Thistle, Civility, Edge

Because there is no ground for silence
where the edge pushes against us,
we arrange alphabets of civility.

Because disappointment is the other side of beauty
and everything falls
inside or outside constraint,
we plant thistle where a rose would do.

I want to say something
on behalf of the unkind word,
like maybe we need to bruise each other sometimes.
Maybe I want to slam myself against you.
Maybe I want you to push back.

We could be good together bloody
or raw-boned or impaled on a dare.
Say you’re standing in front of the mirror,
shaving, and the razor carves a message
on your cheek. Say you’re pruning
in the front yard one day
and you let the shears have their way.
Then go at it. Go ahead and slash leaves
and break the old limbs
until only a few are left standing,
a trinity of the best, the brightest,

and tell yourself every man has a killer
waiting to be let out.

By Daniel Zagórski 

Oset, uprzejmość, krawędź (przekł. Piotr Florczyk)

Ponieważ nie ma powodu do milczenia
kiedy krawędź napiera na nas,
układamy alfabety uprzejmości.

Ponieważ rozczarowanie jest drugą stroną piękna
i wszystko poddaje się lub opiera ograniczeniom,
sadzimy oset tam, gdzie wystarczyłaby róża.

Chcę coś powiedzieć
w imieniu niemiłego słowa,
że może czasem musimy się ranić.
Może chcę się na ciebie rzucić.
Może chcę, żebyś stawiał opór.

Moglibyśmy stworzyć niezłą parę, zranieni,
wychudzeni lub przeszyci wyzwaniem.
Powiedzmy, że stoisz przed lustrem,
golisz się, a brzytwa wycina wiadomość
na twoim policzku. Powiedzmy, że plewisz
pewnego dnia w ogródku przed domem
i pozwalasz nożycom robić swoje.
Więc, naprzód. Śmiało tnij liście
i łam stare gałęzie
aż zostanie tylko kilka,
trójca najlepszych, najwspanialszych,

i mów sobie, że każdy mężczyzna ma w sobie zabójcę
czekającego na wypuszczenie.

Piotr Florczyk is an award-winning poet, scholar, essayist, and translator. He was born and raised in Kraków, Poland, and has lived in the United States since 1994. He is currently Assistant Professor of Global Literary Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. His books include: Swimming Pool, East & West, Barefoot, and Krakow Testimonies. He is one of the founders of Calypso Editions, a cooperative press, and former Translations Editor for The Los Angeles Review. His latest publishing project, Textshop Editions, co-founded with Kevin A. Wisniewski, is dedicated to publishing short experimental works. Contributing Editor at Copper Nickel and Poetry International, he also serves on the Editorial Board of the “Literary Multingualism” book series at Brill.

Daniel Zagórski was born one year before the first half of the previous century passed in the most surrealistic city in Poland, or perhaps even in Europe – in the city of Łódź. In brief: I am a bricklayer-plasterer by education, I do not eat with a fork and knife, and everything else I am concerned with is a total horror.. . vacui.

B. Lynne Zika’s photography, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary and consumer publications. 2023 publications include The Crossroads, The Rye Whiskey Review, and Writing in a Woman’s’s Voice. 2022 publications include Delta Poetry Review, Backchannels, Poesy, Suburban Witchcraft, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature

In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Awards include: Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, Little Sister Award and Moon Prize in poetry, and Viewbug 2020 and 2021Top Creator and Hero Awards in photography.