a quantum of holiness

a little vagrant sleeps under a church ladder
shares his bedding with a lame puppy and deaf adder
he has never tasted sweets or sugar scones
his usual dinner is leavings, skin and bones

one beautiful summer day right after the mass
someone spat a throat lozenge onto the grass
it shined beneath the sun like a real gem
blameless, faceted, wet from mucous phlegm

little vagrant retrieved the lozenge with trembling hand
unbelievably happy as though he’d won a big grant
but he wasn’t the only one who had reached the prize
the puppy was looking at him with pleading eyes

some people aren’t dogmatic, have never attended church
their lives can seem useless, their family’s honour besmirch
but on that day it was the lord’s supper under church ladder
little vagrant shared his first candy with lame puppy and deaf adder

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

don’t call us, we’ll call you

he goes away with a drooped head
followed by the eyes of alley cats
without applause, without flowers
his key monologue remains unsaid

he goes away in a fading ray
stepping over scattered set and props
and wind frays his shadow on the wall
like the theater bill of a failed play

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

BUT IS IT POETRY? // Horn-rimmed glasses

Just jabbering. Beating a rhythm. Messing with common sense.

Murdering a language… grammatically semi-dense.

A holy fool…

Allowing unallowable. Well… omissible… fuck it!

Set punctuation marks! Correct my torn jeans and my sanskrit!

A holy fool…

Don’t listen to me, please! Don’t call my bluff! Don’t yield to my magic!

It’ll not be my blame if you hear something essential and tragic.

A holy fool…

God forbid! Something that you were always afraid to say.

Oops… me and my potty mouth… I put my foot in it… hey!

A holy fool…

Healthy people shrug shoulders a set of words isn’t usable.

Are you sick? Do you think that my words are excusable?

A holy fool…

There are people… they hear perfectly… how a heart talks to a heart.

Well… Putting on my horn-rimmed glasses. Just wanna look more smart…

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TONY: Well, I have no idea.

TATI: Well, why am I not surprised?

TONY: Jabbering. Holy fools. Glasses. What does it all mean?

TATI: The thing that you sometimes put on your nose is called ‘glasses’. ‘Jabbering’ is talking in a rapid, excited, and often incomprehensible way.

TONY: And ‘holy fools’?

TATI: ‘Holy fools’… Hmmm… Foolishness for Christ. Are you familiar with this term?

TONY: Of course I am. I used to engage in such foolishness. I just wasn’t sure if this is initially what you meant.

TATI: Yes, this is what I meant.

TONY: Okay, so is this poem ‘Horn-rimmed glasses’ a commentary on religion?

TATI: Of course no! I used ‘holy fools’ in a figurative sense.

TONY: So who are the holy fools in this poem?

TATI: People, who aren’t afraid to be themselves. Who aren’t afraid to express their feelings and thoughts openly. Who aren’t afraid to go against the mainstream.

TONY: Ah, I see! These are the people that are thought of as ‘holy fools’ by the rest of society, and all because they refuse to conform.

TATI: Yes, but it isn’t aggressive provocation. It’s not an open protest. They just can’t live any other way.

TONY: Which is what you mean by the line: ‘There are people… they hear perfectly… how a heart talks to a heart.’

TATI: Yes. Empathy. Compassion. Acceptance.

TONY: Wow. I’m reading this poem again and… well, it makes so much sense to me! Tati, this might be one of your best!

TATI: Really? But you said it has no sense.

TONY: I think I was just a little too dense to get it at first.

TATI: Maybe it was me who was too messy in expressing my thoughts?

TONY: Perhaps that’s the point. By being messy you were sidestepping all the rules of conventional poetry, and forging a path all your own. You were being a ‘holy fool’. So cool!

TATI: Do you praise me? Oh my!

TONY: Totes! I wanna be your acolyte!

TATI: Okey dokey. It’s easy. Take these glasses and tell me what you’re thinking. Try it now.

TONY: Erm…

TATI: Come on! I haven’t got all day!

TONY: I’m thinking!

TATI: Think out loud!

TONY: I’m thinking that these glasses make me look like Elton John, and appear smarter than I actually am!

TATI: Hmmm… Are you sure you put the glasses on correctly? Not upside down?

TONY: Well, isn’t upside down the correct way to wear them? It means I’m doing things differently then, which is entirely the point of your poem!

TATI: No… see, that’s the tricky part. Pride. Hubris. Have you felt sometimes that you’re better than other people?

TONY: Shamefully, yes. But only sometimes.

TATI: So, put the glasses on the right way. Don’t try to be better than the others.

TONY: Oh wow! Now I look like Bono! Is that a good or a bad thing?

TATI: Are you saying that Bono is merely Elton standing on his head?

TONY: I’m not sure what I’m meant to be saying.

TATI: See? You’re getting it!

TONY: Am I?

TATI: Don’t strain so hard, Tony. You do not need to take yourself seriously.

TONY: But…

TATI: Don’t blame me if you hear something essential and tragic. It’s your choice, not mine.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018