the peony has made some leaves to shade the whole balcony
the little elephant is standing up in front of my notebook
the washing machine faucet drips in the bathroom
i’m smoking under the cloudsthe ink leaks from my pen
the pillow is rolled up in the bed i unroll
music and mexican shouting arriyou keep me up
eyes closed i call the police
that’s the first time i’ve ever written i call the police
there is also a storm
gorgeous rumbling thunder and lightning
that’s what woke me
i didn’t call anyone
i got up to mop up the water
this morning i’m making movements while moving
the morning dance
i get the house ready for the day
outside the weather is a tepid soup
made for kissing
the peony keeps its leaves horizontal far from the stalk thanks to
its slender red stems
it doesn’t suffer from the rain
Translator Eleni Sikelianos is an American poet with seven books of poetry out; the most recent is The Loving Detail of the Living and the Dead (Coffee House Press 2013). She has also written two memoirs based on uncommonly colorful close relatives, The Book of Jon (City Lights, 2004 ) and You Animal Machine (Coffee House Press, 2014). A recipient of the James D. Phelan Award and an NEA Fellowship, she won the National Poetry Series in 2004 for The Monster Lives of Boys and Girls. She has also been a Fulbright Fellow to Greece and the Seeger Fellow at Princeton University. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages, and she routinely participates in poetry festivals all over Europe and elsewhere. A regular teacher at the Naropa University summer poetry program, she is a professor at the University of Denver and lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, the novelist Laird Hunt.
Born and raised in West Germany, Sabine Macherhas lived in France since 1976. After earning her master’s degree in German literature, she became a professional dancer, and has devoted much of her professional life to performing with a number of choreographers and groups over the past 30 years, most recently Laurent Pichaud and Mickaël Phélippeau. The author of eleven books of poetry, Macher is also a photographer, and many of her books include images. She also works extensively in soundscapes and sound installations; her work has been presented at the Palais de Tokyo and elsewhere. Her latest books are Portraits inconnus (Melville, Leo Scheer, 2004) and Deux coussins pour Norbert (Le bleu du ciel, 2009). She lives in Paris.
Meticulous, precise, exact, on the one hand, and fluid, errant, and associational on the other, Macher's long poem performs an archeology of sensation with particular attention to the body and its mastery of the modes of perception that fall between the five standard senses. Acutely aware of her environment and its continual changes, Macher guides the reader's senses through the particulars of a "here and now" that is always negotiating with various other times, places, and events. The resulting document is a warm, wry record of life lived with attention. As well as a love story.