Time has passed. Time passes, and it leaves nothing. It carries, it drags away with it, many things. The void, it leaves the void. It empties things out like the sea empties out tiny crustaceans and mollusks. Time is like the sea. It uses us up until we turn transparent. We are made transparent so that through us the world can be seen, or heard, the way we hear the eternal roar of the sea in the hollow of a conch. Time, the sea, whose immeasurable domain we cannot comprehend, wherein we are contained.
José Ángel Valente, translated by Thomas Christensen In: “Landscape with Yellow Birds: Selected Poems by José Ángel Valente”
I live like a lover
who drops her dime into the phone
just as the subway shakes into the station
wasting her message
canceling the question of her call:
fulminating or forgetful but late
and always after the fact that could save or
I must become the action of my fate.
June Jordan (1936 - 2002), “I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies”
It’s different today. You’re a poor emigrant. You’ll find any other country is smooth and hard as a chestnut shell. You become a trial to yourself and a burden on others. For the roofs that you see are not built for you. The bread that you smell is not baked for you. And the language that you hear is not spoken for you.
Irmgard Keun, from “After Midnight”, translated by Anthea Bell