BUT IS IT POETRY? // Cynisca (One-Horse Consolation Race)

“Sorry, we’re closing.”
…and she leaves the battlefield
on her gala-shield.

Jingling with armor,
she fumbles with a jammed lock
in the half-light hall.

In the cold bedroom
she kicks into the corner
a chlamys on which

two heraldic cats
with apathetical smiles
claw a lonely heart.

And then stands face up,
mixing her tears with water
and Bloody Caesar.

1265542358_ornament

TONY: So, I wonder…

TATI: Again?

TONY: Okay then. You start! Tell me what I’m wondering.

TATI: If this poem is about puppies and kittens.

TONY: How the hell did you know?

TATI: Oh my god! Are you serious?

TONY: Erm… yes?

TATI: I was fucking kidding!

TONY: Anyway, I want to ask you about Cynisca. Is she a personal hero of yours?

TATI: Cynisca was a pretty ambitious chick. And she was the first woman to win at the Olympics. She even bred horses on the side. But… nope. She’s not a personal hero. Should she be?

TONY: Not necessarily, I suppose. But, hey, you forgot the most important thing about her. Her name means ‘female puppy’ in Ancient Greek! And since everyone loves puppies, I naturally assumed that you’d see her as a bit of a role model. I mean, isn’t that why you wrote about her in a poem?

TATI: No, that isn’t why I wrote about her, Tony.

TONY: Oh. Okay.

TATI: Anyway, while she was the first woman to win at the Olympics, it was only in a manner of speaking. She didn’t actually participate, you see. She was merely the owner of the winning team. The chariot was ridden by men she’d hired.

TONY: Fair enough.

TATI: Doesn’t this interest you?

TONY: I still can’t believe you’re so unmoved by the puppy thing.

TATI: It’s a silly name.

TONY: It’s not silly!

TATI: Stop kidding around! I’m talking about serious things here.

TONY: Woof.

TATI: Anyway, I have read another version of Cynisca’s story where it was her brother who planned for her to win. He wanted to discredit the Olympics by directing her to join the competitions. By having a woman win, he hoped to show how unmanly and trivial this sporting event was.

TONY: So, what about the puppy thing? You mention cats on her cloak in your poem. Do you think Cynisca got along very well with felines, given the meaning of her name?

TATI: Tony, are you going to discuss the poem or continue to say bullshit?

TONY: It’s a legitimate question!

TATI: Fine then. Just for the sake of argument, why would someone who was named after a dog have worn a picture of cats on her cloak? No. Unless, of course, it was a dead cat with its tongue stuck out.

TONY: And two little crosses for eyes.

TATI: Exactly. Crosses for eyes. See? Even you understand. But, wait a moment. Did I write something about crosses in the poem?

TONY: No.

TATI: Then the cats were alive.

TONY: Oh, god. Don’t tell me this has something to do with Schrödinger’s cat!

TATI: No, this was before his time. Stop being silly!

TONY: Meow.

TATI: I can see there’s no point me telling you about a Russian expression we have that literally means: ‘Cats claw on a heart (soul).’ Look, just go and bring me a cappuccino. You would do a better job of that than conducting a serious poetry discussion.

TONY: But how is that remotely connected to what we’re talking about?! I thought this was about feminism, about someone who could be considered a symbol for the rise of women in ancient society. But did this newly found status make her any happier? Even with the cool puppy name thing?

TATI: Scat, you wretched cur!

TONY: Grrr. Hiss.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

treehouse of horror (the rejected bits)

your face occupies the entire doorway
or has the room become suddenly small?
i feel like thwacking your smile with a death ray
or smacking it fervently into the wall!

your nasty moustache with its fried egg stains
those urticating bristles on caterpillar lips…
just one look has given me stomach pains
i’d soon as not kiss you as cut off my nips!

when you lean over me with your fresh garlic breath
i feel like a vampire that’s getting ready to die
so i wouldn’t mind overdosing on some meth
if it meant i could avoid you in sheol’s by and by

you whisper, ‘what can i ding dong diddly do?
for you?’ sounding suspiciously diddly ho sweet
and you adjust those glasses you’re peering through
making my flesh want to crawl away up the street

at the altar of the temple of ghastly dreams
i am ready to swear on the shiny shinning
anything to expunge all the flanderish screams
visions of red and yellow cartoon skinnings

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

GUEST POST // The North Wind Shall Blow… as Introduced by Christine Mallaband-Brown

The North Wind doth blow
and we shall have snow,
and what shall poor Robin do then?
Poor thing.
He’ll sit in a barn,
and keep himself warm,
and hide his head under his wing,
poor thing….

 

Introduced by CHRISTINE MALLABAND-BROWN
Public Domain Poetry

TATI’s & TONY’s DEAD POET TOUR // Lines On A Typewriter by James McIntyre

Having received a letter from a gentleman glorying in his typewriter we replied as follows:

You glory in your typewriter,
And its virtues you rehearse,
But we prefer the old inditer,
For to write either prose or verse.

And let each man work his will,
But never never do abuse
The ancient and glorious quill
From the wing of a fine old goose.

 

by JAMES MCINTYRE (1828-1906)
Public Domain Poetry

Open-Source Poetry Four #4

Our Dearest Readers,

Who are we to stand in the way of progress? Yes, this poem seems to be very much progressing in a certain direction. We don’t quite know where it will end up, but at least it’s moving forward…

Still, this scares us a little. We were determined to complete the poem with today’s post, but it looks like it has other plans about its existence, and doesn’t want to be completed now. The poem has taken on a life of its own! Oh, freaking my!

Perhaps we could blame Munira Ezzi for this turn of events. It is, after all, the second contribution of hers to make it into our communal masterpiece. This is something that has never happened before! We cannot predict how this is going to end now, so strap yourselves in, Dearest Readers. It’s about to get bumpy!

So, anyway, it’s with trembling voices that we remind you of the following rules:

1) Read the current version of this communal poem below, and shake in your boots at all the different directions it could go. Then submit your own line or two for our consideration.
2) If we like your line (or two) the most, we’ll add it to this runaway railcar of a poem, and publish it in a follow-up post.
3) And so finally the whole process of submission and rejection will be done, and we’ll have the conclusion to this terrifying monstrosity!

Вензель

hm, what should I draw?
maybe a hairy monster with a furry claw
or a demon crow that sticks in the craw
or a huge bloodstained saw

hm, what should I write?
maybe a slow growl will stir up a fright
or a girl will be twirled by a meat-eating kite
or grandma pole-dances in a bikini too tight

hm, what is that?
the words have disappeared, the pictures aren’t flat
they’ve come to life like a cockroach cravat
crawling helter-skelter ’til i scream like a prat

Вензель_нижний

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA, TONY SINGLE, TOMAS MANKUS & MUNIRA EZZI
© All rights reserved 2020