in the Chrysanthemum Room of the Glorious Proletariats' Library.
each of them an opium dream of precisely measured sensuality,
and all of them wearing dark-framed eyeglasses and
spit-shined riding boots,
Persuade me to wait exactly seven minutes while they submit
my request to the appropriate bureaus.
There is a carp pond
and a jar of startlingly blue ink pens.
If they can locate The Big Book Of Russian Haiku for me,
I can hold it like a discus,
and break the jaw of my old professor with it;
he betrayed the revolution
by watching baseball and taking up Buddhism.
My time in the Chrysanthemum Room is nearly done,
and I can hear ten unstoppable leather boots approaching down the hall.
They tell me the book is gone
lost to the Russian winter,
and besides, what use anyway, to have it?
Then they invite me to share their samovar,
and sable fur they favor
for reading Pushkin by candlelight with library patrons
taken--one at a time--into their confidence.
For copyright reasons, I can't include the image that inspired me, but you can view it HERE.