So many faux des Esseintes out there, so many Houdinis. From New York mostly.
And in the thick of it all, they contain within themselves an idea they are somehow pure and innocent
or worse, revel in the fact how they are not, or even worse, staying cool for years, without even trying.
"Wash your hands, son." One of the first few words my father said to me, I recall.
Now I know disease and renaissance.
Now I know moral turpitude and rivers turned to cloth.
I see people “scratching” away plastic off of cards that might earn them fortunes.
I see people laughing after Chinese take-out, marveling on the innards of a cookie.
I see a thriving meritocracy. I don’t see any recession.
I see full-throttle hatred and condemnation of entire races.
Everyday I bleed. I vomit and I regain balance.
But I’m not looking for wisdom in a poem by Yeats.
I’m washing my hands just like Papa taught me.
I have no business here. We’re not together anymore.
I wait —for the faucet to be shut off.
I dry my hands, my sunken-vein piano hands and I exit.
I end up in a gallery where stand busts of conquerers, bronzed.
This is the part where I want a bazooka.
This is the part where I make phone calls.
Then I stop.
I’m not against anything, but cruelty and totalitarianism.
I can see the obstinacy of buffalo grazing in Kentucky grass.
I can see an America before the idea of it existed.
I’m not even close to you, but still I hear your name.
You melt like treasure; you drink like its a divine command.
But you forgot to wash your hands, I’m telling ya.
I see children running during recess with eyes as deep as maps.
© Paul Rogov
All rights reserved by the author.
Paul Rogov studied Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley and Social Work at USC. His literary work has appeared in Danse Macabre, Exterminating Angel Press, Stepping Stones Magazine, Femicatio Magazine, Cultural Weekly and others.
“The Fallen Years,” his critically-acclaimed debut novella, about a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, was released in October 2011.
In 2013, he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
He is currently shopping his novel: The Serpent and the Dove, (part family saga that spans centuries) to agents.
Paul emigrated to the United States as a political refugee from the former Soviet Union in 1979.
He blogs at www.visionsanddreams.wordpress.com and posts his fiction atwww.paulrogov.wordpress.com.