Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Dacca Gauzes By Agha Shahid Ali

The Dacca Gauzes

Those transparent Dacca gauzes
known as woven air, running 
water, evening dew:

a dead art now, dead over
a hundred years. "No one 
now knows," my grandmother says,

"what it was to wear
or touch that cloth." She wore 
it once, an heirloom sari from

her mother's dowry, proved
genuine when it was pulled, all
six yards, through a ring.

Years later, when it tore,
many handkerchiefs embroidered
with gold-thread paisleys

were distributed among
the nieces and daughters-in-law.
Those too now lost.

In history we learned: the hands
of weavers were amputated,
the looms of bengal silenced,

and the cotton shipped raw
by the British to England.
History of little use to her,

my grandmother just says
how the muslins of today
seem so coarse and that only

in autumn, should one wake up
at dawn to pray, can one 
feel the same texture again.

One morning, she says, the air
was dew-starched: she pulled
it absently through her ring.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Happiness Writes White by Edward Hirsch

Happiness Writes White 

I am a piece of chalk
scrawling words on an empty blackboard.
I am a banner of smoke
that crosses the blue air and doesn't dissolve.
I don't believe that only sorrow
and misery can be written.
Happiness, too, can be precise:
Doctor, there's a keen throbbing
on the left side of my chest
where my ribs are wrenched by joy.
Wings flutter in my shoulders
and blood courses through my body
like waves cresting on a choppy sea.
Look: the eyes blur with tears
and the tears clear.
My head is like skylight.
My heart is like dawn.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dictionary by Charles Simić


Maybe there is a word in it somewhere
to describe the world this morning,
a word for the way the early light
takes delight in chasing the darkness
out of store windows and doorways.

Another word for the way it lingers
over a pair of wire-rimmed glasses
someone let drop on the sidewalk
last night and staggered off blindly
talking to himself or breaking into song.

Hello NSA!

Hello, World.
We are born.
And for you NSA people

كيف حالكم، يا إخوان ؟

The Divas In Labor

This is the Art Divas.  We're not born yet. So fuck off and come back when we're ready.