Arts & Culture

THREE POEMS

Atonement There is Betwixt Light and Darkness To be a we, we must include that which we have banished– the transgressor, the excommunicated. Can be neither community or person without our ex–punged, tracted parts down to the smallest part must … Read More

By / November 20, 2008

Atonement There is Betwixt Light and Darkness

To be a we, we must include that which we have banished– the transgressor, the excommunicated. Can be neither community or person without our ex–punged, tracted parts down to the smallest part must not be buried without the least drop, even if by violence we died, scraped mopped absorbed collected by the dedicated blessed friends. This day, each portion of our confession comes to a portion of the body that has gone astray–errors of the hand the heart the mouth the eye. Before bed, a slow exercise imagining to sleep each contiguous part and part and part till the whole body is offered within the dark sleep of a great fish and spat out where the sea transgresses the littoral, where the shore connects water and land.

Meditation in a Bright Room

Haste is the enemy. When. In the night’s damp hollow, your hands articulating flesh, layer by serried layer. Haste is the enemy. Will. Hold it silent in the mouth each salt grain meeting its bud’s receptor. Haste is the enemy. I. Know that most of a day is the sitting still, the patient’s patience. Haste is the enemy. See. Thumbs thread the cervical vertebrae, thoracic, lumbar, two, three, four. Sacrum. Coccyx. Haste is the enemy. You. Name the names I can’t name, find the birds in the low bush, their shy pink answer to sun. Haste is the enemy. When.

RowingIn Eden

In the winter morning’s wild–light– that man’s name– flashed– outside his shop and memory came–quick faucet flung–open flooding, flushing the system and then stillness–suppression– of the striking hip bone, the huge thick taut– not like anything I’d seen –or felt–luxury enough–to keep me tethered to the dark–in those days–the scotch shimmering over ice in a squat glass was ever the richest color– in the room–angry angry touch and the morning tenderness–severed– from all that came before–the sun flickering.

Judith Baumel is Associate Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Adelphi University. A former director of the Poetry Society of America, her poetry, translations and essays have been published in POETRY, THE AGNI REVIEW, THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE NEW YORKER. Her books of poetry are THE WEIGHT OF NUMBERS NOW (University of Miami Press, 1996).

All images from Eleanor Dubinky‘s performance installation TRANSIT.

TRANSIT is a hybrid dance and video work that uses large-scale projections and live performance to create an immersive cross-cultural experience of international public transportation.