Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Nicole Yurcaba


“I read the lines…you left for me.”--Wolfsheim

Today, Socrates,
I think of a day when at 17
I fulfilled Glaucon’s role:

imitating Castilian’s rapid r’s:
“rojo,” “raja,” “rojo,” “raja”--
weaving mimicking strains
until you cried “Perfecto, mi querida!
and I, in scholarly humbleness,
blushed and mouthed “Gracias, senor.”

“Wunder Frau,” you declared,
“perhaps we should begin practicing German.”
With teenage ignorance, I confessed
“Herr Socrates, the only German I know
is from listening to Rammstein and Wolfsheim albums.”

Ten years, fast forward, in late July’s heat,
we trek the peach-laden orchard,
and I tell you, dear Socrates,
that in Ukrainian it’s pronounced
Ihor not Igor, and “one” is odin,
“two” is dva, “three” is tri,
i tak dali, i tak dali[i],
each step another foot ventured
into the Old East Slavic beast’s land
until in an attention-deficit moment
you pose “Tell me, Wunder Frau,
how is your German these days?”

With teenage ignorance’s residue I sheepishly confess
“Herr Socrates, my German has not progressed
much passed lyrics from Rammstein and Wolfsheim albums,
a line or two from Kafka.”
And with a near-70 snicker, meine Socrates,
you wonder aloud “Tell me, Fraulein,
if you think perhaps there is a bit of Gregor
lurking inside all of us?”

[i] Ukrainian for “and so on and so forth”

* * *
Nostalgia Via The Cure’s “A Letter to Elise”
for my 17-year old self

Perched upon the Building Trades classroom’s dusty, scarred work tables
lover-holding the perfectly tuned Ovation acoustic,
first period calculus loomed
threatening to forbid  languidly strummed bliss.

Only the shop teacher recalled Robert Smith-like melancholic emotion
as he, through your tempered slow-strumming,
relived sweaty nights he’d spent skulking English goth clubs
circa the ‘80s where Doc Marten-clad, obsidian-cloaked
sorrow-eyed imitation Siouxsees pined, without exception,
for their souls’ simultaneous disintegration.

Funny isn’t it, how—unknowingly
from doom-gloom’s acknowledgement
friendship bloomed:
personified in the ostracized safety-pinned, ripped-patch shroud
offset by bondage-strapped crow black dreams;
externalized via one sentence:
“There were girls like you, girls who smoked clove cigarettes to the nub,
prayed for rain in cemeteries, pined for Bela Lugosi’s tears,”
whilst you trembling fingers picked
the song’s final few notes,
wished for ‘80s-era London or Manchester,
prayed-prayed-prayed for a sudden lockdown disaster
that would banish your bats to this cave and the guitar to your hands
for a fewmorejustonemoremaybetwo-hell, you’d take three—hours
where someoneyessomeone-an authority figure at that—understood
black nail polish and gray eyeshadow’s penned metaphors.

* * *
Nicole Yurcaba is a Ukrainian-American writer and internationally-recognized poet and English instructor at Bridgewater College. She has been published in venues such as The Atlanta Review, The Bluestone Review, Philomathean, Midway, Still, The Tishman Review, VoxPoetica, and many others. Yurcaba's first poetry and photography collection, Backwoods and Back Words, is available through Unbound Content on Amazon. Yurcaba is also the 2nd place winner of Australia's Sans Frontieres Hemingway Contest and a finalist for Salem College's International Poetry Rita Dove Award. 

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