Two Poems

Blue Plum

Essay on Caution

Unmatched is freedom from ties,
he says, giving me a dark blue plum. 

I have frayed shoelaces and there is shame
attached to these shoelaces, great shame.

I eat the plum and I drop the pit at my feet, dust
dirties it instantly and there is great shame

attached to this dust, since I cannot
eat it, since I can do nothing with it.

It dirties me, this nothing lurking in the dust,
lurking in the plum. The tram drowns out

the new sentence. I have another plum in my mouth,
my shoelaces will break just before home.


He Liked This 

He liked the machine shop, iron shavings on his lips,
his dry gloves he also liked and he won
at craps whenever they played it after the evening
news. He liked t-shirts stained with tea,
sharp spices for the taste of the day. He liked
breaks in conversation, smudged pictures, washing
dishes he hummed popular songs. If he lived
in Norway he’d like fjords, he’d eat shellfish,
he’d be a little colder in his relations with people.
He liked a hot boyish tongue on his lips,
he liked to call it by name, though it doesn’t have a name.


Translations from the Polish
By Marit MacArthur & Marta Pilarska

Photo © Marta Eloy Cichocka

Edward Pasewicz is a Polish poet and composer born in 1971. A Buddhist, he is the author of six books of poetry, including Verses for Róy Filipowicz (2004), th (2005), Songs of Henry Berryman (2006) (after John Berryman’s Dream Songs), Death in a Darkroom (2007), Fine! Fine! (2008), and Bertolt Brecht’s Palace (2011). Since 2010 he has lived in Kraków, where he is director of the performance space Scena 21.

Marit MacArthur is an associate professor of English at CSU Bakersfield and recently earned an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College. Her translations, poems, and reviews have appeared in American Poetry Review, Verse, Southwest Review, Yale Review, ZYZZYVA, and Airplane Reading, among other journals.

Marta Pilarska works in film and theater in her hometown of Łódź, Poland.