Of note: I’m happy to have a poem in Scoundrel Time, a journal I enjoy reading for work that’s relevant to the contemporary moment. Here it is; please read it, and read the other wonderful poems in Scoundrel Time: “A Brief History of Kyiv.”
This poem also came to mind, for different though possibly related reasons. It will appear in The Red Queen Hypothesis when that book (my second full-length collection) gets into print. I was writing many poems in various forms at the time. The poem’s story is second-hand, the we a personified plural community of human beings, one repeated line taken from, you’ll recognize, A Tale of Two Cities–there’s a reason for the allusion as well.
Somehow, may all be well. Somehow, may each of us find some happiness.
Variations on a Line of Dickens (Belarus, 1985) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, when nothing seemed to go our way, though happiness is what we wanted. First we stood in endless queues, outside, and cursed the lack of cheese or bread; our pals would say it wasn’t the best of times, it was the worst. We’d swill cheap vodka, harshening our thirst, highlighting deprivations of each day, when happiness was all we wanted. First we’d press our bodies close enough to burst the paper bag of lack. Kisses could not stay our own best times, but it was the worst thing to let go. Our lips still pursed, the tastes of sex would linger and relay that happiness is what we’d wanted; first times were the best, solid, immersed in flesh and heat—forget the fray— those were the best of times, and yes, the worst. Happiness was what we wanted first. ~~