i lay all this while (gulliver’s undoing)

let me tell you what little i know
i am not the man i ought to be
nor half a man if not for you
i’m stranger in a strange land
than i have ever been before

what no one here dares concede
is all we do is use and be used
we’re not the masks that wear all we
to be needy isn’t merely to bleed
carmine prints where we strove to be

time’s run out for it all to still matter
i’m bludgeoned, cowed, rarely right
i’d sooner delight in being more wrong
questions are my faithful companions
answers swan in with blazing cannons

i have no power to enact my privilege
i have no tower to enthrone my will
but i have a flower sat in my hair here
a curious plesh o’er frangible crown

i’m here yet unaccounted for
wrecked in my own inscrutable way
trajectories frill my shuttered mind
perhaps there’re none that really know me
the first in a long line of ignorants

i have no wish to disengage
the shells have forced an unembellishing
they smite me down for the little i am
ricochet out from what could have been
i’m induced to reduce to no margin for error

let me knell what little i know
i am not the man i sought to be
nor half a man if not for you
i’m stranger in a strange land
than i have ever been before

i have no power to enact my privilege
i have no tower to enthrone my will
but i have a flower sat in my hair here
a curious plesh o’er frangible crown

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

27 white raven club

ravens are made for still lifes, y’know
for shitting letters, birthing screenplays
they never like to seem dull or frilly
against the backdrop of grass’s gleam

they fair cavort and caw through the mind
they don’t play dolls or silly chick flick
they much prefer shakespeare and goethe
and titties in tight petticoats

they are the last bulwark of style
all pinstriped flair and gasps of awesome
all top hat and heavy, lace and feathery
pale pearls adorning supple necks

lest you think they’re square-toed, pathetic
turn on your dim-witted, closed-off mind!
ravens teach us to find faith in ourselves
to never be afraid, and in sepia shine

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

BUT IS IT POETRY? // Sunhibitionism

Midday bends
over a city
thoughtlessly,
sun nipple
slips out of cloudy brassiere
shamelessly. It’s hot.

1265542358_ornament

TONY: Wow. This poem’s as hot as I feel!

TATI: Really? Kewl…

(Tati sniffles. Her nose is very runny and red.)

TATI: Ahhh… ahhh… AH CHOO!

(Tony wipes himself off.)

TONY: Lovely. All. Over. Me. Thanks for that.

TATI: You’re welcome, Tony.

TONY: Could you maybe sneeze upwind in future? Anyway, let’s discuss this poem of yours. It’s called ‘Sunhibitionism’.

TATI: Yea… AH CHOO!

(Tony wipes himself off again.)

TATI: Sorry. That was upwind this time.

TONY: Good freakin’ god. It’s like sitting next to a sprinkler.

(Tati gives Tony a helmet.)

TATI: Will you ask me after all?

TONY: About the poem?

(He puts the helmet on.)

TONY: If I can just get a word in with all this projectile snot flyin’ about then yes, I will ask after all.

TATI: And…?

TONY: What made you think of equating weather patterns with the imagery of a woman bending over?

TATI: It was a cloud. Its shape reminded me of a bra… ah CHOO!

TONY: Thank the very Christ for this helmet.

(Tony wipes his visor off.)

TONY: So, do clouds often make you think of women’s undergarments, Tati? Are you some kind of pervert?

TATI: What? Of course no! If a cloud looks like a teddy bear, will you accuse me of liking bestiality too?

TONY: Well, I don’t know what kinkiness goes on inside your head.

TATI: Tony, are we discussing the poem here, or are you trying to fish out my hidden desires?

TONY: Oh, so you do it with fish now? What a sicko…

TATI: Are you going to discuss poetry after all, you freaking pervert? What about my use of imagery, metaphor, and meter? AHHH… CHOO!

(Tony wipes his visor off.)

TONY: You’re sneezing on me on purpose now, aren’t you…

(He takes off his shirt and wrings it dry. Tati sniffles.)

TATI: Dear Readers, because Tony is being extremely objectionable today, let me take up the reins.

TONY: Says the woman who sprays everything with mucous.

TATI: It’s a shadorma.

TONY: Is that what they’re calling it these days?

TATI: What’s that?

TONY: Snot. Shadorma. Must I spell this out?

TATI: Oh, hell. No! It’s a poetic form. Not what your sore fantasy suggests. And if you dare to call yourself a poet, you had better learn some theory!

TONY: Theory? Damn. Then I guess I’m no poet after all. I hardly know any theory when it comes to writing my poems.

TATI: AH CHOO! By the way… do you know? Whenever you say something and someone else sneezes at the same time, it means you are telling the truth.

TONY: I guess it’s confirmed then. I’m a hack.

TATI: Oh. Don’t you want to say, “Bless you?”

TONY: You’re like a cat, Tati. You always manage to land on your feet no matter how far you fall. I’m pretty sure you don’t need a blessing!

TATI: Sunhibitionism.

TONY: Are you sneezing again?

TATI: No, it’s a broad hint.

TONY: To talk about the actual poem, yes?

TATI: Hallelui… ah… ah… AH CHOO!

TONY: Good grief. Okay, so if the sun is like a nipple, is that why we’re often dissuaded from looking at it? It’s too rude, so we might go blind if we do?

TATI: Of course. It’s so mushy little boys like you, Bubby Tony, can continue to play with their toy soldiers… and don’t hide another issue of Playboy under your pillows.

TONY: Are you saying I’m too immature to appreciate your poem?

TATI: Yes, I think so. You’re focused on details and don’t see the whole picture. It’s like you giggle at the nakedness of Venus de Milo, or David. Or poke your finger at Madonna Litta. Ahhh… ahhh… AH CHOO!

TONY: So, is this a commentary on society’s collective shame regarding sexuality? Is that what you’re referring to here? And since when did you begin comparing your poems with the works of such masters? Not that I’m saying your poems aren’t worthy of scrutiny…

TATI: Oh my god! Really?! Was I able to drag you back to the main point of our discussion?

TONY: Hey, I’m perfectly capable of have an intelligent conversation y’know!

TATI: Says the man with a helmet on his head, and sprinkled all over with mucous shadorma!

TONY: Excuse me all to hell then! I’m off to have a much needed shower…

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

TATI’S TRANSLATIONS // Icicles by Sudeep Sen

Cold blast from an electric vent bites my skin — this comfortable discomfort, prickling my pores bathed in an acrid glaze, transforms to frozen gold-salt.

Attaining instant freezing points might be a rare marvel of science; I like this hellishly good blast that shakes all the embedded molecules in my bones —

bones that are parched in heat, turn to skeletal icicles — a beautiful ballerina-geography of stalactites and stalagmites — each needle-end points towards the other

like the two longing fngertips in Michelangelo’s painting at the Sistine Chapel — desiring a touch.

Струя холодного воздуха, выползающая из вентиляционной решетки, жалит мою кожу. Ласковые крошечные клыки вонзаются в мои поры, впрыскивая ядовитое желе, которое моментально превращается в солоноватые золотистые кристаллы.

Крионика – одно из чудес науки; мне нравится этот маленький атомный взрыв, встряхивающий каждую клетку моих костей.

Мой скелет, сожженный радиацией, превращается в минеральную окаменелость. Мои ребра вытягиваются, словно ноги искусной балерины в батмане; мои кости растут навстречу друг другу, как сталактиты и сталагмиты;

как кончики пальцев на фреске Микеланджело в Сикстинской капелле в их отчаянном и неосуществимом желании соприкоснуться.

 

Poem by SUDEEP SEN
Translation by TETIANA ALEKSINA

© All rights reserved 2017