In the Kremlin
In the Kremlin the guards were monsters of the kind of secrecy that flattens souls, an enormous place for hiding spies and jewels where the air rang of old czars and killings. It was as though i too was masked and silenced there in that killing quiet. That killing quiet. I tried to imagine a blond czarina playing cards, being able to sing her songs in that pernicious silence, those halls staggered large and long everywhere, Lenin outside preserved forever, what a deadly fear and the polite waiting lines all too silent and I played Bartok and B.B. King voraciously loud to obliterate that crippling politeness.
Time In War
We lived in the war pasting coupons page after page in the war our parents subdued for us, banned in a loud quiet. banning feeling in themselves keeping the lights bright. We lived in a war bleeding alone, for there was no tv to see. Night radio muffled. The war hit our hearts, what else? We ate polite weeklong pot roasts And knew something was missing. It was fear that the world would not be here, nor we, that the rituals would crash like Alice fell through, fell to newwhere-land Oh, where will we go when we pass into you? Will our hearts even start? Who will keep this ritual life going with all the killing and darkness? Anne Frank at least she said, and Joan of Arc withstood. And we all targets geographical and physical And we exposed and frightened, having to put a good face on this evil which threatened all those war days and witch-hunt days and always in our ever oppositional living And now again as the long days pass casting evil Again I wander-wonder alone what I’ll do when Life turns into a living bomb cast and I’ll have no Pot-roast or pretense. Writing my Globetrotting weapon and disguise. In out and all about. In rife absurdity. Calm the bombs and silence the mad. Let’s feel clear water and soft words all Green, clad in long love and trust beyond bloodshed Not hope but a sudden heartening.
One Night after Ukraine
Voice is an old cliche I’m Not proud to say that closer It’s just all getting tighter Any way I see mushrooms I see that angular nose Spelling the world and time falling: War cries upon us again harder Takes it onto us harder. We’ve watched all this before Now let us speak peace surer & surer Let no dictator bite the Worlds chestnuts out and eat their way in. Stand up and plunder their bones harder And harder harder till our cliches stick true
Stones unto bones unto trinkets there was a time I ain’t gonna study war no more bones no more shocks Stones onto my big heart bones unto war no more and like death stones us tight into our years We have forgotten there was a time We locked hands and remembered Those bones those overtones of war And now there are three wars Anyway Where has all the young love gone Stones unto bones unto trinkets.
Poems make a shape they take like magic in a Finnish prayer they reach eternity where we’re all marching for peace, for each other, our feet preaching peaceful.
©2022 Linda Chown
All rights reserved
…is a writer born in Berkeley who has been socially aware all her life. Years in Franco’s Spain only taught her more about group action and collaboration. Professor of American and teaching World literatures teach her how to live and love. Intensity is her middle name.