This week in the PEN Poetry Series, guest editor Robert Fernandez features eight poems by Sara Deniz Akant. About Akant’s work, Fernandez writes: “Sara Deniz Akant’s work flowers, rolls, scabs, heaves, and shudders. It’s like the sea, at sunset, peeling off its mask of gold electrified fleece. What remains? Rhythm, current, channel, braid and their recursive folding and refolding into tube, chit, slit, and pulse. ‘Just in time for the yellow balloon.’ Indeed. And just in time to expel images and rhythms that have the shiver of language seeing itself reflected back from abysses to PEN poetry pages to the meat that is the body and a word and world that…troubles us, that hides and grinds behind us. These poems see and feel exactly, wildly, with drive and radiance. Doesn’t everyone know a poem when they see one? An electrified mask of gold fleece when they see one?”

Cora Pink

  – cora pink – cora pink
moca choca po-ma-nic –

            you are just in time for the lake-bed
                        – a horse trots Cora past –
            just in time for the yellow balloon
                        trot trot ovâtron – trot trot Tolac
            machines are approaching
                        the flowers are old men

Tolac looks down into the water
            ten seconds later sees a flower
the future of his leaving-beast.

one is shaped an open garden
            across the lake-bed – po-ma-nic
one is lost for every hour
            – Cora passes by in pink –

the children run torrential rains
            – ovâtron is the ocean – the ocean
            is an air – the air is but an ice
            plane – ovâtron is an ice –

Tolac came back when the dark set in
came over on the ocean’s ice
Cora remembered different pictures
across the lake each time
            – ovitem in the sky is white – ovitem
            in the sky – the sky is full of yellow
            birds – ovitems in the sky –

Cora entered the fog-bank.
             – pink items followed Tolac –
I have since entered the fog-bank
            but have you
entered the fog-bank?
            – pink items followed Tolac –

Tolac ( 0 )

            – Tolac approach the screen – the screen
approached Tolac – if ovâtron
is capable of passing through
            Cora – ovitems are capable
of generating thought –

Tolac ( I )

             I struggled with this force sometime –
looked down into the water. I saw
a sort of garden. I saw the Hal’Dahal.
            – you saw the Hal’Dahal
le vegetaré – stona substa – I saw the varoné
then cracks did fast appear – but did
            you see the varoné ? I was covered
by a froth – did any cracks
appear ? I was covered by a froth

Lamarté, Body 12

ata bitter sarté bitter
a la Marté sho es bit

in the house there is a home
at least a shoulder’s distance
from la Marté and it blows
between her writhing sails or
when it is safe is it courage to
            tosata sic la Marté

in the vista lies a background and it rises up for now. as once it rose to raise
the sunken ships out on the prowl. she loved the men fell through the party’s
( partly ) stationed door. the same we have been pounding here for hours, body 12.

now cross the waste to scratch the floor
do you not ever talk the men will wear
their white coats at the table. so three
will stand as table for
            la Marté tabé tire

we drove and ducked the low
trains ditched la Marté, body 12.


without sympathy for
the abyss. ‘twas motusad-
continuus. what onward
nude had rose before
he said he had his name.

nor abacus – nor cross.
what then was he unfolding
– them? the miracle of the double
is a double-stationed whip.
the undivided specter that
was stooped. the nose-piece
of a golden socket – metal
backs and hairy palms – ‘twas


two beings who – they know each other
            but only with fine eyes
the five-eyed motus draws his mother
            he weeps against the rocks

each lock they proved saw nothing but
            regard the wilting salt
a ball of meat – a cooling pool
            he sought the thing they sought.


at all his depth. a horse
cries through the fog.
the little lion balconies
did stoop before his loss.


O bare-skinned double – your vista
every gateway – your shape in every clock.

what had repressed our Vaporetta
– dear Vaporetta spoke –

           a land – a breeze.
           the blue below.
           arrival of the slugs.
           the mud of things
           that grow against
           the prick of every morn.

go palms out – paper waiters.
let sun feast frenzied – sun.

ages aging – the grounds becoming
trident – waving slow.

            O sly-arched lover of the only hand
                        to fit her holy sword
            O those that may emerge as wholly one
                        beneath the earth

what motus draws in first? the force
with which the doors he kept
runs deeper toward
the shore.


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