Thursday, October 23, 2014

Night Ride Across the Caucasus

A singular lament:

O where have you gone,
my one and only,

For without you,
what else can I do?

Utterly forsaken,
I'll tumble into
the Beloved's arms,
and receive his kisses.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When I was a child, I took a sip of perfume. I wanted to become one with scent, and loose my secrets. I read the label on the bottle and it spoke of poison. I went outside and built myself a wall of snow and lay on my back behind it, letting large flakes melt on my nose, breathing slowly, waiting to die.

The locks creaked and the gears turned, but life throbbed in me, persisted.The mind followed shadow-shapes into dark corners. The body turned to fire. A multitude of fragile white crystals sifted onto the ground while I burned. 

I turned a thousand thousand pages and swam in the voices of psalms. Again and again I climbed my tree and searched for a sign in her wind-ruffled branches. A candle, a prayer, an ache, an ice princess. 

Within my cave, I hoarded the coin of pain, and greedily guarded this bed. I let the curtain fall on my tears, and slept. In a dream, perched on a dizzy stone balcony, I felt the earth calling. A child cried. I turned away from the edge, back to my slumbers.

Let us suppose there were a child of flame, whose mouth, instead of words, formed lances that pierced like the screams of a juvenile eagle. For the sake of such a child, Inanna herself would march naked through the seven doors of the underworld, and be hung on a hook, until she found his voice. 

But what if her sister said, Wait. First you must feed me. And Inanna would say, What do you want, sister? I'll bring you anything. Ripe persimmons. The rarest of silks. No, her sister would say. I want you to remain. Here. Dig. Let the blood from your wounds drip into the ground. And keep on digging until a spring appears. First, give me a drink, and then bring him the cup.

And what if we both drank from this spring, and found our voices together, this child and I?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hélène Grimaud, Mozart's Piano Concerto no.23, Adagio

Where language fails, and when one's most excruciating nooks and crannies are not reachable by any other means, then the spirit of music may be subtle enough to seep into its rightful space.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear dreamer of the pitched tent,
this side of the wind is blest.
The albatross of morning
careens above the mountains
streaming the news from the sea:
a new beacon has been lit.

A giddy climber cleanses
her bloody feet in a pool
where a waterfall has passed.
She dances on a high ledge.
Through her shaking veil of hair
blinks the silver of a star.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Come through the red gate
and rendezvous with
the shade of Schnitke
at Novodevichy
where Chekhov wanders
and Chaliapin's enthroned.

There, she held a candle
and hid behind a veil.
Her train rumbled away.
A schema-monk smiled sadly,
at Novodevichy,
where black swans breed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Alexandrovsky Sad

(Alexandrovsky Gardens)

Our feet were wings
over the cobblestones.
The October rain
was a curtain, rising

upon a stage filled
by dancers, singers,
gypsies and painters,
singers and writers.

You spoke--my soul
chimed clear--
a crystal bell--
inside your eyes.

I stepped through
an avant-garde
encaustic of a door
at the new Manege.

Then fell my silence,
as false a note
as an evening star
sparkling at midday.

Zemfira - "PMML" - (Forgive me, my love)

This poem came out all wrong.

It is a perennial habit of mine to say the wrong thing, or nothing at all, at the right time.

I want to tell the last few leaves clinging to the poplars that their shimmering dance is as impressive and poignant as the most delicate pas de deux. Instead, I stare at them in stunned silence.

I neglect to express how in love I am with the daily astonishments: the sunrise, the endless plays of shadow and color, the afternoon sunshine, the sunset, the moonlight, the starlight, candlelight, lamplight, and the darkness.

I take a cool, refreshing breath, or three, or a thousand, and forget to say--thank you--

The walls of my warm house fold 'round me like a cosy cloak. A cat curls up at my feet.

Infinities of gratitude to every-one, every-where, every-thing and in every-way.