THREE SELECTIONS FROM “THE ROPEWALKER” — MARINA KAZAKOVA

 

***

The Ropewalker

was strolling all the day

above the Babylon of Europe,

over

the stone waves

and choppy waters

of Brussels,

barefooted,

bare-hearted,

escorted by birds and clouds,

civil servants,

uncivil sculptures.

pigeons

and sleeping bodies

of homeless –

both victims of hate crimes

right in the heart

of European justice.

On the skybridge of

busy and bubbly

Rue Belliard

the walker paused

enchanted by the escape

of Ariadne –

the foot misstepped,

the walker laughed,

opened the wings

and

in a second

took off

high-up,

towards the

melting sunshine.

 

***

Not birds but airplanes

Every three minutes

Cross the sky

Above the ropewalker

Who steps his toes over

One metropolis

That smells of Armagnac –

A cradle

Of dusky street lamps,

Dark alleys,

Smoke filled cafés

And the famous Inspector Maigret.

Gruff, but patient,

The ropewalker is trapped –

He suddenly embodies the famous Detective,

He falls into a wall crack,

Faces the creator – George Simenon.

The writer carefully lights his pipe saying:

“Listen!

We are almost fiction –

with the only difference

that in a book

they live lives to the full.”

The street smells of lazy crowds,

of nights when you stay out

because you cannot go to bed,

Liege sounds like New York,

Sounds of its calm and brutal indifference,

Of willful ignorance –

The question of this century:

Who cares about growing illiteracy

and

George Simenon?

The ropewalker unblinks at things

he feels he shouldn’t see,

yet cannot stop seeing.

“The two shake hands,

like phantoms in the mist.

And life goes on…”.

The redresseur de destins,

the silent fixer,

the rectifier dissolves.

The ropewalker

is orchestrated both

by logic and by the fire

of intuition

toward the city centre –

Place Saint-Lambert,

The legendary square

Where the birds not airplanes

Every three minutes

Beg for bread,

Where the birds unlearn to fly,

Where the birds suffer from noise and lights

And abnormal insomnia,

Where they try to count sheep

Whom they have never seen,

Only the illustrations

On food boxes and kebab house windows,

Halal, kosher,

Chops, ribs, necks, steaks –

That’s how the sheep are being imagined

By modern city birds,

Lost in efforts to get some sleep

When every three minutes

Airplanes

Cross their hopes.

 

***

Again I’m ropewalking,

this time over the crossroads

of Western Asia and Eastern Europe,

over the urban blocks of Avlabari,

jumping over the

old Tbilisi’s fire,

sensing toe-by-toe

the tenderness of wooden carvings,

petting the famous balconies,

kissing the kisses of Tiflis,

wrestling with rusty balustrades,

fencing with old wrought-iron gates,

fainting from the delicious smell of Shoti –

traditional delicious bread

shaped like a canoe.

Again I am ropewalking

along the left bank of the Kura river,

the strongest water

in Transcaucasia,

choking in the colour of pomegranates

that Parajanov slapped

into the face of public taste,

jumping with words

around the blocks that someone

has created

to protect the heart

from the invasion

of fencers, wrestlers and ropewalkers,

I am sending the letter to myself

and kisses to the red star

twinkling in the sky,

slowly dissolving in my glass of wine.

 

 


Marina Kazakova (b. Gorky, 1983) is a writer, poet and audio-visual artist in Belgium.  Published internationally in magazines and journals, Marina has been shortlisted and awarded at various poetry/ film-poetry competitions.  She is the author of the verse novel “Tishe … Piano,” the film adaptation of which was shortlisted for International Short Film Festival Leuven 2013, Miami Indie Wise Festival 2018, XpoNorth Festival 2018, and received the Best Narrative Short Award at the International Film Festival on behalf of Savva Morozov in Moscow in 2015.  The film-poem “A flight to undetected tenderness” was recently shortlisted and screened at “Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival 2018” in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her literature and film works deal to a large degree with confrontation of the past, and explore the challenges posed both by memory and grief.  In addition to film-poetry, Marina has been published in such literary journals as “Maintenant” (New York, US), “Crannóg” (Galway, Ireland), “Antinarrative Jouranal” (US), “Duck Lake Journal” (Washington, US), and “Writing in a Woman’s Voice” (New Mexico, US).  Marina holds a Master in Public Relations and in Transmedia.  Currently, she is Communications Officer at Victim Support Europe (Brussels) and working on her practice-based PhD in Arts “Lyric Film-Poem. A research on how the unique characteristics of lyric poetry can be expressed in film” at Luca School of Arts (KULeuven).

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