Sunday, June 26, 2016

Falling For Katya

Here, in the ideal post-revolutionary state,
one does not simply fall in love with Katya.

Starry-eyed fool,
stumbling across the cobblestone streets carrying disintegrating roses,
straighten up and lose that stupid smile
before the gendarmes make their hourly pass.

Katya is the perfect and ultimate expression 
of our national ambition.
Tell me, which would you--would anyone!--
rather watch pass by....
a thousand rumbling tanks with their idiot erections,
or Katya, with her smooth, slender outstretched arms?

Night and day, noble workers tend the fields
where they grow the million blooms which shall adorn her in a single week.
As a people, we have dispensed with severe, bearded gods
hovering somewhere in the sky,
and replaced them with Katya, late of Odessa, now our symbol, our pride!

Oh go, ahead.
Float, giddy and love-retarded, to the stone steps of the appropriate bureau.
Fill out the lengthy forms,
sit through the interminable classes,
and then wait in your disgusting hovel for six to eight weeks.
Imagine the moment
when, in your unsteady hands you hold the response,
the long-awaited summary denial of your application to love Katya.

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
And what next?

Listen, Pooky.
Let's go to the glorious state-controlled theater
and while they put on some skull-crackingly dull film or opera,
I will trace my tongue along your salt-stained lips,
as easy as a gull gliding along the wharves.
Odessa,
jewel and treasured port city,
is as empty now as you are.
Kiss me back.
What the hell!

Everyone loves Katya--men, women, babies, cats and rose bushes,
they're all silly over her.
Be different!
Pretend you are a Czarist-era poet of some high degree,
and scribble something right now, for yourself, for me!
I involve no tedious mandated process,
no cooling of your heels by the mailbox for months.
Here, in our nook of creaking seats,
we can make our own opera,
Katya-less
and if not perfect, then, at least, immediate,
and as combustible as the Balkans.
________

The line "Why so pale and wan, fond lover?" is, of course, from the poem of the same name written by Sir John Suckling, and can be found HERE.

11 comments:

hedgewitch said...

Love is its own revolution, apparently. And of course, everything that is not forbidden is compulsory, which seems to indicate that Katya is as dead as embalmed Lenin and Stalin, even as she is worshiped as the bringer of life. I love your Boris and Natasha poems.

Mama Zen said...

I call this one of your "only you" poems. Just amazing and totally unique.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I was in deep admiration already at the thousand rolling tanks with their idiot erections (yes, only you are brilliant enough to think up such things). A fantastic write. I love "we can make our own opera" - why not? Loved this, Shay.

Marian said...

Gendarmes!! Love it.

brudberg said...

How can we dare to love, how to have to courage not to love... I watched the old movie Cleopatra with Liz Taylor the other day... the role she played resemble that of Katya.. the Odessa magic brings up Potemkin images as well... but just maybe I see too much movies weaved into your poem.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

There is par of me that is always curious about the insides of the person who wrote this. There always seems to be something standing in between you and your object of desire. This time, it's the state. I hope you get to commune with your muse, sans obstacle. Lala Mosky

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is, simply put, one of the best things I have read in the longest while. An inspiration and a monument to the art of which you are master.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

You got me at that wonderful second line – so matter-of-fact, so extreme.

Sioux said...

What is perfection"

"I will trace my tongue along your salt-stained lips,
as easy as a gull gliding along the wharves."

Those two lines. Perfection.

Bekkie Sanchez said...

Wonderful and one of a kind!

Lynn said...

I like how you incorporated the mailbox in there. Awesome poem.