Hélène Cardona



The unbearable sadness of light particles
    shatters heartbeats into stardust,
        nukes out entire galaxies and cemeteries.
Words hunt down to the marrow,
    laser sharp, burn holes in your memory,
        a pain so dissonant
            it leaves you numb.
Drink paper turned liquid,
            absorb it by the glass.
It will cut you
        if it catches you off guard.
Don't bring your girlfriend,
        you’ll never see her again.
            Well, you didn’t hear it from me.
The rouge is wearing off.
    The night is nebulous.


Binding the Rain

I breathe
         the sounds around me.
Everything is rain,
         the trees are theater.
I used to run my life away.
I’m ink in the classroom
         when so much was nightingale.
I love this child wearing blue,
         standing still,
looking at a world full of frisbees.
         I want to fly the door into that courtyard
and recapture the moment.
         I river to live with wonder.
And anything can happen
         just like when he smiled
and I followed on the wolf.
         When he oceaned his hand to my ear,
I traveled to the jungle.
         I could smell the notes,
I could bind the rain.
         The jaguar stood in front of me,
I heard his thunder:
         Come with stars to the Amazon.
It wanded my heart.
         I wanted to silence forever.


Hélène Cardona is a poet and actress. She is the author of Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry 2013), The Astonished Universe (Red Hen Press 2006), and Life in Suspension. She attended Hamilton College, where she also taught French and Spanish, the University Menéndez Pelayo, Spain, and the Sorbonne, Paris, where she earned a Master’s in American Literature. She taught at the Ecole Bilingue, Paris, and LMU, Los Angeles.

She’s widely published, notably in The Dublin Review of Books, The Irish Literary Times, The Warwick Review, Washington Square, The Toronto Quarterly, World Literature Today and Poetry International. She received fellowships from the Goethe Institut and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucía.

Hélène translated the Lawrence Bridges film Muse of Fire for the NEA and What We Carry by Dorianne Laux into French, and the poetry of her father José Manuel Cardona, Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Aloysius Bertrand, René Depestre, Ernest Pépin, Jacques Crickillon and Jean-Claude Renard into English.

Acting credits include Chocolat, Mumford, The Muppets, Red 2, Muppet Most Wanted and Happy Feet 2. For Serendipity she co-wrote with director Peter Chelsom and composer Alan Silvestri the song Lucienne, which she also sang.


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014