Stephen Ellis, Gali-Dana Singer. FROM 'OTHER, OR SOMETHING'

Обновлено: 19 окт. 2021 г.

Тонкая СРЕДА-2021-2(18) (к СОДЕРЖАНИЮ №18)

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.


This collaboration began as an exchange of independent poems, written by each of us, which were sometimes loosely connected by a particular word or image, sometimes by a mood and sometimes by a freely interpreted common theme. Gradually, we began to introduce some formal framework, for example, the number of lines. Then the exchange of alternating lines began and the co-authorship acquired exactly the form that the reader can now see in front of him. Nobody knows how it will continue. Will then start the alternation of words? of letters? of punctuation marks? Wait and see.




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.


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?’


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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?]


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.


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.


Waiting is all about trust

Trust is not having to think

Thrice. Twice is completely enough even for limp flower-heads

Growing in Once-Upon-A-Time Land

Where the drought happens once in a hundred years every twelve months or so

Beginning the day after tomorrow.


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

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