Poetry: Peter Golub


For Anna

On the way home I imagine
You sitting at the kitchen table
Next to the bright red flowers

In one of the black and white photos
Piled onto the kitchen table
You stand knee deep in mud next to the Moscow State University
Smiling like a kid on Christmas
Planting trees into the bright future
You were 25 years old, which is my age now
Now some 50 years later you wait
For your daughter, who is my mother
She has promised to come
And drink a glass of cheap white wine
In honor of the great struggle
Which has come to mean almost nothing

The Pelican

Let us suppose the mind is a legion
With a thousand varieties of sausage and vodka
And also that a beautiful girl is bathing in a moon lit river
Suppose you are standing on the sandy bank
Smoking a cigarette near a small fire
In the morning you wake up covered in dew
A huge bird is but a foot away from your head
On the way back to the village
A woman with gold teeth
Asks you to help her carry two pails of water

It is your wedding day
You are truly the luckiest man in the world


At the end of the afternoon
With the final bits of winter light hitting
The plants on the green ladder
Which stands on a table
Next to all the bookshelves

I sit on the couch
And do a little vacuuming
And write this poem
Which is only for you

I would like you to imagine
Something impossible
Not a miracle
For today these seem
The bread and butter of reality
But something impossible
For instance imagine
That my mother is both calling
And not calling
That she talks to me about death
A thing we know nothing about

Now imagine all the girls of the world
Small, potential women
With violins and other musical instruments
They are practicing
Floating a little
The things around them

Imagine one of them growing up
To be the president of the United States
Imagine she is a Roman
But with an Audrey Hepburn nose
And a heart that swells like the ocean
With melting ice

Imagine her greatest struggles
That she leads the country into an impossible war
With no sword, no battalions of brave young men
Whose loyalty and love must never be questioned
No, she is alone
And watches the remaining light fall through the air
Full of planes and other machinery

But even this will pass
Eventually disappearing with the last history book
Macerated in the flood

Kombucha Dowry

the beginning of it is a name
the little girl asks
are they all like this

must I be in love
with a girl so terribly young
and beautiful

Carlos the photographer
is still younger
must I model for him

the large German women
speaks in diminutives

I feel a little disembodied
I live in a desert city

the wind howls coolly outside
through the falling sun
my plants are good

my life is a happy mess
full of failure, which
canceling itself out makes
a salad of small successes
I tape it to the refrigerator
the wind howls and howls
it gladdens me
I wonder who it’s scaring
who waits alone
in the middle of the day
embarrassed by some childhood memory
with their pants down
and toothpaste smeared across the mirror
–for Christ’s sake!
there are no rules anymore

the police are ninnies
the sages are the police
only time falling

over everything
50 years is nothing
and I am already the most important prince
with the biggest herd of yaks
licking each other

what is your dowry
how can I please your father
so that you too will know
this wind
this gorgeous howling wind

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