A READING AT KGB
In the room dark as a deserted dacha in winter
I sat trying to listen to the featured poet
droning on about missiles, cold rain and apple cider—
or so I thought. I tuned out, thinking about the pictures
of Lenin on the walls—someone whispered Khrushchev
but I didn’t see him. I did see Julie Christie’s Lara
outlined by my side, her breasts pointed and beautiful, snow
beginning to fall on St. Petersburg, the featured poet
saying “here’s a real long one” and the Red Cavalry dashing
from the woods to cut him down at last, sabers gleaming
like pure gold, like the Revolution never was.
first published in Ellipsis
Crawfish shadows on the street
and a gossamer elm by the drugstore—
a blind man on the corner plays a saxophone—
the locals say “he sees with his heart”
and, darling, I think I know what they mean—
the world gives as much as it takes.
first published in Thrush Poetry Journal
CULTIVATING THE WOMEN
Or are they cultivating me, while
they take over the apartment?
Some dress so fine the word dazzle
will not do. Some dress more mundanely
and one at the end of the couch wears
only underwear, crossing her legs, proud
to be provocative yet a little aloof.
So many women huddled in the tight space
but we wouldn’t change it for the world—
this planet as strange to itself as it is to us.
Is trying a tango step by the kitchen island
the foolish endeavor I hope it is?
And is that a Roman legionnaire we see
flying smoothly by, red as the night sun?
first published in Mudlark
Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections: TRYING TO HELP THE ELEPHANT MAN DANCE (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and JUST BEAUTIFUL from New York Quarterly Books, 2010. He has published poems in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Schooner, PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, Stand Magazine (U.K.), and has poems forthcoming in december magazine, Plume, North Dakota Quarterly and Ploughshares. After many years in Queens and Brooklyn, he has moved to Cambridge with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong.