Common Salt: Morgan Mansour

April 12, 2017

 

 

Morgan Mansour was a writer-in-residence at ZVONA i NARI in March/April of 2017. Growing up in Arkansas and Georgia in the US, getting her education at the Vassar College in Upstate New York, Morgan is now travelling across Europe discovering sparks that will ignite her writing and photography.

 

"I began to write poems in a summer when I rarely spoke English," she explains. "At the start of my time on farms in France, the world was struck nameless; objects gleamed raw in themselves, and words only stuck when they moved me.  I marveled how intuitions sprawl mossy in one's native terrain -- but likewise gather as moisture on glass in a foreign tongue, towards the slippery thing we call fluency. A few years later, a fellow student told me that my work reminded him of Medbh McGuckian, whom I didn’t know but grew to love.  'Her language,' Seamus Heaney wrote, 'is like the inner lining of consciousness,' and 'moves amphibiously between the dreamlife and her actual domestic and historical experience.' I can think of no higher aspiration for the text I want to make."  

 

Morgan's poetry is visual as is her photography poetic. „I don't want to give up on either because words and images support each other in my work, create a space for and inspire each other“, says the young author emphasizing how film editing and darkroom photography influenced her poems that we're presenting here in the original English and Croatian translation. 

 

 

 

 

ZiN Daily s radošću predstavlja stihove mlade Morgan Mansour, kako na engleskom tako i u hrvatskom prijevodu. Morgan je bila gošća našeg svratišta ZVONA i NARI u ožujku i travnju ove godine, a kao glavnu odrednicu svoje poetike ističe dijalog između vizualnog (Morgan je i fotografkinja) i poezije. 

 

 

 

 

 

FOURTH

 

I reach the point each evening when

there is more heat inside than
out. When there is no

 

you to puncture

doorframes -- to block
the pour of orange lamps.

 

Tonight, there’s just the splint

of fireworks on television.

Somewhere, a man will spit

out on a highway as his kids

fight over a box of juice.

 

There is no question

that others go on,

and scour the black

haze for consolation.

The traffic charts
no constellations.

 

But still, I watch for patterns
in the clutter on my kitchen table;
a flutter of half-torn paper,

bent by a fan that hums.

 

 

ČETVRTI

 

Svake večeri dosižem točku 
na kojoj je više vrućine unutra
nego vani. Gdje nema

 

tebe da probiješ
okvire vrata – da zaustaviš
slijevanje narančastih svjetiljki.

 

Večeras na televiziji 
prikazuju tek iskru vatrometa.
Negdje, na autocesti
neki će čovjek pljunuti
dok mu se djeca svađaju oko bočice soka.

 

Ostali neupitno
nastavljaju dalje,
i peru crnu
izmaglicu za utjehu.
Promet ne iscrtava
nikakva sazviježđa. 

 

Pa ipak, tražim uzorke
u krtežu na mom kuhinjskom stolu;
lepetanje napola pokidanog papira
koji savija ventilator što zuji. 

 


THE MOUTHS OF TRAILS

 

i.

 

the map must

understand itself

as incomplete &

show its seams

 

the map is more

interpretive than

informative

 

land stirs,

anew; map

static, askew &

 

boundaries vary

 

ii.

 

the lover of wine

sets out to build

a vineyard

 

the vines hide

in their seeds

he ceases to

call the earth

soil; instead

 

he calls the

ground dirt


iii.

 

her wrist hits

rope she gasps

and blinks

 

she turns so sky
may glide her narrow

 

a roof alludes
to impasse in passing,

metal ripples make rows

 

the moon floats

on its back

 

iv.

 

the frame connotes
as much as it contains

 

“every still life a love

letter in disguise”

 

each name a poem

to what exists

 

I am lonely for

time to greet me

 

 


USTA TRAGOVA

 

i.

 

karta mora
razumjeti samu sebe
kao nepotpunu i
pokazivati svoje šavove

 

karta je više
interpretativna nego
informativna

 

zemlja se komeša,
iznova; karta
je statična, iskrivljena i

granice variraju


ii.

 

ljubitelj vina
odlučuje posaditi
vinograd

 

loze su skrivene
u vlastitim sjemenkama

 

prestaje 
zemlju nazivati
tlom; umjesto toga

 

zove
polje njivom 


iii.

 

njezino zapešće udara
u konop, ona uzdiše
i trepće

 

okreće se tako da joj nebo
klizi bliže

 

krov upućuje
na stranputicu po putu,
metalni nabori slažu se u redove

 

mjesec pluta
na svojim leđima


iv.

 

okvir zadržava
koliko i sadržava

 

„svaka mrtva priroda
prikriveno ljubavno pismo“

 

svako ime pjesma
onome što postoji

 

usamljena čeznem
da me vrijeme pozdravi

 

 

MINERAL

 

Mineral, that night.

An ice tray cracks

its teeth. Caverns

 

brawl beneath a curtain

restless of its contour.

 

There is no event.

It is a broad line &

a corner, bound by

nails -- a frame.

 

Smoke lingers in

the dented couch,

 

a sponge that can

absorb no more
of what it sighs.

 

 

MINERAL

 

Mineral, te noći.
Posudica za led puna
razbijenih zuba. Šupljine

 

se tuku ispod zavjese
nemirne zbog njezinih obrisa. 

 

Nema događaja.
Samo široka linija i
ugao, omeđen
čavlima -- okvir.

 

Dim visi nad
ulubljenim kaučem,

 

spužva koja može
upiti ne više
od onoga koliko uzdiše. 

 


STONES

 

stay and watch

a stone fall;

 

to scale

each feat


subsumed, the unripe

 

and solace
slips white

 

/

 

but birds have

no teeth -- they

swallow stones,

 

and their gizzards

cut food with grit

 

 

KAMENJE

 

stani i gledaj
kamen kako pada;

 

popeti se na
svaki poduhvat

 

sadržano, nezrelo

 

a utjeha
klizne bijela

 

/

 

no ptice nemaju
zuba – one
gutaju kamenje,

 

a njihove utrobe
režu hranu pijeskom

 


COMMON SALT

 

in urgent static

rising out of

lovers’ mouths:

the swoon-drop,
the swan-

dive --

 

in the

candid
and collective

sage
of generations,

moving closer to

the buried place

where molten

plates make earth;

 

god is an

adjective, but

the hot-slipper moon won’t

speak.

 

 

OBIČNA SOL

 

u hitnom statičnom uzdizanju
iz ljubavničkih usta:
padanje u nesvijest,
labuđe poniranje --

 

u iskrenoj
i kolektivnoj mudrosti
generacija, približavajući
se zakopanom mjestu
gdje rastaljene
ploče tvore zemlju;

 

bog je pridjev,
ali mjesec u toplim papučama
neće reći.

 

 

Prijevod: NGiOR w/ DAC

Photos by: ZiN Daily and Morgan Mansour

 

 

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