August 1999

Philip Nikolayev

Philip Nikolayev   Philip Nikolayev has poems forthcoming in The Paris Review and has most recently appeared in Grand Street, Verse, Exquisite Corpse, CultureFront, The Formalist, The Café Review, The Dark Horse (Scotland), The Indian P.E.N. (Bombay).  His two collections of poems are Artery Lumen (Barbara Matteau Editions: Cambridge, MA 1996) and Dusk Raga (The Writers Workshop: Calcutta, 1998).
Bohemian Blues     Click to hear in real audio

The cold March afternoon waxed languid
with its late hours. The cinders sang
their lowpitched ancient fireplace ditty
with an insufferable hang.
I wasn’t sleepy. On the table
there sat potato chips galore
with Morellino de Scansano,
vintage of 1994.
Fingers of shadow played obscurely
behind the weakened flames. Blasé,
the Christmas cactus nodded mildly
like an art dealer from LA.
And I, with no premeditation,
returned the Shelley to the shelf,
unwound sublimely on the sofa,
lit up a cig and shot myself.



Epiphenomenona     Click to hear in real audio

A soul’s rhymed résumé
shreds to a petaled clause.
Adieux to Mallarmé.
We fold him to a pause.
Objects emerge adrift
out of themselves, boil over.
Life rattles like a lift
in an express land-rover
across a landscape of
shuffled with wakeful landmarks
high Netherlands, tough Denmarks
of pluck and love.
All memories lay thick
dabs of a paintbrush
over a canvas quick
with horse and rosebush
in hue and dew. Their ruby
eyes have no trouble
discerning in my hobby
a whirring crucible.

Insomnia, my friend!
Our ultraviolet
bonds inform the heart
with certain violent
moments. It’s time to snooze,
but from the operation
of the imagination
what do we stand to lose?

What do we stand to gain
from always wanting not to
want? Let us rather want.
Even in vain.



Philip Nikolayev: Poetry
Copyright © 1999 The Cortland Review Issue EightThe Cortland Review