Thursday 6 April 2023

One Poem by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


Paris in the Afterlife  


In my dream 

I am always in Paris 

just    as the undergarments of her city  

slip slowly from view    Here   

the smoke is violet and thick with steam  

rising from lovers partings  

on railroad platforms  and under moonlit bridges    

To the left and right  

her voluptuous pillows--soft and yielding... 

straight ahead--her rod-iron cathedrals 

pointing where    I do not know 


Already my balcony sighs I will wait for you 

as I pack up this day in my invisible suitcase  

(an overnight bag) 

and set off into the mysterious fog

with only my breathless wonder  

to vanish into Memory's landscape 

like a train through a tunnel 



   are always on time

   are so obliging   seductive

   do not question why you leave

   where you are from

invite you  

   to cross the frontier

   the dotted line 

   of reality and illusion 

permit you  

   to paint unframed

   what you cannot see 

With our feet planted firmly on the sky

we are all Impressionists here

Surrealists  too

making our way into the canvas--a floating island-- 

the soul of Creation 

just waiting to be reborn


With each first brushstroke I take                       

the dark syllables of night

find their shape and form

translating me into a new language

My consonants   once flat and bone-dry 

vibrate now with pink flesh-toned vowels--

sound with new colour and meaning

though  they too  will slip from view


With each first breath I take                                     

I am becoming who I am 

more of who I wish to be

One moment-- a single leaf blessed by the sun

Another--the rain with such small hands 

                                                           rowing to God

Nothing goes so well with Everything, I say

as I squeeze this   too  onto the palette--

a silent scream in surround sound

coming to a cinematheque near you


In my dream  

I am always coming to you--

coming becoming overflowing with desire--

my breasts brimming with sweet cream

in buckets of champagne--

the white napkins and handkerchiefs waving

in train stations   on boats of departure

springs of arrival   atop staircase landings

in between sentences

returning home    by way of expectation

What is Paris if not to expect?--

if not to dream of her    to want and wish for

an experience that takes you beyond

the borders of your own imagination--

the landlady   who wore mops on her feet

and skated down the corridor to keep the floors clean

the neighbour   who had his cat stuffed

so he could rest in peace in the storefront window

the lover   who landed in the mental ward of Hotel de Dieu

who escaped in his pajamas one night in the rain

who was dragged from the entrance of Saint Julien le Pauvre

who stood on the bridge and jumped into the Seine


Every night I bury the dead                                       

and keep the dream alive

In my dream I expect you are always

more than a little mad

In my dream you are beautiful and eternal

like Paris   like the Light

which pours through my skylight just now

which sits waiting on the balcony waiting


In my dream  

I am always you waiting for me waiting for you

I am coming  I am coming  I whisper

to all my lovely ghosts 

In my dream   you are Paris  

and Always


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 Thomas, 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 nominee for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion, she is widely published. Her work has appeared in (among others) XXI Century World Literature (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.  Her collected poems On the Way to Invisible is forthcoming in 2023.

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