"Poetry is the tool I turn to most often to answer vexatious questions about nature, medicine, relationships, life, death, mourning, and the endings of unfinished stories" says Ori Fienberg in a poetic statement accompanying four exceptional poems he sent us, poems which are at the same time answers to and an ongoing dialogue with the late Chilean Nobel Prize winner, Pablo Neruda. Namely, in response to 74 poems in Neruda's The Book of Questions, Ori Fienberg completed 74 poems to go along with Neruda's deep philosophical questions of strong images. Fienberg explains his motivation to embark on this exciting journey through time, languages and worldviews:
"The Book of Questions was one of Neruda’s last books, but it was one of the first complete books of poetry I read as a college student, just as I was beginning to study poetry formally, and consider my own voice. The Book of Questions exploded my view of what poetry could be: it’s a tour de force of magical realism, and I saw it, and continue to see it, as an open door to possibility. While these answers are direct, if personal and divergent responses to each of Neruda’s questions, and it would be wonderful if these answers caused readers to seek out Neruda’s questions, my hope is that they can stand on their own: just as Neruda’s questions invite the reader to share Neruda’s world and create their own answers, by framing these couplets as "answers", without the questions present, the reader is invited to imagine their own questions, with motifs, allusions, and symbolism relevant to them, thus creating a poem that never ends, as the answers and questions of each poet lead to unique worlds and stories."
We're presenting here Poems 29 through 32.
Ori Fienberg's short prose has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as Essay Daily, PANK, Diagram, Mid-American Review, Subtropics, BOAAT, and decomP. He's a graduate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and works for Northeastern University.
Oranges and the sun cause
the same tree happiness.
At sunset the sun crawls into a burning bed,
and then falls into the ocean.
Crickets play the music of
heaven on earth.
Sadness weighs heavily on a point,
melancholy spread like oil across the conscious.
When he wrote his blue book
Reuben Dario was linen.
Rimbaud was velvet,
Gongora was a bolt silk.
Victor Hugo was cotton
I am the dream coat made from them all.
The naked memories of the poor
Walk the street looking for clothing.
The rich keep their dreams
Ask yourself what you came into
this world to make happen.
If you feel you must keep moving
you must keep moving for something.
You don’t need wheels to rock and roll,
you don’t need wings to fly or to crash.
Sometimes you must move even
If it would be simpler to stay.
The only thing sillier in life than to be called
Pablo Neruda, is to be called Ori Fienberg.
I collect the sky’s memories
of the clouds.
The umbrellas meet in London every
year to enjoy the good weather.
The Queen of Sheba had blood
the color of tears.
Baudelaire wept diamonds
when life was black.
When the water fights the sun in the
desert it seeps into the ground to hide.
Each sun tries to love those
who need its love most.
We are willingly trapped in
the nets of moon light.
It was when they lost me
that I found us all again.