Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vladivostok Novel

Vladivostok Novel

Paper money     not worth burning,     she is dumb
with cold     her feet meat slabs.    Three days ago
the Red Army in Perm.     Fires.     This Tatar
taking gold     from her father     to save her.

He saves her     for a field     of ripped clothes.
They are     north of Vladivostok.   The Tatar
dances drunk     on his horse,     digs gold
from the teeth     of the dead.     Some he sliced open.

No bath.     The Tatar says,     You cabbage-stink
pussy.     She walks     behind his horse
to the docks:     Vladivostok.  The Red Army
weeks     or days     behind     holding executions.

The ship's captain     gives the Tatar     passage
for two.     You must only     kill by permission.
The Tatar     grins-maniacal.     In the Sea of Japan
men are stabbed,     hefted overboard:     no-moon sea.

The Tatar     owns a fine     lady's leather  purse
for ears,     fingers,     tongues,     parts private.
He slaps her     each dawn     so that she might
appreciate     each day.     And she prays.

The ship     leaks.     It is made from rust.
Water rationed by teaspoons.     The Tatar
advises,     Suck the bones clean...  
chew long,     and longer     the rat's bones.

She prays.     All there is:     heart-punch-loss.
Dreams of Perm...  her mother...  her dead brother
hanging     butcher-shop skinned.... the Reds.
It is 1922     like Siberian wind     upon Vladivostok.

Of two-hundred,     three-dozen     step onto land.
The Philippines.     The Tatar     buys her a brush,
laughs     at her louse-filled    waist-length
strawberry-blonde hair...     saws it off with a knife.

Dear Reader,     no more     louse-crawl pages...
maggot-filled bodies.     No.     Only sweet silence...
fog... San Francisco... a hospital bed... a baby
daughter      the Tatar     names     Anna.

Anna is reading     her unpublished     Vladivostok novel
to Andy Warhol.     New York: sooty     1960 summer.
I don't think,     Andy squirms     over a silkscreen,
bodice rippers     are happy     soul songs.     

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