For the daily dead who rise

A flurry of snow
Sparkles under the streetlights
It will leave no trace
For the daily dead who rise
Only with the sun to see

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Arab Hunchbacks

You’ve forever ruined
All Arab hunchbacks for me
Ziad by being
Completely sweet and strange and
Dead so I can’t stand seeing

Reminders of you
Today is my fifty-fifth
Birthday and I am
Happy leaving the metro
Until I see another

You were a marvel
And constantly surprising
And I thought a friend
Of such unique proportions
A companion ’til old age

You laughing—singing
It was my birthday party
Two years ago now
We didn’t know then it’d be
The second-last time we’d speak

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(for Ziad Ghaoui)

Ziad Ghaoui March 2014

Ziad Ghaoui March 2014 Photo by MIchael Leon

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55th Birthday: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Long-lived Happiness (Nanchang Birthday)”

Another ride on the rock
Round the dying fireball
That makes fifty-five
I awake to March snowfall
The offer of a fresh start

Then the Grindr Hey!
It’s still dark when you arrive
Beautiful black hair
Brown eyes smooth skin and hard cock
Full of human need

For intimacy
Sexual complicity
That soft hard power
Men ready willing able
Together we manifest

Getting up a second time
New snow already almost gone
I pull the curtains
Open the sunlight dazzles
Your naked body

You appeared out of
The night disappear into
The day like the dreams
I felt move you in your sleep
Amazed within my tight arms

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For A

长寿乐 (南昌生日) 李清照

微寒应候,望日边六叶,阶蓂初秀。爱景欲挂扶桑,漏残银箭,杓回摇斗。庆高闳此际,掌上一颗明珠剖。有令容淑质,归逢佳偶。到如今,昼锦满堂贵胄。 荣耀,文步紫禁,一一金章绿绶。更值棠棣连阴,虎符熊轼,夹河分守。况青云咫尺,朝暮重入承明后。看彩衣争献、兰羞玉酎。祝千龄,借指松椿比寿。

Chángshòu Lè (Nánchāng Shēngrì) Lǐ Qīngzhào

wēi hán yīng hòu, wàng rì biān liù yè, jiē míng chū xiù. Ài jǐng yù guà fúsāng , lòu cán yín jiàn, biāo huí yáo dòu . Qìng gāo hóng cǐ jì, zhǎngshàng yī kē míngzhū pōu. Yǒu lìng róng shū zhì, guī féng jiā’ǒu. Dào rújīn, zhòu jǐn mǎntáng guìzhòu . Róngyào, wén bù zǐ jìn , yīyī jīn zhānglǜshòu . Gèng zhí táng dì lián yīn , hǔfú xióng shì , jiā hé fèn shǒu . Kuàng qīngyún zhǐchǐ , zhāo mù zhòng rù chéng míng hòu . Kàn cǎi yī zhēng xiàn , lán xiū yù zhòu . Zhùqiānlíng, jiè zhǐ sōng chūn bǐ shòu .

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Revised Response to Li Qingzhao’s “As if in a Dream: A Song”

Last night
Drifting rain showers
Sudden winds
Even these could not dispel
This long winter’s perpetual hangover

I ask as you roll up the blinds—
But you say
The ice and snow are unchanged

Then the sunlight sudden bright
Falling into your dark skin
Unsheathes every cell in my body
Up until that very moment
Dull—muffled—wrapped
Each alone enshrouded
Now raw unravelling
All the fibres of our separate being

Don’t you know?
Don’t you know?
We will be the green leaves fattening
Become the flowers slender when in bloom

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Original Response to Li Qingzhao’s “As if in a Dream: A Song”

Last night
Drifting rain showers,
Sudden winds,
Even these could not dispel
This winter’s hangover.

I ask as you roll up the blinds—
But you say
The ice and snow are unchanged.

Don’t you know?
Don’t you know?
The green leaves should be fattening,
The slender flowers blooming.

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Tune: “As in a Dream: A Song,” Two Lyrics
by Li Qingzhao

Last night, a bit of rain, gusty wind
a deep sleep did not dispel the last of the wine,
I ask the maid rolling up the blinds—
but she replies: “The crab apple is just as it was.”

Doesn’t she know?
Doesn’t she know?
The leaves should be lush and the petals frail.

Translated by Eugene Eoyang, from Sunflower Splendor: Three Thousand Years of Chinese Poetry

Simplified Chinese:

李清照·如梦令
昨夜雨疏风骤,浓睡不消残酒。试问卷帘人,却道海棠依旧。
知否?知否?应是绿肥红瘦。

Traditional Chinese:

李清照·如夢令
昨夜雨疏風驟,濃睡不消殘酒。試問卷簾人,卻道海棠依舊。
知否?知否?應是綠肥紅瘦。

Word-by-word:

Li Qīngzhào·rú mèng lìng

Zuóyè yǔ shū fēng zhòu, nóng shuì bùxiāo cán jiǔ. Shì wènjuàn lián rén, què dào hǎitáng yījiù. Zhī fǒu? Zhī fǒu? Yīng shì lǜféi hóng shòu.

Li Qingzhao/as(if)/dream/to make (cause) something (to happen)

Yesterday/night/rain/scattered/wind/sudden, dense(heavy)/sleep/not/dissipate/remaining/wine (alcohol). Try/ask/scroll/screen/person, however/say/wild plum (海棠)/to be aware/as/before.
Know/or not? Know/or not?/Ought to/green/fat/red/thin.

Here is an earlier version of this poem.
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The Urge

I’m sure you feel it
The urge to fight fuck and feast
Lurking deep within
The tarnished snow drifts melting —
The relentless threat of spring

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Well before the dawn

Well before the dawn
A confused snow starts to swirl
Slanting left—then right
Floats—rises—falls half as rain
The night’s thoughts melting away

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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…”