by Elana Wolff Calm,
not so long ago / the river ambling through the valley /
easy in the aptitude of being in the blue beside the fireweed
and pocket gophers stomping on the vandal grass / the white-tailed
deer cavorting through the forest by the Bow / You know them
by their upheld tails / the hump on the back of the bear that makes
him grizzly / He hangs his head like a mendicant in a hood pulled
close as a cowl / Close / to thwart intrusive thoughts and all
the cosmic causes / Smack of bitter wind and rage / and water
like barrage / Sky is so suffused and low now / ink
could sink from it any second // Moly
It pleasured us to bend,
into mauve repose,
beyond the wall. Rain,
we must have been
to hold the torch of affection forward—
Light bent back
to pluck us
with its beam.
We’d drunk the moly
steeped in tea
and woke as weak as leaves.
Better to say naïve—not mad.
or simply artless. What More Is There to Say of Hearts
I saw the man in the dream—that Franz—
on a bench in the park
consuming fruit: ‘Fletcherizing’ it—
slowly—for his health.He rose from the bench;
this act in the past
converted the dream-scene
to red—probably through the homophone ‘rose’,though maybe through the fruit
he liked to eat.
in Chotkovny Park, in
a garden of sculpted hearts—What more is there to say of hearts
that hasn’t been said already
by the Romantics
and more baroquely…Maybe that these hearts in the park
were captured in paint by an artist I like,
that she and Franz and I have strolled
that park in Prague, though he the most,
and none of us together.
Of dreams: that they conflate and animate.
Of red: that it’s the colour across from green. May I Call You FriendWe haven’t met, you’ve never seen me,
you couldn’t say,
There were the days on Petřín—the grassy slope,
we sat discussing Fear and Trembling, Michael Kohlhaas,
Sturm und Drang
as naturally as Mann.
I’ve come too late to hear you speak, to hear you read,
to see your teeth,
to walk behind you, stealthy, on an ordinary street,
but not to stalk your sentences,
obsessive and possessive.
Full of want, impalpable,
and tongue-tied. Alone, almost, in CairoYouths appeared before me by the Nile, Gezira Island.
Feral faces, naked legs— fast forward moving feet.
I felt the wheezing heat.
I was by myself but for the tiny child inside—
girl I knew then only as the stirring in my womb.
I ran for the stairs,
the refuge of the bridgehead.
Light was faint
below the bridge: a force for neither them nor us.
I reached the stairs and took them two-by-two
but wasn’t fleet enough.
One of the youths latched on to my heel
& I flew ~
and I was by the shield of evening traffic,
kneeling on the footpath of the mammoth October 6th Bridge.
I walked with one shoe gone to Tahrir Square. About the Author:Elana Wolff is a Toronto-based writer, editor, translator, photographer, designer, and facilitator of social art courses. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Canadian and international publications and have garnered several awards.
Her fifth solo collection of poetry, Everything Reminds You of Something Else, was released in 2017 with Guernica Editions. Her essay, Paging Kafka’s Elegist, won The New Quarterly 2015 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest and is included in Tightrope Books Best Canadian Essays 2016. Kafka at the Cemetery was short listed for The Malahat Review 2016 Constance Rooke Prize for Creative Non-fiction. Elana’s newest Kafka-quest essays are in current issues of New Madrid, journal of contemporary literary, Humber Literary Review, and Wanderlust Journal.
By Elana Wolff: Everything Reminds You of Something Else (Guernica Editions, 2017), You Will Still Have Birds: a conversation in poems with Susie Berg (Lyricalmyrical, 2015), Poems and Songs of Love by Georg Mordechai Langer, translated from the Hebrew with Menachem Wolff (Guernica Editions, 2014), Helleborus & Alchémille — a bilingual collection of poems selected from Birdheart, Mask, You Speak to Me in Trees, and Startled Night; translation by Stéphanie Roesler (Éditions du Noroît, 2013), Startled Night (Guernica Editions, 2011), Implicate Me: Short Essays on Reading Contemporary Poems (Guernica Editions, 2010), Slow Dancing: Creativity and Illness, with Malca Litovitz (Guernica Editions, 2008), You Speak to Me in Trees (Guernica Editions, 2006), Mask (Guernica Editions, 2003), and Birdheart (Guernica Editions, 2001).