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13 Nov 2023



New Moon


Nov 27th

Falling quietly:
Moscow, 1999

Oct 28th

After Mikhail Vrubel’s

The Demon Seated (1890)

            Unswallowed again: Tretyakovskaya station and on

            into the game. Marbles and hard footing. My thumb

            licks the palm-pressed note, proxies the creature

            who dared slip it in, now another body in this river.

            The gallery consents me enter, unfussed; as if my tongue

            is not the stumble it is, as if my knees are not raw

            from months trying to please this language. I come home

            to myself where heaven has opened, muscled its reject

            with sun. Light sweats and cries over his limbs, as he, the fallen

            silent, cannot. Hours bid their shadows crevice and cavern, hiding

            in the displaced mountain of this hall. Our dimensions hold

            hands and splash over terrain. How long have I been willing

            the demon to carriage his gaze, see me back. His neck as grace

            oiled, a door sliding open. Ink cursives his nape, tails a time

            and a place and an admonition—hard I have fallen. This sin

            will prison me. If I’m right about you, meet me at the risk

            of dark. Keep your angel mouth closed. Until.

Behind the poem...

My poem Falling quietly: Moscow, 1999  was inspired by my favourite painting – Mikhail Vrubel’s The Demon Seated. It hangs in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, and I was very fortunate to see it when I was a young man. I spent hours in front of this huge canvas, quite unable to move. The poem it would later inspire in me has a queer subtext: the experience of this art – and too, this visit – as a displaced person in months of strangeness was a consolidation of identity in more ways than I could count.

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