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Vladimir Mayakovsky afflicted with romantic passions
his wild energies squared and cubed, killed himself, too
young, that moment of despair made the instant a forever,
but by then he had imprinted his vision on the language
in rhythmic words that even suicide could not extinguish.

His monument in Moscow, massive stone in upward thrust,
pulls at the lives that gather below in Mayakovsky Square, where
they come to declaim his poems and their own, their voices often
outlawed, then allowed to return, then again driven away. But always
they come back, to shout out poems and manifestos and to try again

to see what he saw.

                                    Vladimir Mayakovsky's done his job


  Chris Brandt __

          © CTvM: Euwe-pleintje-2019

           (for my mother)

On the shelf above my bed, three
glazed-ceramic boys' heads huddle
together, looking down – perhaps
they are holding a frog they caught,
terrified at their innocent cruelty, or
it may be they are holding an egg
just hatching – surely it is only
something alive can conjure this
rapt triple gaze and hold it as
our mother molds the clay.

On the shelf above the boys, three
wooden musician frogs carved and
painted by an unknown Indonesian
hand, a gift long ago from a friend –
a drummer, a piper, and a pot-bellied
basso profundo – their silent music
flows down around the three boys.

It is the traces of the sculptors'
hands, the living embodiment
of work, that makes me keep
these to look at again and again.

  Chris Brandt __

      (for Linda Gregg, 1942-2019)

There is no death without life –
turn, turn the page, turn the air
to music – there is no life
without death, but let death wait
a while, through the turning days,
the turning nights, may this word-song
drop its notes like warm rain
on her eyelids.

  Chris Brandt__


Dancers lie among
felled trees the
audience doesn't know
are they alive or dead
then gravely rise and
dance the wounded
wilderness of lost
graves – slow pavanne
among the rotting trunks

& past all hope they
climb to platforms
in the trees where they
sing the living death
of forests, ferns, needles,
leaves, boles, fungi,
grasses, bush and marsh,
they will name them all,
all – the few that remain
and the many that are
gone, then perhaps
their song will last so
long that they'll sing life
back into trees –

and down below in hands
of men the chainsaw chorus
coughs, sputters, catches and
tries to drown them out.

  Chris Brandt__