The following collection of 20 poems, written collaboratively by Russian-Israeli poet Gali-Dana Singer and American poet Stephen Ellis — is published here in the sequence in which they were written, in 2020 — and are part of a much longer and on-going collaboration. This group, is near the end of Part 1 of the project, which is entitled 'Other, or Something'. Part 2 of the collaboration — 'Take Heart' — is still in process, and follows directly from Section 1, which is where the poems you see originate. The project is planned to go on, figuratively speaking, 'forever,' although the format — sometimes written in alternate lines or sometimes written in alternate stanzas will continues to change, as it has right from the beginning. That is, it is never the same as it thinks it is. So as a sequence, it never gets bored with itself. Neither do we.
FROM 'OTHER, OR SOMETHING'
The sky says goodnight like this:
And the sly doesn't reply
Real perception in hearing is concealed by sounds
The star doesn't bother to wish you sweet dreams
What strength is gained by sitting in the dark
It gives away for the sake of the other
City birds are no longer afraid at night They have the air they've breathed all day between their feathers to guide them And all the streetlights still cannot turn night into another day Is there anything more beautiful than pieces of string too short to use for anything? Could I change the first line? I ask myself. [Is that a line in and of itself? Everybody changes in some strange way. Yes, of course you can change it!] Wait and it will change by itself, like one piece of rope into another Like how the air between your feathers when you fly is your song While jackhammers and asphalt rollers accompany its silent flight A bird in Jerusalem just bought a flashlight: I know, because I heard her do it.
As the marvelous unity of silence is restored, speech becomes the companion of all that is poetic
Speech and All, they walk holding hands to the very end of the overly long line.
And silence and sound give birth to each other's sense of what the other 'means.'
'Parents need to be killed in the bud,' says All
But they die in giving birth to the children that might kill them
'Only it's too late,' sighs All, 'the harm is already done.'
Done and forgotten, harm is free to continue, and All remains, One.
'A genesis of oneness isn't an end to otherness,' sees All, but stays quiet.
So thus the Other will live.
'Vive La Différence!' a joker would say, but
Jokers can tell no truths.
When the night starts closing in the middle of the day
The sun crawls deep inside the moon
So nothing can eclipse the shining darkness of its secret.
Water leaks out in proportion to the milk that keeps seeping in
Leaving transparent watermarks on its way through the sky
Be quiet! A cow's tongue is speaking!
The ivory sky of our late afternoon
Was haunted by the shadows of tusk hunters
All that they found were hollow corn husks
Of the long deaf ears that never heard of escape
'And never milked a colonel or a cow'
Still the disappearance trick is expected as
Sure as the tide climbs the sinking island coast
Who will expose it and at what expense? The wing or
How an inverted soldier's cap floating in the tide can remind me of my mother, is
The essence of fleeing that lasts in the dream of not burying mine
Or finding the difference between elide and evade as exactly what happened at home
Missing a certain kind of a rose try to find it a name
The stem of a beautiful nameless flower
Will pierce you to the core and the plush bee
Will its honey make in three-part harmony
Only the scent doesn't need to be called
Always to the nose by name.
'How does the imagination bind 'phase' to mammal life?'
Through the labyrinthine ways of true weevils
Mother mostly used to use old Burna Shave roadsigns
While my Grandfather... But why should we rhyme our relatives in this soapy way?
'Rule no. 14: Don't touch another boy's legs whenever he's asleep'
But rules are for girls, not for grandfathers.
I DON'T KNOW
Whose mouth holds a bee to scorn the temples
Let her clavicles be packed with honey
Forget it if you can in an ordered confusion of carex
Where we hide our loving hearts within the green and growing sedge
That stings the memory before it gets too sweet
As the golden sun sets in preparation for a silver moon
Turning sham gold into sham silver and both into the truest light of dark
The night flight of a swallow's wings, lit by a star
Is as unthinkable in these circumstances as
‘How close can we be if we aren't even far?’
Or ‘Whose question the question was?’
NOISE ONLY SOUNDS LIKE NOISE
The invisible torrents of spring grow near
Bearing unfulfilled yet promises in mind
The space projected from the eyes of fawns
Is populated by fauns protecting the great god Pan from charges of misogyny
And things that are the dreams of vipers
Smoothly slither away like the remnants of sacred wisdom
Traced by the game-sticks in a shepherd's hand
'Is there any logic in the change?' wonders the Calendar on the freezer door
I think it has much to do with pole-vaulting from Spain to Morocco
Only a note by its side 'Don’t forget to eat' testifies to the contrary
Made new again, Aieleth-hashahar, shepherdess of the vaprous eyelash
What was the first: noodles or an alphabet?
First was doodles from a mood disorder
Boats absentmindedly perforated through by a lone teredo
Ma bucket's gotta hole in it
So the time can flee be it hourglass or clepsydra
Initiation by invention of the entrance of intervention
THE KINGDOM OF THIS SIDE
Wherein one process a human cannot be alone
Unless he becomes a flowering tree by the road
Translated to anoint the dark side of the moon
By the Google translator
While bride and groom continue boiling the same egg
In two oceans to the sound of a timer.
The weather of our being surrounds exactly where I am
Letting it be known to the stars of the Pleiades
And droplets of dew deep in roots that wait for rime to appear
Can tell the exact location to the mole and the shrew
And the difference between auricle and ventricle
Isn't more meaningful than the affinity between breath and light
That discloses in the opening of a door
And brings in as a welcome guest the future of
What's behind Door Number 3
But what is behind any door is as impossible to predict as to guess what’s in front of it
Or reach beyond selves and where is what unknown provides, wings sprout
So every home-bred oracle runs the risk of losing his face to a certain extent
Approaching return before the touch
Of frost will make it unattainable
Winged time hovering to pursue what now possesses one who cannot reach it
Forced to flee for dear life, stay
The changes that work the passage through and out and then return through them
Will take care of the forecast and of the past
Where the present shimmers as the thing to be addressed
Trying to make amends to anyone in particular
No initiation needed but the simple facts of life that hum with power
Able to push the thawed earth like a likeness of a featherbed
The winged lion on the roof is still waiting for the underground rivers to rise and block the way
So he grew increasingly envious of ducks
tadpoles, frogs and diving beetles living in a neighbouring pool, who knew it would happen only
When the lion fell in love with the way water magnified the flexible effect of their orange feet
Never, never, croaked crows. They knew everything in advance
Except when the tugboats in the harbor would in secret gently touch.
AND IN EYES WHERE A LAKE OF LIGHT APPEARS
Furled together as novices within the petals of Novalis' Blue Rose
Two words await the dawn
A luminous thread stitches 'love' to 'evolve
'When we are gone' says one to another
‘We manifest to each other, like sugar dissolving in milk
Outside the faceted glass'.
When loquat is crowned with new leaves like a letter ש
The alphabet presents primacy in a new light
Who would care to vote in the greenish aquarium? Not the small fry
Mostly they don't get the hang of it in there
‘Big fish, little fish, come on, come on!’
Animal presences forever my night nurse
And fairy tales are my Bible
Self-creating by having heart, we
Stop at the edge of the temporary rainpool
No need for a floor-plan, because milk enough is noble
And pulling the strings is obligatory
Adar comes like the joy of the illiterate
Not unlike literacy with its leaves covered with alien marks
in a dug up, barricaded park, undergoing renovation
Here we can be fresh with nature, and against it, as
Syrian maple and Jerusalem pine synchronously blooming
Let the sameness of all hired hands be dismissed.
THE ONLY SOLUTION LEFT
No soul can actually be orphaned
No soil can be literally exhausted
No poem is a total wash-out
As no denial is final without following all levels of appeal
Go away for a week and come home dirty
That's exactly what I intend to do in a near future
Breath dislodges its particles permanently, but
the soul remains in place
Having no place it is an easy solution
Strive always, arrive nowhere, and forever hold cheap your strain
Isn't that advice too straightforward to follow?
Better to keep kissing the ground that holds you up.
ALWAYS ENOUGH OF NEVER TOO MUCH
Icy peas hailing from the sky
Life is green and pelting
While late winter flowers meet their end
A blue cape is laid over the ground
And a white one spreads out under the sky
Pale shadow of Nature's cosmic jubilant rejoinder
JACK OF HEARTS
The untied knot of its own teased release
Looking for a pair of skillful hands capable of weaving a web of rain drops
Giving them rhythmic intervals to measure whole moments at a time
That will bind them together even before Jack Robinson would come into the picture
Only one word away, the riddle of the text, but in interlocked receptacles of mind
Too much is going on that is incomprehensible to an onlooker
Who has turned away from it, for these two reasons:
The first too insignificant, and the second too vital to be outlined here
Or, 'how now brown cow?'
Properly rounded vowels will roll down as raindrops from the web into the hands that unbind themselves
[Or in what encrypted space does Jack Flash actually jump?]
FOREHEAD ON BACKWARDS
Days when everything gets out of hand, even punctuation marks
Gravity loses its way, and mountains begin to float
And the only thing to save the world was the one I lost on my way from the market
[You mean the apple that fled and hid inside a star?]
No, it was a blood orange that refused to become my faithful nose.
The truth of life is that all-night neologisms can never sleep, but always dream.
THE DIARY OF A WEDGE
Does illusion flex when magnitude does?
Thinks the Sphinx watching over a scarab, making his way through
A porcelain plate of scrambled eggs
That is a family breakfast scene for you, a primordial scene
Where parallel perceptions cannot be rendered perceivable
The enigma tends to collapse, and gravitational attraction doesn't help much
In effect, ultimately, the Underworld is overdetermined yet underwritten
The golden rim of Bavarian porcelain outlines this entirely:
Every trope has four, seven and eleven counter-tropes, all lined up in a circle
But the egg was there before sealing the death of Koschei the Immortal
Null and void, finally, where both invested and withheld.
MATTER OWES ITSELF NOTHING
A lot of thinking won't make things simple
A lot of sinking can teach you to breathe on the surface
A lot of surfaces can make a square thing round
And that's the best thing that can happen to a super full moon in a dream
It loses its creases
And increases its opportunities overnight
While increasing the inevitability of breathing easy
Through the damp scarf of the birch bark
Whose leaves are the growing part of pre-modern nuclear precision
Appealing to the luxurious taste of the ruffed grouse
'For the moon is a duck egg in a sky that has orange feet.'
Cypress wounds smeared with blue Shimmer in murky swamp water Of another hemisphere Florida cypress is golden, Iranian cypress, silver Jerusalem one is dusty and rusty The toenail polish that all of them wear is of a Prussian hue
That was beginner's luck, to find the right word
I used to look in empty cans, until I realized they were empty
I started to seek in full pools, until I saw that I was a fool
For illusion is full of what is all too real
Yet the water does not distinguish between one and the other
But of the rose, profoundly androgynous equipoise in fluency