Month: June, 2014

The Lydia Davis Project: Mothers

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Mothers’)

Mother – is it blood or other
That defines you?

Did you hold me in your womb?
Did you cradle me in your arms?
Did you feed me from your breast?

Mother – do I know you?

Am I your only son
Or were there others?

Was the name you gave me
What I deserved or were
You hoping for a better child?

Mother – I’m afraid
Of you dying, and
Being left alone with you.
Are those the only options?

I wonder what sorts of mothers
The other children had.

The Lydia Davis Project: How W.H. Auden Spends the Night in a Friend’s House:

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘How W.H. Auden Spends the Night in a Friend’s House:’

As a visitor
You are unfamiliar
To the nuances of
another’s home.

It is filled with silence,
Unfamiliar silence, ambient
Buzzing of the unknown.

It’s past midnight –
still awake.
No chance of
Resting amongst
Foreign sheets.

There are no
Lofty comforts in
What feels like a
Stranger’s room.

Sunday Roast

(based on Thomas Sainsbury’s play ‘Sunday Roast’)

A family of fools fight
Together, play together.
Working hard or
Hardly working.
This is the game they
Have practised and perfected for
When the hangman comes.

Enter the boy
Who longs for things far gone,
Doesn’t know how far gone
Those things have gone.
He is the center of this piece,
The surrogate some might say.

So the family plans
For a family feast.
A family feast for their favourite meat.
A succulent meat.
And succulent meat is
Not to waste.
Not to run away when
You want a taste.

I Need No Gravestone

I need no gravestone, but
If you need one for me
I would like it to bear these words:
He made suggestions. We
Carried them out.
Such an inscription would
Honour us all.

–Bertolt Brecht

The Lydia Davis Project: The Brother-in-Law

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘The Brother-in-Law’)

This man who’s quite hard to place
Is a ghost who leaves no trace.
His past is unclear
But he lives so near
So he floats all over our space.

but I am not someone who likes to wound…

but I am not someone who likes to wound
rather I have a quiet mind

–Sappho (translated by Anne Carson)

The Lydia Davis Project: The House Plans

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘The House Plans’)

Naked in this land
My soul pursues
Value in all things.

Such is the life I lead
As I struggle with
Quiet dignity.

Often wishing
I could return
To my long abandoned past
For no reason less than fear.

For Anton

A beautiful poem by Donna Pucciani that expresses everything I love about Chekhov with staggering simplicity.

Donna Pucciani, Poet

I’ve always loved Chekhov,

the manic visitations, the incessant

comings and goings.

I’ve never had to abandon  villa

or watch an orchard fall to the axe.

But I have known the languid whistle

of a train in the night . . .

–excerpt from “For Anton” in Hanging Like Hope on the Equinox by Donna Pucciani (virtual artists collective, Chicago 2013). First published in Tribeca.

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The Lydia Davis Project: Extracts from a Life

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘Extracts from a Life’)

The sharp bow strings
of the violin sing,
Practicing perfection.

The Lydia Davis Project: The Letter

(based on Lydia Davis’ short story ‘The Letter’)

Paper memories stream thoughts
So sweet, so tragic.
You cannot deny their power,
These utter works of magic.

A lack of taste for lips and
no chance of smell for nose.
It seems he sent a poem because
He couldn’t be fucked with prose.