Matthew Rohrer

Translations from Hafiz


                                             for Joshua Saul Beckman

                                               

1.

Might as well spend money

on wine instead of new clothes



Might as well pour all the wine on these books



Might as well get drunk in a bar



Might as well pour myself

a tearful glass of fire



Might as well stop dreaming

of heaven, legless



Might as well unlearn

the smell of your hair





                       I am old






2.

I poured out my heart

to her in a letter

I said it was the end of the world



I said my face is wet with tears

and that’s my best feature



What a waste of time

How many of the ancients’ love poems

actually worked?



The doctor said she was ill



The wind blew the clouds

away from the moon



The next day was beautiful



I knew it would be embarrassing

to be seen walking around

outside her apartment



                       I went to the bar




3.

I moved to the city

I was going to be great

Now I have to leave



I can’t afford to eat properly

the way you eat



The pigeons cooing in the evening

used to lull me to sleep



“Oh heart be joyful” I read

on a restroom wall



It was a terrible lie



Misfortune rises all the way

to heaven





                       But this too shall pass






4.

I said it before

and I’ll say it again

it’s not my fault



Like a parrot I said

what everyone else said



Roses and weeds

are exactly the same



I’m still looking for someone

who thinks I’m cool



With wine stains all over my shirts

I’m not trying to hide anything



Sometimes I dream

I’m happy



                       Drinking wine

                       makes me happy






5.

It’s pouring rain out

Let’s get a drink



It’s too muddy

to take a walk

Let’s get a drink



Or you could bring some wine over

and some flowers



Because the bars are closed

even if you bang on the doors



The rain is beautiful

for about 5 minutes

and then it’s annoying



your red lips

making a circle

replace the sun



                       If I’m lucky






6.

May you never have to sit

in a doctor’s waiting room



May everything blow over



You are too beautiful

for that



The autumn winds rip off

the leaves

but the tree remains



May you move unmolested

through the city



And if anyone even looks

at you wrong

May they burn in hell



                       Just leave it to me






7.

All I want to do

is get drunk with my wife



An endless glass of wine

both of us on the floor



So what if squares

look down on us?



Boring and misguided

are their miserable lives



When my wife is in the city

and I’m home

I want to cry



The moonlight

on the cypress tree

is a bitter light



No book has ever kissed me

like she does






8.

The city is a beautiful place


The summer night lingers

just above the streets



And there is something

that frightens off the timid



Those who are drawn here

have a duty to prolong it



And gladly will they



Every evening in the city

is a deep pool of wine



Everyone who lives in the city

is drunk with it



And cannot leave



                       They are surrounded by friends






9.

In the morning

when I went into my garden

to pick a rose

a nightingale started to freak out



which

the more I thought about it

freaked me out



There was a deep and terrible connection



I could not bear



In a garden we believe

life is eternal



                       Which we don’t even want






10.

The brisk wind pouring down

from the north

reminds me of my friend



It has the same cold magnificence



I lean out the window

and call out a sort of greeting



I know he is happy

he is doing well



I have followed him

many times

into the unlikeliest bars



Even hecklers

cannot spoil his fun

Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Destroyer & Preserver, published by Wave Books. He is co-author, with Joshua Beckman, of the collaborative book Nice Hat. Thanks, and the audio CD Adventures While Preaching The Gospel of Beauty. With Joshua Beckman and Anthony McCann he co-authored the secret book Gentle Reader! He teaches at NYU and lives in Brooklyn.

 


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