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Mark Olival-Bartley studied applied linguistics at Hawaii Pacific University, attaining B.A. and M.A. degrees in TESOL, and poetry at the City College of New York. He is now anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson’s sonnets for his dissertation at Amerika Institut of LMU Munich, where also he edits a poetry weekly. His poems and translations have appeared in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the resident poet at EcoHealth, where his science-themed verse is regularly featured, and a senior copyeditor of Review of International American Studies.


I Hate

by C. K. Williams

I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound, 
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling, 
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise 
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird; 

not as remembrance, grief for so many gone, 
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret   
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions, 
petrified roots too deep to ever excise; 

a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh   
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being, 
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what, 
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love; 

not even war, fuck war, sighing for war, 
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease; 
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,   
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,   

echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world, 
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge, 
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise, 
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment, 

din from which every emotion henceforth emerges, 
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides: 
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,   
of, still, always, ever sadder and sadder sad joy.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.

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