* existing with gisela kraft & an update

 

five-story house in laleli – Gisela Kraft

one lies in rags on the street
and his stomach is empty
and he wishes for death

one sits with friends at tea and backgammon
and his mind is empty
and he wishes for death

one sits in a straight-backed chair at a desk
and his bank account is empty
and he wishes for death

one lies in bed staring out to sea
and the place next to him in bed is empty
and he wishes for death

one flies back with food in its beak
and its nest is empty
and only this one says
we should give it another try

(trans. Laura Leichum)

This short lyric has quickly become a favorite of mine in the past few weeks. I’m charmed by the way the seemingly simple refrain quickly enters into allegory. The repetitions of “empty” and “death” build up an atmosphere of dejection and set up the turn at the end of the poem. The impersonal and non-specific nature of “one” as an address allows for the final stanza’s change in perspective; something “flies” in the heart of the reader and defies the preceding stanzas of emptiness and death, and gives further impetus to exist. There’s also a structural charm to the poem in the way the “five-story house” is played out in the five stanzas of the poem.

***

It has been a week since the official release of my collection Everything We Think We Hear. Since then, I have been humbled and moved by the warm reception and good wishes people have shown the new book. Thank you to all who have shown interest and bought the book!

After some minor issues, the book is available for order on Amazon!

As part of a partly superstitious and partly practical (or so I tell myself) process, I went ahead and ordered myself a copy. Here’s a pic that shows that my little book does indeed exist:

This copy is going straight to mom in Texas. I’ll make sure to post an update here when I receive my own copies for sale.

Happy existing!

José

 

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2 thoughts on “* existing with gisela kraft & an update

  1. I have neither the superstitious or the practical to blame…I ordered the first day it was available on Amazon. I confess to having been exceedingly eager to read this book. And Jose, I’m fascinated with this: Reasons [Not] to Dance was one I read slowly, one or two at a time, like koans, setting it down in between to contemplate for a day or two. But this one (which I’ve now devoured twice) is a page-turner…I couldn’t put it down until I finished reading it all the way through, and then started over and did it again.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Laura! I did my best to add something extra in regards to conceptual structure via the order of the poems, so that various ideas cycled around throughout reading. I’m hoping this had something to do with your experience. I am honored by your words, my friend! Jose

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