Andrew Singer

Andrew Singer

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Andrew Singer is a poet, editor and visual artist. He directs Trafika Europe (https://trafikaeurope.org), showcasing new literature in English translation from the 47 countries of Council of Europe. He has an MA in Writing Poetry from Boston University, where he mentored with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. His writing has appeared in such publications as World Literature Today, Fulcrum, Levure littéraire, Emanations, and Open Letters Monthly. He believes all things begin and end in wonder.

 

 

Bookshop in late afternoon

 

Hot sidewalk faces, done chewing gum,
shelter in the book emporium:
under long halogen parallels
converging at far showroom edges
afternoon’s familiar rituals
slow near teak book-pyramid ledges,
perusing the written world’s titles
enshrining our bright, naked and dead
writers’ part-fictional requitals
in tombs of paper that will be read,
reviewed, discussed, given recitals
to couples seated in artful pairs
(for whom good readings are like jazz riffs)
fingering tabletop hieroglyphs
over coconut and almond cakes.
Please bring purchases to front counters
where prelates tally the daily takes.
Bookshop, temple to the printed age
will soon close — liberating language.

 

River of Hair

 

 

river of hair
overflowing turquoise blood of restless stars

 

– • –

 

river of hair in cold dawn
overflowing orange blood of restless stars

spilling over bone-white pillows
pooling in the soft bone cleft between
twin fire-studded cadenzas

an aspen run to ride against

an aspen run to ride up
rafting up swelling, vine-wet lips

unpacking lunch on wide, unblinking
picnictable eyes

 

– • –

 

river of hair in afternoon

in powder-damp side-pools
gripped
of river musk
staunched and pinioned for the coming flood

and a fire shooting up
from nape to wounded knee

river of hair
capillating the bed vaingloriously

blood and poison locked
and dancing in a hot sun
of cello on guitar, grinding of string on string

and the thick bed green and overgrown
filled with seasonal hunting

– • –

river of hair in evening
plaited with song and fire-lily

diamonds of the milk-red underlife
which a million forest animals share
harmonizing in the night

– • –

river of hair

this river of hair, this river of hair

 

 

Bulamarin (a song)

 

(available in .mp3 audio with music.)

 

 

In Bulamarin there’s a stain on a window

Where Candy was sitting before she went out

Wandering through the market one midnight

Under brown broken moonlight

 

Living too long with the fallen faces

Every step forward recoils in a trap

Bulamarin is a hothouse in stasis

Where just surviving’s a shallow grave

 

Nowadays Candy recalls with a shudder

Whenever the autumn night air is too chill

Climbing that high cemetery wall

Late at night to commune with her brother

 

Living too long in Bulamarin

A book tastes like a voracious coat –

A simple meal, a pleated dress –

We are each of us pale in our narrative.

 

Candy walked down through the old broken town

Down past the stream where her brother and she

Once played at pirates and swore that they’d be

Each others’ best friends forever

 

Living too long with the fallen faces

Every step forward recoils in a trap

Bulamarin’s a hothouse in stasis

Where just surviving’s a shallow grave

 

She climbed the moss-dank cemetery wall

Tossing up dahlias and lilies uprooted

From back behind the old fireman’s hall

Where some folks kept a small garden

 

 

Living too long in Bulamarin

A book tastes like a voracious coat

A simple meal, a pleated dress

We are each of us pale in our narrative.

 

Top of the wall she jumped in the darkness –

Collected her flowers & sat there a while –

In a transparent slicker against a moist wall –

With the clouded moonlight rippling

 

Living too long with the fallen faces

Every step forward recoils in a trap

Bulamarin is a hothouse in stasis

Where just surviving’s a shallow grave

 

She cleaned the old flowers and pebbles and stray dirt

And candles off of his gray-green grave –

And spread out the second-hand dahlias and lilies

In a rusted tin can with stale water

 

She thought about her brother then

She thought about her life

She strained to hear the moonlight

Till the cold breaths burned inside her

 

Living too long with the fallen faces

Every step forward recoils in a trap

Bulamarin is a hothouse in stasis

Where just surviving’s a shallow grave

 

And when she couldn’t stand it more

She got bored and left by the front fence door

She wandered home instinctively

Shivering through the town

 

Living too long in Bulamarin

A book tastes like a voracious coat

A simple meal, a pleated dress

We are each of us pale in our narrative.

 

 

As Candy passed the market square

With metal stands all folded down

There was a rasping tinkling sound –

She knew there was a boy behind her.

 

She pulled up her girlish 19-year frame

To full mature height and strode toward the lane

She hadn’t tried holding her breath for long

– but anyway how could she?

 

Living too long in Bulamarin

A book tastes like a voracious coat

A simple meal, a pleated dress

We are each of us pale in our narrative.

 

She made her way back to her family’s house

All the way feeling a boy was behind her

Aware of her shoes assaulting the cobbles

Feeling vulnerable – piqued and strong

 

She turned at last back onto the path

(She knew in the lamplight a shadow turned too)

She hurried inside with her head partway down

And she never looked behind her

 

She slipped upstairs like the ghost of a rose

In her bedroom she started to tremble

Pulling the coverlet over her chest

Chattering like a fandango

 

Candy hates living in Bulamarin

In the grave of the night she feels like she is

A lack of grace personified

 

Like what seeps into a family meal

When everyone grows a different way –

Like they did that night some years ago

 

Bulamarin is tugging around its wheelchair with its eyes

 

 

 

 

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