We ate desperately




ti me chrè sigan; ti de mè sigan;
ti de thrènèsai;
dustènos egoo tès barudaimonos
arthroon kliseoos, hoos diakeimai,
noot'en sterrois lektroisi tatheis.
oimoi kephalès, oimoi krotaphoon
pleuroon th'oos moi pothos eilixai
kai diadounai nooton akanthan t'
eis amphoterous toichous, meleoon
epi tous aiei dakruoon elegous.
mousa de chautè tois dustènois
atas keladein achoreutous.

oo megaloon acheoon kataballomena megan oikton,
poion amillathoo go-on; è tina mousan epelthoo,
dakrusin è thrènois è penthesin; e e.

Seirènes, eith'emois go-ois
moloitèechousai ton Libun
looton è suringas, ailinois kakois
tois emoisi sunocha dakrua,
pathesi pathea, melesi melea




(Wat moet ik zwijgen, wat moet ik zeggen,
wat moet ik klagen?
Hoe het gaat:
Zwichtend, rug vastgeschroefd op het harde
bed van zware gewrichten,
zo gaat 't …
Van muren van hoofd, bonzend bloed,
langs mijn rug - hoe ik soms droom
van dans, van languit liggen -
langs mijn rug, een doorn tussen
muren van lijf rondom,
naar steeds weer het huilend lied.
Muze van gemis, verblindingen te zingen - zonder dans - voor mensen zonder houvast.
Strijd van groot verdriet, om de zang die evengroot medelijden verdient.
Welke muze zal ik dwingen, met
tranen -roepen- rouw, om te zingen?

Sirenen, als u eens op mijn roep zou komen,
met uw Lybische fluit en uw fluitende zang,
dat in mijn arme en zwakke mond
uw zang tranend zou samenstromen,
gevoel met gevoel, zwart op een zwarte achtergrond.)










… children being sold in Madhya Pradesh, eating rats to live, baring trees of
bark and leaves to live, external reality, flies on whitewashed walls, old men in
loincloths collecting the dust of a cycle rickshaw, oblivious mud
bodies, mouths
edged with coated sputum, rows of sandals set around the borders of a temple
courtyard, women in saris drifting through the shops wearing muslin, bone,
plastic and glass, saris of handspun cotton (in bare rooms), women spaced
across the upland slush of rice fields, tending
dung fires, gliding past the stalls
in anklet bells and bangles, a mass of pondering voices (in bare rooms reserved
for menstruation), black disk abstracting the edge of the nurturing sun. People
surround the outdoor kitchens waiting for their gruel and milk, eating grass to
live, bodies of the starved abandoned on tiled verandas, human experience,
electric fan moving air across a room adorned with flapping pictures of the gods.


…children with begging bowls, men surrendered to meditation. You enter a
cell in an ashram, several monks in ochre robes, one of whom (bald, sleepy,
smelling of hemp) tells his fellows about the handclapping Africans seized by
the spirit of eclipse who beat on drums to make the sun return, who hide in
their pal leaf huts, who fall into convulsions; about the medicine man who
chews on bitter leaves and spits the curative pieces at assembled villagers;
about the natives who cover their bodies with white clay to counter the
darkness, whole villages white in this way, weepings and seizures, dancing
mania, morbid homage to their lord. His fellow sadhus are amused, nodding in
unison, the empirical source, children immobilized by gastroenteritis,
scavenging to live, to know what passes above, this nearly sunset occurrence,
shadow moving toward the eastmost Ganges, choleroid feces, choleroid
dehydration, choleroid vomit, girls with finger-cymbals laughing in a mango
grove, the cowrie, the owl of good fortune. It is as everywhere, the soul of one
experience passing untouched through the soul of another, men with the
white marks of Shiva, oxen on sparse farms.


The blind stand begging in places that are the same, hanging wash, some
goats, as places everywhere, toy stores, colored glass, the squalor that customarily
surrounds the working of miracles. To breathe but not to speak, to sleep in
the earth, to live in self-inflicted pain, to aspire to blindness by the sun, to
speak but not to move. Children play a shadow game in last light, small birds
picking insects out of human excrement, the players safe when they make
their shadows disappear. There is evening raga in a music room, girls in bare
feet who hide in the shadow of a water tank, the arguments of crosslegged
men all fiercely disposed to the notion of suffering as macrocosmic sport, this
girl and that in obliterated twilight, cries of their pursuers. You perceive
completely. Women with twig brooms. Children dead in darkened archways.
The girls slowly rise from their enfolding shadow, aware the game has been
absorbed, all shadows subtotaled in this nightstreaming dye. A woman touching
a mote of vermillion to her forehead. The insistent density of hand drums,
tamboura and sarod. You see the itinerant mystic's dinner plate with its orderly
dole of almonds, the real world, this man of sect marks and open sores. A
student sits on a pallet repeating phrases from a textbook, his voice half
prayerful with drowsiness, as everywhere, mathematics coinciding with the will to live.


On his pallet, drowsily, on pocked floorboards beneath a shuttered window,
the young man mutters back to his book, cane baskets on women's heads,
lifelong celibates grinning out of broken teeth, children begging for a cracked
fragment of biscuit, the physical universe, eating crumbs to live. Then northward
here, vultures hunched in trees, the shadow curves on eventful waters, fishing
boats, bamboo rafts that carry bodies dappled with jasmine and rose petals,
these being children spared the pyre, and there is sandalwood afloat. What is
the universe as it exists beyond the human brain? The sadhu stands naked in
his cell, body lacking hair at every point.


…, the beating of clothes on stone, sex inside mosquito nets. The shadow
crosses into Bangladesh, thousands waiting on line and for each at best some
pebbles of unleavened bread, control maintained by men with sticks. You read
the grieving man's belief in the everydayness of the absolute. Families set
down their mats and prepare to sleep on pavement, the empirical source,
children stealing to live.


With burial grounds full, people deposit bodies in shallow graves long bared by
local dogs. Tourists photograph the corpses, human experience, scheduled
collections made of bodies in the streets. The shadow passes into the state of
Assam, leaving behind these throphy bones of epic death, families sitting in
the dust outside a feeding center, external reality, their eyes suspended forever
in this medium of exaggerated nutrient humanity, surrounded as they wait by
clamor, lamentation, audible drone of sacred names, as everywhere, all
the plain-weave variations of supplicating noise, …










speak chain lightning
paint a new sound
strike a new colour










oi 'goo melea, ti pot'apusoo;
poian achoo, poion adurmon;
deilaia deilaiou gèroos,
douleias tas ou tlatas,
tas ou phertas oomoi moi.


apist' apista, kaina kaina derkomai.
etera d' aph' etéroon kaka kakoon kurei
oudepot asténaktos adakrutos a-
mera epischèsei.






(Zwart leven, wat zegt een woord -
slaan, klagen?
Gekweld in een kwellende aftakeling.
verslaving die ik niet kan verdragen.


Niets, niets,
niets meer is vertrouwd.
Keer op keer in een nieuw slecht gebied,
nooit zal het ophouder zonder meer,
zonder de toon van klacht en verdriet.)












It has been said that property is theft:
I say that property is murder.
The hands of dying children reach up through your bread.



I make no altar better than my hands.


The word is the white candle at the foot of the throne.



The hands of dying children reach up through your bread.




A fluttering as of desperate wings.

Always the silver music in the shadow…






Since the slaves have been sold to themselves

Since the temples are only painted sores on the faces of the poor

Since only madness can bring the splendor back



Would you sell yourself for a coin that the wind could wear away?


The pain puts a skin on what I am thinking.


Would you sell yourself for a coin that the wind could wear away?



I lifted my empty glass,
The gray, sky-sweat of the fog poured in at my window.
I drank to her
in the blood of all the wounded and tortured in the world.



… A unified disorder.



A fluttering as of desperate wings.

Always the silver music in the shadow…










There is a life inside this life. A filling of gaps. There is something between
the spaces.

There is something in the space between what I know and what I am and what fills
this space is what I know there are no words for.

If only I could remember what the light was like in that space before I had eyes
to see it with. When I had mush for eyes. When I was dripping tissue.










as the emerald thread unwinds
from the angry spool of sea,
trailng fever-mists above the world,
in fog, in night, in death-cries,
in velvet moaning of gulls;
so do we, in our little place,
friendless, without faith, companioned by phantoms,
go across this dismal frontier,
unwound from the secret womb to a damnation profound
and final as a broken wave-










with one hand he grips a rubbed suitcase of phoney leather, the other hand almost
making a fist, thumb up
that moves in ever so slight an arc when a car slithers past, a truck roars,
clatters; the wind of cars pasing ruffles his hair, slaps grit in his face.
Head swims, hunger has twisted the belly tight.

the walk out of town with sore feet to stand and wait at the edge of the hissing
speeding string of cars where the reek of ether and lead and gas melts
into the silent grassy smell of the earth.
Eyes black with want seek out the eyes of the drivers, a hitch, a hundred miles
down the road.

waits on the side of the road; thumb moves in a small arc when a car tears hissing
past. Eyes seek the driver's eyes. A hundred miles down the road.
Head swims, belly tightens, wants crawl over his skin like ants;

waits with swimming head, needs knot the belly, idle hands numb, beside the
speeding traffic.
A hundred miles down the road.










Ein "ist" ergibt sich,…


…in the various barelyfelt velocities of time…


Ein "ist" ergibt sich,…


rebuild the ruined words



to antixoun sumphéron…ek toon diapherontoon kallistèn harmonian.
(Het strijdige samenkomend…uit het zich afzonderende de schoonste harmonie.)




wo das Wort zerbricht



wo das Wort zerbricht




We are not cool: our hate has made us wise, not clever.


…listen, the stirring of life…


The heart breaks with a groan and the grind of a lever
Which lifts a world whose very sun retreats before the brave



rebuild the ruined words


…in the various barelyfelt velocities of time…








the salty in all of us ocean the protoplasm throbbing
through cells growing dividing sprouting into the billion
diverse not yet labeled not yet named
always they slip through the fingers
the changeable the multitudinous lives










speak chain lightning
paint a new sound
strike a new colour

speak chain lightning
words of blue glass
smash the sound barrier
catch the speed of light
bury the sun
and drink up
drink up the night





We ate desperately