Issue 35, Final Fringe

"Nib nok nok" and two more poems

by Susan de Sola Issue 30 03.12.2012



Nib nok nok

Nib nok nok
hreft and cleft,
pick axet splitd
sholid, sit
the pressd, presst,
shist, shale,
so chunk, hunkd
only thickt
braze brickt
brazz, schrape,
so stillt and stilt,
glitz staint
vein o kilk
wint bround,
shoft fround,
shiver over,
klichen klover,
nok nok
I ema a . . . .

[translation:]

Knock knock, who’s there?
with heft and cleft
pick axe split
solid, sit
the press, press
of schist and shale
so chunk, hunk,
only thick
brazen brick,
raze, scrape,
still and sit,
glitz stains,
calcium veins,
wind around,
soft ground
slivers over,
lichen, clover,
knock, knock . . .
I’m still a rock.




Two Part Song


Preserved Things
Of most things, come and gone,
remains little song—the milk got drunk, the egg got fried,
the bleached colors of the Polaroid lied. Moth wings
break into crumbs—parts don’t add up to sums.
Yes, most things will slip and slide, eroding in the great elide.
I sing now of preserved things, of whorls in wood
and table rings; calico corn, gold and red,
like relic teeth in an ancient head;
ageless pussy willows in a glass, far from their lost river-pass;
an arrangement, too, of white
moonwort pods stretched tight like the papery
skin of a drum,
forgetful where they’d travelled from, yes,
all these things make a mighty sum.
To this, add things from the fridge, surviving on their arctic ridge,
a jar of pearl onions on a shelf,
a wishbone drying on the sill, probably it lies there still,
let us add the things that freeze:
an ice age of meat and peas.
Yes, I sing a song
of things preserved: the parched, the pickled,
dried, conserved—inert but alive—unlike me,
they disdained to grow;
not dead, but changeless,
outside flow. The answer to a riddle
I wished not to know.


Things Thrown Away
To live is to scatter, even things
that matter, to send on its way
that which would stay. I am mighty,
lift crates, push boxes, flatten gates,
jettison the jetsam, float away the flotsam.
It’s an art to lose it, Bishop said,
all I want is in my head, let photos curl,
let knits unpurl.
A collage I made, too long unseen—its cuttings
slot to magazines. The codfish from the freezer flies,
swims back to streams. The cat, the dog, both long dead,
Granny too, and what she said,
they leave a little heap of stones.
All may join in general decay, rosebuds
gathered when they may. The clothes
may soon fall to tatters, the roof crush a sinking wall.
I’d like to leave without a trace,
dissolve the lines that line my face, live lightly
on the dropping earth,
grow all compact and white and spare, a cube
of nothing, small and rare.
If I squeeze it small, it all fits there,
a rolling die in rarefied air.





Old Newsreel (Dallas, 1963)

The color-slide from blue to teal of skies
and clothes and office signs
tells us they’ve become less real.
Greens are sorrowful and sage, acid spreads,
the print degrades, bleeding foliage of its age.
Orange tints dilute the reds, no crimson
slash to complement her rusted, pill-boxed,
bee-hived head.

She looks made up, a pancake tan
coats skin ochre, tangerine; we know
that she was elegantly wan.
A wash of charcoal fades the black paint
of cars, dimming duller, glinting grey
on a destined track in a world without
primary color. The years move a washed-out course
leaching pigments, PCBs, and dolor.



Susan de Sola

Susan de Sola

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Susan de Sola is an American poet living in the Netherlands. A winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize, she has published work in The Hopkins Review, Measure, Light, and Ambit, and has work forthcoming in Tilt-a-Whirl as well as other venues.