Sep 072010
 



Here’s a poem by Martin Balgach. He sent me a batch, but it was difficult to choose. Martin and DG met in 2008 during the Vermont College of Fine Arts Slovenia residency. Martin was a student in DG’s workshop, a mixed workshop with poets, fiction writers and nonfiction writers and no end of exuberant discourse and inter-genre translation. Martin is a great traveling companion, full of appreciation, astonishment and gentle good humour. He bought DG coffee the day the ATM ate his card in Croatia–upon request DG can supply you with a photo of the ATM machine. Martin has since graduated, lives in Colorado, and writes lovely poems. The photos DG took in Slovenia and Croatia.

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Fighting

By Martin Balgach



In the battle for emotional supremacy
I’ve challenged the wind to a duel
but I’m carrying an idea instead of a gun

Now I know the wind is tough and cold
and not in that romantic
this is invigorating kind of cold
but more that middle-aged guy
in baggy black dungarees
drinking alone at a dive bar cold

It’s that tough in your gut
like a memory-you-want-to-forget
cold, it’s the kind of cold
that spits in your lungs
and tugs at your heart like a kid
tugging on the tail of a pet
but the pet is whimpering
because the game went too far

And I know why the motion
of each new morning keeps teasing us—
The problem is heaven—
We have the idea of more so we want more

I’ve been considering this for days
I’ve branded the hindquarter of my brain
with the melancholy symbol of a neon duck
fucking itself with a crucifix

Yeah, there are a thousand funny things to say
but the real things get caught in my throat like paste

Either way, tomorrow will be a new massacre
I’ll be losing the fight, staring at the sky

The cosmos will look like an old string of Christmas lights,
the kind that all go out when one bulb breaks
But it won’t be Christmas as the wind keeps kicking

—Martin Balgach

See also Balgach in Rain Taxi on René Char, another Balgach poem in Antique Children, and another in Redheaded Stepchild, and Balgach on Srečko Kosovel, and, finally, yet another poem in Opium Magazine.

  7 Responses to “Fighting: Poem — Martin Balgach”

  1. [...] When I asked him for a new poem, he wrote back: “Here’s a poem that seems to fit with the fine Balgach poem, though I wrote it thinking about a Tony Hoagland essay in Poetry before I read [...]

  2. martin’s poems make me want to go out and write. i believe the word for that is “inspiring.”

    mary

  3. I’ve had the pleasure of being Martin’s friend for a little over 7 years now. He’s the real deal… a guy whose passion for writing truly is inspiring. He’s a relentless poet and a fierce song writer as well. Gobble up his stuff like the jagged hard candy that it is. Cheers my friend, Fighting is another gem.

  4. reading this is a perfect start to my day; it almost makes me feel as though i don’t have to do anything else. the photos too.

  5. [...] and some walk-ins from the planet Cepphebox). For a better introduction read Martin’s poem “Fighting” published earlier on NC. His writing and criticism has also appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Cream [...]

  6. See this is the kind of poem that makes me miss you at Residency, Martin.

  7. Sometimes poems have a nucleus without which they simply would collapse. This one has a very strong center, in my reading:

    And I know why the motion
    of each new morning keeps teasing us—
    The problem is heaven—
    We have the idea of more so we want more

    There is a trace or echo of a Cartesian argumentation for the existence of god, but the thought here instead grounds itself in desire rather than the connection between perfection and existence. Relentlessly yearning, the mind / imagination binds itself to futurity. Is the struggle (i.e. “Fighting”) with temporality, with the strictures and determining force of the the imagined/projected future?

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