Monday, January 19, 2009

Tsering Wangmo Dhompa: 'On 21st Street'

On 21st street

He waits by the window to witness
a disaster. Counts time by the glitter
of a ring, broken glass or hair. The street
emerges—cleaner, glamorous—a rhythm of images
in metallic revolutions. The street, a bridegroom
pinning weight on one single woman thinking alas,
thinking escape. The center of a journey,
a bouleversement when all he wants to do
is sit all day and deliquesce, drop by drop.
He wonders at the octopus who can get
her own drink; at the monkey who entertains
the crowd; the boy or girl called Teddi who
reads backwards from a moving car.
Just for a moment he wants to be a hog
or hot air balloon, deft and droll. He stretches
palms out, traces the lines with a pen. Writes into.

(From In The Absent Everyday. More poems here.)

Tsering was a year ahead of me at college. She wrote so well back then that it ought not to be a surprise to read her work now. But surprise and delight are key to all poetry, aren't they? Have to thank Ron Silliman for (re)discovering Tsering's poetry.

An excerpt from a longer prose piece here.)

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