Tag Archives: mistranslation

Dropped Pages: When I Lived in Egypt

Dropped Pages is a series of poems that were originally dropped from my books or chapbooks. I have reclaimed them here.

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I wanted to find an older poem, something dropped from my first book, Traffic. I found this funny little poem in the rubble. I think it’s at least 15 years old. It was written as a “mistranslation” of Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

It’s odd how it suddenly shifts into another poem… I wish I had the original hieroglyphs.

You can mistranslate of any piece of foreign writing (as long as you don’t actually know the language, then you get stuck in translation). Russian, Greek, and Egyptian are fun to work with.

When I Lived in Egypt

I saw you down at the baths
toe cold stare
reptile eyes
hollow lips

You had a rose between your fingers
and were feeding slugs and fishes
little pink petals in a bowl

You stoned me with a stare
so I brought you trinkets
to appease your fiery needs
you waved me on
like setting a question free

This bird is a hawk
claws sink earth into
a cloudless wind
with teasing breasts
the ripple calls

let me navigate
your drowning

1994? 5?

Jump on the Poetry Train


Filed under dropped pages, monday poetry thang, poetry, writing exercises