On The Difficulties of Translation by D. Capps

David Capps received a PhD in philosophy from University of Connecticut and an MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University. Recently his poems have been featured in Peacock Journal, Cagibi, and The Nasiona. He lives in Hamden, CT with his luxurious Maine Coon.



I’d have to stand in
back of myself, to hear
that “all at once
nothing matters” I’m
watching myself typing belief
perishing, parishioners of belief
I’m closer now—
am I closer now
when through this
expresses a will—
how pale the priest
how thin his lips
in prayer, the
silver chalice into
which blood wine
will-like a swallow
darkness flying
essences willing
all at once I want
to say all at once
this mirror stage

in which the nothing noughts
the somethings sing

my friend twists her neck
in translation, asks
me suddenly
I am interrupted from myself
asks me what is
a meadow

I say a meadow is usually enclosed
by forest

a clearing in the forest

I want to say a clearing
in the forest were a faun
might turn or
where a birth might be
and only you can see
the stars
of whose emptiness I try
to tell her—what no longer
can be summed in soul
the wet eyes of dew

irretrievable indeed. I’m now
supposed to be writing
a tangible memory and can’t
do it
(it’s enough to understand
in a fleeting moment and we
I you thought piety
priest text
sun sea
faun mother

sun sea
faun mother


the sun opens in a clearing:
if everything is like everything else
then loss is like sunshine
broken through the leaves
an elm, time-old, pauses
before it can even begin

I say it pauses, but it halts
in speech
without analogy, insufficient

it could wear in that voice
surface the particulars of the sea
crests sparkling continuously
those rolling resignations
until they appear almost
at home
how the sky is at home with the sea
or the green of forest
recognized in weather vanes
Ajax by the sea
deafening there, or deafened

we may bow under the weight
of our own scholarship
an archaeology may kill us—
but how otherwise imagine discourse
than floating face-down
in indeterminate phrasis?

the difference here

is your friend in the ICU
survives really it’s no one’s fault
that art dies and angels
scream our lives
no difference
the kind of romanticism belonging
to a moonglass dead reckoning

o something be true
o something be
objectively true


but let us not be confused
if circumstances were different
if time and circumstance, veils,
could be torn apart, then…
joie vivre would take
an even-handed approach
to things
ask to be forecasting change like this
barbarism upright and self-righteous
(I envision text melding text
mimicking the farthest arms
of a fountain—Aqua Paoli—
a kind of embrace—why should I
let you go?)

perhaps seethe like serpents
who reach toward origin
is still origin (and once all is reduced to ruins how to destroy them
except to resurrect the temple in its glory?)
it may betray you along the way
the way—you can start as soon
as you end such is (a revolution

pause moralistically)
as if out of space
where else?
—A season— but really when
you’re so far from truth
everything does seem
like everything

the nooks in arches of the cathedral
where pigeons nest

the timeless parts of universal soul
where we live in distance from ourselves

and the city skyline like a sigh
spreads across the horizon

lips in unwillingness
to countenance creation
disputable despicable creation
the exterior of which is—

then I’ll continue
to be afraid
to be

when we both know
is a feeling in
the soul if
the soul
could have
I’m sorry

it can’t

in both lovers at times
the same leaf falls
or with the grace
of gravity
and we remember
an immeasurable hand
closed around the smallest seed
and all that is fluid
slows, the veins
of scarlet leaves,
the deepening blues
of stained glass disclosing
of an unused-to past—

no, we’ll never sever
all the heads of days—

what if those were heads
of dying?
what if poems spilled out
like grain silos
in accident?

what if the never of the last time I slept
leapt past the wondering?

In Parentheses Literary Magazine (Winter 2020)

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 5

64 pages, published 1/15/2020

The Summer 2019 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 5, Issue 3)

From the Editor:

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In Parentheses Magazine (Volume 7, Issue 3) Winter 2022

By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7

32 pages, published 1/15/2022

The Winter 2022 issue of In Parentheses Literary Magazine. Published by In Parentheses (Volume 7, Issue32)

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