the ransom

Come, let’s find the secret of the clear waters;
I’ll adore you, as a drowned person does the sea.

Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead flesh
Will be our friendly escorts, in joy.

Queen, I raised to you this shining palace,
From the remains of a vessel shipwrecked at night . . .

The gardens of corals, anemones, and algae
Lose nothing from the autumn’s breath.

Laughing like harlequins in a burlesque,
We’ll mount astride the backs of sharks.

Your eyes will gleam like phosphor
Through the dusk where no dawn laughs.

I am the being your bare breast once charmed,
Unable to hate or love you enough,

Whom you devoured as does your own escort,
Those crabs whose hunger is sated on dead flesh . . .

Come, I’ll draw you the bitter water,
To love your death there in the sea’s night.

Renée Vivien

this is bad

Someone hands you an English thriller,
highly recommended.
You don’t read English.

You’ve worked up a thirst
for something you can’t afford.

You have deep insights,
brand new, and they sound
like an academic glossing Hölderlin.

You hear the waves at night
ramping against the shore
and you think: that’s what waves do.

Worse: you’re asked out
when at home you get better coffee,
silence, and you don’t expect to be amused.

Awful: not to die in summer
under a bright sky
when the rich dirt
falls easily from the shovel.

Gottfried Benn


My father wind and you my mother earth,
Fire, my friend, water, my near relation
And you my brother sky; in this last breath
Of mortal life I send you salutation.
From living ever with you comes this birth
Of uncontaminated wisdom with increase
Of goodness that all darkness and all folly cease
As now I live in brahma in my death.