(or Manhattan) [translated]

translated by Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander

 

Manhattan is

to approach Manhattan

 

taking a yellow cab from JFK and

still looking for it

when I wonder will it show up

asks my wife (same case

when we went to see the Moroccan desert wasn’t it

I calm her down

 

it’s all about the approach

Manhattan is

its own desert (perhaps

 

and finally

like a distant mirage

the silhouette of that throng of skyscrapers comes clear

we are thrilled a little (from the oasis town of Erfoud lush with date palms

thirty kilometers by Land Rover (beyond

the tracts of dirt and rocks

graceful (so exquisitely graceful

golden swells of dunes rising (we

were thrilled a little

 

Manhattan is

nothing but a marvel of nature (perhaps

 

behind the neighboring (Queens?

Brooklyn? buildings and billboards it slinks

off and disappears (disappears

and reappears (meanwhile

growing more intense

the pleasures of approach

the anguish of approach

in a mesh (Manhattan is

growing more intense

 

and then

as though to shield it again

an elevated subway’s rusty viaduct (rusty in pure bright auburn (behind

which the throng of skyscrapers

stand in contrast like the light and shade of America herself

 

or (let’s put it this way

if Manhattan were a gift for us

it’s been decorated with rusty viaduct

like a ribbon of crude joke

and thrust at us (or

 

Manhattan is

pure ferocity (perhaps

its gentle cage of rusty auburn shields it

the cage vertically and diagonally (meshed like arabesque patterns

ruddling our cheeks

 

and yet

the mesh unbinds and the city emerges (endlessly

unbinds and (unbinds and (unbinds and it emerges

the ribbon and cheeks left

circumvented by a forest

of throated hollows

 

Manhattan is

unbinding and emerging (unbinding and emerging

 

suddenly

having crossed the Queensboro Bridge

we pull up short

of a greeting

to those throated hollows