Poets on Couches: Monica Youn


Poets on Couches

In this series of videograms, poets read and discuss the poems getting them through these strange times—broadcasting straight from their couches to yours. These readings bring intimacy into our spaces of isolation, both through the affinity of poetry and through the warmth of being able to speak to each other across the distances.

by Federico García Lorca
Translated by Greg Simon and Steven L. White
Issue no. 104 (Fall 1987)

Dawn in New York has
four columns of mire
and a hurricane of black pigeons
splashing in the putrid waters.

Dawn in New York groans
on enormous fire escapes
searching between the angles
for spikenards of drafted anguish.

Dawn arrives and no one receives it in his mouth
because morning and hope are impossible there.
And sometimes the furious swarming coins
penetrate like drills and devour abandoned children.

Those who got out early know in their bones
there will be no paradise or loves that bloom and die;
they know they will be mired in numbers and laws,
in mindless games, in fruitless labors.

The light is buried beneath chains and noises,
an important warning to rootless science.
And crowds stagger sleeplessly through the boroughs
as if they had just escaped a shipwreck of blood.


Monica Youn is the author, most recently, of Blackacre.