Here and There – Katerpoesie

by angeliska on November 25, 2004

It was seven days twice over
(a fortnight, they used to call it)
sick in the city of serendipity.
Transfixed in the path of
those nameless denizens
rushing down corridors –
Innocent, mad and hex-marked.
Lost girls cross-eyed, hare-lipped
and strange, disjointed speech patterns..
All the lost time spent staring
at the door, the floor,
at the back of a stranger’s neck.
No standing, no blinking –
the list of possible offenses goes on
for miles.
This kind of motion is a secret.
The only things that are truly alive
in this grey jungle are the slender
gingkos ablaze in leafy turrets of
yellow and gold against mirrored
windows and cold dark stone.
The city, in a (coco de mer) nutshell:
I swooned deeply before all of the
following – Oedipus and the Sphinx
Violas da gamba et violas d’amore
with their cupid’s heads and
sympathetic strings!
Sweet almond perfume and
odor of roasted chestnuts sold
by street vendors –sadly, I forgot
to buy some – I weep.
A trip to the circus, which also
always makes me tear up.
Fireworks have a similar effect.
Smiling red-haired Svetlana
and her dancing doggies, cats
and doves all in harmony
and feathers, sequined finery.
An exhibit of Wunderkammers-
ivory memento mori crawling
with worms, lathe turned treasures,
serpentine goblets, coral trees,
narwhal horns and camera obscura.
O and Evolution and Obscura!
Princesse Seze and the Russian Baths,
full of radiant heat, sullen muscovites
being beaten with oak leaves!
Moon moths of Vietnam.
Blue morphos and blue poison dart
frogs, the Dendrobates azureus,
my love I would lick, I would load
my poison dart gun and take aim..
The Comic Grotesque show at the
Neue Gallerie was enormously inspiring:
Grosz, Klee, Schiele, Heartfield et al.
And blood orange tea and chocolate
mandarin marzipan confiture at the
incomparably lovely Cafe Sabarsky.
Kicked out of Cafe Reggio for playing dice.
Kicked out of Max Fish for smoking –
I lost the heel of my shoe to an adventure
that started in Odessa and ended on the
steps near the Punjabi cab stand
eating the spiciest samosas in the world.
My seven year old 2nd cousin, Miriam,
all green eyes and wild curls asking me
“So, what exactly are the lotus-eaters?”
Good question, kid! I told her a long story.
I was in the bathroom at the
Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station
when I found out that you had died.
Sitting on a sofa shaped like a giant set
of lips speckled with bleach stains.
My gasp echoed over the sterile blankness
dissected by black lines and metal doors.
All day I saw you plummet from skyscrapers,
your descent was as refracted light
cascading from towers of steel and glass.
I left New York this morning and am now
at my Great-Aunt’s house in Chicago.
It’s snowing and I think this place is haunted.
So many dears I just left, my wee appleseeds.
I’ll come back one day soon.

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