HABITS by Majlinda Bashllari
by Steven McCabe
Around here we measure everything
words, costs, speeds–
so nobody gets hurt
be sorry et cetera.
Define and predict: the span of germs,
the time of dinosaurs,
the era of humans.
Expiry dates on foods
favour short-lived romances
over the lifetime ones.
We’re being practical.
We measure tumours.
Sizes disturb us
same as their unyieldingness.
We keep notes. Calculate and file.
Out of stubbornness
we look for equals.
The whereabouts of clouds
we know precisely. Not so sure
about our thoughts,
we get near them,
and wave –
young hands inside a steep creek.
Realm of flesh fingers that measure
the cruelty of flow.
Born in Albania, Majlinda Bashllari is the author of two poetry collections, Një udhë për në shtëpi (A road to home), published in Tirana, Albania (Morava, 2007) & Love is a very long word, published by Guernica Editions in 2016. Bashllari’s work has appeared in numerous Albanian art and literature magazines and in Albanian anthologies of essays and short stories. She lives in Toronto.
“The whereabouts of clouds”–a phrase so arresting it could carry a volume of poems. Followed by “we know precisely,” which of course we don’t really.
Steven, your rich layering of complex colour is a wonderful complement to a poem that is probably more politically-driven than Majlinda Bashllari is letting on. Congratulations to you both.
Thank you Elana for this (arresting itself) observation about Majlinda’s line ‘The whereabouts of clouds.’ Your precise thought really opens up the words. And thank you for thoughts on visuals. I hope Majlinda sees your comment and responds.
Thanks so much, Elana, it means a lot coming from you. Working with Steven was a great experience. I am honored. Wish you both all the best. Majlinda
The wonderful swirl of colours; the darkening and lightening; the shimmer, the shadows. The truth is so elusive these days that it seems it can only be captured in poetry, or music or art.
Hi mrsdaffodil, and thank you. What a beautiful way of expressing your thought.
the colour of habits…”We get near them, they dodge and wave,”…
Thank you maskednative…the colour of habits (*) nicely said.