Thursday, September 18, 2008

Onegin's Letter to Tatyana

I know it all: my secret ache
will anger you in its confession.
What scorn I see in the expression
that your proud glance is sure to take!
What do I want? what am i after,
stripping my soul before your eyes?
I know to what malicious laughter
my declaration may give rise!

I noticed once, at our chance meeting,
in you a tender pulse was beating,
yet dared not trust what I could see.
I gave no rein to sweet affection;
what held me was my predilection,
my tedious taste for feeling free.


No, every minute of my days,
to see you, faithfully to follow,
watch for your smile, and catch your gaze
with eyes of love, with greed to swallow
your words, and in my soul explore
your matchlessness, to seek to capture
its image, then to swoon before
your feet, to pale and waste...what rapture!

But I'm denied this: all for you
I draq my footsteps hither, yonder;
I count each hour the whole day through;
and yet in vain
ennui I squander
the days that doom has measured out.
And how they weigh! I know about
my span, that fortune's jurisdiction
has fixed; but for my heart to beat
I must wake up with the conviction
that somehow that same day we'll meet...

how fearful is my obsession
to clasp your knees, and at your feet
to sob out prayer, complaint, confession,
and every plea that lips can treat;
meanwhile with a dissembler's duty
to cool my glances and my tongue,
to talk as if with heart unwrung,
and look serenely on your beauty!...

But so it is: I'm in no state
to battle further with my passion;
I'm yours, in a predestined fashion,
and I surrender to my fate.

Eugene Onegin (translated by Charles Johnston)

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Aquarium (obs.) & (p.)

(?) 2007

Relaxedly lost. Bad reception here, won't
find them unless they cross my path.

The fish are small. Smaller than at the Boston Aquarium, anyway.

They won't let us see the belugas.
The seahorses are magical floating
creatures with genius propellers. There are
gallons and gallons of water, and it
is all dirty and kept indoors.

I am sleepy, I want a nap or a
fall navy coat, either one.
However, not much chance of either.
Why do people need popcorn to ogle at the fish?

Idiots. I am sleepy, I am content.
In the heat and the cool of
the water-bag aquarium, I am content.

The Aquarium (p.)

I take your open mouth as ignorance.
We stand off,
I with my sword of fly-fish
and you, with your turtle-shield.
We were always equals,
we always matched our clown stripes.
We fought strike for strike,
I swam to hug the glass with feeble fish-arms
not the shape of my purpose.
Thievery stole my heart and
left my conscience,
like an open-brained lobotomy,
for you to devour.
In retaliation I bit off your tail
and from that day you
forever wore an expression
of goodwill.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


When I write, I write to exist.
I write to tell, doesn’t matter who,
A band, a brigade, a spirit or a voice,
I write during a time so that at another time
I can remember that old time
And I write so that I can conquer time
And I write so that I can keep going,
And so that I may survive…

When I write I write
So I may take that drink of water
Standing water at the bottom of the well,
I write so that I may eat,
And enjoy food, I write
So that every day is not an exercise,
It is a wonder;
I write so I do not have to
Write ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I love you’ or ‘Don’t Leave’
I continue to write so I may always have a sense
Of self, a center that is only me
And I continue to write so that I may have strength...
Although I will have to come out of hiding
And answer to the rulers of my life, love, trust, courage, confidence,
Today I may wait just a little
By putting some words down upon a page…


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer, The Fourth, Life, Goodbyes

I eat summer fun for breakfast because
At lunch I’ll be indoors, typing out a memo to the boss,
about that thou we lost
Investing in the ice capades.
The popsicles and the ice cream
Left over from that childhood dream
Are in the freezer. We’re saving them for the
Fourth, after the barbeque and the sweet summer water-melon
That leaves
A wet taste on your lips glinting back at the stars and
The firecrackers as you lay on your back, a
Night-blanket and night-light
In your clutch as you had as a child, and
though imagination lifts and tries
Its best to hold,
the lead of your ever-soft body wields
To the solid dark earth, thick and vast.

You are its slave, and one day you will melt into it the exact opposite
Way you left it, many fourths from today. Stop, don’t stay. Leave it
As you would leave me, on a cool night after a hot summer day, to get a drink
Of water, with every intention of returning. Just pretend you’ll be back;
Breathe normally,
Talk normally, drink normally, I’ll never suspect. And,
If you touch my fingertips one more time with yours and form a jumbled
Word with your lips, I’ll let you go.


The Protective Powers of Kohl

Which is the when is the where is the why?
I’ll spend most of my life indoors, and if I’m lucky,
I’ll have windows in my office.

Turn around and walk out the door slowly, you’ll need to
Take that one last look. If it was that cigarette you took,
You owe me one- bring it back.

I wish I had fur and leather and kohl to protect me
From any future harm, a smog of perfume and dirty
Smoke to make me less vulnerable, tall boots whose studs
Would protect me from heartbreak with the message they’d
Convey, a feline atrocity, a distinctive animosity that will steer
Bringers of harm away with one silent look, and a breath they
Took, that spits blood into the chilling air.

If there was enough black eyeliner in the world to prevent my
True eyes from seeing, I’d buy it all and stock up for those pallid
Wintry months. I’d wrap myself in elevated ideas, mink and astrakhan,
Let no mention of sentimental pain touch me, I, veiled, in that apartment high up,
far from
The city streets of commotion and chance for car accidents, pedestrian run-overs
And spontaneous acts of violence,
And drink the world’s supply of scotch. In my boudoir we’d discuss
The difference between jealousy, love and lust, and pushkin’s proud paramours,
the gray lines of tatiana’s trust.

Strangers flood me and wander through my displays, they cause ruin and wreckage,
They ask questions about things I can’t explain.

I, singular, me.
Being alone is like building immunity- you do it slowly, surely, safe from pitfalls
You can’t afford.