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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Six Nov-Dec 2023.
No Women I Know Still Sleep…, poems by DeWitt Clinton.
No Women I Know Still Sleep
in the Women’s Quarters,
But I Still Wonder About What the Tune Might Be in
Li Ch’ing-Chao’s “Thoughts from the Women’s Quarter”
If I look outside, and I look outside quite a bit
Even if I couldn’t begin to know what I might
See past the old window panes, but the day lilies
Are certainly not blooming, hunkering down
Even deeper than they can for long winter nights.
Nobody ever just asks, what are you thinking, dear?
Somedays I wonder what’s the point, but then
Light appears rising over the lake, and I like
Knowing I’m still here, not knowing at all
What that means, or what I might try to do.
I’m writing no lovely love notes to anyone,
For I can’t think of why anyone would write
Something like that, and there’s no one to
Send a sex text to, and believe me, that’s not
Going to happen, unless we want an assignation.
Reading “Ninth Day, Ninth Month,”
by Li Ch’ing-chao Wondering About the Tune,
“Drunk With Flower Shadows”
The sky is still grey,
Grey the whole long day.
All the incense which lingered
All day is gone for so long.
Today is a birthday for someone gone.
Late at night, asleep on black silk,
With animal prints as a comforter,
I awake in the dark, wonder where you are.
Outside, stars blink, satellites whirl above.
I satisfy a thirst with a near empty bottle.
Something leaves me in mystery, perhaps you,
Not that far away, but tonight, far away.
The curtains lift lightly with indoor breezes.
I am older, like the fading yellow tulips beside me.
Up Early, Soon Realized I Might Still Be Here,
© DeWitt Clinton
These selections by DeWitt Clinton (Shorewood, Wisconsin) are improvisations/adaptations of a few poems by the classical poet, Li Ching-chao (1084-1151) translated by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung (1979). DeWitt’s most recent book, Hello There (2021) was awarded the 2022 Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award by the Council of Wisconsin Writers. He manages his tiny house with the aid of “Buddy,” a Blue Point Siamese.