INSTEAD OF A PRATFALL
In these terrible years of Yankee Terror, I've spent twenty-seven days reading through these April threads. One day somebody here recognized my avatar. Startled from within a quiet subthread about the inadequacy of Season Six of Lost, she posted a meek question:
"Can you make this all go away?"
And I said: "No can do."
And something very nearly like AAARRGGGHHHGGGHHGHG!!!!! passed fleetingly across my flickering screen.
—Anna Akhmatova, Petersburg
A DECLARATION OF NOT LOVE EXACTLY, MORE LIKE NOT HATRED
A ghostly frost climbs the stippled lawn,
Hollow moons rise over outfield walls.
The fatted years have faded and gone,
This age of poverty scatters all.
The yellow night eyes us hungrily,
Watching as we disgorge from taverns,
Echoing our hollow steps as we
Stumble down alleys dark as caverns.
—Andrei Bely, Lucerne, Switzerland
My Tribe, my lowly beast, who can look
At your bloodshot eyes, your bony spine,
And not see those whom others forsook
Are here made into a Frankenstein,
Precariously fleeing gendarmes.
Always outnumbered, ever outgunned
Uniformed scumble of AAA arms,
Which piece is first to be jettisoned?
—Osip Mandelstam, Voronezh
A macabre dancer troubles my fitful repose,
A skeleton tugging on gloves, adjusting swing,
The one whose gnarled coffin carried my offered rose,
One whose demise, expected, yet carries a sting.
How can this Travis, of but little accounting,
Still hunt the snorting buck, still sight the geese that honk?
While elsewhere a hero climbs Heaven’s steps, mounting,
And over this fragment of earth, his stone reads: Pronk.
—Nikolai Gumilev, Ekaterinburg
KINDNESS TO INDIANS
The bats fly,
Would they cry?
—Vladimir Mayakovsky, Moscow