Neva by El Collie

‘Full Moon Skull’ – yamabuki

How can you bear to look at the Neva?
How can you bear to cross the bridges?.
Not in vain am I known as the grieving one
Since the time you appeared to me.
The black angels’ wings are sharp,
Judgment Day is coming soon,
And raspberry-colored bonfires bloom,
Like roses, in the snow.

~Anna Akhmatova

It’s pretty futile here.
Rasputin died
They killed him several times
When he rose
They called him evil.
His blood was purely wine
He was full of Christ
They made him pay for that

My blood is partly vinegar
I am full of Rasputin
He is trying to rot inside me
I will not let him go
I have the stench of perverse sorrow
I have the stench of disgust
And rage and shame and helplessness

It is trying to rot inside me
I will not let it go
It is pretty miserable here
The little trees died
The others turned brown
And dropped their leaves
I cried for them
I cried

I watered them with weeks of tears
But it was not enough
I begged with prayers
For the light
But the light
Would not come
The little things died
I could not help it
And now I barely remember
What they were

The Nazis came
and did horrible things
I was not there
But still they tortured me
They killed me many times
Hiroshima is so pretty in the fall

It’s okay now to dump the radioactive wastes
Into the sea
We found out it was already poisoned
So there was nothing to protect

Madame Curie died writhing of leukemia
She begged with tears for the light
But the light would not come
It’s pretty awful here.
It has been night for a solid year

Sometimes the firecrackers serve as candles
My eyes have not adjusted to the dark
I think I see amazing things
I imagine children being born here
I imagine innocence come fresh
Into the world
It is pretty futile

I think I see Rasputin
Standing in the shadows
Waiting for an invitation
To perform another miracle
He is full of faith
And crazier than us all

El Collie

(Neva is the Russian river
In which Rasputin
Is believed to have drowned)

Another of El Collie’s poems
From her book
“Dionysus Unbound”

Nov 2010

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