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According to Steve Kowit in his wonderful book, In The Palm of Your Hand: The Poet’s Portable Workshop, “a translitic is a poem ‘translated’ from a foreign language by paying attention not to the meaning of words but to their sounds.” It’s a way to shake loose when words feel dull or frozen.

Translitic based on Jorge Luis Borge’s El Guardian de Los Libros

Here the gardens, the temples, the temple
Of wrecked music and wrecked palaces
The sense of seven, four-sided walks,
The right to be summoned, amicable, in unison
Before the opening night sky and the crowds
That decorate the blue-water emperor
Cued to serenity, fueled by reflection of the world
And especially the compass, dabbling in the fruit,
Torrential respectability at the margins
And the unicorn herd, parting with their fins
All their regrets.
The secrets layer eternally,
The concerts orbit
And each house of memory stands free
in custody of its own world.

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The Sketchbook


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