When stretched under the bark
her womb is torn up by her sons
and the fear has gone from
woman
mother
life
I will collect the hem of the pleated dress
and will sew in a new heart
to suit a solemn affair
as sewed on 
this face and this picture

sick from anemia

-    I need air

the cast of mining shaft
is recast in the last 
cycle of alchemy
dried out tears from the cradle
When the sea spits out
the last bones of the domesticated fossils
I will be sitting on the beach
plucking stones from stones
like a postcard girl 
in that cliche

stuck

and unavoidably dreamy
in white
with that lovelock over the brow
smoothed down
I will pose in the glory of innocence 
of the new birth
while, actually, I would want to scream
 
and destroy the frame

-    I need air

under Heracles’ stairways
the Greek tragedians who glorified patricide
rape of
mother
earth
woman
justified it as ignorance 
dead is my shame
and no-one came 
to its burial
it went straight to spam
When she gets up and streches
dusty
raped
ragged
scratched
earth
mother
woman
in the last cry
of epic finale
who stays breathless
When father and brother and friend are gone
I will come back to that old place of ours
under the Iron bridge
I will cut out from cement the names long engraved 
take them away 
to Africa
I will become the hollow ring of 
time

a verse

that closes the circle
away from the land of our ancestors


“100 Years with Aleksandra Kollontai”

 

But I only wanted to protect and defend you 
to bury 
every remembrance of
painful embryo and 
woe 
of social wrong 
trenches and weeded roofs 
I wanted to prick your eyes with a golden hook

so you see

to act as your speed bump 
that whore at the corner of the street 
an orphan a patient a widow
a saint a sinner a boxing bag a spittoon
 
so you feel better 
to drop off to the size of a bean
 
grey afternoon with no whiff 
to be the voice of the first bugle 
and that grind-stoned sabre 
from the hook and the rake
to unbury from the cradle to the grave 
each and every sore pestiferous 
and to be the first to lie in it by choice 
For you I wanted to clench my teeth 
to stretch you in the body of a timid runt 
and back to break so I can prove 
how much I love you with deeds not platitudes 
To break all of your windows and your bogus nails 
displays and the windshields 
to drag you by your locks onto the waves 
of a new revolution
a new word to make up for it 
and not be left high and dry
on a ripped off declaration
on consumer basket with flour and oil 
on an auction sale 
on a doormat at the Delta exit
on a bag of soup a sack of grits 
To be your Lupa

to mother for you Romulus and Remus 
should we build on those forums our world new and brave
so that upstream rushes all that still can breathe 
free and out of the groove and forever 
against the disgrace of us all

From the handful of ash
I would have risen for you
 
if you could only pardon my extended hand


THE THIRD TANGO 

My daughter is playing on the square with the city band
a contraption 
which stands for a classical piano
synthesizer it is called--
abusively says my dad 
who is horribly unnerved by noise 
synthesized time unites all the sound and sense 
and I still somehow hope that it will unite all the old 
Slavs
he kept beseeching god that she not be like me--a naked whim
not to stitch for score
She plays the waltz from the First Echelon 
of a Soviet film I’ve never managed to see 
but I do remember some of the remakes 
local allusions 
to the theme
Komsomolets on for the steppes of Qazaqstan
on to get rich overnight 
I didn’t have to see
well, haven’t I seen the one 
the Kopaonik excursion 
the years in which rock’n’roll died 
and there was no one to drive with me on the midnight train
when drunk I shed my hymen with the first machinist man
from the discotheque 
in an unease

less I’d be the only chaste

before the certificate of graduated maturity 
and to be continued 
some domesticated and already famed bone-breakers 
-- who translate every imported idea unspeakably literally -- 
pulled the first guns against real bullets 
of some 
who had but billiard cues.

There is again a fault in the brain 
and the conk broke before it flowered 
our shortened graduation excursion 
through our shortened land
No one danced with me the graduation dance 
for there were thirty two of us skirts at that language school
 
My daughter is playing the first tango from the Echelon 
she really stamps on it with her left foot 
yet still in the drained land
 
I am dancing to her earthquake 
on my own course

and I know already

that it has never been for nothing

that is not me 
she

that she will pay them 
my debt