VOODOO

Morning juggles unperceivable to man
because so. Forlorn she sits with her head at her knees,
dedicating sonnets to a deader than thou and wishing rays of
splinter could advocate change and the splaying of limbs -
thinking too fast for the body to follow the dreamer ends up
canoodled in a Steven King fantasy - the mortar and cold stone
in a scary park waxes emerald while pale-faced paleontologists
introduce their new girlfriends to the symptoms of demon worship.
Camaraderie, a term the ubiquitous keeper came up with at the Central
Park zoo, offers an affective glance toward the future, but, as she sank
her fangs into the varicose vein and came up short, its not always
the fruit of life that holds you but the death as well.





WHAT AM I LISTENING TO?

Proof that I haven't lost it in the field
Of perfectionist rating, the blue suits acknowledge
Loss of frequency but
I'd beg to differentiate creepiness from intrigue
Coming to listen as they raid, pillage, or burn not
Everyone, not everyone
Raids as common in grocery stores, chasing delinquents
And even prostitutes
Driving in dark Chevy's and trucker hats
I am on the scene, a day
Owl, I practice through the wire.





SONNET

It's not just a blood-filled cock
That crows - I drink to my health, cupping
The leathery bag and hot water with two hands
That used to know how to do this, the hibiscus
And rosemary plug senses and yet the faint peril
Of pepper and orange grind relieve me of unconditional faith.
It's a night of run-off lines and streets without meadows,
Root outdated as frost militia eats one last tree on Grove,
There are times I am beside myself,
Graduating distance from empathy, it's not just a
Blood-filled
Body that speaks - too loud for the crowd, head down
In shame as though cobbled off the wagon - the joy rides
With orzo-colored gypsies left this sight of me
Wandering for days,
Strict on strychnine and canine incentives, the dog which
Howled at the moon,
Garrulous, spit and tongue, disheveled and taken without
Lines, a meadow without roads.
 




PINBACK LIBRETTO

Katarina spends most of her time on her back
staring at indentations of stucco and glass, animal
imprints on gazebo tenament buildings, roofers
smuggling spit n' shine from their 'soda' bottles
a can of worms is about to go down
somewhere along the Tapenze
hook line and sinker wade between the beachy
vibe of Surf rock and Prestley's more humane
'oh since my baby left me, I've had no place to dwell...'
I would like to listen, I would like to wake up
On the water current drives impeccable winds
for trudging through an Indian Summer
sonorous, breathy, hard to see.
If I had a dime I'd go back and around
spend five bucks and feel okay about it -
pawning it off to the bloke who drinks at my stoop -
he's knocking without understanding why
Katarina spends most of her time on her back
glaring at overturned jazz librettists
while somewhere a church choir meows then
bellows of native creek part ways as friends
befriending an upturned, empty can that once
contained worms, atoms, brilliant product
placement: a penny for a thought, a dime for
a can of worms and the assailant who waits to share
with me these bribaries. Katarina wishes she
could speak about herself in the third person all
the time, but the man on the stoop grins too long
for me to bear it. I watch the holiday parade swim
past corrugate softeners and hair bleach products,
a decadent fish someone catch-n-released for fear of
infection - why do they fish in the Hudson, he asked -
for pure sport, for pure sport, my friend, Katarina
spends most of her time on her back, adorning
the ceiling with meaningful tracks and induced comas
while bearing the grin of jazz librettists going on
for their next set. 





LATENT SUMMER

Shell-shocked, on the corner of fifty-five and
third avenue, on the thirty-third floor, upon a third
hour and third water, I am imagining you as brilliant
as the buildings reflect a sun languid to explore a wider
horizon of the other side of the world. Give to me.
Here's hoping you stretch wider than receivable.
Here's hoping the lawyers can't smell last night's boozathon.
One of them doesn't want to get spanked, he announces
into the phone [in court]. Of course people are like ants
and they scurry horizontal to my positioning. Of course
the chaos theory exists, a butterfly has flapped its wings -
you feel that? On your neck a faint expanse of air made
you shiver. When he burned alive he carried a cross in
his right hand and a small grenade in his left, praying there
is a birth going on and to be put into that baby's mouth and
be given the opportunity again. Shell-shocked, slick rain
burrowing in the corners of simply washed skin, I
wait on the sweet condition of life and emotion.
On the corner of fifty-five and third avenue, a slew of
tonker trucks prepare for the president's arrival, while
the protestors in Paris take coffee breaks, vehement
to be out again, telling newscasters their sad opinions.
To a soldier little matters other than the existence of chaos,
there is a purpose in the irony - that there is a purposeful
note in chaos, I see Brighton Beach from up here.  I imagine
the statue of liberty. I imagine the Russian city by the sea.
I imagine the sea, I imagine you in the sea, slick with envy
that there is no such occasion today, that you cannot greet
me under water. I imagine being capable of organized chaos,
Out of sorts with worry, praying there is a birth going on
as I picture the sulphuric tide bringing in a burnt swordfish,
belly-up, brimming with warmth as it parades the shimmer
Which barely evades today's event of latent summer.





GRASS REAPER

I am blowing carpets which,

Haven't been blown before the particles

Introduction-wept, billow like blankets

Or maternity clothes in a breeze caught by

The throat, ethical biographies spurn

Trajectory giving, I have been too kind,

Time to start the mower and give into impetus -

Wheel shafts grind to a tune akin to drama,

The hills are alive with the sound of music -

Despotic soil commands the grass

Which way to moan and splay and shift,

Rounding-clock seedling caves to shaft,

Like singing take me, having

Avenged my killer.


          Julia Istomina 2005