to hear her sing. A brooding lad
of twenty (home in Leningrad),
he fell, at once, in love, entranced
with Noorya’s voice; as well, no doubt,
with her dark eyes, her sultry pout,
those lambent violet lips; and – let’s
be honest here – we can be sure
that he, like me, desired to pet,
to kiss, to suck those soft, mature,
and shapely orbs; I mean those spheres
that every man alive reveres
when perky, plump (in Turkmen, “stacked”),
and clipped and filed and red-shellacked
and in a sandal’s row arrayed.
Of course, our brooding Bolshy tried
to mask this concupiscent side
of his desire; and in the shade
of Noorya’s brow he’d read a book
to her. And she would sometimes look
at him. A page of Turgenev, he
would recite (from Fathers and Sons).
And often, quoting Chernyshevsky,
he’d ask my darling – “What’s to be done?”
“About?” I’d interrupt his teaching.
“About mankind. His overreaching.
His violent nature, lust for war,
his wrath toward things one should adore.”
“Excuse me, Comrade Ass.” The fellow’s
name was Asarov. “What sort
of things have you in mind?”
my brother,” he’d say, “I mean the yellow
stone church, the garden arbors, Spring’s
ecstatic nightingales – the things
of simple country life. Why must
we swap the willowed ponds and trilling
larks for tanks and filth and dust?”
Said I: “A chance to make a killing?”
“Aw brother” – he used this stock appellative
as if he really were my relative;
and I was Noorya’s kin; and she,
my singing love, his bride to be.
“You see this face” – and here his fingers
stroked my darling’s brow. She eyed
his chest, his shouldered gun, then sighed
and seemed to faint. “If I could bring her
to Russia, brother, I’d unbind
these slender ankles, wrists — what kind
of cretins cuff such pretty arms!
Then we could see if she’d resist
the tender tendrils of my charms.”
He smiled as the hookah hissed
and burbled in my perfumed tent.
“More whisky, please,” he said.
directly to mother, and whispered: “Quick,
let’s feed this Ass some arsenic!”‘
More Tuesday Poems at Tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com.