Chain Smoking with Eleanor Marx

Chain Smoking with Eleanor Marx

for Nora

How do we ditch the flesh
How many centuries have we waited

Might we do away with history altogether
Isn’t it all a matter of translation

Two impossible C20 romantics
Asexual by default
                Sexing it up by proxy

Never flesh to flesh or eye to eye
Only virtually as if by purely remembering

All our digital history up for grabs
Only no one cares for our sad obsessions

Neither tar nor nicotine to conjure a head-rush

Chasing Akhmatova

Shadow play and celestial separation
finger our cut of the sky –

disentangle the sacred texts
between Perseus and Cassiopeia

Too late to dismiss the dusk
that divides the morning constellations –

brush aside the immense sigh
       of the gulag

We wait for Anna of All the Russias
    through veils of gas
       and dust

        Dismiss the centuries
        that relegate us

        before Red Terror,
        bureaucrat, and Yezhovshchina

to the observatory for ghost nebulae –
where stars expire and love

is just another word for torrents
of radiation dissipating all we hold dear

Mark A. Murphy is an Ace poet, living with GAD, and OCD. His work has appeared in The Magnolia Review, ISACOUSTIC and DREICH Magazine. He has poems forthcoming in Cultural Weekly and Acumen.

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