did was write, and never about yourself, about anything else, about apples on the tree, about islands, dead poets and the worms that aerated them, and there was no warm body in what you wrote, it was elsewhere. […]”