dunjaluče by Ian Dreiblatt

BOMB 148 Summer 2019
Bomb 148 Cover No Barcode Small

I hope you got some cool mountain air tonight

glamping with you is better even than sharing a coke

I hope you are setting a new record for summer coziness in a sufi commune on an old shaker farm

on the bus ride home the divinity of travel blurred into the divinity of habitation until I became fleetingly translucent

well what are saints for if not to break the distance between the things around us and the words we use

breach sonata, the highway is the radio is or weather or even news, though the news is bad we feel and say so much and can never understand this sweetness of all language

lately when I travel in the u.s., I imagine each state is its own country, as though that had happened and we’d all survived it

though in fact survival is allocated under terms we detest and the roads are full of holes aching

still new york state has some of the most beautiful woods how lovely are thy tents et cetera

in brooklyn a subway is becoming a pokéworks

the canal where that dolphin died and I texted Joseph and he put it in a poem is steaming from its green glassy surface

there’s an army of poets here who carry poetry instead of money wear poetry instead of clothes occasionally throw each other down staircases and

if you’re not listening to the six-minute twelve-inch dance mix of walk like an egyptian, you’re totally missing the song

this weekend Ada said to us, you’d be good to be friends with in a genocide

she remembered passing into north american life as the phrase ethnic cleansing was passing into english

and how during that war the litanies of strife summoned danger and you might swap your coffee with someone in case it was poisoned

not because you more deserved it but to lay a claim on the power of allocation

decide to share even violence

which is everywhere losing its shame

there are minor poetries, but as Daša Drndic´ says there are no minor fascisms

or there is minor art but no minor politics

the weak universalism of the avant-garde dreams a sign of victory that recedes ever deeper into the other part of sleep

we speak darkness backward into the heart we’re waiting to hear about in hospitals, lofts salvaged from industry, crumbling houses salvaged from capital

we know all kinds of buildings

in turkish saray means palace, a word the northern slavs of russia twisted mockingly to mean shack and the southern slavs of bosnia borrowed for their capital

Himzo Polovina sings a song about sarajevo, I can’t pronounce it but it’s dunjalucˇe golem ti si

golem ti si means you are enormous, and dunjaluk means the mortal, material world, a saeclum that can solvet

from the arabic dunya and the turkish luk, and the form dunjalucˇe means the world is being spoken to

though in fact we’ve mostly forgotten a world can be spoken to

the psychiatrist sets chairs around a table

hello world I am speaking to you now the soft science of contact or mystery of convection

hello world you’re going to want to sit down for this

the world idea walks like a crab into the heart of a greasy pond

Maria writes that she’s seen a big, windowless paddywagon, high-tech, it worries her, in the streets

when harm looks to the sky the stars it sees are different

chattering teeth, victrola amid rubble, knife buried under a hill

between what we know we know and what we can bear to think we know

homesick for a world culture that has never come into being

that homesickness Tsvetaeva said we acquire in becoming adults

hey world you’re wide and you’re hot and you’ve fed me a lot

woodward avenue simply beautiful, the empty bullring pastoral

hey world you calamitous thrillbox you zoetrope of glamors and subversions you bear in garbage city

hey world distinct from the infinite I think I found some infinity here despite you

the psychiatrist carries a lute and when one day he dies everyone will ask what the last song he sang was

you and Ada and Rachael caught in the red light on the hill by the fire this was real life only days ago

we stopped for egg sandwiches, it was totally yolkadelic

later alone at night in a tent on a mountain, ulterior economies pooling in our happiness

a frog gets in

treat every earthling as an invitation to gentleness

down the hill and past the fields, buildings of every description, cars piloted by lunatics

a juice shop with four options: wake up green monster for you hippocrates

the windowless paddy wagons grunt down alleys unseen

I guess I mean to say we are homesick for meaning

harm clothes itself in bare aesthetics (in the pleasured air, Peter Dimock says), sic transit vocoder off to the side road

later still your words gather at the bus window like real breath

in 1565 Ivan the Terrible created a new force for the allocation of violence

he called them the oprichnina, men who rode in black cloaks like monks, carrying severed dogs’ heads and brooms

(to sniff out rebellion and sweep it away)

oprichnina means the widow’s share, that a greater politics had died, the sovereign that was its wife laying claim to some remainder

police seek to inhabit every affect

mere enforcement is loosed on the world

and anyone will drink rather than go thirsty

bastards will steal even your grief if they can get it

hey world there’s no definition of violence we all agree on

hey world politics died and we have no lute to mourn it by every song is last

on facebook everyone’s a monk you can put down that dog’s head

hey mortal, material world, you are enormous

a tear opens up in the fabric of scarcity and a thousand tissue paper flowers fly out

run from bee mistaken for frolic heaven’s on fire et cetera

the brittle joy of being finite is to end and to begin

thank you to verbs for everything you do

thank you to whatever it was, sand or water or shade, that kept time

the bus pulls in and I walk to the train, city at its usual polyrhythm

it’s hard to find a name for the experience of caring about people in a time of totally cockamamie civilizational collapse

an age of dog’s heads and brooms

mostly I still just wish you were here and hope you come to an agreement with the moths

I settle into a ritual of zany hummus flavors and oprah clips

the horizon bends across a night sky to touch you

as for everything that’s happened so far, if we cannot retrace it

after all the forgetting that language requires

utopianism’s yelp page will be hearing from me

Ian Dreiblatt is a writer, translator, and musician based in New York City. His chapbooks include how to hide by showing in the age of being alone with the universe (above/ground Press, 2018) and barishonah (DoubleCross Press, 2015). He is among the translators of Pavel Arseniev’s Reported Speech (Cicada Press, 2018), and his translation of Dmitrii Furman’s Spiral is forthcoming from Verso Books. He co-edits the poetry journal Counter and is TV commercials correspondent for The Believer.

Living Matter by Claire Atherton
1 Atherton New
Cathy Park Hong by Ken Chen
Minor Feelings Mockup

The poet’s new collection of essays, Minor Feelings, threads intense friendships, “bad” English, and standup comedy into a meditation on the Asian-American experience.

From Scorpionic Sun by Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine

I disrupt the concupiscence of tube worms / where your snowy owl eye consults among white crusts / the venom of my gymnodactyl eye / which bribes the slag of trilobites

Looking Back: BOMB Contributors on Literature in 2018
The Great Derangment

Featuring selections by Tom Comitta, Molly Crabapple, Veronica Scott Esposito, Carlos Fonseca, and more.

Originally published in

BOMB 148, Summer 2019

Featuring interviews with Mary Weatherford, Nanfu Wang, Lee Quiñones, Venkatachalam Saravanan, Tyshawn Sorey, Ben Whishaw, Édouard Louis, Geovani Martins, Prageeta Sharma, and James Thomas Stevens.

Read the issue
Bomb 148 Cover No Barcode Small