Song

By Anton Yakovlev

Poem

I will move into a dream home to enhance my image.
I will furnish it with an elephant, build an extra loft and a hearth.
After I shop, the coziness aisle in the department store will be empty.
But at night, I will dream that we’ve never properly said goodbye.

I will put a stuffed bear in a microwave, make him toasty
and hold him to my heart, imagining his affection.
I will floor passersby with space-age flower shows in my windows.
But at night, I will dream that we’ve never properly said goodbye.

After years of research I will get a patent in metallurgy.
I will move on to intelligent life design, and I will succeed.
There will be intelligent life crawling all around me.
But at night, I will dream that we’ve never properly said goodbye.

I will write a great novel, you know the kind of novel I mean.
It will be full of redemption songs and tastefully unsavory moments.
I will be throwing snowballs at people after I finish each chapter,
giddy with pride. The people will laugh and become my friends.

I will look in the mirror, please myself with new shirts I’ve purchased
in the interest of pleasing others when I go out in the streets.
State mottos will be slightly altered to incorporate my first name.
But they will not be the states in which you have chosen to live.

This is where the music gets faster. The drummer gets crazy.
The guitarist sounds bad to sound good, passionately distorting the notes.
The microphone sweats as I scream bluegrass about my travels
around the world in seventy-nine days, one better than you know who.

I scream that I will write articles about your humility and self-confidence,
your soft measured voice and the way your bones never break.
I will bow to the audience, collect my roses and royalties.
And at night, I will dream that we’ve never properly said goodbye.

I will sleep on NASA-endorsed pillows filling me with good dreaming.
But at some point, as a footnote to an otherwise unrelated dream,
someone will tell me about his farewells with you, boarding airplanes
into states he will not choose to live in but will visit again and again.

Many years later, I will purchase a wine-red velvet couch
that you sat on when you gave up reaching out to others for Lent.
Then I will throw it away and move on, and I will have other lovers.
But at night, I will dream that we’ve never properly said goodbye.

In a state I have never visited, slicing your daylight into
bluegrass with similar syncopes but more trills and silence than mine,
you will take vacations every summer, every winter.
And at night, you will dream of people I have never heard of, and cry.

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Born in Moscow, Russia, ANTON YAKOVLEV studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). His work is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Raintown Review, Cardinal Points Literary Journal and elsewhere. He co-hosts the Carmine Street Metrics reading series in New York City. He has also directed several short films.

2 responses to “Song”

  1. Margo Moss says:

    I hear the song, I see the images, I feel the beauty…

  2. Arthur Russell says:

    Anton: This is a great one. I love the even cadence of the song in long lines; I love the way your establish the pattern and then veer away from it and return. The voice stays strong throughout. Bravo.

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