[Transcript] Nora Cooper – I Won’t Write Your Obituary

I Won’t Write Your Obituary
by Nora Cooper

You ask if you could call to say goodbye
if you’re ever gonna kill yourself.

but I won’t write your obituary.
I’ll commission it from some dead-end journalist
who’ll say things like ‘at peace’, ‘better place’, ‘fought the good fight’,
maybe reference the loving embrace of capital-G god at least four times,
maybe quote Charles ‘fuckin’ Bukowski, and I won’t stop them
because I won’t write your obituary.

But if you call me, I will write you a new sky, one you can taste,
I will write you a DIY cloudmaker, so on days
when you can’t do anything, you can still make clouds,
in whatever shape you want them.

I will write you letters, messages in bottles and cages and orange peels
in the distance between here and the moon and forests and rivers and bird songs
I will write you songs,
I can’t write music, but I’ll find Rihanna
and I’ll get her to write you music,
if it’ll make you want to dance a little longer,

I will write you a body whose veins are electricity,
because outlets are easier to find than good shrinks,
but we will find you a good shrink,
I will write you 1-800-273-8255,
that’s the suicide hotline.

We can call it together and, yeah
you can call me, but I won’t tell you it’s okay;
that I forgive you.
I won’t say goodbye, or I love you.
One last time.

You won’t leave on good terms with me.
Because I would not forgive you.
I won’t read you your last rights,
absolve you of sin, watch you sail away on a flaming Viking ship,
my hand glued to my forehead,

I will not hold your hand steady around a gun,
and after I won’t come by to pick up the package of body parts
you would have left specifically for me,

I’ll get a call like, “Ma’am, what would you have us to do with them?”
and I’ll say, “Burn them, feed them to stray cats,
throw them at school children,
hurl them at the sea.”

I don’t care, I don’t want them,
I don’t want your heart.
It’s not yours anymore,
it’s just a heart now.

And I already have one.

I don’t want your lungs,
just deflated birthday party balloons
that can’t breathe anymore.

I don’t want a jar of your teeth as a memento.
I don’t want your ripped off skin,
a blanket to wrap myself in when I need to feel
like you’re still here.

You won’t be there.
There’s no blood there,
there’s no life there,
there’s no you there.
I want you, and I will write you – so many fucking dead friends poems before,
that people will confuse my tongue with your tombstones
and try to plant daisies in my throat
before I ever write you and obituary,
while you’re still fucking here.

So the answer to your question is,
“Yes, if you’re ever really gonna kill yourself.
Yes, please, call me.”


Seperti Pilek

Seperti pilek.
Sebuah keadaan sakit yang sangat mengganggu diri,
dapat mengganggu orang lain pula.

Terutama bagi mereka yang membenci suara sentrap-sentrup rongga hidung,
atau terganggung dengan pemandangan lubang hidung yang kebasahan,
atau sekadar jijik dengan visual yang membuat mual.

“Hentikanlah meler-mu itu!”

Bagaimana caranya?

Aku hanya bisa berteman dengan pilekku ini.

Aku suka menggunakan tisu untuk mengeringkan hidungku,
walau tidak ramah lingkungan,
karena sampahnya menggunung di bawah bantalku.
Dan tentu mereka tidak suka dengan itu.

Ada juga orang yang suka membuang ingusnya di kamar mandi,
karena tisu membuat cuping hidungnya kering.
Dengan keras dia membuang ingusnya.
Dan tentu saja mereka tidak suka dengan itu.

Ada juga orang yang memilih tidur saja di kamar,
memberhentikan dunianya ketika pilek melanda.
Memilih untuk istirahat,
menghangatkan dada.

Menghilanglah dia dari peredaran.
Dan tentu saja mereka tidak suka dengan itu.

Menghentikan pikir,
melantunkan dzikir,
melafalkan doa,
memakan pisang,
memakan cokelat,
meminum air,
bercerita dengan khusyuknya.

Dan tentu saja mereka tidak suka dengan itu.


Apapun caramu berteman dengan pilekmu,
jika itu nyaman,

dan tak menambah sakit dirimu,


itu benar.

Body language

One of the meanest thing I do to my body: to let it starve
And: to let it thirst
To let it cry without knowing why

To let it lose its language
The one our tongues took so long to learn
And now I just can not decipher

What does it mean to have a fever?
What does it mean that rivers,
Rivers of salt water released from the springs of the eyes
Could be so searing on the skin of my face

Forgive me, and let us be
Let us be amazed, once more
With the words we’ve known so long

[Transcript] Sam Sax – The Politics of Elegy

Politics of Elegy
by Sam Sax

Like anyone, I can make a list of the dead
I can make them my dead, by making the list
I can write my name, the name, names below it
I can craft and obfuscate and collapse
I can publish it
I can ask; who of us is left to tell their story?
This land of plenitude and pens, of plateaus and platitude and pens
This land is my land
The song says: this land is mine
How long have humans buried each other in the earth?
How long have we sung their names into absence?
How long have we been paid for that singing
Every architect expects to have people to inhabit their building
Every poet intends their poem to outlive them
Every piece of furniture in my room is shaking its head
What’s the difference between weeping alone and on camera?
What’s the gulf between an epitaph and an epic?
What’s a eulogy but a coin rising in the throat?
Eulogy from the Greek means praise
Praise from the Latin means prize
Every public dirge is burning capital
Every shirtless picture of him I keep is a small Virgil
Every hell I’ve traveled through is an expensive bird in my mouth
I was paid a thousand dollars for writing a poem about a dead man who hated me
I was paid and each dollar is a ghost in my wallet
I was paid and I am trading his body for bags of food
I am never more dangerous than inside the arms of a man who will die before me

*please correct me if my listening is wrong, below in the comments section :)


I met her
She cried inside my face
And I could feel her question
purging my sanity

She grabbed me by my neck,
plunging me into temporary death
“Safe,” she said,
“You’ll be safe.”

I know how she lied to me,
time after time.
Her language danced,
as if I craved her every syllable
to mean something to my ears,
tapping on its drums,

They don’t.
Her cries are screaming statics.



Taksa II

Parit yang dalam tidak mengerti
apa yang dia jaga dan mengapa
siapa saja yang ditenggelamkannya
jadi batu dan minyak
jadi hitam dan pekat


Perang paling dingin terletak di
antara dua lekuk matamu
Di sana ujung jemariku keriput menggigil
Meracau mereka lupa akan diri


Terang yang paling fajar
merekah di mimpi Jenderal
Dia menanamkan detak jantungnya sendiri
di ulu hati-ulu hati para pangeran
Tombak pertama-tama hanyalah pagar rumah kita


Hujan tak mengenal tenda siapa yang ia basahi
Yang ia tahu tenggorokan kita kering menanti kemenangan
Dibuatnya tawar anggur-anggur yang memabukkan
lalu ia pergi satu musim penuh