Poetry — August 15, 2011 12:13 — 0 Comments

Home – Erik Bendix

Grateful to have two houses,
I lurch among tilting attic boxes,
Holding a thousand puzzle pieces

In memory, trying to keep straight
Which mistress I am with now,
Always teetering on the edge
Of forgetting pieces missing
From myself. Our agonies
As we acquire drapes and furniture
Are not from being closet nomads
Or landless peasants at heart,
Not even secret hunter gatherers.
No, we come from a hunted culture,
And leaving is the easy part for us.
It is the arrival that cuts
Against ancestral grain.
At least we have enough houses now
To always be leaving one behind.
Death is our brash familiar friend
And birth a blushing stranger
Whom we don’t know how to
Make welcome in our home.


Erik Bendix loves vitality and texture in words. His poetry distills half a century spent wrestling with a family legacy of Holocaust survival, living close to nature, exploring world dance traditions, and finding joy in music. As a student of movement arts from Chen Man Ching's Tai Chi to Rumi's legacy of dervish whirling, he listens for the cadences of movement in words, and for where those cadences draw life from the body. He has translated all of Rilke's Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus into English, the latter into full sonnet form to capture the resonance and flow of the original.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney