Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
this swan had run herself
into a steel wire web
where streetlights hang above the running path
that drapes around our lake
two girls and their mother
called “animal police” they said
in broken English when I asked
I didn’t know the beaks of swans
turned blue for any reason but
this one’s neck had broken
maybe because they are so graceful
she was still alive in silence
opening her mouth for air each time
her head rolled and plopped staccato in the water
her vertebras no longer formed
that immortal swan shape you would recognize
other birds around her honked
one dragged the blue beak back and forth
it looked to us on the sand violent
we tried to shoo them off
her dropping head was every kind of pain
not lessened by the other swans, the late animal police,
least by our witness
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Painting a Room
Here on a March day in ‘89
I blanch the ceiling and walls with bluish lime.
Drop cloths and old newspapers hide
the hardwood floors. All my furniture has been sold,
or given away to bohemian friends.
There is nothing to eat but bread and wine.
An immigration visa in my pocket, I paint
the small apartment where I’ve lived for ten years.
Taking a break around 4 p.m.,
I sit on the last chair in the empty kitchen,
smoke a cigarette and wipe my tears
with the sleeve of my old pullover.
I am free from regrets but not from pain.
Ten years of fears, unrequited loves, odd jobs,
of night phone calls. Now they’ve disconnected the line.
I drop the ashes in the sink, pour turpentine
into a jar, stirring with a spatula. My heart throbs
in my right palm when I pick up the brush again.
For ten years the window’s turquoise square
has held my eyes in its simple frame.
Now, face to face with the darkening sky,
what more can I say to the glass but thanks
for being transparent, seamless, wide
and stretching perspective across the size
of the visible.
Then I wash the brushes and turn off the light.
This is my last night before moving abroad.
I lie down on the floor, a rolled-up coat
under my head. This is the last night.
Freedom smells of a freshly painted room,
of wooden floors swept with a willow broom,
and of stale raisin bread.
From Gogol in Rome, 2004
Copyright 2004 Katia Kapovich.
All rights reserved.
Friday, September 25, 2009
(photo above copyright Christopher Raun, found via Google)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
This blog is read by more people than I keep track of, and linked to the school where I study (who, by the way, have yet to feature my writing here). Those are two good reasons who I shouldn't post my own poetry. But this one is called "Copenhagen," and was written here, so that excuses it. Also, everything in this journal is written by me, and this is no exception.
Describe a lake as seen by a young man who has just committed murder. Do not mention the murder.
-From “The Art of Fiction” by John Gardner (1983)
Two white curtains in a rented room
sit heavy on their dusty sill. Her body already aches
for this place, braces for the separation. The visa in her coat
is counting days.
At the window, she thinks of
two men who never saw this city, and tries to measure
how long she will watch the cars, smell the smoke,
rinse reminders off her palm.
America is only a place
where great aunts sewed dresses and great Depressions
hung fathers. She threw that story away
and came to the old world to breathe its harbor air.
Describe a city as seen
by a young woman who has lost.
Do not mention the loss.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Laundry here is, by the way, completely impossible. It's like an obstacle course, full of physical challenges I'm not good at and with the power to break even the strongest will. For one thing, we have to hook the machine up to the only kitchen outlet and to the only sink in the flat for the entire two hour ordeal. And when I say "hook the machine up to the only sink," it is as inconvenient and as industrious as it sounds.