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David Ignatow



I am abandoned to a dream in the desert: She is rounded and statuesque, the color of sand. The heat of the sun has drawn her up into form. At dusk, as I lie down exhausted in the heat, her arms, legs, breasts, face and belly crumble to the desert fl [...]

To Cure Itself

It's a sick life, being poet. He writes to give himself health so long as he writes. When he lays down his pen or shuts off his typewriter, he falls ill again. He finds himself in the world, bare, except that he hears the poetry of gunfire and cries [...]

Dear Robert

Your roses are blooming in a basket hung on the rail of my deck. I water them each morning and wait for rain to take over, if possible, but I enjoy the job, something new to me who have been growing books, fleurs du mal mainly. Did you intend by the [...]


Bessie's face lingers before me, as if to be touched, recalling her life. She does not yet know as a child and neither do I, her age. She is standing at the door of her parents' apartment, together with her mother to see us off, mother and I, after a [...]

What Next?

The baby carriage was old, one wheel lopsided, its metalwork rusty. The child, prone on its back, slept covered by clean blankets deep within, and at the woman's side, holding on to the carriage handle, stood another child, chubby and older by one ye [...]

Night Thoughts

It's eleven p. m. and I might as well ask why don't I make myself mashed potatoes as I usually do for dinner at 6 p. m. Why not at eleven p. m. ? But I do not have the answer. So habit rules, and since I am hungry at eleven and can think only of maki [...]

In My Childhood

In my childhood I awoke to my mother's voice in the kitchen and knew I was someone cherished, I belonged. I could look out the window bravely and admire the silent, drifting clouds and look down upon the silent street and lend my presence to give its [...]

And Now

That's my corpse you're looking at, laid out as I've instructed, with hands clasped before me as in prayer and just a bit of color in my cheeks, my lips pressed firmly together, yet revealing their soft, appealing curve, with something of a smile th [...]

The Image

The image in the mirror feels nothing towards him, though it is his image. He weeps, and it weeps with him, but is merely the sign of his weeping, yet he knows he cannot eat, drink or make love without that image. He is in awe of it. Though it does n [...]

New Year’s Eve

I sit here glad, glad of my comfort and so somber that there is a wind for which I have no wise words. There it is, blowing, and as it has no thoughts of its own neither have the trees nor the people. There are no wisecracks for such kinds of thought [...]

Every Day

The dog's bark that sounds as if it were choking on its own grief—I hear it each night before bed and take it with me into sleep to be used, I know, to name a part I would prefer to lose in sleep in breakfast and in music—that part I won't recall [...]


It's to hear the children under my window perform the ritual dance of sex to know I am asking for an end to danger and death, for the dance of shouts and gestures is towards life, which is for danger and death: a rush towards an ecstasy for destruct [...]