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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 46

Des eaux d’au-dessous d’Odessa

The waters lap down below this city of
stairs, the stars reflect in them.
The waters lap
The waters lap at Brighton Beach
and crash.
The waters crash
The waiters crash dishes and pans,
the waters crash
at Odessa.
Одесса, the waiters
The dancers and long tables.
What is that you hear at the
bottom of the stairs?
Waiters crash
Waters crash
Waters lap
at Odessa.

He found a parking space after one
whole hour of driving around with
many false starts and stops,
false prospects. He asked a cop.
He asked some pedestrians and some
residents of the apartment building.
He checked for signs.
There was every indication that it was safe,
that it was safe and legal,
that it was safe and legal to park.
All ist klar, Herr Kommissar.
Don’t turn around.

He is asked to remove his coat,
but it is not a coat.
He is asked by the bouncers
with Russian accents
to remove his coat,
but it is not a coat.
He is asked to remove his coat,
but it is a jacket, a blazer of leather,
and no, he thinks to himself, I am
not packing a gun.

The ladies, born in the days of Stalin,
the ladies, with heavy rouge and heavy jewelry,
dance around him, rubles and oodles of money
dripping off them.

The vodka flows,
the waters crash.
The waiters crash.
The bear dances, the great bear,
dances on the table.
“Dance like bear,” Stalin orders Khrushchev.
Khrushchev dances.
The waters lap down below this city,
The waters lap.
Cultures clash.
The waters crash.

He finds a $100 parking ticket on his car.
What is that in rubles?

He reflects on the Persian hypnotizing the
Golden Lotus on the dance floor,
the Russian ladies on the dance floor,
the vodka,
the endless salmon and caviar.
The vodka.

The drive home is forgotten.
The mob crashes.
The waters lap.



JOHN J. TRAUSE