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Dancing in Odessa

Ilya Kaminsky

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Author's Prayer If I speak for the dead, I must leave this animal of my body, I must write the same poem over and over for the empty page is a white flag of their surrender. If I speak of them, I must walk on the edge of myself, I must live as a blind man who runs through the rooms without touching the furniture. Yes, I live. I can cross the streets asking "What year is it?" I can dance in my sleep and laugh in front of the mirror. Even sleep is a prayer, Lord, I will praise your madness, and in a language not mine, speak of music that wakes us, music in which we move. For whatever I say is a kind of petition and the darkest days must I praise.”

“But in the secret history of anger--one man's silence / lives in the bodies of others.”

“One would think of a boy laying syllables with his tongue onto a woman’s skin: those are lines sewn entirely of silence.”

“I will praise your madness, and in a language not mine, speak of music that wakes us, music in which we move. For whatever I say is a kind of petition, and the darkest days must I praise.”

“It was August. August! The light in the trees, full of fury.”

“All that is musical in us is memory.”

“It was April. The sun washed the balconies, April.”

“Time, my twin, take me by the hand through the streets of your city; my days, your pigeons, are fighting for crumbs—”

“Then my mother begins to dance, re-arranging this dream. Her love is difficult; loving her is simple as putting raspberries in my mouth. On my brother’s head: not a single gray hair, he is singing to his twelve-month-old son. And my father is singing to his six-year-old silence. This is how we live on earth, a flock of sparrows. The darkness, a magician, finds quarters behind our ears. We don't know what life is, who makes it, the reality is thick with longing. We put it up to our lips and drink.”

“Envoi You will die on a boat from Yalta to Odessa. —a fortune teller, 1992 What ties me to this earth? In Massachusetts, the birds force themselves into my lines— the sea repeats itself, repeats, repeats. I bless the boat from Yalta to Odessa and bless each passenger, his bones, his genitals, bless the sky inside his body, the sky my medicine, the sky my country. I bless the continent of gulls, the argument of their order. The wind, my master insists on the joy of poplars, swallows,— bless one woman’s brows, her lips and their salt, bless the roundness of her shoulder. Her face, a lantern by which I live my life. You can find us, Lord, she is a woman dancing with her eyes closed and I am a man arguing with this woman”

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Book Keywords:

musica-humana, spatio-temporal-metaphors, poetry-quotes, poems, familial-imagery, poetry, the-meaning-of-life

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