Monday, March 2, 2015

Stefanie Bennett- Two Poems

‘..... But whenever there’s a snatch of talk/it turns to the Kremlin
Mountaineer./He pokes out his finger/& he alone goes boom –.’*
                       [Osip Mandelstam]
You are...
               Still living in dank gratis
                            Sabbath Lands –.
The graticule
                            That Parthian dynasty.
And, the Arsacids*
               Once stoned with
                           The morphology of age
Rise, inexorably again,
               To the old
                           Humanistic order.*
The blacksmith’s lame
               Enough –; he walks
                           His orthopaedic curse.
The ferryman’s
               Witnessing another pre-dawned
                           Cult of the dead.
Women; children;
               Toss their loaded
                           Dream-scream dice as
Colchis trembles*
               Its blue acetylene ray
                           To the throb of a quartz lamp.
I wear the rose monocle
              Of reportage.
                           Add my own salamandering:
Stark yellow...! Black...!
             My fingerprints smudged, denailed
                           By Muscovite wine.
No. Not even ascetic heroism
             Can condone
                           A one eyed troika mongering
While all and sundry
            Wear the branded
                          Goatskin lead-boot and cap.
There’s three copecks worth
            Of sound
                         Forbidden your lips,
Enough to purchase
            The ingredients
                        For cabbage and mutton soup –,
But, not the ballad
            Of the ruins
                       In near forgotten Zvartnots*
... Or the malachite
            Precision unearthed
                       Within those Pushkin stanzas.
Here, at this moment
            Most copious, I glimpse
                      The peninsula of Sevan*
Where stonemasons
            Dug furiously
                       Their foundations... so that
A veritable lighthouse
            Could be born
                       To shed gentle power
About the lands
           Affectionately known
                       As ‘the mountain of suns...’
Who can forget, Armenia,
          Your Moscow accent?
                       Your frock-coat
Cut in Ottoman style?
          Your golden
                      Currency of cognac
Serving Japhetic philosophy*
         Born of
                      Noah’s second sight?
The Hebrew prayer hands...
         Monks’ tombs...
                     And grand sea serpents?
Meanwhile, the iron staircase
         Breathes a reticent
                   Mythological track
How gravity dropped
        Three apples*
                  In bold parenthesis
To three esperanto
        Citizens seeking
                  Harmony of civility.
The first parable told
        The tale; the second
                  Was for the one who listened;
And the third –, helix of the ear,
       It marked
                  The Hermit who understood.
Prototype provincialism, wry
       Ship of Peter,
                  Passes only nameless graves.
The bleeding thorn-bush
       Keeps vigil to commissars
                  Caught and set agape
So that I,
      Recorder-politico, cannot attempt
                  Redress except in this:
Dank gratis.
Dank gratis.
Dank gratis.
[* Arsacids – ancient rulers / Humanistic Order -
Arshak & Shapur [legendary kings] ref. is to
Stalin’s oppression /Colchis – other name for
Caucasus / Troika – Russian 3 man admin.
council / Zvartnots – locals lived by the sun
-dial amid the ruins where a rose is inscribed
in stone / Sevan – Armenian peninsula /
Japhetic – relates to all pre-Indo- Euro-
pean languages belonging to a group
named after Noah’s other son / Three
Apples – ancient Armenian fairy-tale.]
Published by ‘Press Gang’
Once I was accused of bravery.
Many times of imbecility’s uprising.
Of wrong-doing. Of being
A down right down-and-out-meddler!
I wish... “they’d”
Make up their minds –.
Come on out from under
The coat-and-dagger business
Of passing the pistol
From one sweaty fist to another...
When will they learn how
Expendable we all are?
This is no fair-ground. There
Are no rotating plaster pigeons –,
Only those who accept them.
Understand when I say... all side-shows
And shot-gun alleys must be
                                   Shut down!
Your children nurse telescopic sights
And aim them at the age. It’s not
                              ‘Civil disobedience’
... All forms of fright need protection.
At the risk of accusation once again,
I will draw the bull’s-eye for you.
Notice how my hand shakes!
The circle’s hardly uniform.
The chalk shrieks like an air-raid siren.
In our ‘centre’ sits a void –, without
Principle... without regret.
That is our villain! He rules
                 The fair-ground of the head.
                 His identity
                 Is politically correct.
Unofficially, he’s quite mad.
Officially, he’s long dead.
Think logically –, now. Stop accusing me
Of bravery.
I’ve simply said
What it is
I’ve... said.
[Chap book, Maleny & District
Community co-op Publishers]
Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry, a novel, and a libretto. Her poems have appeared in The Galway Review, Record-Magazine, The Provo Canyon Review, Communion,
Boston Poetry Magazine, Shot Glass Journal, Carcinogenic Poetry, VerseWrights and others.
Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Townsville, Queens-
land, Australia in 1945

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