Friday, 5 February 2021

Three Stunning Poems by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


Irish Whisky


       “whisky”- –of Gaelic and Old Irish descent meaning “water of life”


It’s like the letter you were expecting

but had forgotten

the dream you almost remember

upon waking


One day you are writing to yourself

to prove that you exist

the next day you are talking to someone

who doesn’t


How to talk to oneself

is a language all its own—

a message behind distorted glass

with the swell of the crumbling cork--

the skewed tongue that no longer fits


I have tried

translating myself into another language—

a new language that I might better understand.

Translations are at best

like well-known paintings rendered

by unknown artists—

Impressionists-- every one of them—

always the colours just a little off

always something missing


In the pale blue hours of the morning

In the wee green hours of the marnin’

I weave back and forth   forth and back

doing a poor imitation of me-self---

cutting a rug   set in its own pattern 

without a thread of light 

to add to my design


Today I received a letter in the mail—

no words, only a blank page in an envelope—

handwriting slurred

a crooked stamp in the corner---

those suspicious wavy lines


No problem

Pas de probleme   I say—

reaching for the real thing—100 proof—

my words turning up like drunken sailors

stumbling off the tongue…


I always read my poems sober

I always write my poems drunk



Pisces Rising or Why Mermaids Don’t Limp 


Element: water. 

Last sign and melting pot of the zodiac whose symbol is two fishes swimming in opposite directionsReputed to be a compassionate dreamer) Pisces rules the feet.                                                                    


Oh shoes! …how you wear me down so! 

Either defying gravity on my pointed Swan Lake toes 

or on my humbled hobo knees  shuffling for your twin   

Give me your tired   your worn... 

your unlaced  well-heeled  marked-down tugboats 

drifting like smelly used dreams in the basements 

of Salvation Army and Good Will stores 

discarded and unloved   feet–-yearning to be free 

Always that scorned and vacant stare– 

this one wanted to grow up to be a skyscraper 

this one was completely worn out 

this one (boo-hoo) was only worn in 


Why can’t you all be like sandals?-- 

flat and reasonable like the desert. (haha) 

Like the ones Jesus wore 

when He dragged the sea across the sea.   

Imagine  my friend 

if He tried to do that in stilettos! 


O  thorn  so perfectly imbedded in my imperfect soul 

at the bottom of my unfathomable life 

you are like that old wound that never heals 

walking across all the shattered crowns of the world 

in Someone Else’s shoes 



Stop running my pavement with your slippery excuses 

that come in every broken chord of the rainbow 

Stop fishing with your subtle hook on paradoxical lines 

casting your nets with those pathetic peek-a-boo cut outs        -                

Stop seducing me with your arpeggios of restrained freedoms 

my cello of endless pity   Remember…we are a Pisces 

And I will always love you 


But   after all… I am   only barefoot 




 If Ever 


              after e.e.cummings 


If ever I am 


again   with you  

                             and the earth with you in it 

moving inside me 

our world spinning ‘round 


If ever we should would could 


             (shall we not taste that soft center 

              oozing so sweetly?)  


           limbs thrusting upward 

           our roots in the sky 

there would be no words 

                         no more waiting 

for our Eternal Spring 

                           (Summer Winter Fall 

                            with one mind between them    

                            are opening and closing   too   like windows) 


Today   on this   our first day of remembrance 

because I    

                 (let me torture you gently) 

want you 

because I ooze Love’s deep utterance— 

that shudder of vowels 

through the dark syllables of night 



           (because you torture me gently   too) 

every cell sings from that branch 

where nightingales   telling our story   have never stopped 

Every thought   a garden   (opening and closing)  

rises to meet our every season 


             yours   my    breath and breathing     

                                  out and in 

                                  becoming ONE 


If ever I    (planting kisses) 

should bite your tender bark   and suck its sweet sap 

I want to hear your voice 

            to listen to your song 

            to feel your deep flow 

of that river that is forever rising 


If ever I come to you                                                               

with you   again   my love 

having everything    and nowhere else to go but  


my heart might never skip a beat 



Antonia Alexandra Klimenko was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London–-publisher of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thoma, Henry Miller and Bob Dylan, to name a few.  his death, it was his friend, the late great Kathleen Raine, who took an interest in her writing and encouraged her to publish.  A former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Joseph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence. 


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