Today's poem is by Edip Caserver, translated by Richard Tillinghast and Julia Clare Tillinghast


If you go outside, watch out! Don't encounter flowers.
Don't even smell them. Better yet, cover your face with your hat.
Or just don't think at all. Look at me, that's what I do.
Why, you ask? Next to flowers, our human loves look old.
Flowers remind a man of the sun,
Of fleecy clouds who've bashed themselves against a table.
Very odd! Me, I'm jealous of fried eggs!
If you love me, watch out! Ask the glass cutter on the corner,
Whatever he says is the truth, don't fool with the man.
Most of all, to love me whitens the boiled rice.
Good morning!
To love me is like your mornings, like the colors of a rooster.
Once you love me, it's as if your fingers have caught fire.
Don't I see you? Watch out! I feed the trains chocolate.
I do this all the time—mind games, I mean,
There are such trains ... they spoil a man!
For my own pleasure I go out and sit by the window. Yes! Yes!
It's how I keep going.
You'll know me by my stride, I'm a man of many countries,
And it's not even time for the trains to leave yet.
If I spill out into the street, watch out!
This too is the truth, pretty much.
There's a law about it, maybe,
Either I've drunk water, or I've washed my face,
Is that so impossible? Why shouldn't I look to the seas ... ?
It's my cleverest side—to catch the sea using fish as bait.
If a sentence is odd, watch out! It's so odd that it makes people
Break out in fingernails,
And then paint them, and then—how should I say?—cut them.

I have no fear. I guzzle raki in broad daylight
I stick my eyes out to lobsters
O how nice! Even the bottle has meaning, this way.
Who's talking? I'm not talking.

If some day you take a long walk, watch out! This city is crawling with flies.
All the vehicles here are rusting, as well.
A star with windows, a room with visitors—
You're honking and honking your horn at them.
Because you're going out into the fields, leave your umbrella—shame on you!
Show me those flowers on your finger.

If you're hiding somewhere, watch out! Keep your hands at your sides.
No matter what anybody says, there you go,
He keeps on looking around at your hands.
Inside veins that wander through the world,
You were beating black people with their boniest parts,
Breaking down the doors of poor neighborhoods in the dirtiest places . . .
Shame on you, really! People should keep their hands clean, a little.

And if one day you don't like death, watch out! Don't die easily.
Proposition women, buy drinking glasses that give you pleasure
Or choose the loneliness of a fool, and do so tottering around, faithfully watering the flowers.
There are such up-and-coming apartment buildings, mark my words!

Or else you'll find yourself, each morning
With your arms reaching up 100 meters, trying to embrace the sky.

Copyright © 2008 Edip Caserver, translated by Richard Tillinghast and Julia Clare Tillinghast All rights reserved
from Crazyhorse
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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