Today Pays Homage to Yesterday

Part of our Shostakovich call for submissions.

Mannenportret, Theo van Doesburg

                his moustache    chastely excites
                 little children    go running and hide

             open      distance     talks     to the head
   shaken    parallel   perfect   fifth   scratching the surface
nothing remains       tenor   voices crossing     higher   and higher
    raise the glass   over the harmonica      suspension
            passing six-four chords        a chorale   
                         of   so    many   things

retain    the cold     what is moderately slow    a worm  
   cut in two
    cockles said   I love    
       doubled death said   I do
     the snow is heaped   and fog 
                      crowds the fifth dimension

swallows   coming up for air    like whales     the raid is near
     how long will it go on   for ?  and  more importantly
                    what   for?

            fourth scale     rotund by degrees
this       and only this        and then this             imply      this      
                     subjectivity  is  god

 the left   and right  hands  invert    the black   and gray
       slowly   walking pace   
              take  the lunar step    into the day
    the common tone   of  roots   of  stones   
              the same voice
overtake the others by step     not by choice   singing
        the passion of a leaf—

   oh  deaf eyes   and blind feet     bare   in the light    
            suffocated under the snow
     a nude stick   holding out  
                     in the long famished winter road

      imperfect   equivalence      beats   and measures   a sated load
            on the bloody shoulders  of workers
                         peasants     the rich overthrown

   the next division      major joy    eats into the minor grief
         some deserter       running in a hurry

               it is simple in the night
                   the bats and bullets fly
       dissonance in the white key    the white night

                 Siberia     the stage for comedies
     octaves voyage       silver hairs journey      trucks   full
                to the ears

       the augmented triads  build from scratch a pyramid
          no one knows   how   or when   or why
                   nothing matters—

          despite  I loved you
discrete in the dark stack     a staff repents
                not to grant   not to receive

    toot   toot     

      morphine and cocaine    cook up the brains of a motorist   
    the lowest note        signifies   surrender?
        can you excavate a white flag
             fluttering    in   monotone
                      so tender?

I once was lost      
                            now the progression     mutilates soldiers 
without faces
   cuts and pastes   
                                genitals of men and women
                   on polka dots
                                                         cliffs of limestones   
                                                   bears and peacocks   
                                        on public squares

      a new party line       march on
              the general never   cheats

                        hairline recedes

               eras end                              final pause

after so much
of what can't be heard ∎