Times Square


Margarita Shalina

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 111 in 2006.

This city is an onerous lover
Prone to drunken fits of homicidal rage
This night a holocaust of transparency
Disappearing into the alley’s wide open mouth
Secret societies of the heart’s obsessions

Plot treacherous love scenarios involving rib cages
Hail, ballad of street discourse
Night is singing me a sinister song
Glossy muses wander in gossamer bird bones
The whispered conversations of mind revive dead corners
In which breed the hummingbird secret police
Lost within the Cheshire carnival of the Port Authority
Cassandra’s nocturne curse of syringe ambiance
Lying in anger lays release
Tongue cut by peccadillo, our streets bleed fluency
In such a violent language

Air     Water     Earth     Fire
I see Vishnu in the eyes of passersby
Bacchus in their lips
His moon sign heart and mouth navigate as
I secure the gates of my city
No one enters and I remain alone

Hail Sodom’s opulent gutter madness
Reverie to the mad girl moon riot raging
As Cassandra is silently singing
Kaleidoscope melting and night’s electric light
Shifting, it is all unchanged, that is,
It is all as before

the postcard reads, my dear, dear Vishnu,
oh, how I miss you
this neon weather menaces all
wholesome feeder mice dance in the halls
dogs consume the ravaged body of summer
rainbows shout over the howling echo
within this place, I have transcended night
impossibly senseless, inebriated,

And I am still in love with you…