The rock opera of October
Gray high-rises still tremble
like huge acoustic systems on a littered stage;
dozens of loudspeakers buckle and blaze;
a white noise of human lives
pours out of ventlights and windows.
A jittery maple strews all the yellow leaves –
the entire collection of vinyl records in their sleeves –
and stands, looking crazy, humanized by its woe.
Birds land on the overhead wires:
someone stubborn touches the strings and frets on the guitar of the sky
with invisible fingers – and all we see is just black fingernails of crows.
An unassuming bench in front of an old apartment building
will happily do a massage of silence,
massage of attentiveness on anyone who sits down.
I look at the sunset, remembering something from a different life,
and each memory
is a silly thing hastily carried out of a burning castle
(the jingling armor of my great-grandfather,
a figurine of a sad gorilla.)
The clouds are filled with silky poison –
pearly seals drool over the puddles
that ripple as if they are made of living fish.
The wind claims ownership of October;
it sweeps away the leaves from the windshield of a blue Mazda,
and a royal stillness coils in the chasms of the air.
Leaves fall like slow music:
trees cross themselves and snake themselves with them.
A side street arranges her bang – a wooden, polished fence around a cafe –
with a plump arm of foamed concrete blocks.
I stop in my tracks in front of a bank; I’m out of place like a pimple on Cleopatra’s nose,
and feel an unkind stare through the jalousie.
I start walking again, across the coarse skin of the city,
of the porous gray orange.
I walk around the bedsores of the asphalt, around the foundlings of rain.
The yellow blood of fallen leaves is clotted on the sidewalks.
Stray dogs nervously lick the bleeding wounds.
In the morning, I saw a raven pecking a squashed cat.
And in the cold grass in front of a kindergarten, a woman in a blue raincoat, down on her knees,
was hacking beef bones, placed on a piece of sackcloth.
The two impressions
created the theme of the day.
The two bullets went through the cardboard bulletproof vest of ordinary life.
And the old wounds ripple like neglected gardens.
(translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian)
Dmitry Blizniuk is an author from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in The Pinch, Press53, Magma Poetry, The Nassau Review, Havik, Saint Katherine Review, Star 82, Naugatuck River, Lighthouse, The Gutter, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of The Red Fоrest (Fowlpox Press, 2018). He lives in Kharkov, Ukraine.