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

DARWINIAN // Body Shamer vs. Potty Mind

“Fuck. That’s put me off me dinner.”

I look up in time to see him and his cronies turn away in laughter. And then he takes another bite of hamburger anyway. And then they continue to laugh and laugh and laugh beyond any reasonable point of cruelty. What grade A cunts.

No. I’ve got that wrong.

At least a cunt is warm and inviting, and is usually possessed by somebody who’s glad you’re in the room. And they’ve willingly let you in. Why? Because you’re you, and they like that, and that’s okay. Makes me wonder why cunt has ever been used as a pejorative in the first place.

I wish I was with a cunt right now. Anywhere but here.

So, who’s the tool two tables over? Well, he’s the complete opposite of a cunt, that’s for goddam sure. In fact, I’d call him a dick. No, hang on… I like dicks! I mean, sure, not other dicks. Just mine. It’s not like I go around sucking random dicks or anything. And I’m not saying mine’s the best dick out there either. Dicks, by and large, are simple, unassuming things. In short, a dick’s a dick, and just as there’s nothing inherently wrong with cunts, so too with dicks.

Okay, so he’s not a dick or a cunt. Maybe he’s just not very nice. I’ll have to settle for that.

Note to self: Whenever in public food court, sit with cauliflower ear facing wall. Preferably mirrorless kind. That way, no one sees and laughs. Or sees and comments. Or worse still, sees then completely looks away.

I think my heart is going to kill me.

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

Bilingual Вірш

the days and years are wasted on youth
ти пригадуєш із солодким смутком
as you wander lost between the trees
із безцінним та марним здобутком

the sun is dappling through the leaves
і небо блакитне, як мамині очі
and the earth resolute like dad’s voice
то були найщасливіші дні і ночі

now like footprints buried in snow
як листівки із далеких часів
how old must one be before they start to live?
коли ти відрікся від їх голосів?

when did you scorn all reminiscence
і так безбожно в душі насмітив?
when your shadow absorbed all the pain?
мабуть, ти навіть і сам не помітив

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // O is for Obduracy & Orgasmic Oranges

The Soviet Astronaut had been mooning around the Moon since the late 70s. He’d been launched into outer space as part of a secret Soviet crewed lunar program with the express purpose of stealing the star-spangled banner from the Moon’s surface.

This Soviet crewed lunar program was so secret that the Soviet Government issued a special decree banning anyone involved from keeping any documentation of its aims and research results. Everyone who knew of the mission did what they were told and forgot everything immediately upon the Soviet Astronaut’s departure from Earth. Including the Soviet Astronaut himself. Back then, Soviet citizens were very responsible, making sure to execute Government decrees to a meticulous tee. Those were the days!

This is why when the Soviet Astronaut contacted a dispatcher at the launch control center (in order to familiarize himself with the details of his mission), the dispatcher was completely flummoxed. But, of course, the dispatcher was very experienced and up to the task. He told the Soviet Astronaut to continue his mission, to control the situation in outer space, and to report any suspicious objects that he might encounter. After this, the dispatcher disconnected from the server and the Soviet Astronaut was on his own.

One unspecified day, everything was going as planned. The Soviet Astronaut woke up, brushed his teeth, did his morning exercises, and then took position near a side-viewing window. He was keeping abreast of the situation, making copious notes in a flight log book. To be honest, it wasn’t very interesting. Nothing had changed outside the window for the last few months. The Moon, the stars and a withered space mosquito that had gotten stuck to the glass upon the vessel’s launch.

Sheer boredom drove the Soviet Astronaut to half watch a TV series on one of the vessel’s many small monitors. The space radio antenna had picked up the signal somewhere over the ocean. Ironically, it was a science fiction show about extraterrestrial beings, a time traveler, and his space adventures. Though the Soviet Astronaut didn’t understand a word, the show itself was pretty amusing. He especially liked the time machine that was masked as a blue British police box.

Everything had been going well when suddenly something bumped the vessel’s tail. The unexpected loudness of the sound made the Soviet Astronaut somersault in the air, but when he reached an operating panel everything looked as always did. He calmed himself down and was soon back to the show, engrossed and unaware that the vessel’s trajectory had changed by half a degree.

The next morning started as it always did. The Soviet Astronaut woke up, brushed his teeth, did his morning exercises and… what the deuce?! He almost bumped his brow on the window looking left, right, up and even a bit down.

The Moon was absent.

He tightly closed his eyes, then opened them and looked at the window again. The position of the stars appeared to be normal, and the withered space mosquito was present too, but the Moon was absent. It was completely gone. The Soviet Astronaut thought a bit and pinched himself, but this didn’t help. Alas, he wasn’t still asleep and it wasn’t just a bad dream.

There was background noise on the monitor—more evidence that the vessel appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. The Soviet Astronaut had a sudden flutter of fear. There could be no doubt. He was utterly lost in outer space.

No one knows how long the Soviet Astronaut sat there gazing out the window. It might have been an hour. It might have been a day. Or even a week. Who knows? He just sat there in a torpor. A blank stare. This is why when a strange fuss began outside the window the Soviet Astronaut didn’t immediately react.

However, after a little while the Soviet Astronaut woke from his stupor, and that’s when he saw it. He goggled out the window with great amazement. Two large oranges were floating outside interacting in a pretty strange way. Surely, this could be very important knowledge for Soviet science. The Soviet Astronaut grabbed the flight log book and started to make notes in a fever. Again, everyone was very responsible back then—even those who were lost somewhere along the way to hell.

The oranges were drifting away from one another, then drawing close, rubbing each other and sprinkling the window with essential oils. They were rocking and trembling, gasping and moaning All of this made the Soviet Astronaut a little bit suspicious. He stopped making his notes, lost in thought.

(I think I need to make some explanations here. The thing is, the word ‘sex’ was absent from the lexicon of the citizens of the USSR, so they were unfamiliar with the process that this word describes. Nuts, but true. Poor, poor Soviet Astronaut! I wouldn’t want to have been in his shoes at that moment.)

So, the oranges were continuing to do what they did, and the Soviet Astronaut was sitting there with a thoughtful expression, the flight log book in his hands. Suddenly, a speaker box somewhere began to bark.

“Earth to the Soviet Astronaut, do you copy, over? Do you… come in… over…”

The Soviet Astronaut jumped in surprise, making another somersault in the air.

“Earth! Earth! It’s the Soviet Astronaut! I read you, over!”

“Where are you? The vessel has disappeared from our radars!”

“I don’t know. Perhaps the vessel has changed its route?”

At that very moment, the oranges outside the window started to shake uncontrollably and groan. Then the glass was covered with a mixture of orange juice and peel. Suddenly, something bumped the window and a hush fell over everything. If the Soviet Astronaut had looked at the operating panel at that moment, he would have noticed that the vessel’s route had indeed changed half a degree, but for obvious reasons his attention was focused on other things.

“Earth to the Soviet Astronaut, do you copy, over? Don’t panic! The Soviet Government never leaves its citizens to their own devices. We will get back to you shortly to give a status report.”

The speaker box went silent. Suddenly, the Soviet Astronaut felt extremely tired. He recalled the wise words of his late grandma. She’d always said, “Tomorrow is another day. Go beddy-byes under any strange situation, sweetums. Just sleep.” The Soviet Astronaut decided to yield to this wise advice. He retired to his cuddy.

When the Soviet Astronaut woke up next morning and looked out the window, the Moon was there. And the stars. And the withered space mosquito. Even the science fiction TV show was playing on the same small monitor. Everything had a cozy and familiar look. The Soviet Astronaut heaved a sigh of relief and took up his flight log book.

He was pretty surprised when he reread his jerky notes from the prior day. Outrageous oranges in outer space? No way! This never happens! The Soviet Astronaut thought a little bit. It had obviously been a bad dream. Maybe he’d bumped his head on the glass a little too hard. He reread the notes again. It was doubtful that these notes would be of Soviet science interest. So… he made a decision.

He tore several pages out of the flight log book and shoved them under his bed. Then a moment later he pulled them out, balled them up, and popped them in his mouth and swallowed—just to get them out of harm’s way. After this, the Soviet Astronaut was back to his TV show, and there wasn’t a happier person in the whole Universe.

P.S. By the way, somewhere at the beginning of 2010, American scientists made a statement that one of the moon flags was missing. It’s a well-known fact, not merely my fancy. But this is a completely different story. Turn your beams to me and stay tuned, dear readers.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

A Three-Pointer

Do you know how to tell a good poem from a bad one? It’s easy. I can teach you.

Just crumple up a sheet of paper and throw it into the bin in the far corner. The bad poem never reaches it. It will always drop somewhere halfway, rebounding off the rim then rolling beneath your sofa. Argh! And there you go, swearing, to pick it up and toss it in from a little closer.

But the good poem always makes it. Hell… now you’re groaning and you have to go over to the bin to retrieve it. But, did you know… you can choose to forget it instead. Just leave it in the bin. Don’t worry. The really good poem will never leave your head. I should know. I’ve checked.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2016