Arkadii Dragomoshchenko: Paper Dreams, for Jerome Rothenberg

Translation from Russian by Genya Turovskaya


Black
paper dreams of its own
inaudible
rustle;
its
own reflection in white.
Heat
drowsily gazes at heat
through
the panes of passion.

Metamorphoses
of water.
Carrying
reflections
down
to the bones marrow,
the
mirrors of droplets dry up.
Black
paper dreams
of
black: its dream constrained
by
the nature of non-color.

Through
the membrane--
the
single-mindedness of repetition,
through
the body--the needle flies,
bereft
of thread, of decay.
Shadow
falls upon brick walls.
The
gematria of melting,
of
exclusions.

The
letter dreams of the same
paper's
rustling,
in
which hearing distinguishes
the
contours of a poet,
who
dreams of Hasidim
burning
out as a page of song
on
the stones of the ocean,
reducing
vowels to gesture.

The
dream dreams a dream of consonants,
the
page--
where
black assumes
the
limits of incision--
dreams
of the borders of the letter, mica, light.

I love to touch with my lips
the tattoo at the stem of your shoulder,
(the calendrical whirl of the Aztecs),
so that word may open to word.

Again there isn’t enough money,
images of sand and wind,
to buy wine.

Each dream, exposing
the honeycombs of visions,
engages thread into motion:
fingers slipping downward
(Guétat-Liviani, Frédérique)
spin a cobweb
--the tenderness of violence--
the ethereal fabric of recognition
in intensity and indication.

However quiet
your
voice may be.
However
much it fills coincidences
with
hesitant executions.

The
fingers dream of the keyholes
of
song, exuded by stones,
that
see in their dreams
the
azure salts of the sun,
the
blades whistle, waters branch,
that
see in their dreams
skin,
celestial bodies, teeth,
the
tattoo of indistinct speech
on
the standards of breathing--
such
are
the
touch of tongue to tongue,
of
saliva to tongue;

such
are the outspread arms and legs
of
a man and a woman,--
the
golden mean on the books cover,--
who
dream of pages
over
which the night saunters,
and
the night is dreamt by speech,
like
the throat of heavy light
and
the signs endless ribbon
that
engirds those who are
slowly
bringing their hands together
as
if the fingers grope for something else in the bend.

A
desert,
imprisoned
in touch.

Wine
sees in its dreams
all
the forementioned things,
that
cross into diminution
along
the steps of un-thinging,
(an
unhurried narration),
and
I, examining the wine
that
lives in glassy limits,
like
the threads
of
fusion and touch,
falling
from the fingers
toward
the puppets of flight
in
the gardens of noontime tortures.

The
sign--is the quietest razor of darkness.
Wine
has noright
no
left.Death
has
no name--it is only a list,
the
spilling over of the two-way mirror,
where
the equal sign is rubbed away
to
the differentiation
between
man and woman.

 

[NOTE. Arkadii Dragomoshchenko came to us first as a samizdat/underground poet, his lines & gestures signaling an opening to new discoveries & freedoms in what had been the closed world of the Soviet superstate. That freedom as a poet resided squarely in the heart of his poetryits language & form serving as the conduits for thoughts & realities previously obscured. With that much behind him his work emerged on the American poetry scene through the good works of Lyn Hejinian & a number of other poets closely or loosely connected with the Language Poetry movement. That his poetry is remarkable on its own terms should be evidentthe summary by Marjorie Perloff clear enough:For Dragomoshchenko, language is not the always already used and appropriated, the pre-formed and prefixed that American poets feel they must wrestle with. On the contrary, Dragomoshchenko insists thatlanguage cannot be appropriated because it is perpetually incomplete... and, in an aphorism reminiscent of Rimbaud'sJe est un autre,’ ‘poetry is always somewhere else.’” (J.R.)]