Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sonnet For Sleepless Phrophets

Sometimes our ilk, we cannot sleep
And for days sometimes we wonder about,
Minds meandering to, fro, in and out
At lightning speed - our ilk, which the witching hour keeps.

The moon has it's way of waking up
What we in daylight seem somehow to miss.
Deprived of pillow talk's tender goodnight kiss,
I feel it's time to find a bullet to bite and brown my cup.

As for desires of mine, first is dawn's crawl commencing,
Last is the alarm clock's beep and hateful hissing,
Not to mention a waking vacant and an absent lust.

As for regrets, there are yet few save worry,
For we sleepless prophets do lose soundness in a hurry,
But the perfect kissing couple seems a mattress and a dusk.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The New Sonnet For Helen

By Pablo Neruda

Translated by Martin Bemberg

When you are old, little girl (Ronsard already told you so),
You'll remember those distant verses I spoke.
You'll have breasts made mirthless by the nursing of your children,
The final sprigs of your vacant life…

I will be so far away that your hands of wax
Will plow away all record of my naked ruins.
You'll see how snow can come in spring
And how spring's snow is cruelest.

I will be so far away that the love and the pain,
Which I once poured into your life like a cruet brimming,
Will be condemned to die in my own hands…

And it will be evening, for my youth is leaving,
Evening, for only once do flowers share their essence,
For although you may call on me, I will be so far away.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I see sometimes a boy or man across the way
With 15 years or fewer under a belt he does not wear.
Covered by lethargic hair his pompous ears, 
He opens with his purple Bic one or two or three or four 
Of six domestic beers, and drinks from one 'round 10 a.m., 
Unimpressed to say the least with spiral-staircased bottlenecks
(Their use he'd find more suited sawed and placed
On Robert Johnson's callused, darkly wedded finger).

He wonders too, and sudden as he often does, 
Whether Bluesman's digits might coulda been Satan's too,
Or whether maybe they were just Black Bobby's own to harden,
Like his drunk, melodic, soul sold to devil and to legend.

And when the pills run out, he heads for fish oil capsules,
Pokes their ends with unbent paperclips as liquid slips
Into the smallest glasses he can find among the cabinets,
Which ten years back his mother left him.

And for each fish pill poured, a single cigarette is liberated,
By a dip or a roll in pisces acids and along lines of powder,
Freed like fish in its own right from pink and white
And childproof capsules meant for itching throats 
And watering eyes.

This is way cooler than science class.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Butterfly Knives

By Martin Bemberg

My lover is most Christian among Heathens
And is not afraid of knives
Some cohort kings have banned and brandished,
Because she is a queen with no aspirations to supremacy
Save the supremacy of love
And I will swim there liberal and enamored
As long as life will let me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

If You Asked Me For A Poem I'd Say

By Martin Bemberg

Some days these hands, they wake to sleep
And some they wake to write.
Today these hands shake slight,
Not worthy of the pen, and so they type
And dream in unseen verses.

"Unseen verses?" you ask. "Unseen since when?
Since verses drowned in beaches black,
Which come around to tell the verses
They read verses now and then?"
(Yes. Unseen since then.)

A summer's day? A rose? I can't go there.
So should my hands then think in prose?
Should they think in prose and write
In verse of love beyond compare?

They can't yet write, these hands (they shake),
These hands, which you are in and wish to wear.
These hands, they shake.
So there.