Two poems on Osip Mandelshtam


Black print on the bone-white page:
Cyrillic crows above the steppe.
For us, diversions, but for you,
Strangled singer, more real than breath.

Dissolved, the steel that held you fast.
Released, the grip that tore your throat.
Forgot, the meaning of the age:
Notebooks drowned in gaudy noise.

Tall, crow-black night, night unescaped,
A pit in time, Voronezh.
Birds printed, strangled, on the snow:
Real as breath, real as bone.

Natasha Shtempel  

This evening, just as I felt my soul giving way
to the pull of the pit
that sometimes opens beneath it,
the street crowd parted and coming toward me
I saw the lame figure of Natasha Shtempel.

Do you know the name? A friend of Mandelshtam’s,
in his last exile,
the subject of one of his final poems.
He writes of a woman with an irregular gait,
limping toward a “crippled freedom” that draws her on;
one of those who are the first
to greet the risen dead.
If you have the poem somewhere, look it up,
and you’ll know who I saw in Moscow tonight.

She was wearing a long green coat on a slender frame;
her head was bare, in token of the new warmth.
(It’s spring here now, as it was then, in Voronezh.)
Her brown hair was bobbed, chin-length, full,
curled in some faintly antique style; her neck exposed
to every pair of tyrant eyes that could command it.

And along she came, limping in a rhythmic up-and-down,
absorbed in herself, an almond of enclosure;
in black shoes, thick, blunt, built for her affliction
but straining modestly for fashion.
Natasha Shtempel, here twenty-five or so,
on her way to Savyolovsky Station.

I don’t what this demon is that feeds on me,
or why God has deemed me worthy
to suffer for its sake. I imagine it’s no more
than some kind of salt or chalk that’s missing from my brain,
or present there in wrong proportion. And I don’t know why,
just today, when I was on the verge of being lost again,
I should see this woman from another age,
from a life and fate far greater than my own,
and be righted for a time, balanced and restored;
and to know, by this neck, by this gait,
and by this green coat,
I was not yet banished from the earth.

(For Don Fiene) 

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Culprit Blues

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I Sat Down by the River Thames


I sat down by the River Thames and wept.
I sat down by the dirty water,
by the jangled waves. The Roman ghosts,
the abandoned plastics, the obscured,
occluded depths, the swirling
silt, like smoke beneath the surface,
like the reflection of smoke
dispersing through the sky – from
a pyre maybe, a burning body
on heaped logs, transforming
into fire, the undetermined element:
pure energy, pure moment,
that is and is not,
that has no substance but burns,
devours, cleans, gives light,
and leaves nothing but ashes behind.


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Portrait Series (Marie-Juliette). From “Jasmine Quarter”

marie juliette

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The Computers Came

The Computers Came

The computers came, and the rich got richer.
The computers came, and we had to work harder.
The computers came, and our minds started racing in all directions;
our eyes could not stand still.
The computers came and connected us to everybody
while sealing us up in a carapace of glass,
seen and seeing but losing touch.
The computers came and stole our sleep,

where our dreams had been.

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Portrait Series (Margie Floyd)

After the ceremony

may 2013
Late Portrait

young woman nashville
Nashville 1947

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Respond If You Are Truly Willing

Respond If You Are Truly Willing

Dear Beloved
You are the only hope for the poor
My dearest
Want to get pussy
I am here in the military unit in Afghanistan, we have some amount of funds we want to  move out
Peace of Allah be with you, we give out loans to those that are in need
Obama endorses herbal supplements
Don’t get enough pussy? That can be helped
Nice creams for your smooth smooth skin
I have been suffering from ovarian cancer
The black paint on the face
They do not drown ever been passed (Hot Busty Girls)
Movements of the bravest girl in the world
This is my crossbreed!
High Powered Executive and Former Fortune 500 CEO On a Mission to Save Lives
Not Just the Gorilla Illusion
All Ladies Will Be Yours
Respond If You Are Truly Willing
Find Printable Dog Food Coupons Here
I want to take a legal action against my ex-spouse
The Pharmacy With a Tender Loving Touch
Your bedroom will sizzle after this
Muzzleloading season is just around the corner
Download Muddy Waters for free
The clergy killer phenomenon — now a movie
I am a born-again Christian and a widow
Judgment Day: One Man’s Journey, 12 Millions Years in the Future
Apostolic Greetings!
My Dearest
My Beloved
My Dear One
So hard you can break an egg
I wait for your response

(A culling of subject lines from the spam filter)

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