A River —118 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
The story begins with a group of three friends who undertake to cross a river. None of them can swim. They hit on making a raft. One will cross on the raft and fix a rope to the other side which the others will use to pull themselves along on the selfsame raft, once they pull it back over.
It goes terribly wrong. The first boy barely makes it across without capsizing. The second boy, though assured of being steadier on the rope, does flip over and slip beneath the current. They never find him again. Now the two boys are standing on opposite banks of an impassable river feeling the mortal absence of their dearest friend. If the boy on the near bank goes for help, the other will be devoured by coyotes. If the friend on the far bank goes for help, the other will be accosted by a highwayman and murdered.
Instead, they dive in and swim to the center. Meeting, thy clasp hands and drift along with the current. They each have a log under an arm and are treading water. They are pushed past banks and beaver-dams. The river falls down a few declivities and becomes more rapid. They knock their knees on rocks. The water foams about them. Their clothes get snagged on branches of deadfall in the river. They get carried into a huge knot of foam and roaring rapids.
Blameworthy —285 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
I am left with a diminishing stock.
Imagine a sculpture of exquisite detail
and dazzling light, and wholly wrought of ice,
And whensoever one takes it up in hands
a sharp feature is dulled by heat and flow.
It were smart to keep it pristine, in frigid cold,
to look at here and there through breath-frost on
the hoary window; that’s what’s left anyway,
but a dim view through a frosted glass.
And so where is the beauty? Where the fine-wrought features,
if only a shadow in a damp freezer?
So blame a man for putting his paws on it once in a while,
holding it close to his heart, where an inconsiderate heat
keeps stoked by the fires of light in the facets of this
exquisite totem. Blame him as his ardor drips
stale water on the floor, which smears between his toes.
For he is blameworthy, to love a thing so much,
he loves it to a nub; and pity not the swelling heart
that wants to pour so much into such a paltry jagged thing
as this nugget of ice in pale and clammy hands,
and finds the less is left the more there is to pour;
all degenerates, all leaks and drips, all sublimes then
into invisible vapor.
Solace —285 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
Having everything to do with being beat down
the foot on your neck heavy with the towering heights
of the city and of lovers and of men bearing batons
the boot on your neck heavy-cracking and sodden with mud
although empty of all but the crusts of ancient toe-jam
you wrench up your head mud-spitting grit-eyed doom
and see it all stretch above you, the streets of jagged glass
and rain-spotted building-bricks, the classrooms
of faint moldy musk in which you sought solace in poetry,
and a huge parade of people marching out-of-step,
motley, obstreperous, each clutching dear a silver cord
that wraps the whole structure, that pulls on a little
tender viscus in your deepest aching tender parts
a parade of people snarling and laughing, hymning
and hymnodizing, rhapsodizing, gyrating antistrophe
who in a sudden moment of silent unison fix you with a single gaze
the gaze of the becoming of a bronzen bust, of lying with
paralytic limbs on the grill of your half-tended fire;
out beyond them a space of spectral squares and ringing angles
out there a simple thrumming echo of thought, overdriven distorted
peal of spherical hymns as of powers and seraphim in a slow circle dance;
and it’s all on your neck, all stretching out to cold and jibing stars,
absurd voids, you can sight along the heights and feel the creaking
of your neck as you’re pressed so deeply in the mud you breathe mud
you breathe silt and grubs and exhale blackened streaks of mercy
your blood is peat and boggy water your love is moss and black-streaked loess
your knowing is that which is beaten into you, just like by real learning
by rote and repetition, stroke and stroke, spittle and swirl on the slate
this is your solace in poetry, fiend, eyes in grit and mole-blind
this is your solace in the cold, grimy abode of greedy roots.
They seem innocuous —298 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
So this dude who’s just a super nice guy has long ago decided that, maugre his exceptional kind-heartedness, he’s going to let himself harbor dark thoughts. Things he would never follow through with and act on. Thoughts of taking advantage of the young women to who come to him for advice. Thoughts of defrauding others. Of cheating on his wife. Over the years he has plenty of these thoughts, and in a single moment he forgets himself and almost acts on one of them—-because for that moment, a moment in which anyone would have transiently had no inhibitions, this was the only thought floating through his head. And he wonders if it’s enough to have inhibitions. To constantly police himself. And if the dark thoughts had changed him into the kind of monster who would do them, although he didn’t. Almost, but didn’t. And never does. And he has a personal archive of photos. They seem innocuous, and they were all taken voluntarily. But together, they represent photos of various women in a vulnerable state, women in revealing clothing, women at the beach, etc. Women he has known, and wanted to screw, after a piece, all of them, although he didn’t, none except his wife, who also appears in the archive, looking pale and lifeless on the ground, though it was really just a spring nap on the grass, and the angle and lighting make it look sinister.
Hum —312 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
In the halls: aimless, walking. A loud tone that I am always nearing, then always passing, always walking away from. Into the chapel in the soft seat facing the tesselated Christ. Still a hum, a threnody unlike mere machinery, like the residue of the note of underlying. I imagine the patients with this note pulsing. I imagine the whole world, every beast and fowl, God Himself, a train of waves on this stout carrier.
Mournful —312 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
I only want to know
why is black a mournful color?
How one’s breasts lying flat—
when languid on the pillow-tops—
charges the slanted light with too much,
and makes the errant fly a costumed player
in a much-too-clever drama?
Capital —313 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
In this old society nobody checks to see what you look like. So the old prisoner frequently sold his right of release to young thieves. What was it to him to serve another three years? The thieves would do more with their freedom. He lived comfortably (if austerely) here. And so a trusted soul working in the office would transfer papers. Cross-stamp. And the thief, now XY, would go free. What did it matter to the old prisoner? He wasn’t XY anyway. And he wasn’t WV, or TU. Most days he forgot what his name had been. Among the bricks in the cold, he was merely a man puffing along. Those that did know him, if they saw him in the mess, would call to him, “you,” or “old-timer.” So he didn’t have a proper name anymore. Though if he really thought about it, he could remember the outline of it, the shadow of it, as though a woman said it in a soft voice.
Memorials —621 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
I design memorials
for a living
There are lots of places now
with lots of money
and have lately acquired
I give the dead something enduring
in their former land to inhabit
There are lots of places
with lots of money
and hallowed tracts;
I fill them all
when they walk about
among the stone and trees
will feel the dead oppress them
It will all come down eventually
The wanting to forget will be too much
The Scribbler —667 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
The scribbler in her study bare
on pinching pencils with utmost care
marks and stops and breaks her lead
arrested by the silence rare.
She sits and listens to the dead
of study stilled, and hubby fled
and hears at length a cheerful fair
whose jingling breeks the window lead.
Her story in her head to share
dissolves in sweet and caramel fare.
Recalling something wisely said
she stirs to leave her paper bare.
And tarries, twice—O whither led?
The sun and feet on grassy bed
to twirl in jewelly circles, to fling her hair—
or make her mind and paper wed?
Her heroine must still beware
for the scribbler waffles in her lair:
the story write, the plot to tread,
or trains of summer smiles bear?
The evening decides, she puts off her chare;
Summer lives yet, while words be dead.
More than —667 days ago by Suleiman Razumovsky
There has to be more than merely mirth
More than the slick of sweetness
and blades of clover
More than what others would call
the Impermanence of Wellbeing
and the desire to jam corners, to cut off heels
to fail to recognize what’s periodic is not so predictable
A tub of standing water with your hair up
but for sprigs and half-locks
and sigh if you must
but there must be more than
horripilation in the open air
and if you run your finger firmly down the spine
of a greenbound book, and feel it flex,
will you set it in your lap?
Insurmountable blocks of text
stacked like limestone on the Nile bank
and the pinnacle waits in sand
whatever you thought of the evening rain
I thought so too, and thought so I ached.
Lying down, sighing, empty bottled-up
like a bag of helium in the skull
and my lids heavy as Atlas’ ball.
There has to be more than crumbs and dirt
and if a man hungers long enough, will he
starve himself a new birth?