Saturday, December 1, 2012
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Anna is reading her unpublished Vladivostok novel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.