Moscow Wednesday Morning

secret: this is actually at evening time

Here’s a poem I wrote. It’s about life in the old bomb-proof building where I live in northwest Moscow.

 

 

              ※ ※ ※

     Moscow Wednesday Morning
 
It’s dark here in the morning
Someone decided not to change the
hours
Well what’s an hour anyway
So outside people brush the snow
and drive to work and it seems like
evening time but it’s not.
If you listen all you hear is wind and
snow shovels and street traffic
Sirens too

An old man walks his dog out on the
courtyard
That’s what they call it
The square of snow between the
apartment blocks
With something like a playground on
it covered in snow
Why does he keep that thing and wait for it
While it finds its spot to pee
Because the dog is his
And it goes for walks with him
Probably

I wonder if it’s that same rat mutt
that barks at me if I hurry
when I go to the bus stop and they
occupy the bench together that I pass along the way
Maybe the dog’s right
But how can you live here and not hurry

A young man stops to tie his shoes
They are not practical in the winter
Who told him that’s what fashion is
(Or maybe they’re just really comfortable.)

The woman from next door unlocks the door
And exits, goes to work
Her husband or the man she lives with
Beat her in the morning last week I think
I can hear it through the wall
I have no strength to tell of it

One time his car crashed just down the street
I was buying groceries when I heard the tires squeal
The muffled rip of metal, falling glass, and silence
There was a pregnant woman and we got her a chair from the
grocery store while everyone was pointing blame and
fighting
They don’t use iodine here, they put on some blue crap and
herbal remedies and such
Sometimes he comes home drunk at 3AM and fumbles with the
lock.

Just once
I heard a child laughing through that wall and
damnit I had just lain down to sleep
But the sound was sweet and foreign
and a comfort and the very last thing
on Earth I would complain about.

Everybody drinks and smokes and argues and philosophizes
And when they smoke by the window
on the stairs you can smell it in your room
even if you close the door
That troubled grey-haired man from one floor down has
broken the window latches again so you can’t keep it closed

Last year when it thawed he
blamed us since we’re right above him
But we’re the top floor and there’s
nowhere further up to send the blame.
At least the roof doesn’t leak
Stalin was still alive when they built
this place

Finally my neighbor comes out too,
And locks the door and leads his kid, I guess,
to school and puts his hand
upon his head as they descend the stairs.
I wonder if he loves him and I wish
I had a thousand smiles just for that kid.

Sometimes in the morning
Beneath the weight of dreams and
thrills and failures past
I do not know
Whose thoughts these are between my shoulders

 

 

 

 

(Photo credit goes to my iPhone’s panorama function, and to Alistair & Carrie Pitts for kindly letting me use their balcony to fiddle with photos while dinner was getting cold.)

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