When the moon is in Fresno.

A Wrist-cutter's Glow, oil on canvas, 50x50 cm., Adam Donaldson Powell.
A Wrist-cutter’s Glow, oil on canvas, 50×50 cm., Adam Donaldson Powell.

saturn’s blues.

when the moon is in Fresno

and the sun sets a purplish

haze over early-autumn skies,

the cold winds of Hell

breathe heavily against

the hopes of local heroes

and the women who made them.

farmers stare off into the fields

without realizing, and housewives

pull their young close to their

bosoms – suddenly and

without explanation.

intuitively they sense the onset

of a long and severe influence;

a time of hardship and hindrance

when the faith and courage of

more than a few good men

and women are put to test.

the carousel is out-of-control,

and in the whirlwind confusion

crops will fail, loved ones will

pass away, jobs will be lost

and the simplest of dreams will

be stifled by saturn’s blues:

a mocking nursery rhyme telling

of horror and despair, and sung

over and over again with endless

variations on the same cruel theme.

(from Adam Donaldson Powell’s “Collected poems and stories”, 2005.)

don’t ask.

(original English version, from Adam Donaldson Powell’s “Collected poems and stories”, 2005.)

please don’t ask me how I am;

you can’t really expect

me to be any different

than I was yesterday.

we’re all really quite normal —

me, myself and I, and in

spite of our narcotic state can

be up and down simultaneously.

and don’t look at me too long;

I despise those “I know

how you must be feeling

eyes” and concerned tone.

why must you always misconstrue

the way my gaze avoids yours?

my anti-social disposition is

intended to protect you from us.

no — it doesn’t help to

speak slowly, pronouncing

each word with the sweetened

diction of a nun or nurse.

I honestly can’t tell you how to

act, for I have trouble enough

getting us to agree about

how we’ll shield you from me.

it’s really best to let me volunteer,

lest my unbridled demons unleash

their flame-throwing dragons to singe

the delicate threads of your own ego.

and you, so footloose, must avoid looking

back into the darkness whose glittering

maze of mirrors encaptures those who poke

their noses where they don’t belong.

go ahead — ask me how I am …

(Spanish version)

Por favor, no me pregunte cómo estoy;
usted no puede esperar
que yo esté muy diferente
de lo que estaba hasta ayer.
Todos estamos bien, normal –
yo, mí y yo mismo, y debido
además, a nuestro estado
narcotizado
podemos estar simultáneamente bien o mal.
No me mire fijo, le recomiendo;
yo detesto esos ojos de “Yo sé
como se siente … ”
y el tonito preocupado.
¿Por qué todos siempre malinterpretan
el modo en que mi mirada evita la suya?
Mi disposición antisocial es
para proteger a todos de nosotros.
No – no ayuda
hablarme despacio, pronunciando
cada palabra con el dulce tono
de una enfermera o niñera.
Honestamente no puedo decir
cómo actuar,
ya tengo bastantes problemas
tratando de ponernos de acuerdo
entre nosotros.
Sobre cómo protegerlo de nosotros.
Realmente lo mejor es dejarme ser un voluntario,
y permitir que mis demonios salvajes se suelten
y a sus dragones de lenguas llameantes hacer arder
los hilos delicados de su propio ego.
Y usted, tan descuidado, evite mirarme
cuando me vaya de nuevo a la oscuridad
cuya brillante masa de espejos captura
a los que meten su nariz en lo que no les importa.

Déle, déle, pregúnteme cómo estoy …


(from Adam Donaldson Powell’s “Three-legged Waltz”, 2006, trad. de Maria Cristina Azcona, Buenos Aires)

Un día lo entenderás …

Trato de ignorar el zumbido del teléfono —
tan incesante … y desesperado.

Ya conozco tus palabras:
“Me preguntaba si aún estabas muerto …
¿Hay algo que pueda hacer para ayudarte?
!Ay Caramba! … Perdona mi torpeza.
(Quiero decir: ¿hay algún cambio
desde hace una hora?)”

Tú sabes: no puedo contestar el teléfono
porque no puedo cuidarte nunca más.
Ahora no.

Un día lo entenderás.

(from Adam Donaldson Powell’s “Jisei”, 2013.)

Tightrope.

I swear they make this tightrope

thinner each time I attempt to cross.

I remember how my psyche could once

dance endless sommersaults back and forth.

and how every now and then I would

laugh mercilessly to myself at how I

astonished and sometimes even

infuriated others with my devilish

dexterity of mind and wit.

but now, having fallen all too often,

I quiver at the sight of both

challengers and supporters; and

look upon success in reaching the

rope’s end as another day’s survival

rather than a demonstration of prowess.

I know a good sport never complains but,

I swear they make this tightrope

thinner each time I attempt to cross.

(from Adam Donaldson Powell’s “Collected poems and stories”, 2005.)

THREE-LEGGED WALTZ.

well hidden behind the portals

of passionless and watery eyes

the incessant carousel of an insomnious

three-legged waltz is revealed with

childlike vision; hypnotically in

syncopation with the murmur

of the inviolate ticking clock.

in this surface-like existence, well

beyond resistance and emotion,

every attempt to break through is

as futile as punching a pillow

or screaming in a dream.

and in the absence of promise we

eventually find solace in our perpetual

state of existentialism and blues –

and pretend not to recognize the

everpresent and bittersweet

scent of lemons exuding from

each and every passerby.

(from Adam Donaldson Powell’s “Three-legged Waltz”, 2006.)

PsychedelicAdam

Odes to angry & sad young men.

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PARANOID
DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT BEING FOLLOWED!
(East Village, New York City — 1987)

As the crowd pushes me upward
from the darkness of the underground,
a mild panic begins to rush
through my veins yielding
torrents of sweat that race
uncontrollably over my
forehead and chest.
With just moments to spare,
I hasten to tear off my tie,
roll up my shirt-sleeves, and
complete my disguise with
the darkest of shades and
the meanest of scowls.
At the surface, my head begins to
reel at the stench and sight of
unwashed urchins and broad-smiling
ne’er-do-wells with extended
palms seeking tokens, cigarettes
and loose change.
My already shortened nerves are
obliterated by the blasts of
Buick-sized radios carried by
junkies and peddlers of items
discarded by me the week before.
Looking about with hesitancy and
anticipation — I shriek and recoil
in horror and disbelief:
the punks, thieves, beggars and
schizoids are chasing me now!
… Boom — Chiga-Boom,
Chiga-Boom-CHIga-Boom-CHIGA BOOM!
Once home — saturated by disgust
and relief — I retire to the
tv-room with scotch and soda,
and eagerly await the new report
concerning those who were
not so lucky.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, 2005)

SURVIVOR.

Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His alcoholic mother has breast cancer;
and his ‘dad’ left long before
he was born.
Living in a trailer park
has its perks: no one really
cares if you stay out all night …
or for days on end, for that matter.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
His sister is an ex-whore;
struggling to stay ‘clean’
so she can keep her job
as a cashier at Wal-Mart.
Her loser live-in boyfriend is
a ‘good-for-nothing’ …
a fucking bum who
won’t even bother to recycle
bottles discarded in garbage
receptacles or containers.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He gets beaten every other day
at school; and slapped once-a-week
at home. He’s used to it: doesn’t care
anymore really, but he has recently
begun carrying a switchblade to see if it
can be a deterrent … like going to war in Iraq.
He dreams of getting a handgun, and is hoping
that someone famous will one day pimp his ride.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …
He takes his HIV-meds when he remembers.
Life is a sweet mixture: sometimes ‘heaven’,
and oftentimes ‘hell’ … depending on the ‘high’,
the sex or the lack of either (or both).
A neighbor-punk called him ‘faggot’ once …
He just smiled … causing the asshole
to run in haste and fear. Who cares?!!
It’s all temporary anyway; what with
global warming, nuclear threats, serial killers
and terrorism .. and those fucking ‘super malls’.
His favorite posters in his room are pictures
of victims: from the second world war, from
natural catastrophes, from terrorist attacks …
anyone who reminds him that he is one of
the lucky ones.
Doesn’t matter. For the moment anyway.
At least that’s what he thinks when his
mom blasts the old disco hit “I will survive!” …
the one time in a blue moon when he
sets himself down to do his homework.
Yeah, he’s a survivor …


(from “Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world”)

HERITAGE? RIGHT!

Heritage … right!
So what has your generation
really passed on to me?!!
A set of identities that often don’t fit;
a world riddled with standardization,
wars,
lies,
plastic reality-show idols,
virus,
global warming,
uncertainty,
and all too easy access to drugs …
(that sweet salvation that ultimately enslaves).
Sure, I respect what you worked for:
a sense of potential, and the
personal freedom to express my
‘right to be me’.
But what the fuck does it matter when
individual isolation in an
out-of-control jungle presses me
further inward than you ever were?
I won’t give up today’s cyber-existence;
but sometimes I really do envy your
‘Good old days’ …
Heritage … right!


(from “Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world”)

L.A. HOMEBOY

Hey Homeboy!
Ran into Faith, your woman,
up in the barrio last Saturday.
She wanted to know how her ‘homeboy’ is.
I told her you was still doin’ time.
Her ma won’t let her write,
but it ain’t been the same, bro’.
Little Julio’s started dealin’ crack,
and she’s two months pregnant.
When I asked her if the kid
was yours, she started cryin’.
I didn’t know what to do, man;
so I put my arm around her
and mumbled: “You gotta keep the fai …”
Then I stopped, dried her tears
and smiled, while sayin’:
“If Homeboy was here, he’d tell you
to keep the baby, Faith.”

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

stud.

responding to the call
of a warm summer night,
the muscled youth surveys the
streets from his oakland stoop
with the vigilance of a vulture.
he soothes the heat
pervading his loins
with beer and cigarettes,
and gyrates to rhythms
from his sony walkman to
intensify his baiting scent.
at the passing of each female,
he extends greetings and suggestion —
lastly to a haughty one who
requests that he kindly ‘drop dead.’
the youth throws a kiss and laughs
in sport and self-defence,
until he spies the adoring stare
of another boy, and yells:
“what are you looking at, faggot?!!”

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

DOG DAYS.

On dog days,
when nothing goes right,
impatient young men grumble
that the gods are
not on their side.
Their pursed lips
may boast indifference
but tell-tale scars
of self-abuse underscore
the misery of defeat.

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

experimental dental school

PEER GROUP HEROES.

To inner-city true believers,
average is the ugly consequence
of weakness and error —
their idols being tv immortals,
and greatest foe time.
Suitably, peer group heroes
inspire the less visible
with eloquently-layered lies —
and not once disassociate
mask from morality.

(from “Collected poems and stories”)

boxinggloves6

BOUNDARIES.

Peripheral lines
in my psyche
and yours
dance and intersect
with agreement
and understanding.
But crossed
boundaries
lead both
dogs and nations
to quarrel.

(from “Three-legged Waltz)

skateboard-bane11.jpg

skateboard bane2skateboard bane3

adamjanuary2015-2

(poems and photography by Adam Donaldson Powell)

absurdités : jeux d’eau.

lookingouttosea

Absurdities of Perception.

To gain freedom from absurdities of the Mind,
I count my footsteps
(so silent and arhythmic)
upon the wet sand.

The crash of the waves is muffled by the
stillness of the dunes;
the saltwater anaesthetises both
nostrils and swollen feet.

I scavenge the dusk-lit shore for
lost treasures of memory, while
a solitary falcon-gull scries
the abandoned abodes of crustaceans.

One-by-one, all impulses of my brain
coagulate into one thought:
“You will never know yourself until you
become indifferent to the search.”

The jeering laughter of the gull
shatters my Revelation, triggering
my teeth to chatter in
the now-felt cold.

In vain, I retrace the shoreline
in search of my impressions, but
all existence has been cannibalised
by the froth of the moment.

Truly, my absurdities of perception
are a source of refuge:
the complacency of the sage
is the bane of the common man.

(from “Notes of a Madman”, Winston-Derek Publishers, 1987.)

marina1

Ariadne 2: Jilting at Naxos.

with the passage
of a single cloud
over the persistent sun,
the image of a victim of
psychological rape is
eternally engraved upon
the chronicles of history —
as tearing out her hair with
contorted face and gaping mouth;
and the incessant wailing of
passionate desperation yields
to rage as the near-drowned
nymph crawls from sea to land
in a half-hearted attempt
at survival.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, Cyberwit Publishing, 2005.)

SKOGTUR1

Changing of the Sails.

The appearance of the Port of Pireaus
on the horizon transforms mirage into reality
as the vagabond ship rocks steadily between
the waves on the 27th day of summer.
Burning rays of sunlight fuel the fervour
of moving muscles on bare-backed men
hoisting ropes and alternating sails
from black to white, thus signalling
their triumphant return from the
grasp of death into the bosom of victory.
And at the helm stands the young hero Theseus,
staring without seeing and smiling with
non-expression: his concentration is
distracted by the solitary image of a
young woman in love, screaming his name
in vain.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, Cyberwit Publishing, 2005.)

bowlofshells

Sea lines.

The ebbing of foam and
spray from sea lines
reveals glittering calico
pebbles and shell fragments
upon coastal sands.
During the interim of
drought and abandonment,
the brilliance of this
treasure trove is dulled
by disclosure and desiccation.
There they remain,
rather indistinguishable
from the multitudes,
and dream of baptism
by tidal reclamation.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, Cyberwit Publishing, 2005.)

badebasseng på kampen

jeux d’eau.

jeux d’eau ;
dégel du printemps :
gouttes d’eau,
parfois en cascades …
beau à regarder.
et pourtant fascinant de voir
comment ces jeux d’eau
peuvent à la fois
donner une nouvelle vie,
et nous soutenir …
mais quelque fois aussi détruire
beaucoup de ce qui est
naturel et artificiel …

— adam donaldson powell, “Jisei”, Cyberwit publishers, 2013.

badebasseng på kampen6

THE SCALDING.

The slow dripping of water
Upon blistered skin and flesh
Stages the final element of torture
For the deposed king as each
Drop threatens to erode more
Permanently all hope for
Recovery and revenge.
Melodic shrieks of agony
Maintain symphonic balance
Against the rhythmic trickling,
Indicative of the ironic horror
Endemic to nature’s inevitable
Triumph over civilization
And artificiality.
Perhaps the greatest severity
Is the cruelty of mortality;
For chronology minimizes
Individual humanity with
Each passing moment.

(from “Collected poems and stories”, Cyberwit Publishing, 2005.)

nordic sun

DAEDALUS 4: LAMENT FOR A DYING KING.

It shatters me to see you
Lying there so helplessly;
Playing the ‘waiting game’
Without judgment or choice.
Fearing life now more than death,
You transcend the impatience of desire
Through constancy of pain and
Resignation to the inevitable.
In a singular gesture of compassion,
Your pale lips force a smile
Which silences the teardrop
Skidding down my face; and
Momentarily I turn away inside myself,
Embarrassed by my own self-indulgence.
Still smiling,
You take me by the hand and
Squeeze a bit of your precious life
Into mine, as if to say:
“I know … I know …
(we all live on borrowed time).”

— adam donaldson powell, “Collected poems and stories”, Cyberwit publishers, 2005.

Toalett på kampen nr. 2
Toalett på kampen nr. 2
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