Kelly Nelson

I Hear America Singing

I loved a pricey device
for igniting a bomb,

free of purpose,
intent, more just

winging it, feathery
accessory, accessory, accessory.

Yes, they’re trendy.
Yes, they’re made

of gold. Unparalleled, they are
that too.

________________

América carols mechanics singing plank máson
leaves boatman boat steamboat nging sits on bench
nging song delicious or of young singing party songs

 
 

I, Too

Yeah, I know money
tucks away

the muzzle, money
swallows

the moan. I know—
I loved a loaded woman.

________________

ng nd company comes well Tomorrow
company comes Say e ashaméd America

 
 

Danse Russe

I already gave you
my supper

& the abortion
& my jiggle

of egg, milk & sweet.

________________

baby and white disc mists dance naked, grotesquely
lonely was born to lonely admire flanks

 
 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

I know that mansion
& I know

she laid out
in the sun. It was

an inelegant tow rope
I wore & I know

she derided me, a thousand
times she jeered.

________________

Who these village My horsé queer To stóp
farmhousé To ask Of easy downy promis
miles befóre miles befóre

 
 

The Day Lady Died

You’re only half
here, I submit.

Your cough, adorable
as a bullet, walking

like fending off
a bull. A bird

the accidental inmate
of a cardboard box.

I spun no feathers
around your neck.

________________

York and I go shoeshine I don’t sun to see these Linda
bala
nce quandariness store and Avenue Theatre and
casually cartón cartón now whilé keyboard

 
 

The Road Not Taken

I pray to see
the possum

before it sees me. It prays
to see me

like this—buckled
and gasping for breath.

________________

Two roads diverged far as wanted same leaves
for another ever come a sígh hence has made
These poems were created through a process of experimental translation. I start by finding Spanish words living within well-known poems written in English. For instance, a Spanish river (río) runs through the middle of the word serious and the word darkness begins with the Spanish verb to give (dar). I then gather a constellation of these unintended Spanish words and translate them into English to compose new works.

The erasure-palimpsests that appear below each poem carry echoes of the original poems while also showing these two languages coexisting within the same lines, the same words. This is my own small way of trying to unbuild the wall between us and our neighbors to the south.

These poems retain the original titles of the source texts, poems by Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Frank O’Hara and Robert Frost.

Kelly Nelson’s experimental translations have appeared in Anomaly, Interim, Seattle Review, Best American Experimental Writing and elsewhere. She teaches Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State University and is the author of two chapbooks. More at kelly-nelson.com.

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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom, winner of the 2017 Washington Prize, Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, New American Writing, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, Verse Daily, and VOLT.