Little Russia by PD Lyons, Calliope Nerve Version


 

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Little Russia

No one knows for sure how

Maybe some ice age fluke

Some shamanistic trance gone awry

But some how it is there

Just a few acres wild weeds witnessed by an empty house an

Abandoned sheet metal shop standing where once the white wood slaughter-house once stood where layer after layer of thick lead paint could not keep old blood from seeping through

Beside those trees where the road parallels those tracks over that stone grey arch bridging this river tainted now as then by run off from the tannery

just a few acres wedged in by a half circle ridge of glacier rock and sapling hardwoods where wolves though heard are never seen and leave no trace not even in the snow where only smooth soled sets of footprints going in disappear mid field and like wise sometimes appear mid field heading out and all through the month of November any remnant of growing thing be it stem or stalk or stick, each night is tipped with a single never freezing liquid drop such are the tears from all those who pass in one direction or the other through what we called Little Russia.

2. When I was a kid at school we had the books

They had all the symbols in them even satanic ones

All the symbols of the world

Old and new.

But one day this man came, he went around to all the class rooms.

He took away all our books.

Even the teachers were mad at this

But they had to give us other books.

New books without all the symbols.

Now they don’t teach you anything,

Just reading comprehension – you read something they give you,

Then you answer a question about what you read

Then you get a degree

Then you forget it.

But I remember we had the books

They had every symbol in the world even the satanic ones

All the symbols old and new –

Now people don’t know anything.

They don’t know this is an ancient world,

They think it’s only six thousand years but it’s not.

Its millions and millions.

We had the symbols once but they were taken away.

And I know this, even though people don’t know them anymore,

There would be no world without the symbols.

And I know this, there’s still a place where you can find them,

Beside those trees where the road parallels those tracks over that stone grey arch bridging this river tainted now as then by run off from the tannery

Under the bark of old wood, drifting under pieces of bark and branches

All what people say are just worm marks the symbols of the world, old and new, made by such worms as those there are in Little Russia.

3. What they don’t teach anymore about photosynthesis in schools?

That each leaf of each tree makes a photograph, an image of what’s around it. This is how there are many worlds at once.

each year when the leaves fall the images are stored inside the tree and when the new leaves appear they do so with all the images taken by all those leaves that came before and then through out the growing season these fresh leaves take additional photographs. The images get stronger and stronger depending on how many photographs of them have been stored. The longer something is there the stronger it becomes – building up substance over the years.

that’s why if you parked a model A here beside this tree and left it there eventually the real car would disintegrate but then be replaced by an image of the car an image created by thirty years of constant photographing by multitudes of leaves. Thus these photos are synthesized into an image so

That long after the original had rotted away

That model A

No mechanic can make run

No grease fills its crank case

No gasoline fills its gas tank

You sat in it made it go up and down up and down

Then ran home shouting

Grandpa! Grandpa! I flew the car! I flew the car!

Beside those trees where the road parallels those tracks over that stone grey arch bridging this river tainted now as then by run off from the tannery.

Didn’t we meet there once?

Weren’t you the one draped in skins?

Smile polished sepia

Black eyes stranded behind silver languages

Mindful of Ukraine choirs before the war

Dear one, dear one, my dear dear dear one

Starlings of tears each familiar voice polished crystal snow

Beside those trees where the road parallels those tracks over that stone grey arch bridging this river tainted now as then by run off from the tannery

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(for Jim when he lived in a tent by a river in New Milford ct. – we met while I stopped for a smoke, we shared a few and had a conversation. it was winter and I only had a fiver to give him and a half a pack of Marlboro – he gave me this poem. I tried for years to do it justice. He’d a done it better himself. Anyway the important thing is Jim, not the poem – so here you go Jim – this ones for you, and maybe all those who unlike yourself never had a chance with all the symbols of the world.)

As published by Muse Thing: The Calliope Nerve October 2009 http://calliopenerve.blogspot.ie/search/label/PD%20Lyons  
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This was probably first written in 1995 – 6. Pretty much as it says. I met Jim while i was parked for a smoke break along the Housatonic river in New Milford ct. we stood under the tree at the pull off. the landscape was opposite us and he told me what he told me
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