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David Sobieski

SONYAUSHKA

Understand this, when you fall in love with a young Russian.
her blue eyes will freeze from the inside out if you do not say
the correct word. Or, who, after choosing the correct word
from her worn dictionary, will throw her arms around you and kiss you
and then compliment you in French.
This beauty will be a Jewish Emigre
who has come from Siberia and will say she was granted asylumn
from hateful children from the village who called her Sarah.
She was brought to Amerika like a doll in a little girl's arms.
That is why her mother says I have the voice of a cat
and why this girl must reassure her by saying the I am all right
because "he loves his mother too".
But she is a doll inside of a doll inside of another.
And I do not know what the Russian word is for a wooden egg painted human
with another inside another and so on, but I think I know the meaning.
No, she is not Tolstoy's Anna.
She would never marry someone she did not love.
And yet, when you do make love, she will put her hands about your throat
and spit and do to you what was done to her at fifteen by some Cossack.
You will listen to this 110 pound woman, drink a liter of vodka
and tell you stories about the war.
She will be blunt. No personal pronouns or articles.
She will be like a pistol on a bare wooden table in front of you.
She will say things like no one is handicapped.
There are only cripples. And yet her voice will be lilt.
Like listening to Madame Francine
sing Russian Folk songs in French Cabaret
while sitting in deep cushioned velvet chairs at the Loring.
And when she says these horrible things
you can't help but confuse love with pity and stereotypes
and fall deeply.
Understand, when in love with a young Russian.
Even if you finally learn to say
Ya Loo Bloo tibia
she will say it means nothing
because you say it in another language.

THE NIGHTS I FOLLOWED THE MOON HOME

The tramp moon turns
and trespasses into the sky.
And the patch moon pulls
a thread bare cloud to his cheek.
His large blue hands go through the trash cans in the alley.
Frayed cuffs of moonlight catch on the fruit crate nails.
He cups his dirty face to the windows.

If you could see what the moon sees
you'd look like the moon too.

Oh and Moon is the Moon's last name.
For a few cigarettes and some bus change

the moon will tell you everything.

FAIRVIEW CEMETARY IS BANKRUPT

An old man,
in baggy gray trousers,
who has tried to climb
the padlocked wrought iron gate
three times, finally
yells to his wife
and throws the bundle of flowers
over the wall.

FIRING THE WALTHER 7.52 MN

As I hold the gun I have the thought
which part do you want me to deny?
The ugly dead?
That I was a young man
in a very old country?
That I was handsome in black
with my umlat stare.
With lightning striking twice on each lapel
I was a wolf, a panzer
a totem from skull to talon.

I raise my hand to shoot
I open my right eye to blue
and close my left to a black patch.
I push my brass bullet fingers
into a black iron glove
and begin smashing.

When I finished
I rolled and lit and smoked a Polish village.

All dolls totter toward the horizon
and fall onto a pile of dolls.


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