[Author’s Note:“A lid vos heybt on mit tsvey shuros fun likhtn”(“A Poem Beginning with Two Lines from Likht”) is a translingual epistolary experiment and collaborative double-iteration between English and Yiddish poetic tongues. Mikhl Likht (1893–1953), our radical Yiddish modernist ancestor (New York and “Objectivist” based) calls out from the interstices of an expanded-Yiddish praxis, coaxing our poem into the the wor(l)d with two lines from his “poem-of-a-life,” Protsestiyes (Processions).
[The following selection (theoretical and critical fragments from between 1967 and 1969) is taken from Paul Celan, Mikrolithen sinds, Steinchen, the collected posthumous prose as edited by Barbara Wiedemann and Bertrand Badiou and published by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2005.
[EDITOR’S NOTE. Writes Ron Silliman of Weiss’s workings here and across the years: “This is a barefoot poetry, almost in the very oldest Asian sense of that phrase, a poetry of voice and body that recognizes that even body-language has accents, which surely it does. The eye is keen, the humor self-deprecating. Mark Weiss has reached that point on life’s mesa where forgiveness (to oneself as well as others) may well be the most important of gestures. A book to make you glad to be in the world.”]
BY WAY OF THE SEASON
After its struggle the gazelle surrenders to the lion’s grip, useless to fight. Does it think then, does it think ‘if only I’d dodged to the right. If only. Maybe next time.’ As the cat disembowels it and begins to feed.
Farewell to the hills farewell to the herd farewell to water hole and tender grasses and the joy of the young at the teat.
[In response to questions about my use of traditional gematria as a means of poetic composition, the following sampler draws poems from two books of mine previously published and still, I believe, in circulation: Gematria, Sun & Moon Press, 1994, and Gematria Complete, Marick Press, 2009. That the works were part of an ongoing dialogue between myself and Jackson Mac Low may also be worth noting.]