enûma eliš (when on high)

sorrow is not forever
whenever hope gains a foothold
give me your hand, dear
and leave these burial fields behind

we rest our old ways on the funeral pyre
and hatch new wings within its fire
fragile and strong are we

the lustre in our eyes
we’re spinning dreams in our sleep
look to my eyes, dear
we’ll move the world in our wake

we rest our old ways on the funeral pyre
and hatch new wings within its fire
fragile and strong are we

let’s shrug off our draconian veils
let these settle in the dust at their feet
lay your brow to mine, dear
in a nest full of golden eggshells

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

forever ambered

we set out to find a secret stone on the pavement
and began to whirl like that girl in the devil’s dark pearl
do you remember
we laid upwind the pheromones of enslavement
then took a daring stance to dance the prance of scalded squirrels

we looked right at the april sun
tho’ we were told not to
we huffed and chuffed o’er happy air
dandelion swirls behind our eyes

we set out to find the hoary old chestnuts of burgeon
and began to pray like gay fey in jehovah’s dark play
do you remember
we rowed upstream with a warry shoal of kingly sturgeon
then in emerald grass laid brass to glass in arcane ritual

we looked nebby at the may moon
musing next on what to do
we fussed and cussed o’er happy air
dandelion swirls behind our eyes

the locket on my neck
as ambered as the gleam in your eyes
enshrining our faraway spring
you do remember

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

whale the moon

there’s a whale in the sky
blocking the suns of joon
and pale people from the moon
sharpening a big harpoon

the whale’s shadow sighs
over the fairy floss plains
fountaining dead candy canes
through gravity shields and drains

none on the moon remember
why there’s such dread for the whale
why they persist to regale
each other with horror tales

the whale howls frantically
troubles sky with fluke and flick
but moon folk have judged too quick
got the wrong end of the stick

if only they’d understand
its song of despair and love
warning them of doom above
the coming killer space dove

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

CALIXIAN // Ranting Up the Wazoo

I am in a crappy mood. That’s why I’ve decided to kill Darwin this very day. Somehow. And quirkily.

I’m wandering around in the shed when I stumble upon a dusty, old megaphone. This could be exactly what I need! “Darwin, baby, come here! I have something for you.” I can barely contain my glee.

Darwin’s tumbled head pops in at the door. He’s looking at me with curiosity. It’s definitely one of his best traits. He’s as curious as a kitten. I crook my finger at him, beckoning him closer. Darwin enters the shed.

I take my time. I want to savor the pleasure. I smear half a bottle of grease over Darwin’s mop then meticulously comb it back. Then I pick the nastiest tie I can find from a dingy, old wardrobe in the corner of the shed. Yes, the orange tie with the big blue hot-dogs. That should do it.

Darwin twists and turns before the mirror on the wardrobe door, giggling. He obviously thinks it’s a funny role-playing game. Perhaps he’s now imagining that I’ll put on a nurse’s costume, or dress like Harley Quinn, or like a big violet papulose lobster. Frankly, I neither know nor care what this pervert daydreams about.

I take another look at him. Darwin is smiling like a brewer’s horse. He’s shining like a spit-and-polished samovar. I don’t recall him ever being this happy, and certainly not since that time he won ten measly greens in bingo. I feel something approaching a light pang of conscience, but I shake it off. I have to finish this game.

I need a finishing touch. I survey the shed interior before noticing a shabby leather suitcase in another corner. Perfect! Feeling like real Pygmalion, I thrust it into Darwin’s hand and take a step back to admire my handiwork for a moment. It’s unbelievable but Darwin looks even worse than he usually does. Is that even possible? It seems that, yes, it is.

Darwin shoots me a questioning look, waiting for whatever’s next. I push a megaphone into his arms, give him a wink in return, then abruptly push him outside. I slam the door. Right before his nose. Take that!

Darwin knocks insistently, begging to be let in, but not for too long. Curiosity killed the cat, I suppose. I know that a protest movement on the next street over will soon catch his attention. And I know that he always jumps at the chance to rant about his favorite topics, especially now that he has the megaphone and some sympathetic listeners around.

There’s a knock at the door.

Darwin’s tumbled head pops into my bedroom. I barely have time to minimize my window.

“Calix, dinner’s ready. Come and get it!”

“Sure.”

By the time I’m leaving the bedroom, the Sim Darwin is standing on the suitcase, shouting frothily into the megaphone. “Death is supposed to be the last, great refuge for troubled minds!” he squawks. “From ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and into the big black!” His face is flushed. The tie hung loose. Darwin is as cute and convincing as Lenin on the armored car in 1917.

Meanwhile, the Grim Reaper stands just around a nearby corner, wry faced and skittishly rubbing a scythe. He doesn’t like anyone ranting about death too much, you know.

I step into the kitchen and give Darwin the biggest smile I can muster.

“What do we have for dinner?”

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

Broken Poem (Fragment #16)

I knocked at the door.

“Come in!”

The professor was sitting on the window sill without his shoes. It looked a bit strange, but I had gotten used to his little quirks. Generally speaking, our entire magistral staff is a strange sort of panopticon—a freak show if you will—and so sitting barefoot on a window sill looks like kid’s stuff in comparison with the other teachers’ habits.

“What are you staring at? Give me your scribbles!”

I had gotten used to his bad manners too. With impassiveness I offered my worn down notebook to him. The professor opened it, read some lines and screwed up his face.

“What the crap?”

“It’s my homework.”

“Are you sure?”

“It seems so…”

“Quite so. It only seems like homework.”

He tossed the notebook against the wall. It bumped into a shelf of softbound texts, opened and came apart. Lines that I had written with diligence and care crumbled. Words and punctuation marks were scattered higgledy-piggledy in every corner like pieces of a shattered cup. I sniffled and bit my bottom lip.

Gather up this trash. And don’t spoil such precious words with your glamorous bullshit.”

I stood and looked at his bare feet, at those claws clutching over the floor. They were long and crooked with an unpleasant yellow hue…

“Look sharp! I’m not going to hang around for another aeon!”

I started to gather my unhappy poem from the dirty floor. Resentment was slowly turning into fury. Plucked peacock! I will sort you! I will show you anti-glamour!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017