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.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Choir

The choir begins to sink.
Their robes cling to them as they submerge,
giving them the appearance of unusually godly torpedoes.

From their practiced throats, come tiny notes encased in air
as light as devotion.

Unfortunately,
this choir, like all instruments of deity,
is subject to that old bugaboo, the same one that always comes along:
The deeper they go,
the less those on the surface understand 
their 
rippling 
song. 
_______

Originally written in 1980 as part of a series of poems I wrote in reaction to having read Russell Edson's "The Wounded Breakfast." I have rewritten it today for the prompt at Toads.

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,
He said, "All men shall be sailors then, until the sea shall free them." --Leonard Cohen

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Eating Movies

Here is a movie you can watch or eat.
Oh honey, go ahead, kiss that leading man, OR
take a big bite right out of his too-big head.

Oh shit he's dead oh shit he's dead
Ha! It's interactive, hit START and he's back.

A lady never throws up in the bushes.
Didn't they teach you anything at film school?

Okay, now watch this part: turn on the commentary.
You get to hear voices over the regular sound!
Mine are telling me to eat the movie.

I'm flickering inside, it's so retro.
You have subtitles. Strike a pose, girl, be Eurotrash!
Let's watch our previews. Turn inward; it's very Eastern.

Hit START again. Now try the options.
Let's eat this actress, she's sick of always being that guy's girlfriend.
Just go with it! Try not to over-analyze. Don't be lame and cry at the end.
_______

for Susie's challenge
 

 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Greatest

"You are what you believe you are." --Prophet Omega

Back then, some old fart said to me,
"Your arms are too short to box with God."
Then he leaned back, satisfied.

Serenity was the aim, around those tables.
Serenity is something
that sometimes begins with mayhem.

Muhammad Ali. The Greatest.
In my white bread world of childhood, I heard the gloves land.
"Stupid name."
"Draft dodger!"
"Uppity."

I saw, on tv, Joe Frazier pound away at you like a force of nature.
blows any one of which would have leveled an ordinary man.
"This must be what dyin' is like."
This is what I know:
you must tell yourself what you are, before you can become what you are.
And, oh, you will be a target.

Muhammad Ali, The Greatest.
No one has ever been themselves, created themselves, celebrated themselves, the way you did.
That kind of stuff comes with cost,
but you expressed the God you loved in every movement and every word.

Sometimes teaching begins with blood.
Who can witness pure wild courage and not learn?
I am in awe of you--
black
man 
Muslim
because this white Catholic woman sees her best spirit in you.
Is there better teaching than that?
Wham! The Greatest!

Back then, some old fart said to me,
"Your arms are too short to box with God."
But he was wrong, and Muhammad Ali proved it.

You can box with God
box WITH God
and do it with a holy fury.
________ 

 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Travel Story For Girls

I fell in love with you
in 1913,
even though
I was not yet born. (I never let trifles stop me.)

You fell in love with me
in 2016,
even though
the limits of time and death had to be bent. 

Look at all the alcohol, all the wrinkles, all the mistakes we made,
you and I, 
in different places but in the same awful ways
(only to emerge, together, shining).

Never fret, my pet.
Life's a messy business, but we
are Mistresses of the whole shebang and are not limited by the usual stuff.

Still, I am just a little thing,
a comma,
but I have curled up in the curve of your ear
this early morning,
and am whispering how beautiful you still are, how beautiful we are,
how beautiful
and sweet like a row of mock orange straight on down the line.


________

The top image is of Evelyn Nesbit in 1913. The bottom image is of a mock orange bush. Evelyn Nesbit was perhaps the first supermodel, being the most sought after model for print and billboard advertisements in the early 20th century, and she was the inspiration for the classic "Gibson Girl."  Discovered at a young age, she became the bread winner for her family and survived being courted and then drugged and raped by the famous architect Stanford White. In later life, she drank to excess as her success declined, and her life was not a very happy one, I don't think. One of my favorite stories about her was about how, when a visiting admirer kicked a dog in her presence, she gave him nine kinds of hell for it and defended the dog--she was an animal lover all her life. As for the mock orange, I find it a sweetly old fashioned kind of bush, and its blossoms are both pretty and wonderfully fragrant.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Death and Night

Death and Night were obliged to share a room after their brother, Morning, was born.

Death sat smoking a cigarette, bad-mouthing Morning. "Fuck that little bastard. They think the sun shines out of his ass." 

"Did you wear my black sweater again, bitch?" asked Night, fuming. The neck is all stretched to shit." Frowning, she tossed it on the bed.

"Well excuse me, Your Highness," drawled Death. "See if I ever loan you a tampon again." 

Death and Night were sisters, but while Night was always being invited to every soiree, Death only got random attention from tubercular poets who thought she was a Goth.

"Morning, you little ray of sunshine, come in here and let your sissy give you a nice hug."

"Piss off, Death." 

Death ignored him and dragged on her ciggie. "I think I'm adopted," she complained to Night. And fuck your stupid sweater. Things aren't meant to last forever, yanno."

Night was too busy smearing moisturizer onto her skin to answer, obsessed as always with her sensitivity to sunlight and her insomnia.

Death and Night were sisters. Night was beautiful and mysterious. Their brother Morning was the very definition of youthful charm. As for Death, people avoided her and said she smelled bad. She got fired from Lowe's for making all the flowers wilt. It's sad, but there it is. As soon as Night left to go take a shower, Death picked up her black sweater and pulled furiously at it, really fucking it up good. Then she sat down, lit another cigarette, and smiled like a serene-ass Madonna in a painting.
_________ 

for the mini-challenge.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Meet Zac

Many of you know that I got a new doggy from the shelter last week! His name is Zac. I like to call him Zachariah Mc-- and then fill in one of my long stuffy hyphenated names, like Zachariah McFadden-Fopotopoullos III. He doesn't mind!

It's been hard, honestly, in the four months since my dear Skittles passed far too soon, and my heart has been sore, but little Zac is doing his best to make his new mom smile again! He is a year old pocket shepherd and quite the character. He's a lover, and really likes his walks. Please welcome him!

Here is Zacky's stash, which includes not only toys, but an Eleanor Roosevelt biography which he kept taking off the shelf, and since I had read it, I finally gave it to him, and an old pair of my sneakers. He's living large!