Jim Petterson

Come Si Dice Sponge:Jim Petterson

come si dice sponge

                              für E.B. (years unforgivably on)

claw scraped land

two cities words cut

dying i’s

place pierced by sickle comma cedillas

tongued by the mad grammar of time


don’t ask non chiedere nu întrebați

the air of this light airy light

bit whirring body studded into walls roads throats

sgraffito the dog with the word (dog) take it from it without a word

gilded store mirror Victoriei ouaf hau hau hate hole light eyes

when she came into the room the light changed


her coming into the room changes the contour of

my being

blurred out just a bit

more tongue splitting bit boring down throat some

not mine cannot call mine further still past the heart of words

speak to me in any language I will respond ‘where I can take you’


to the room she comes in saying

sponge airily

Augsburg/București/Galați (1990-2020)

Jim was born just a few months before J.F.K. was shot and killed. In his own words: “My first day was good and I’ve never looked back. After some early years in France, teen years in Minneapolis, undergraduate and graduate studies at Reed College, Columbia University and UC Berkeley, I landed a steady paycheck at Wellesley College, where I have been Professor of French for years. Besides planting several hundred trees and working to spare traditional lands of the Oneida Indian Nation (where I acknowledge I live) from agrochemicals, I spend my time moving between family and friends, and translating/writing on such writers as Dominique Fourcade, Emmanuel Hocquard, Yves Bonnefoy, André du Bouchet, and Jacques Dupin. Poetry: I write it when it really hurts (all the time) and when it feels good (sometimes). If I could fulfill one dream before I die: translate the complete works of Nathalie Quintane, though the age differential is slightly unfavorable. Epitaph: see above.”