“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

From a Winter Notebook

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* * *
My fingers: thorns of winter blackberry
or bramble. Shall I dare to touch soft things?
I wash in sun’s broad disinfecting rays.
Some knowledge of the frequency of bugs
is on my vita. I comb my hair with sticks;
weeds only grow here. For the transaction
that would profit you, I have no assets.
But if my word is sweet to you, come sit
with me, this pebble will make room for three
if we ask death move a little over.
True, I have not much to wear for evening,
which makes me very little mad as long
as you’re not vexed by staying home, a word
that means not much but a room to visit
optionally clothed. These days my shadow
startles me — I it, and could be any-
where the same, while you can change. I’ll watch you
changing; try to be a poet better
than the grass, almost as good as the wind.

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* * *
How hard it was to get it up in cold
shallows of a sacred Irish lake
the slender white dress of Joanne      her waist
my youth       not withstanding       and other
things lost to youth     Cheap death is total
without remainder      said Feuerbach
not in these words      For Khlebnikov death
was a part of living     countering
Wittgenstein      and this petulant Marxist
polyamory slows production
of poems      Yet, see you the haste of mice
by winter’s peeling baseboards in the night

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* * *
I’m taken home by someone with unknown agenda
to find in feigned attraction echoes of my urges.
Skittering on asphalt with the leaves, my stare at nothing —
something half dead in the road, now twice it is run over.
At night I run against the wind, wake to the image
of a moment when I’d kept my silence, now can’t hold it:
Words pour like gravel from a truck, that sound — replacement,
filling voids. What is unfaithful to a memory?
Each pebble represents a part. You’d say I do it
only for these poems: partly true. They’re made of many
though for you, cold stones of words they are. Somewhere across
cellular signals, over great lakes, and nation’s borders,
I hear you laugh — laugh clear, laugh at me, laugh at winter.

Appears in this issue

Matvei Yankelevich’s books include Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt (Black Square Editions), Alpha Donut (United Artists Books) and Boris by the Sea (Octopus Books).

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