Montreal becomes film noir

After an ice storm
Montreal becomes film noir
Femme fatale icy
Cold beautiful dangerous
To fools who try to cross her

AGG20180123

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We know your heart burns

In this hard winter
Of heavy snows icy cold
We know your heart burns
Aflame with biting white heat
Irreplaceable losses

Our emotions sing
Bereft of a loved one’s touch
They cannot withstand
The turmoil of our bodies
We cage them in fragile words

So I offer you
These few lines of shared sorrow
Born of discordance
Deep and dissonant feelings
Unified in common song

AGG20180122
for EG

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Winter thaw

Flash—winter lightning 
Noiseless on the horizon 
Crash—melting ice slides  
From the roof to the backyard 
Breaks itself and the silence 
 
AGG20180110 

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Unless you are dead

Unless you are dead
Then you’re very much alive
“Ain’t no use whining,”
Said a friend who’s dead to me,
“Let’s live or get in the ground.”

AGG20180102

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The Flowers Fatal

The flowers fatal
In their blooming transient
Spare time for the breeze
Make room for the honey bees
Show indifference to me

Best the stars remain
Safe in deceptive distance
If shining lures us
Into their silver river
First we’d freeze—only to burn

AGG20171115

Depth Charge: I was invited by Joseph Moutran to the technical rehearsal for his Schubert recital, as I will be unable to attend the concert. Listening to him, this is what occurred. Thanks, Joseph.

Die schöne Müllerin / La belle meunière/The Beautiful Miller’s Daughter
The entire song cycle by Franz Schubert, with poetry by Wilhelm Müller, presented with French and English subtitles.
Performed by Joseph Moutran – Baryton, François Zeitouni, piano.
Saturday, November 18, 2017 at 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Chapelle St-Louis, 4230 Rue Drolet, Montréal, QC H2W 2L4
Tickets at the door.

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Finally at 5 o’clock: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “New Lotus Leaves”

Finally at 5 o’clock
In a lightly drifting snow
Alone in the woods
The world poised to fall into
Another dark night

Sometimes forgetting
Becomes a powerful form
Of self-protection
Not simple dark denial
But freeing white erasure

More ephemeral
Than gravitational waves
Your absence lifts me
Knowing the snow doesn’t fall
Rather we rise up through it

As on the day I was born
The dragon raised its horned head
From the frozen seas
Though I couldn’t see it then
Through my newly opened eyes

AGG20160219

新荷叶李清照
薄露初零,长宵共、永昼分停。绕水楼台,高耸万丈蓬瀛。芝兰为寿,相辉映、簪笏盈庭。花柔玉净,捧觞别有娉婷。
鹤瘦松青,精神与、秋月争明。德行文章,素驰日下声名。东山高蹈,虽卿相、不足为荣。安石须起,要苏天下苍生。

Xīn hé yè Lǐ Qīngzhào
báolùchū líng, zhǎng xiāo gòng, yǒng zhòu fēn tíng. Rào shuǐ lóutái, gāosǒng wànzhàng péng yíng. Zhīlán wèi shòu, xiāng huīyìng, zān hù yíng tíng. Huā róu yù jìng, pěng shāng bié yǒu pīng tíng.
Hè shòu sōngqīng, jīngshén yǔ, qiūyuè zhēng míng. Déxíng wénzhāng, sù chí rì xià shēngmíng. Dōngshān gāo dǎo, suī qīng xiāng, bùzú wéi róng. Ān shí xū qǐ, yào sū tiānxià cāngshēng.

New/lotus/leaf/Li Qingzhao
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If I must have a grave

If I must have a grave
Let it be surrounded
By tall pines whispering
Their soft secrets to me
Whenever a breeze blows

AGG20151125

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As we lay down in the blood of strangers

As we lay down in the blood of strangers, 
Our tired bones made from the dust of stars, 
It would be so easy to just give in 
To despair, refuse to rise up again. 
 
Weary of television’s nightly dose 
Of horror and fear and murder, we want 
To hide away in some safe hole until 
It passes like a nightmare on parade. 
 
But this life is not a dream, it is real, 
As real as bullets, as bombs, as sirens, 
And we need to wake up, open our eyes, 
To dry our tears with the ashes of the dead. 
 
Our fears are as useless as our prayers, which 
Imagined god would we offer them to? 
The god of the killers and of the killed 
Is one and the same and his name is shit. 
 
This fictitious god who breeds hate too real 
For me and the all men I’ve ever loved 
Fades to nothing before the power felt 
As I lay down in a stranger’s warm arms. 
 
AGG20151116 
 
Depth Charge: The title of this poem is a slight modification of a line from an essay written by Isobel Bowdery, a survivor of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nov 13, 2015.

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The Dark Arts

I drank the blood of a dead dog
To erase all memory of you
I vomited out my own heart
Into a stranger’s empty chest

These are the dark arts I employed
To murder off my love for you
I needn’t have bothered with them
The only thing wanting was time

AGG20151105

Depth Charge: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/04/what-if-i-never-get-over-him-her-google-answer?CMP=fb_gu

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A Fool’s Game: A Response to “New Jade Candle” by Zhou Bangyan, attributed to Li Qingzhao

Lilac apple catalpa
Half-covered in fresh fallen
Snow—white on—white on—
My head’s an impossible
Conjunction of blooms

The Saint Lawrence slowly flows
Into the Yangtze River
Mount Royal rises
Beneath the Purple Mountain
Our arms are empty

Here—now—red and gold
Huddle randomly in drifts
At the wind’s mercy
Remembering’s a fool’s game
Sticking leaves back on the trees

AGG20151012

Depth Charge: Another poem universally attributed to Zhou Bangyan (Chou Pang-yen), yet included in the collection of Li Qingzhao poetry that I am using as a basis for this project. My translation of Zhou Bangyan’s poem may be found here,  Fittingly enough, my response deals with the inevitability of misremembering and misplacement.

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