Sunday, June 10, 2007

On sad suburban afternoons of autumn by Reginald Gibbons

On sad suburban afternoons of autumn,
       the piercings, leather and tattoos that bought
these bungalows from mixing bowls and golf
       barbeque and drink beer, watch football, eat,
laugh like ponies--everything has changed
       and not a lot except which music blares
through the meat-scented smoke and streaks of sun.
       Big motorcyles drip dark staining oil
where Oldsmobiles once waited between breakdowns.
       Slightly aslant on windows are the self-
adhesive souvenirs of stadium concerts
       by rockers getting osteoporosis;
T-shirts advertise five-pointed leaves;
       kids are neglected in the age-old ways,
unkempt and shrieking as they run--or older,
       buy their own weed, sneak drinks, ditch school and fuck.
In front yards, back yards, alleys and dead ends
       may all these signs convince the distant gods--
or Fate, or The Fates, an absent "G-d," a Christ
       somewhere or other, not right here, an Allah
with gnashing prophets, or a great magician,
       or the chance events that can destroy a life--
that there's no need to bring down any more
       than customary miseries and brief
illusions of good luck on such old, young,
       different, same, frail creatures of a day.

first appeared in Ontario Review #62
republished with author's permission

Thursday, June 7, 2007

6 by Catullus, translated by Peter Green

Flavius, that sweetie of yours (Catullus speaking)
must be totally inelegant and unsmart-
you couldn't keep quiet otherwise, you'd tell me.
Fact is, it's just some commonplace consumptive
tart you're mad for, and you blush to say so.
Look, your nights aren't solitary: silence
won't help out when your own bedroom shouts it--
stinking Syrian perfume, all those garlands,
both your pillows, on each side of the bed, all
rumpled, and the gimcrack bedstead shaken
into sharp creaking, loud perambulation!
It's no good, no good at all, your saying
nothing. Why? You wouldn't look so fucked out
if you weren't up to some inept adventure.
So, whatever you've got there, nice or awful,
tell us! I'm after you, man, and your lovebird,
want to ensky you both in witty poems.

posted with permission of the translator