New Poem from Zinger

In the run up to the launch of my new collection Zinger, due to be published by Salmon Poetry in October, I’m going to post some pieces from the book every now and again for the next couple of months. First up is an extract from ‘Perexhod (per-eh-hod)’, a long poem that takes place in the underpass of the Moscow metro and includes accordion players, interrogators and the ghost of Apollinaire. Biblio Globus, by the way, is a well known bookstore near the Lubyanka prison.

Biblio Globus

The ghost of Guillaume lives in every perexhod
his song heard up above
through cracks in the order
of architecture and noise

He sings
the rhythm of airline schedules
the frequency of electric trains
the secret translations of our days
and in the clouds numerous faces

He sings
plumes of smoke extended over corpses
the bell curve of artillery shells
children’s hands held tighter suddenly
and the question of our agency

Accordion do not abandon us in Lubyanka underpass

we are descendants of our demons
the spark and roar of wheels and rails
raging birds trapped in tunnels
fireballs spitting from their mouths

sprouting blades and ancient carbines
raised from the medieval dead
(about whom what we know
we must generally guess:

their music is only written down)


Guillaume your ghost is everywhere

you know this is temporary

the mountainsides above you of tribal confection
animal loyalties and local disputes

are nothing but muck and will come tumbling down

Guillaume with the shrapnel lodged in your head

enter us again into other worlds
remind us we are not just bodies
for murder and production made

Guillaume who dies of Spanish influenza
tracking different shades of rain

Guillaume who foresees the shrunken craniums
and the attempts to reproduce them

who whistles in the aisles of the Lenin Library
to be maintained on sheets by the nomenklatura
deep in the Polytechnic vaults

Guillaume whose voice is resurrected

neon filled balloons rising

with the throat cut sun up Gorky Street

Guillaume whose heart is pinned to a Polish shop sign
Guillaume who is spirited in the mineral water
Guillaume whose words are sliced from the sky
by black op turbines
Guillaume we are high on benzene lead and Mexican absinthe

do not abandon us yet