Wordy Mikado (Fragment #017)

I stowed the wreckage of the broken poem in my pockets and dragged myself to my room. It was there that I shook out this mishmash, onto the little table in the corner, and I fell to thinking how it could be rearranged into a new poem. Some lines stuck out awkwardly here and there, and I suddenly recalled how in my childhood I would play Mikado. This flashback was so quick and so bright that it slashed through my mind like a lightning bolt.

We preferred to play with fine aluminium wires, not with woody sticks. We bent the ends of the wires into loops, hooks, and waves. This made the game more difficult because every move had to be executed with surgical precision. (By the way, I’d heard of a variation of this game that was part of the professional practice of pocket lifters.)

I found myself mindlessly poking my finger into the pile of words. My angriness fumed away. The professor’s voice echoed in my head: “And don’t spoil such precious words for glamorous bullshit.” We played with literal junk when we were children, and we did it with style. Why should I fuck with such high class stuff now?

I pulled out a long, shiny wire from the pile and smiled. I knew what I needed to do. I accurately stowed all the wordy bits into a little box and went to the library.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Authentica (Fragment #023)

Here you are!”

Maybe I’d plopped my notebook down a little too cocksurely, but I was feeling pretty confident. Hell, I’d been sweating over this essay for two whole nights, rummaging through the dullest monographs and sneezing up billows of agelong library dust.

The professor picked up my notebook with two fingers, kind of like it was a filthy toad. Well… actually, I consider toads pretty cool. Take, for example, Hypnotoad or Kermit. Or, even, Jin Chan. I remember, once…

“… plague!”

His harsh voice made me jump. Damn! It looked like I’d lost the plot again. I needed to concentrate. What the hell was he saying? Yes, toads were  The Second Plague’, but had I said something about toads out loud?

I raised my eyes and stole a look at his reflection in the dim windowpane. Then our eyes met. For a fleeting second it seemed as though his glance was flaring a bright orange, but when he turned to me, his eyes were yellow as always. This angry look was a storm warning.

“Too vague! Up in the air! It’s a mere dalliance with the topic, not an exploration!”

Why was he always on my case? But there was no sense in arguing… at least not now. This morning, I’d heard how Uranus had said something about the Moon being in Aries and that one should avoid open conflicts. (If someone had said to me some months ago that I would make decisions with an eye to this cosmographic crap, I’d have given them a Screw Loose sign. But this University can make anyone superstitious like the last pea goose in existence.)

I took my unfortunate essay and went to the door. I had almost stepped into the corridor when his acrid voice struck my ears.

“And don’t forget that using translations in research is  ‘mauvais ton’. If you want to get a decent result, you must work with authentic texts only!”

Huh? Ball and Tzara? In the original? I fucking like it!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

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