Poems: Jeremy Freedman

Young Russia

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

When a man loves a woman
and winces with discomfort
when a worm wins a ribbon
for skydiving like a baby airplane
that’s lost its way instead
of doing something useful
like learning to dance tango
or read Rilke in the original
I’m gonna say German
These velleities (to use an
Ashbery word) are not consonant
(to use another) with one’s life
as lived and never will be
Paralogy will not allow for it
How subtle one is one thinks
to turn the misery of adventure
into a naissance of ordinary
unhappiness one’s thumbprints
barely visible on the pages
of the abandoned autobiography

Young Russia

Have all the dreams of Young Russia
collapsed in a crumbling pile of cronuts
and a craze for high-end toast?
It turns out getting what we wanted
has only made things worse.

My first view had been through
the hexagonal windows
of the Melnikov house
and from the top of the tower.
From there I saw the lines
were getting longer, a bit excessive,
and the demented department stores,
where no one buys anything
but fetishized armor plate
and dum-dum bullets
and unfilled promises, were full.

Though we were guaranteed
a bond for the beauty
of Rodchenko’s mother
and the white-on-white
perfection of Malevich,
the Old Bolsheviks
have been shaken off,
constructivism has deconstructed
and suprematism has another
meaning entirely, it appears.
How dizzy you must feel
when the frost turns first
to mud and then to dust.

The geometry has continued
to spin at three speeds
and radio waves from Shukhov’s antenna
have caromed hard
off walls of brick and stucco
and crashed in glassy echoes
of dissonance.
The sound of gunfire makes it hard
to sleep through the snowy nights
and my remaining teeth can barely
scrape the skin of a turnip.
If I could, I would gladly fly my glider
over the Pale of Settlement
and start again.
Jeremy Freedman is an artist and writer in New York City. His photographs have been exhibited in Europe and the United States and have been recently featured in Hothouse, Redivider, The Monarch Review, The Citron Review and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Cleaver, Cartagena, Eclectica, Otoliths, The Wilderness House Literary Review and elsewhere. More work can be seen at jfreenyc.com.

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