BUT IS IT POETRY? // Butchering

A medium size.
A medium density.
A medium price.
Generally, it’s dark blue
in the null assemblage point.

(Sometimes it becomes
red or green. But it’s kinda
my little secret.)
A fray is on the back edge
and a slight scent of joss sticks.

Dozens of defects…
The usual thing, in short.
Where is theurgy?
It’s a matter of arrows.
The bright red on the dark blue.

It’s my secret path,
my color-coded loophole,
my molded carcass.
A scheme of the primal cuts
for my gnostic butchering…

Numinous blades slip
and split along my axis.
The golden section…
I yield my offal and meat
under the Karma Cutter.

When my shanks sprawl out
and my round points to the east,
I distinctly hear
chuckling of a sacred cow
in esoteric silence.

 

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TONY: Butchering. Let’s discuss ‘Butchering’.

TATI: Okey-dokey. Let’s butcher ‘Butchering’. Get your knife, Tony the Ripper.

TONY: I’m a bit squeamish at the sight of blood and guts, so please forgive me if I happen to clunk on the floor in a dead faint during our conversation. Even the thought is distressing.

TATI: Don’t worry. There’s a yoga mat. Faint as you please.

TONY: How thoughtful! Have I ever told you how thoughtful you are?

TATI: Hmmm… Should I answer this question?

TONY: Well, questions usually precede answers. That’s how the universe works!

TATI: I will remember this piece of wisdom.

TONY: Anyway, I find that I need a dictionary whenever I read of one of your poems. So many unheard of words!

TATI: Should I say, “Sorry?”

TONY: No no no. Just explain what some of them mean is all. I’m a bit of a dim bulb, you know.

TATI: Who is a native here, Tony? What should I explain?

TONY: Everything! I mean, what’s it all about? And what do you mean by ‘null assemblage point’?

TATI: Have you read Carlos Castaneda?

TONY: No. Did he become a library book?

TATI: Assemblage point: In Castaneda’s works, the term means a locus of perception within the energy field of a being. Moving the assemblage point causes the being to perceive and interact with a different reality.

TONY: That sounds like meditating to me.

TATI: Does it make things clearer, Tony?

TONY: Marginally. I thought the poem was about your yoga mat. It is in the title after all.

TATI: Bingo, Captain Obvious! Yes. Do you know words ‘yoga’ and ‘mat’?

TONY: Of course! But what does ‘it becomes red or green’ mean? And why is that kinda your little secret?

TATI: The thing is… well… Once or twice I’ve had an interesting visual illusion during my lessons. I saw like my yoga mat changes its color.

TONY: Oh, so you find this embarrassing for other people to know? Sounds like a pretty cool altered state of consciousness thing to me! Unless, of course, you’re some kinda junkie. Are you a junkie?

TATI: What? Of course no, Tony! But who could believe I saw this and was completely sober? Could you?

TONY: That’s a fair point, but I always look like I’m stoned, even though I’m not. At least you look like a respectable modern woman, a professional whose integrity is not to be questioned.

TATI: Errmm… is it a compliment? OK. Thank you.

TONY: What I do find a little questionable are the last two stanzas in your poem. I have a feeling that you’re literally sacrificing yourself to some… well… I don’t know what.

TATI: Let me reread it.

TONY: Okay, you do that. I’ll remove all sharp objects from the room.

TATI: Done.

TONY: So, what are those stanzas actually about then?

TATI: Damn… it’s not very easy answering such questions actually…

TONY: Aw… Please do try! I wanna know if it’ll ever be safe to eat with cutlery in your presence again.

TATI: Actually, it’s about my state when I do my yoga. Tony, have you practiced yoga?

TONY: A little bit, yes.

TATI: Have you felt sometimes something special? Something that you can’t explain with words? Just feel with your skin, like goose bumps?

TONY: Admittedly, yes. It’s rare, but it has happened. In fact, it’s more like a deep calmness that comes over me.

TATI: Do you find it’s easy to express? To explain to other people what you feel?

TONY: Not always, no, but that’s what you’ve attempted to do with this poem, is it not?

TATI: Yes… and now I wonder if such things should be poemed at all. It looks like we swapped in our discussion. I asked more questions than you.

TONY: Yeah, I kinda dropped the ball there, didn’t I? I guess we can conclude that some things are better left unexplained and should just be experienced instead. But does this mean that in future you’ll refrain from writing odes to your yoga mat?

TATI: Nope.

TONY: Such a relief! A world without your poetry would be like a boiled egg without soldiers!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

TATI’S TRANSLATIONS // Lying Bare by Sudeep Sen

Your bare stomach is my pillow. When I turn my head to one side, warm air rises from the valley to lull me — on the other side, you shield my view of your face with your bosom — to devour me in the gorge near your heart.

Твой голый живот – это моя подушка. Я поворачиваю голову набок, и теплый убаюкивающий ветерок из долины ласкает мое лицо. Позади меня лежит горная гряда твоей груди, сорвавшись с которой, я разбился прямо около твоего сердца.

 

Poem by SUDEEP SEN
Translation by TETIANA ALEKSINA

© All rights reserved 2017

100 WORD SKITTLE // Harvest

I checked the spotted page.

It looked like I’d done everything correctly. Hopefully the good sprouts wouldn’t be long in coming. I poured water into the pot and pierced a label into the soil. ‘Goldfish’.

At first my mother was happy. She adored nematanthuses. However, she began to smell a rat after a day or two. Ermm… smell a fish. Rotten fish.

She checked our aquarium and asked what we were studying at biological club. I answered, “Planting.”

Next day, my mother discretely put away all my books of Brehm and enrolled me in a dance course… just in case.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017