Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 36 (Semezdin Mehmedinovíc)

Nine Alexandrias
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Mehmedinovíc, Semezdin
Nine Alexandrias
Tr. Ammiel Alcalay

I think this was given to me by the author -- or by the translator, or possibly by the publisher. I can't remember which.

I brought Semezdin here, along with Ammiel Alcalay and Aleš Debeljak, for a reading a few years back. This guy is a formidable poet. You should read him. Seriously.

I remember him as a tall, kind of severe looking man with haunted eyes and deep furrows in his face and that read in kind of urgent whisper, punctuated by deep, voluble breaths, so that everyone leaned forward to hear what he was saying then leaned back, as if hit by a gust of wind, once they'd heard.

I remember one evening we went out on the front steps of our house so he could smoke. I told him a story about something, I don't recall what, and I remember he looked at me and said, "You know how to tell a story. You should do something with that." This blog might be seen as at least a tentative answer to that.

I'll return to the discourse on friendship and the story of P. tomorrow.

from Nine Alexandrias

Nine Alexandrias

Maybe it isn't all of them but the way I figure it
There are at least nine cities in America called Alexandria.
Cartography of the new had to be based on the
Principle of tracing the old world
Through an ocean indigo...

The only thing that makes
My trip across country imaginable is this:
Going from one Alexandria to another
I can't help but get to the same city.

And only by knowing for sure
That the world is still in one piece
Can I imagine moving from one
American Alexandria to another,
On the same Egyptian dock.

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