Posts filed under ‘Clara’

The Flashlights of Innocence

Susan Birkeland

Listen (to Clara read)

Love is no matter what
Mercy is no matter how
Justice is no matter who
Hope is no matter when

Love is no matter how
Mercy is no matter why
Justice is no matter where
Hope is living here and there at the same time

Absolution is cool water in a heat wave
Restitution is the gravitational intention of a compassionate moon
Conversation is sex before bodies
Evolution is the tail of a jaguar in the rain
Love is no matter what

Crime is a fist pointed outward
Sadness is my fist in my own face
Longing is how strangers become friends

Silence is a warm room on a cold night
Reverence is the first touch of my fingers at your waist
Forgiveness is the inevitable scorecard of easy neighbors

Problems are a leg up onto a horse that rides around the sun
Solutions are new wheels on a rusty bike
Wine is the juice of crushed romance

Romance is the time it takes to remember
Remembering is the return of fresh eyes
Fresh eyes are the flashlights of innocence
Innocence is the circle by which

Love is no matter what
No matter when
No matter why
No matter how

Your hand in my basket
practicing scales on a pink piano
folding around

Clara writes,

“Susan Birkeland passed away last year – a great loss to the San Francisco poet community.

Her readings were always dramatic, pulling the audience into her world. The Flashlights of Innocence is a good example. One cannot read this poem ‘poorly’, because the language will not allow it to happen.”


November 1, 2007 at 6:01 pm 1 comment


Xu Zhimo

Listen (to Clara read the original – Cantonese)

Listen (to Clara read her translation – English)



Tr. by Clara Hsu

I am a cloud in the sky,
by chance it casts a shadow in your heart.
Don’t be surprised,
or happy,
in an instant it all vanishes.

We meet at sea, in the night,
traveling in different directions.
You may recall,
but perhaps it is better to forget
the glow when we cross paths.


The long promised Xu Zhimo is finally here!

Clara, our new guest contributor, is a mother, a musician, a philanthropist, an activist, a purveyor of Clarion Music Center (a world music shop of exotic musical instruments), a traveler, host of the Poetry Hotel and ultimately, a poet.

When Mjbesq put us in touch, she was in Marrakech, on her way to a couple of days in a desert. After a couple of months, of diligently tagging by email, we finally met and she recorded a couple of poems for me. Here is the first – Clara reads Chance by Xu Zhimo and her translation of the same.

Clara writes,

Xu Zhimo (1897 – 1931) is one of China’s most distinguished 20th Century poets. Xu brings raw emotions into his poetry to express human love and yearns for its eternity. His poems are revolutionary coming out of a culture that encourages conformity and suppresses individual’s innermost feelings. This short poem, however, is more in tune with classical Chinese poetry in its simplicity and philosophical outlook.


October 30, 2007 at 7:16 pm 3 comments