Tuesday, January 19, 2010

And I saw all the deaf, blind, ugly, cross-eyed, limp-legged, bulge-headed, bald and crooked girls in the world, sitting on little white mountains and weeping tears like sleet. There was a great clock ticking and every time it ticked the tears all fell together with a noise like broken glass tickling in a plate. And the ground trembled like a sleeping dog in front of the parlor fire when the bell tolls for a funeral.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

the voiceless glottal plosive

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

(a symphony)

No sooner had the cock crowed than Timofey jumped out of his window onto the roof and frightened everyone who was passing down on the street at that time. Khariton the peasant stopped, picked up a stone and shied it at Timofey. Timofey disappeared somewhere. "What a dodger!" cried the human herd, and a certain Zubov took a run and rammed his head into a wall. "Oo-er!" exclaimed a peasant woman with a swollen cheek. But Komarov gave this woman a swift left-right and the woman ran off howling into a gateway. Fetelyushin walked past and laughed. Komarov went up to him and said: "As for you, you fat lump!" and struck Fetelyushin in the stomach. Fetelyushin supported himself against the wall and started to hiccup. Romashkin spat out of his window from above, trying to hit Fetelyushin. At this point, not far away, a big-nosed woman was beating her child with a trough. And a young, plump mother was rubbing her pretty little girl's face against a brick wall. A small dog, which had broken its hind leg, was sprawled on the pavement. A small boy was eating something revolting from a spittoon. There was a long queue for sugar at the grocery shop. Women were swearing loudly and shoving each other with their bags. Khariton the peasant, having just downed some methylated spirit, was standing in front of the women with his trousers undone and uttering bad language.

In this way a very nice summer's day started.

Thursday, January 7, 2010



Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Letter

Beloved, men in thick green coats came crunching
through the snow, the insignia on their shoulders
of uncertain origin, a country I could not be sure of,
a salute so terrifying I heard myself lying to avoid
arrest, and was arrested along with Jocko, whose tear
had snapped off, a tiny icicle he put in his mouth.
We were taken to the ice prison, a palace encrusted
with hoarfrost, its dome lit from within, Jocko admired
the wiring, he kicked the walls to test the strength
of his new boots. A television stood in a block of ice,
its blue image still moving like a liquid center.
You asked for my innermost thoughts. I wonder will I
ever see a grape again? When I think of the vineyard
where we met in October-- when you dropped a cluster
custom insisted you be kissed by a stranger-- how after
the harvest we plunged into a stream so icy our palms
turned pink. It seemed our future was sealed. Everyone
said so. It is quiet here. Not closing our ranks
weakens us hugely. The snowflakes fall in a featureless
bath. I am the stranger who kissed you. On sunny days
each tree is a glittering chandelier. The power of
mindless beauty! Jocko told a joke and has been dead
since May. A bullethole in his forehead the officers
call a third eye. For a month I milked a barnful of
cows. It is a lot like cleansing a chandelier. Wipe
and polish, wipe and polish, round and round you go.
I have lost my spectacles. Is the book I was reading
still open by the side of our bed? Treat it as a bookmark
saving my place in our story.

(here the letter breaks off)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The posture of your blows is yet unknown,
But, for your words, they rob the Hybla bees
And leave them honeyless.
Not stingless too.
O yes, and soundless too,

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Saturday, January 2, 2010


Friday, January 1, 2010

and a Happy New Year.