Issue a5 · 2012



six poems from “Trilce: Mistranslations”


by Steve Gilmartin








     The tragedy of dressing for tomorrow

isn’t like the joke of my laundry:

first clean then get over-the-line dirty, says Venus,

in the mud gush of the heart, and no, he

can’t convince you if you participate in

the tragic turbulence of injustice.


     Since no one is getting into the water,

in my fake rule book

license becomes a feather, and everything

that veils what will become of me,

it all stains my ass

like lead.

                                    Where’s the challenge in propriety,

brothers of gloom, sellers of the waltz of property.


     And yes it’s better if you return to laughing;

and yes better that morning opens its

web of washed rope, my jailor

wants me to launder souls. Better that morning start

bringing satisfaction, open thought, honest

and perceptive speech, so that it can

                                     LIKE NO GO IT’S A DUD!

bluing and firmly planted in chaos.








     He coincided with a poor young cha-cha dancer

who was conducted hastily from the scene.

The mother, her brothers were amiable and well-mannered

about her unfortunate “you’re not going to spin me.”


     As a certain negotiation would make me admirable,

my circular ban has the air of a florid dynasty.

The novice churns water,

and knows well that my solitude raises

her love to be grasped badly.


     My taste goes toward timid sea creatures

humble dears all daring inside their folds,

and how your breadth travels along the little dots,

undulating, the melody written by your deputy of occasions.


     And when both sides of love lift in a hot parrot wind,

it breaks up my contract and yours

and the barrier to fear.








     Whoever has the guts to say it’s Sunday

sit down, here with the spider waste

in the shadow cast by the truck’s big, pure grill.

(A mollusk attack and your mouse eyes scream,

to reason out two more low-hanging possibilities

against the breathing that installs blood’s remorse.)


     Listen, these dreams aren’t proper like pressed pants

more like naked blood in the corpus cavernosa

with three-a-day doubling totality.

As if our degraded hubs just exited drooling! As

if no one learns by simply embracing

the whole of fatality’s diaries!

And so many of our habitual loves offend.

And one’s own lock on habitual love cajoles and pleads

and befriends slaving which others see

and others see.


     Whoever has the nerve to think big on Sunday,

when, arrested, six lame codes lament

their manner of being, colored by tides of sentences.


     Habitual love works best on the elevated, below

the two sighs of Love,

lustrous tertiary feathers, torturers,

new papal passageways to the orient.

But look, the problem is living these days,

meaning houses have fronts but not much more.








     Tormented forager, entering, dirty

from a quadrangular raid on what never happened.

Big flop.  The balancing of  weight and weight

brings the treasures.


     Even ten-cent vices conflict with all these cons,

and for ratings to be the highest, the blackest pieces

have to die in the arms of the State.

In tune with the divine’s broken eyes,

the sun lazes, its mercies jagged,

violent oxygen volunteering to be good,

ardor quantified but then not ardor, and soon

the sadness doubles with mountain uplift.


     Because one day no one will be able to enter

or exit, with the punishment of earth

etched in your eyes, forager!








     The serpentine sun is in your fresh hand,

and skin dramas catalyze your curiosity.


     Quiet. Nobody knows that the state’s in me,

totally allowed in. Shut up.  No breathing.  Nobody

knows I’m marinating in unity’s suck:

legions of the obscured, mythical amazons.


     Transport the flayed autos later,

and let my people, dear atrocity, enter laughing finally

fatally to those who act.

Your hands and my hands are reciprocally tied

poles of protection, practically like depressives,

and sensible and frugal.


     Call me for a good time, creepy future,

and spike energy to lower the intimacy, these uncorked

gallons of dry temperate bureaucracy

restrained Navajo

crafted cups, of life right under the skies.

Moving again into the heat, fanless; baby’s stealing water

just as the pulping station splinters like love.








     Midday eating brown rice and then a year’s passed!

what you don’t say is, better it than you.


     They lash into mothers who go to college,

who should only study their reflections; we too love our flesh

our dear openings.  Because you slowly understand

that in quelling, one has an itinerary to nowhere

as it rampages across the scene.

On the day that the year passes

what you don’t say is, better it than you,

and rotate the whole scene.


     For there is your separation,

because you don’t love older women enough.

And technically all reflections are diced

vessels of air, no?

these drawings have bite, both obscure and singular,

for taking the side of children and

for jumping up too much in life,

enclosed simply because of our circular hearing.


     Look, we’re really just clouds of gas.













Steve Gilmartin’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Double Room, 14 Hills, 3rd bed, Mad Hatters’ Review, Poemeleon, Drunken Boat, Able Muse, Eleven Eleven, BlazeVox, elimae, Cannot Exist, and Otoliths.  He recently completed a manuscript of mistranslations of Cesar Vallejo’s Trilce and is currently working on English-to-English translations of Emily Dickinson.  He works as a freelance editor and lives in Berkeley, California.