Milli Graffi

from Embargoed Voice


[First published in Milli Graffi, Embargoed Voice, Burning Deck, Providence, 2002]


In the indentation of the final hollow

        in the indentation of the final hollow

                a voice burrows itself

in the privilege of reticence
    last coat of the beast-like heat

                       before the outside splinters

                            and ESCAPES

                    I remain within the whimper of holy silence
            in the utter fruition of my peripheral intelligence
                I am where I know I will be forever
            in authentic pelt and cloven horns

    lay an embargo on my voice    it’s costing me



       plantain in situ domestico
    camped before my window
displays his winding paths of worn out melodies
        slow in the coming
    lights the skeleton of the dance
        elephants at the virgin spring
                  I condense myself a minim in his vision
and know the delicious tracks
                                                      blossoming outside
    and the susurrating infernal infolding will come
         in the million antlike leaves
       and the heated slackening
of repetition    repetition
                       youthful  timeworn


Translated from the Italian by Michael Gizzi

Click here to read Italian versions of these poems


BIO: Milli Graffi is a poet who considers poetry as a fabulous confrontation with the language’s resources in spreading out the perception of reality, and therefore its constitution. Her studies on nonsense, on wit writers, and all her translations of Lewis Carroll, are the basic instruments for investigating the most subtle potentialities of language. Graffi was born and lives in Milano, Italy. In the 1970s she was part of the avant-garde mouvement “poesia totale” centered on the the magazine “tamtam.” She performed sound poetry. She has published three books of poetry: Mille graffi e venti poesie, 1979; Fragili film, 1987; and L’amore meccanico, 1994. She has translated Lewis Carroll, C. Darwin and C. Dickens into Italian; and written essays on the avant-garde’s relation to the comic, and on nonsense in Marinetti, Palazzeschi and Breton.

Michael Gizzi is the author of numerous books of poetry, including most recently My Terza Rima (The Figures, 2001) and No Both (Hard Press/The Figures, 1997). An editor, publisher and teacher, he is co-founder of Qua Books which published John Ashbery’s When Umbrellas Follow Rain in 2001. He lives in the Berkshires.

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