Happy Birthday, Sergei Yesenin
(September 21, 1895 - December 27, 1925)
The yellow-hued rope you hung yourself with
still swings in Moscow, back and forth, back and forth.
When he got the news, Stalin danced in mockery of Isadora.
Five marriages in twelve years can wreck a man:
Anna Izryadbnova was the first song of love,
Zinaida Raikh sprinkled lemon juice on the sheets,
going-fat Isadora gave you a taste of American bourbon,
and you hitched-up with Augusta Miklasheyskaya
before butter could melt on Isadora's rye bread toast.
Before there were movie stars, there were poets.
Perfumed silken girls, girls fresh from ten-chicken villages,
begged you to tease, to suck and love them...
more girls than all the wind-blown fir trees in Russia.
Vodka, vodka, more vodka... and more love:
poet Nadezhda Volpin gave you a poet son.
Near the break-furniture, set-fire-to-hotel-rooms, end,
Sophia --Leo Tolstoy's granddaughter-- dragged you
to a hospital for a no-vodka, screaming month.
Now, on the other side, how do you, and Jim Morrison,
and Georg Trakl, grind-out eternity? Do you run into Stalin?
Is there a heaven with peace? Is dinner served promptly at five?
Do the wives, all five, and the girlfriends, hundreds of girlfriends,
offer sunrise kisses as you prepare to sleep all day long?
You might like it here, Sergei. Toaster waffles for breakfast.
Dark tea. No smashed-head cadavers... like the ones
Stalin's thugs dragged you past to change your poetry.
Here it's as quiet as the skittering of brittle autumn leaves.