Overture already swelling,
I am seated in the orchestra.
Soon settled, props arranged at hand—
a hanky, cough drops, tablets, water—
waiting for the curtain’s rise. Be
still anticipation, breath, thought.
Imagination, taut as tuned strings,
vibrates, tingling fingers. B note
tinnitus alerts my perfect pitch.
Ahead. Pitch forward. Fall. Suspend
my disbelief in this paltry
melodrama, commonplace end.
February 13, 2018
MISSILES, MISSILES BURNING BRIGHT...
The religion among pigeons
is noble and upright,
their souls holy and immortal.
ANGELS OF DARKNESS, DEMONS LIGHT...
Once every bird’s age, they
sacrifice, to their god’s delight,
those of most shimmering plumage.
PASS US OVER JUST ONE MORE NIGHT...
After the high priest plucks their wings
in the temple, they lie in state,
chirped over, till wings are reclaimed,
TO BURY OUR CHILDREN WHILE WE STILL MIGHT.
and they soar to heaven.
“When a woman lives alone, her house
should be extremely dilapidated. The mud
walls should be falling to pieces. And if
there is a pond, it should be overgrown
with water plants.”
“The Frost Month”, Shonagon
The Pillow Book
When I’m found, the unbearable,
hovering air will escape
through the door in a rush, as if
fleeing cremation or worse,
the hot stench of my body.
Decaying along with the trash,
half-cooked meal and sour milk, my
once startled eyes will accuse
from the floor. The discoverer,
summoned most likely by neighbours,
will clutch a clean cloth to her nose
in a panic to keep from inhaling
my death. My apologies, please,
in advance, as the glass of field flowers,
by then, will be mouldy, as well.
May 8, 2014
Gifts of the Magi
An old friend shows, direct from work,
for old times’ sake. Soviet
Champagne and red beads—caviar,
you might say. Speak of bygone debt,
not looming ones. Pale tulips cup
a lavender sip, slip of tongue.
Next, two lone moms bear scented cream,
massage despair in songs unsung.
Then, ready cash is lean. A young,
dark Georgian orders, baked and boxed,
a steaming khachapuri, bound
with string. Enjoy, it’s on the house.
I sit, while it browns, in my soft
Italian coat, and apprehend
three poems by Akhmatova.
Inclining, Peter kissed my hand.
St. Petersburg, Russia
New paint has licked the train museum.
Fragile flowers splash the walkway’s edge,
and cotton-bundled clouds spread cushions
against the low horizon. Wedged
in cracks between rich green fields strewn with
phlox and Queen Anne’s lace are hay rolls cheered
in pink, slick, rain-proof coats. Fluffed firs fringe woods
and purple lupine spires embroider
borders, doing what they can to spruce
midsummer up. Snapped trees tell winter’s
tale, and warn off veins complacent. Cranes
nest top electric power towers,
proud, uncivil. They might have sent me
word, down the line, of squatters, vandals,
thieves invading my defenseless house.
Sinister now, bottles with candles
and without are littered in the filth
and rubble that were once asylum.
No more mellow celebrations here.
Last conflagration by debauched scum
will be set in blind delirium.
July 26, 2018
Diane G. Martin, disabled poet, photographer, prose writer, Russian literature specialist, translator, Willamette University graduate, Diana Woods Memorial Award CNF winner, Princemere Poetry prize runner-up has published in numerous literary journals, from the US to the West Indies. Her poetry collection A Pilgrim’s Progress was published by Purcell Press. Other work includes several collections of poetry, another of creative nonfiction, and a multi-genre memoir. Diane is working on a novel set during the Siege of Leningrad. Longtime resident of Nevada, Oregon, San Francisco, CA, Maine, St. Petersburg, Russia, Italy, her main themes are exile, disability, and displacement. She has one daughter.