Fading, but not fast: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Rouged Lips”

At the bottom of the stairs, I stop, turn
To see you standing up there , naked still,
A light screen of perspiration clinging
To our now separate skins, no longer
Twinned, though Castor and Pollux still ride high
As I step into the fresh, sterile air
Of late March with its night breezes yet free
From spring blooms with their desperate perfumes—
Efflorescence, procreation, decay,
Our own coupling productive of nothing
Beyond a shared luxury of pleasure,
A moment and a memory fading,
But not fast, if I close my eyes I can
Feel lines traced thirty years ago by hand.

AGG20150328
For Top07

‘Tune: “Rouged Lips”
Naivete
by Li Qingzhao

Stepping down from the swing,
Languidly she smooths her soft slender hands,
Her flimsy dress wet with light perspiration—
A slim flower trembling with heavy dew.

Spying a stranger, she walks hastily away in shyness:
Her feet in bare socks,
Her gold hairpin fallen.
Then she stops to lean against a gate,
And looking back,
Makes as if sniffing a green plum

The two of us now so far apart–
In Heaven and on Earth?

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

点绛唇·李清照
蹴罢秋千,起来慵整纤纤手。露浓花瘦,薄汗轻衣透。
见客入来,袜刬金钗溜。和羞走,倚门回首,却把青梅嗅。

Diǎn jiàng chún·Lǐ Qīngzhào
Cù bà qiūqiān, qǐlái yōng zhěng xiān xiān shǒu. Lù nóng huā shòu, báo hàn qīng yī tòu.
Jiàn kè rù lái, wà chǎn jīn chāi liū. Hé xiū zǒu, yǐ mén huíshǒu, què bǎ qīngméi xiù.

Depth Charge: This poem is in the appendix reserved for poems which, although often attributed to Li Qingzaho, have contested authorship. Certainly, the theme and imagery of this poem seem to be more in keeping with ci poetry written by men in which they fantasize they are women fantasizing about men and, thereby, ascribe their own fantasies about women to the woman herself.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…

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Together with this Sadnesss

after Henri Matisse’s “The Red Studio”

The rising gentle, gentle falling
Of your smooth chest within my arms

I find these things
Only become what they are
To me when I feel them
Together

Together with this sadness

Where I got this this sadness
To be sure you do not know

It comes from having had and lost
All of this before

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(for Cutty)

Depth Charge: On a recent visit to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, I was overwhelmed by Henri Matisse’s “The Red Studio” and I stood transfixed by its unifying field of red. The identifying label for the painting had a quote from Matisse: “Where I got the color red – to be sure, I just don’t know. I find that all these things only become what they are to me when I see them together with the color red.”

Poem Stolen from a NYC Subway Poet

“She’s a girl.
She’s smart.
She’s smart.
She’s a girl.

“She’s smart.
She’s a girl.
She’s smart.
She’s a poet.
She eats pussy.
A lot of pussy.
She’s a girl.
She’s smart.

“She’s smart.
She eats pussy.
She eats pussy.
You suck cock.
You’re a faggot,
A whiteboy faggot.
You suck cock,
Whiteboy faggot.

“She’s a girl.
She’s smart.
She’s smart.
She’s a poet.
She eats pussy.
She’s a girl
She’s smart.”

AGG20150419

Depth Charge: Last Sunday, Apr 19, I got on the G-Train at 4th Av-9th street in Brooklyn, heading back to Bushwick. A couple of stops later a young, black woman got on the train. She was holding forth, addressing herself in the third person and, quite possibly, had some form of Tourette’s. At first her proclamations seemed to have little to do with her surroundings, until she noticed the bearded hipster-type standing across from her. He accepted her abuse stoically for a couple of stops and then got off the train. I don’t know if he had simply had enough, or if it was indeed his intended destination.

At Storm King

passing—just shadows
passing—clouds on the mountain
passing—light dark light

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Depth Charge: We stopped at Storm King Art Center on the way to New York City and I sat on the hill above the sculptures and watched the shadows on the mountain on the far side of the valley.

To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”