Monday, November 16, 2009


A wandering holy man named Grigori Rasputin comes in to Danny's Coffee Shop.

He is not mad.

He is not a monk.

He orders tea.

His hair and beard are greasy and he smells like a barn.

He wraps his huge hands around the cup as women do--

It is like seeing a polar bear do cross stitch...

Absurd, incongruous, and somehow pleasing.

A panther, who is really the Queen Of The Vampires, insinuates herself onto his lap.

The huge hands caress her ears and a contented rumbling begins.

"I was debauched," he says softly, into her fur.

"I drank prodigious amounts. I slept my way through Saint Petersburg. All those bored wives with their salons and samovars!"

The panther is falling asleep in his lap, completely blissed out.

"But yet, my pretty one, this does not mean that I was not touched by God, and possessed of the true gift of healing."

At the mention of the Supreme Being, the panther does manage to half open one eye,

But she has gotten used to all of the waitresses here.

"When the Little Mother, Alexandra, implored me to save her son, the heir, I did so."

"Did you know, kitty, that I knew Maxim Gorky? As boys, we sat beneath the apple trees in summer;

I would laze about, good for nothing, and call out lewd suggestions to the local girls.

Maxim would listen to the starlings going mad in the branches at sunset, and he would write down all that they said. These jottings became his poems!

"In later years,

Lost in a cloud of startling white hair and whiskers,

He would sit on a bench and feed the great grandchildren of those same starlings, with loaves he would buy from old women.

"People would see him and say, 'There is Gorky! He is even this moment creating beautiful verse in his head!'

"But he wasn't. He couldn't.

His head was as empty as a sleigh in July,

And he was only there for the starlings,

To thank them."

A waitress named Denise brings Rasputin more tea.

He continues.

"I was the Little Mother's spiritual advisor and the protector of her son.

The Grand Duchesses I loved like my own children, with never an evil thought.

"My enemies made up lies about me, you know.

I have always been able to please women, whether by vulgar or holy means;

For this, they shot me, poisoned me, bound me and threw me into the freezing Neva river in the middle of winter!

"It had nothing to do with politics! That's all pigsh--"

He had been going to say 'pigshit', but when the waitress walks by, he softens his voice and says to the cat,

"It was nonsense."

As it grows dark outside, Rasputin grows melancholy.

"Look at me, kitty. I'm dead. I can't get a woman anymore, and without that..."

His voice trails off.

The Queen Of The Vampires, who can shape-shift,

Has been on a being-a-black-panther kick for three weeks,

But now she stretches, yawns, and becomes her natural self again.




"Come on, sailor," she says. "Let's get out of here."

She gives Rasputin a wink and lets her sharp canines show for just the briefest of moments.

Rasputin feels as if he has been healed.

He feels as if he has finally stopped bleeding,

The lucky recipient of supernatural intercession.

"Look!" says an excited patron, someone from out of town. "It's Grigori Rasputin! He is probably plotting his Machiavellian schemes right here in Danny's Coffee Shop!"

But the truth is,

He is thinking of nothing except the joy of walking out into the evening with the Queen Of The Vampires.

He is there only for her pleasure,

To thank her.



Steve E. said...

Never been to Danny's coffee shop, but I AM a true lover of coffee:
tall, short, skinny, fat...
if it's got coffee in it,
That's where I'm AT.

Why do I suddenly feel like this Grigori Rasputin fellow? Neither my hair nor my beard are greasy, and I do not smell like a barn, unless it's a flower nursery barn.

I know what! It's "being there only for her pleasure."

How would you like your tea, dear? Some wine with dinner?


Cloudia said...

Thank YOU.
Aloha, Poetess

Comfort Spiral

Riot Kitty said...

Fantastic, Twin!

Shadow said...

oh my, so misunderstood. i had read about rasputin before, how he was conspired against, as he was seen as a threat... i felt as if i was there, watching and listening. quite superb!

Dulce said...

WOW WOW WOW How I love this story
Hey YOU!!! so cute so good.
I need to visit that café of yours and meet all those interesting people and their stories in person, But first the Queen of The VAmpires... Of course

Great WORK my dear Shay> I loved it ( Did I say it?)

Fireblossom said...

Thanks, all my beautiful blogger friends! I had read a biography of Rasputin when I was still in high school, and he has remained a fascinating character to me ever since.

Daryl said...

Like a barn ... I was sure he'd smell like a musty old comic book

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I think we've met in a past incarnations...Rasputin being a fond character of history for me...this was brilliant Shay...

The Queen of the Vampires...I would say on any day that you are she...she is you!

Rasputin your minion of life....

xox to you today!

Granny Annie said...

Wow, wow, woh, OH WOW! Rasputin a favorite study of mine. What were women thinking. Fireblossom, your mind needs to be explored in detail. Bravo!

Mama Zen said...

This is very cool. You've done an excellent job of giving him a distinct voice.

Anonymous said...

I love this line - Absurd, incongruous, and somehow pleasing.

Somehow it just sounds so right to me.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Funny, I knew a black cat named Rasputin once upon a time.

I discovered that photo and a write up about Rasputin in my mother's encyclopedias as a child. Those eyes!

mac said...

History, it would seem, has vindicated Rasputin. Here on this blog, for example, more than a few women are singing his song. And QOTV - vindicated indeed !

Lil Red said...

Chica, YOU are the Queen of the Vampires (or at least the night).

The pigshit/nonsense part made me giggle. :)

The whole thing left me in are an amazing talent, my friend!

G-Man said...

Some say when they pulled him from the river...He was still alive!

Vesper said...

Fireblossom, you have such an enchanted, lulling word garden... Once here, I never want to leave...

Yes, Rasputin, what a fascinating character... Your poem in prose is rolling, floating, simply amazing... To say I love it is an understatement.

ellen abbott said...

You are an amazing storyteller.

Sepiru Chris said...


What a ride you take us on; I am glad that the entrance ticket is one I can afford. You could ask for much more.


Pouty Lips said...

It is a shame how lies can ruin someone's reputation for all eternity. I guess his daughter, Maria, has tried to set the record straight in her memoirs.

Mary said...

Interesting tale. Hadn't thought about Rasputin in years. Nice work.

signed...bkm said...

Nice write Fireblossom, Rasputin has always fasinated me and people like have resurected him in this piece - and rightfully pair his soul with a vampire....bkm

Diane T said...

Rasputin and the panther! I think your must be the panther, LOL. Delightful story.

Anonymous said...

This is a lovely piece of writing. Very creative, and a joy to read. :-)

Robert Lloyd said...

Rasputin is an intriquing character as is this poem. The photo you post with it so eerie. I am amazed he is always linked with so much in the fantasy world. Thank you for sharing this. I may have creepy dreams tonight but it was worth the read lol.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

THIS is one of the most entertaining, hilarious and fabulous things I have ever read. What fun! You mnust have had a ball writing it. Yay! I loved every glorious word.

Anonymous said...

Amazing and fun to read!=P Wonderfully written, thank for sharing^^

Carrie Burtt said...

Shay your beautiful writing is always mysterious,fun,and captivating. I love it! :-)

Anonymous said...

Awesome!...A true understanding of Rasputin, with some very cool twists.