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desertcity - [DesertCity] Nathaniel Tarn & Janet Rodney, This Saturday, Feb. 17th, 8pm, Internationalist Books

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Subject: Desert City Poetry Series

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  • From: "Ken Rumble" <rumblek AT>
  • To: desertcity AT
  • Subject: [DesertCity] Nathaniel Tarn & Janet Rodney, This Saturday, Feb. 17th, 8pm, Internationalist Books
  • Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 12:35:36 -0500

Please spread far and wide....

Who: Nathaniel Tarn: poet, translator, anthropologist, and editor;
author of thirty volumes of poetry, and numerous translations
(including acclaimed versions of Pablo Neruda, Victor Segalen, and
others); /Selected Poems 1950-2000/ published in 2002 by Wesleyan
University Press; selected essays in poetics and anthropology /Views
from the Weaving Mountain/ published in 1991 by University of New
Mexico Press; specialist in Highland Maya studies and the sociology of
Buddhist institutions; one of Marcel Duchamp's chess partners.

Who: Janet Rodney: digital artist, poet, and letterpress printer;
author of four books of poetry, including /Orphydice/, /Atitlan /
Alashka/, and the meditative memoir /The Book of Craving/; fifteen
year resident of Spain while a journalist, editor, translator, and

What: Desert City Poetry Series, you thought it would never happen.

When: This Saturday, February 17th, 8pm, 2007, the year formerly known
as "next year."

Where: Internationalist Books, 405 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill,
North Carolina, same place, fresh air.

How much: $2 donation which will contribute to the hospital bills of
Philadelphia poet Frank Sherlock.

Why: "Rite of return / elegant orange "bird" / shines on my memory /
flying the sun from west to east" "you are right, / at this time the
mind / is a mirror to the sun / the heart a coal / bright in, the
wind, / nothing / is mine / but the ride"

See you there....

Nathaniel Tarn:

Janet Rodney:

by Nathaniel Tarn

"At the exact site of the Lituanica's tragedy, in the forest of
Soldin, Germany, the Aero Club of Lithuania rented for ninety nine
years a . . . circle-shaped area and erected a monument. (The
inscription:) "Here died as heroes the Transatlantic Flyers Darius &
Girenas " (July 15, 1933) . . . After World War II, that part of
Germany was annexed to Poland and Lithuania was occupied by the

Small provincial town
in "my" fathers' land
at creation's edge -
border post deserted,
a line of lindens,
opposite post deserted,
no crossings anymore
as there once were
between old world and new.

"God's Playground" here
as they used to call it:
what does He play with
what is the message of a life,
what is the information,
what can the play mean
from bit to life, and back?

Other end of town:
small sunlit graveyard field
edged with small jungles:
hazels, apples, roses, ferns,
nettles, mushrooms, herbs -
loud with warblers,
storks overhead
birds of my secret childhood.

Rite of return
elegant orange "bird"
shines on my memory
flying the sun from west to east
back to its homeland,
the two boys clean
pure-blooded heroes -
narrative simple
a nation's testament
torn out of anonymity
the double fit
thanks X and gentle Y.

When was "our" departure:
before the warning signs
were clearly witnessed
or very near the terminus
of possibility -
by which way forward
under the lindens
was it to left,
was it to right
they went from east to west
and to what purpose
to what end in "me"?

Scrabble to read the graves
four hours the heat increasing.
Small stone book-shape -
third the way down from top -
grips one pointed gravestone
(like a clown's hat)
perhaps a sign of "us"
whose trade was bookbinding.

When not finding's no matter -
this is community -
"my" people sunk into
"our" people floating here
their stones on the grass sea.
So that it does not matter
if name sings here or not:
what is a name inside oblivion?

Not enough money
to buy the right equipment
homed into heroism:
arrival no arrival
a crash short of the goal
in a "great neighbor" country,
the whole scene under glass
shrine in its own museum
when it had been subtracted
out from the swastikas.
Crowd size at funeral
never yet seen in all of history.

Behind the pointed grave,
thick trees spread darkness,
huge long-house trench:
a thousand hidden there -
but not by natural
demise - shot in the neck:
it will take lifetimes
to read those dead.

Came to the sky
these luftmenschen too early
against the grain
of their determinations.
Now I'm at table:
Gorge at my life deep sun!
Take down the charming pilots
and too "my" ancestors!

In the town,
"they" who are always present
holding a festival
of later generations.
Midway between creations
all ate and drank the same
heard the same blood beat
of excremental music -
we paid them no attention.
How many of "their" fathers
might have helped
to fill that field?

"Their" flyers:
nothing as infiltrated
as "our" sallow legions
storm troopers in their time
would soon dispose of.
How could a record flight else
among so many
bring home the corpses
later, hidden for years
from various oppressors
until again, an independence.

While it is on record
(those who don't sleep or dream)
that in a neighbor town
"they" stood on rooftops
many smiling
to watch the shooting circus.

from /Crystals/
by Janet Rodney


The time
of which I write

is a memory

of getting back
to Mother Earth, mouth
pressed to hers, desire's

curl of lips
when love
for Father Water
is strongest

I look for his eye and hear
a hellish laughter
as from outside

up from the ocean.


Long after all horizons
have proved themselves mortal

I see my rider shadow
galloping along the beach,

it is August, lead-bellied
gulls rise toward the Rock

where Atlantic currents
and Mediterranean mix

wild roses
corrupting on its face,

you are right,
at this time the mind

is a mirror to the sun
the heart a coal
bright in, the wind,

is mine
but the ride

before the sequence
vanishes like lead

drawn down
thru deep water.

XV. The Androgynous Principle (A)

In a small dream
in a small room
in a small town in New Jersey

I am on the make,
a huntress stepping out
of fathomless woods

her small breasts
are smooth
as riverstones
her own phallus, a knife
hung around her neck
of delight.

The prey this evening
is elusive:
she would like to be

worthy of her victim
who doesn't appear
to cruise these parts
this hour

would like to give her body
to the victim of her choice
precisely when he, the hunted,
steps out of her

moves in, penetrating, manly,
fucking in blindness
bringing them news
of light.

XVI. The Androgynous Principle (B)

Each day the sun
rises inside her eye

for new fields,
at night drops
like a coin into water, she

is blown back by
darkness, her coat of shells
catching a light

from below
where he is hidden,
shining in water he waits

while she
dangles her clothes on a tree,
descends to the edge,
water rising slowly up

her body
between her thighs
he drinks her.


Here we are
and all we see
is more

than ourselves,
the failing leaves
and flowerheads
float on the canal
like scales of carp

here we are and more,
wind driving thru
the cracks of our windows
bringing on the cold
we know

from our skin
(and over hard ground walk
the circuit of each other)

that winter
has made it
our way again

  • [DesertCity] Nathaniel Tarn & Janet Rodney, This Saturday, Feb. 17th, 8pm, Internationalist Books, Ken Rumble, 02/12/2007

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