Two Poems by Joan Retallack

BOMB 135 Spring 2016
Bomb 135 Cover


Fall, 2015

Time, equipped with smart device, travels border to border, language to language via Google Translate, emerges from German at end of journey.

time was when what time was was what time is is time what it was or is it what time is it when one sweaty noun baking in the sun on a Mediterranean island and now several poetic gestures along with a few good philosophical questions emerge all about the same time round about the same fig.

2. Turkey
ne zaman oldu ne zaman oldu zaman öyleydi ya da bir kaç iyi felsefi sorular ile birlikte bir Akdeniz adasında güneşin terli isim pişirme ve şimdi birkaç şiirsel hareketler hakkında ortaya ne zaman ne zaman ne zaman oldu aynı şekil de aynı zaman yuvarlak.

3. Greece
Όταν ήρθε η ώρα ήταν όταν ήταν είτε μερικές καλές φιλοσοφικές μαγείρεμα ιδρωμένος όνομα κάτω από τον ήλιο σε ένα νησί της Μεσογείου με τις ερωτήσεις, και τώρα μερικά ποιητική όταν έξω στις κινήσεις όταν όταν ήμουν με τον ίδιο τρόπο την ίδια φορά.

4. Macedonia
Кога дојде време беше кога тоа беше или некои добри филозофски готвење испотени името под сонцето на овој медитерански остров со прашања, а сега некои поетски кога надвор движења кога кога бев на ист начин, во исто време.

5. Serbia
Када је дошло време када је било нешто добро филозофски кување знојав име под сунцем на овом медитеранском острву са питањима, а сада неке песничке покрета када се када сам био на исти начин у исто време.

6. Hungary
Amikor eljött az idő, amikor nem volt valami jó filozófiai főzés izzadt nevet a nap alatt ez a földközi-tengeri sziget, ahol kérdéseket, és most néhány költői mozgását, amikor én is ilyen volt ugyanabban az időben.

7. Croatia
Kad je došlo vrijeme kada je nešto dobro filozofija kuhanja znojan ime pod suncem, ovaj mediteranski otok s pitanjima, a sada neki pjesnički pokret kad sam bio na isti način, u isto vrijeme.

8. Slovenia
Ko je prišel čas, ko nekaj dobrega kuhanja filozofija prepotenih ime pod soncem, na sredozemskem otoku z vprašanji, in zdaj nekaj pesniškega gibanja ko sem bil na enak način, ob istem času.

9. Italy
Quando è arrivato il momento qualcosa di buono filosofia di cucina nome sudato sotto il sole, sull’isola mediterranea di domande e ora qualche movimento poetico quando ero allo stesso modo nello stesso momento.

10. Spain
Cuando es hora de algo bueno cocinar nombre de filosofía sudado en el sol, en la isla mediterránea de preguntas y ahora algunos movimiento poético cuando tenía la misma forma al mismo tiempo.

11. France
Quand il est temps de faire cuire quelque chose de bon nom de la philosophie sué sous le soleil, sur l’île méditerranéenne de questions et maintenant certains mouvement poétique quand je suis de la même manière dans le même temps.

12. Germany
Wenn es Zeit ist, zu kochen etwas Gutes Namen der Philosophie unter der Sonne geschwitzt, auf der Mittelmeerinsel stellen und jetzt einige poetische Bewegung, wenn ich in der gleichen Weise zur gleichen Zeit.

When it’s time to cook something good name of
philosophy sweated under the sun, put on the
Mediterranean island and now some poetic movement,
if I. In the same way at the same time.


<p align="center">1</p> <p></p> <p>Things to keep in mind:</p>  <p align="right">By now many people on the planet know the best way <br />  To get a chimpanzee off the roof <br /> As Wittgenstein did not write in proposition 5.62<br /> We are making decisions that flow from ancient social instincts<br />   Freedom was not necessarily what they wanted <br /> Just a way out of the chaos<br />   This is the story of the ellipsis<br /> The ellipsis begins here . . .<br />    On your silent journey through the tenses <br />    Try to locate the dot that has turned into a period</p> <p> </p>    <p align="center">2</p> <p>[for a long time it has seemed too late to understand the most important things in any space-time unit before it's time to move on]</p>  <p>[for a long time it has seemed too late to learn from each other's experience or even from one's own experience and so it has seemed the only thing to do is fast-forward to the next space-time unit from this point on as before good luck etc]</p>    <p>[for a long time it has seemed too soon to understand the most important things said or written in all those others' or even one's own words and so it has seemed the thing to do is to fast-forward from this point on or if possible some other point on as if unlike the point before good luck etc] </p> <p>[for what now seems much too long it has or had seemed both too soon and too late to know the most useful things to say and do in the many emergencies that come and go at speeds of sound and light in one space-time unit after another]</p>   <p>[by now it's time not quite too late to not forget to fill out time-sheets in order to move on to the next space-time unit in almost the nick of time]</p>   <p>[meanwhile we regret to inform you that your present space-time unit is full of all the words it can safely hold please without delay fill out your time-sheet and move on to the next space-time unit thank you very much good luck as ever etc]</p>    <p>[please exit your space-time unit immediately follow fast-forward contrail to next space-time unit as quickly and as safely as you can] </p> <p>[once what seemed to be revelatory zones in space-time units much like these were thought to create new social spaces now they appear to be only archives]</p>   <p>[for a long time it has seemed both too early and too late to distinguish optimism from hope and vice versa as occupants of space-time units go on ignoring all our useful tips]</p><p> </p> <p align="center">3</p> <p align="center">In the news photo the couch appears to be floating <br />on the rubble of the demolished home.</p><p> </p>    <p align="center">4</p> <p>In Lamu—on a small island off Somalia—the hunt for the terrorists has streets deserted, people hiding in their houses. At another location off the coast of Somalia someone is interviewing "The People of Siu." The people of Siu peel their almonds and keep beautiful donkeys—well-fed, well-rested, oiled. The people of Siu say the donkeys of Lamu are like flea-bitten dogs. Their owners sully their food with the dirty brown skins of unpeeled almonds. By now the people of Lamu should know better, say the people of Siu. They should know to oil their donkeys. They should know to peel their almonds. </p><p> </p>   <p align="center">5</p> <p>Some other things to keep in mind:</p>   <p align="right">When you locate the dot that has turned into a period<br />Do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions <br />(Or you can just release the dot back into the ellipsis)<br />Meanwhile do not hesitate to stay in motion<br /> Do not hesitate to fast-forward until borders between space-time units are<br /> Blurred and fizzed with beautiful electrostatic showers<br />Do not hesitate to review Zeno's laws against motion to discover what<br />    Happens if you hesitate<br />Do not hesitate to try once again to understand proposition 5.62         <br />Along with any other proposition that strikes your fancy<br />In any other compellingly numerical scheme of propositions</p>                                    <p> </p>    <p>Source of Lamu/Siu story: Ed Pavlić, <em>But Here are Small Clear Refractions</em>. Annandale-on-Hudson, Chinua Achebe Center, 2009.</p>

Joan Retallack is author of The Poethical Wager and Procedural Elegies / Western Civ Cont’d /—an Artforum Best Book of 2010. Other poetry includes MemnoirMongrelismeHow To Do Things With Words, Errata 5uite, and Afterrimages. She collaborated with John Cage (1989–92) on MUSICAGE—a volume of their conversations—and has written extensively, pleasurably on Gertrude Stein.

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Translated by Eric M. B. Becker

Originally published in

BOMB 135, Spring 2016

Featuring interviews with Ryan Trecartin, Shezad Dawood, Sadie Benning, Wendy Ewald, Trevor Paglen, Jacob Appelbaum, Ivan Vladislavić, Álvaro Enrigue, Christopher Sorrentino, Vijay Iyer, and Yorgos Lanthimos.

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