Poets and Translators:
Poets and Translations
Alicia Ostriker, Álvaro Mata Guillé, Amir Or,
Baitullah Quaderee, Bill Wolak, Bishnupada Ray,
Carolyne Wright, Daniela Negrete, Ekok Soubir,
Hassanal Abdullah, Helena Berg, Jaehyung Park, Joan Digby, Jyotirmoy Datta, Kabir Chowdhury,
Kalina Izabela Zioła, Maid Corbic, Maria Mistrioti, Mohammad Nurul Huda, Peter Cole, Slava Konoval, Stanley H. Barkan, and Sungrye Han
Poetry in Bengali
Prabir Das, Naznin Seamon, Ahana Biswas,
Tareq Mahmud, Shourav Sikder, Al Imran Siddiqui,
Farhan Ishraq, Chandan Das, Laila Farzina, and Al Noman
Letters to the Editor
Teodozia Zarivna, Kalina Izabela Zioła,
Majed Mahtab, and Ehsanul Habib
Cover Art:Jacek Wysocki
Celebrating 24 Years of Publication
প্রকাশনার চব্বিশ বছর
Cover Art: Jacek Wysocki
Stanley H. Barkan
Why My Wife Likes Westerns
It’s not because she likes “The Duke” and
his folksy two-gun ways, “Pilgrim!”
And it’s not because, in the old Westerns,
how black and white hats meant good and bad.
Nor was it because two rifle shots
would bring down six or seven Indians.
And it isn’t because she’s fond of
saguaros or prairie dogs or longhorns.
No, she just loves big mountains, mesas, canyons,
and rock formations like those in Monument Valley.
To my artist wife, these wide-open landscapes
are the great works of the Great Artist in the big sky.
Teaching Haitians at Boys High
adouble fifteener after William Heyen’s Vehicles
In the early 60’s, I taught at Boys High in Bedford-Stuyvesant,
Brooklyn. I taught English and English as a Second Language.
The latter was for students from other countries—Korea, Latin
America, and Haiti. So the languages ranged from Korean to
Spanish to French & Patois. I particularly liked my ESL
classes, as the students in it formed a kind of family. Since
they were all new to America, and Brooklyn in particular, I
served as a teacher supposed to be, in loco parentis, but more
so with these students than the other American ones. They
needed guidance in how to survive in a neighborhood with
many pitfalls. Thus, I paired smaller students with bigger
ones so that the bigger ones would look after the smaller.
I also counseled them on how to carry their lunch tickets
and any money (in their shoes). One time the biggest and
best Haitian fighter was in a playing way looking to fight
Since I knew the Korean was a black belt karate expert,
I put a stop to this encounter. The Korean boy, son of
a minister, said, “Save your life! Save your life!” He did.
This was one very memorable incident in my ESL teaching days.
Another was when I was invited to visit Haiti by the parents
of one of the Haitian students. Alas, I couldn’t go.
But a fellow teacher, who was a gifted linguist, who could
speak not only French but Patois, agreed to go in my place.
My students told me that “I” was on the radio in Port-au-Prince,
speaking in Patois. It was little wonder then why Haitians
coming to America were told to “Go to Mr. Barkan’s class.”
I found the Haitians to have a deep commitment to culture,
classical French, and European. They loved reading books
by famous French authors. I helped a few to receive Regents
scholarships. It’s been 50 years since I taught at Boys High,
but some Haitians still call me up.
Summer in Alaska—
sunset comes before dawn.
At midnight pink clouds
cover the sky among black trees,
and soon the day star beds down
to catch a few hours of sleep
until she wakes just after three,
calling out her name—Aurora
as she rises.
Farewell to Cindy, my friend
who took her life last night
when she bottomed out alone
with no one near to rescue her
from fears of being unloved
I loved Cindy from the time she called
me to rescue cats at the barn
and introduced me to Snowball
the unloved pony she adored and protected
who then became my beloved boy
We were bonded by that most needy horse
and by our mutual belief in the desire
to rescue unloved cast-out animals
never realizing her parallel history
of being outcast by an addicted family
then adopted by another that sought
to embrace and love her as their own.
There were tremors in her hands
that should have been a clue.
There was bitterness in her heart
that bubbled up like steam
and yet I never knew the whole truth
of her life—her body—her dark fear
that drove her to alcohol and drugs
then plunged her into eternal death.
The horses and cats will remember Cindy
with love as I do and her family in mourning.
The tragedy of a beloved friend and sister
who never came to trust in love and self
as much we and the animals trusted and loved her.
Where am I? he used to ask
sitting on the edge of his bed in the dark
hoping for directions to find the toilet
that was twenty steps in front of him
Where am I? more than a trope is now
an essential question too difficult to answer
since he has been moved from one hospital
to another and then to a care home
where room configurations
and the location of a toilet
are just as confusing as other thoughts
that float and unravel in his mind
Light Connects Every Dream
Light connects every dream
cultivating arousal like a willow tree
gathering swallows at noon.
Though fleeting as a sandbar smoothed
by the high tide’s quickening waves,
light nevertheless connects every dream.
But only because of ecstasy
does the astonished universe
vanish into your nakedness.
Only because of ecstasy do you encounter
that incomprehensible luminosity
of union without addition.
Never attack the wind
with a stick.
From behind, it stirs.
From above, it stirs.
Never attack the fire
From beside, it stirs.
From underneath, it stirs.
Never attack the fog
From around, it stirs.
From beyond, it stirs.
The Statue of Dionysos
In Ancient Greece at Patrai,
the statue of Dionysos was considered
so dangerous that it was kept
in a locked chest and only displayed
once a year during the god’s festival night.
The mere sight of the statue
caused a sudden, incurable madness.
Only those who were terminally ill
or those who longed for the most
intimate initiation with the god
dared to gaze at the statue.
But that untreatable madness
on Dionysos’ festival night
was considered a blessing,
a libertine state during which
the celebrant, possessed by the god,
uttered enigmatic prophecies
and improvised indecent songs
to the amazement of the entire gathering.
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পত্রিকার মুদ্রিত কপি
Poetry in English 1
Poetry in English 2
Poetry Translated from Other Languages 1
Poetry Translated from Other Languages 2
Poetry: Bengali to English
Poetry in Bengali
To the Editor
শব্দগুচ্ছর এই সংখ্যাটির মুদ্রিত সংস্করণ ডাকযোগে পেতে হলে
অনুগ্রহপূর্বক নিচে ক্লিক করে ওয়ার্ডার করুন।
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