30 December 2005

One Second More

This time I will add, and with a deep breath in, I will leap into the arms of passions and foes, each has a bite for me, I rub two fingers together and dissolve time between the tips and sprinkle it over the frozen sand.

This year seems longer, shorter, they say, but I feel, I know this year a memory now and when new thoughts rise, my brain scatters and I twist.

Love with you, one second more, a start, a first note to some miraculous score, on this new year's eve I find myself, like a frozen fruit, at your door.

I have a harp layered with ice and glowing from red to blue to purple, I melt and dazzle you, and you thrill me beyond each echoing song in the night, the solstice was not what we had hoped, modern lights just flashed and faded, never hot enough to pump passion into our year's end travel.

But now I find myself at the foot of your bed in flames, if a second is all it takes then this time grows shorter each year, I listen longer to dances through the woods, your naked body bounces in my mind.

I grab you in my arms and lead you out into the cold night. A single source of heat, our love, a single distant point, our love, a single focus found, our love.

our love, our love, our love.

That second comes and goes in a singular delight, and just before we understand its majestic sign, the fleeting second gives way and tumbles to hide under the sky.

We stand in the darkness to find the sun chase the day while the waves break their wake.

Happy I am to see you in first light my love,

Happy 2006.

~Julia Emily Maresca

6 December 2005

Wu Tsao

I have closed the double doors.
In what corner of the heavens is she?
A horizontal flute
Beyond the red walls
Blown as gently as the breeze
Blows the willow floss.
In the lingering glow of the sunset
The roosting crows ignore my melancholy.
Once again I languidly get out of bed.
After I have burned incense,
I loiter on the jeweled staircase.
I regret the wasted years,
Sick, afraid of the cold, afraid of the heat,
While the beautiful days went by.
Suddenly it is the Autumn Feast of the Dead.
Constantly disturbed by the changing weather,
I lose track of the flowing light
That washes us away.
Who moved the turning bridges
On my inlaid psaltery?
I realize--
Of the twenty five strings
Twenty one are gone.

- poem by Wu Tsao, translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung

Drawing of Wu Tsao © Sudie Rakusin
Wu Tsao was an early-nineteenth-century Chinese poet. She was unhappily married, wrote erotic poems to courtesans, had women friends and lovers, and spent her last years in seclusion as a Taoist priestess. Although Wu Tsao is considered one of China's greatest poets, she is not so well known in the West.

Thanks to Alix North for introducing me to Wu Tsao. Thanks to Sudie Rakusin for drawing her portrait.