OSF. The heart Of Robin Hood

OSF. The heart Of Robin Hood

Golden Gates

Golden Gates

Morning on top of mark

Morning on top of mark

Avenue of the Giants

Avenue of the Giants

Friday, December 25, 2009

Enheduana

Late evening lashed the dusty trail
With heavy shadows
Drooping planes wept over the fate of the condemned

Princess
Your guilt's being born the twelfth daughter
Of the High King on the seat of Akkad
Daughters are never of much consequence to their fathers
Does he really need your tenderness
How much did you long
And how much did you fear
To step into that hall and hide your face
In his shimmering robes

Now pray to the Goddess Inanna of Ur
Sing her praises
The ever-changing Mistress of the midnight
The inconstant traveller, holding chains of love
And memory
Confide your solitude into the cool tablets of clay

A young man grieving over his loss
Carves with chisel and mallet
The name of the king on each stone of the Road of Marduk
But the burning tips of his fingers
Imprint «Enheduana»

The ancient planes stood along the trail,
Condemned
The guilty verdict nailed according to the law;
On bright orange paper in large letters
«King of the Jews»
And «Partisanen»
The five-fingered leaves on the road
Danced their last ballet
I first became obsessed with ancient Sumer as a young girl of about 12, my favorite book at that time being «Gods, Graves and Scolars» by C.W.Ceram. Recently, digging through my library, I came across a copy of this book – and that night I first dreamt of a priestess spending the night by the gold bed of Marduk on the top of ziggurat E-Temen- An-Ki...

Enheduana was a priestess and a poet who lived about 4,300 years ago in Sumer. I guessed or imagined her life: one of too many daughters, she was forced to serve as a priestess of Inanna, Goddess of the Moon. Dedicated to Gods, she was not allowed to marry or have children. Her purpose in life was to pray for her parents – a fate too cruel for a powerful and talented Enheduana. She became one of the most beloved poets of the Ancient Sumer, with fragments of her superb love poetry surviving to these days...

The other reason behind this last poem was the fate of the trees in cities: oftentimes they are thoughtlessly, almost wantonly cut down whenever they happen to inconvenience the landowners. Thus, in my neighborhood trees stand wearing orange death sentences; in my native city of Tashkent the government cuts down the beloved ancient planes in the central square to the horror and disgust of all who knows and loves our city...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mark Weil remembered

Two years ago international theater lost one of the most original and daring directors: Mark Weil was stabbed to death in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Fiercely independent, Mark taunted the communist government of the Soviet era with plays that spoke truth - by equivocation. His child - Ilkhom theater- performed in Japan and Germany, France and US. Mark worked in Moscow, London, Seattle. He dared to speak about homosexuality in the Moslem society - and was killed for it...

Seattle was his safe heaven. Here he hid his family from the growing threat. Here he worked on new projects... Here he used to spend every warm sunny day swimming in the lake Washington. Here he still remains - in spirit -and his ashes that were dispersed over the lake he loved so much. Watching Tanya swim in the lake is almost an out-of-this world experience.

А Date

(to Tanya Weil)

From the twilight of home
with whispering leaves
and the stealth of a beast
on her soft silver feet,
where the Donkey and Pilgrim
unhurriedly trudge
through the impossible field
of azure ryegrass
where the birds on the wing
in the darkening skies:
from the restless bed sheets
fleeting memories
dreams
from the fog into sunlight
like bowsprit cleaves
the intense lilac span
of the obstinate breeze:
with a flare of white shoulder
no anchor no chain
Aphrodite returning
to crystalline realm
you step into water

together again

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

to be a tree

to be a tree
hair freefalling in the wind a myriad silver fish sparkling
the sun caught in the slender branches
stretch my arms up
to the fragrance of the skies to the vanilla clouds
guard the nest of a cheerful chickadee
fill the air with the twittering noisome song
loose myself in the wet grass
to be

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Priestess

The dry heavy heat of the endless desert
Has not yet smothered the streets
Open to the wet breath of the Euphrates
The earth awaits the plough
The planets are aligned
In a perfect balance
Amidst blazing torches and smoke
and stifled breath of decrepit clerics
Amidst fervid glares of libidinous guards
Slowly I rise to the roof
Of the zikkurat E-Temen-An-Ki
To perform
Our annual drama.
My beloved
You are ravishing tonight
Golden leaves in your hair
And honey on your skin
What do I care about the roar of the berserk crowd
And the scornful glances of your concubines
The tremor of my knees
Shakes the steps of the lower temple
I am coming to your call

Friday, October 2, 2009

August 18 To Lake Tahoe!

We crossed Nevada and Northern California. We walked on the bottom of a dry lake. We were lost in some endless forests… We passed by the Mt. Shasta… We saw Lake Mono by some happy mistake of my navigation system…We braved the serpentine roads to the Lake Tahoe!!! It was worth it!
August 19 To Ashland!
Ashland welcomed us with a heat wave – 102 F! luckily, our first performance, The Servant of two Masters – was at the New Theater, air conditioned to the point that I was freezing… The next day I watched the rarely staged “All’s Well That Ends Well” and in the evening “Much Ado About Nothing”.
David Kelly was delightful as Benedick, but even more – in the servant of the two masters as the money-hungry father of the bride…
August 21 I took my whole little group to the Crater lake – it was my final surprise , a cherry on a perfect ice-cream…I can never get tired of the beauty of this lake, its unmatched turquoise having almost a magic hold on me…
We arrived in Seattle past 11 at night. Good to be home!!!!

August 15 To Las Vegas!!!

August 15 To Las Vegas!!!
Page has a tendency to grow on you: just as the Navajo warm up to you as they get to know you – this tiny town of a thousand churches perched on top of a gigantic red hill like on top of a primordial whale – is suddenly charming and warm.
We spent a very insightful evening in the “Navajo Village” – a center where tourists can meet with actual Navajo artisans and learn some basics of the native culture. We were mesmerized by the cosmogony of the Navajo as was told to us by an elderly man wearing a blue bandanna on his forhead, an elaborate silver cuff, rather dusty clothes – and clutching a 4-colored staff in his hand. His story was like a dance, every sentence supported by an expressive if laconic gesture. We learned that Navajo believe that number four rules the Universe, and they tend to see it everywhere – four directions, four seasons, four states of matter, etc… They believe that there are 4 worlds that human spirit can inhabit – we move from the dark black world of the awakening of awareness to the blue world of spirits, then to our present yellow world – the Sun, the egg… and onward, to the Rainbow world of higher awareness…
We left Page not without sadness, as if we were leaving a friend…
The road led us past the Vermillion Cliffs to Las Vegas… We crossed deserts and mountains, unusual mountain forests… more deserts… It was almost dark when we arrived. But hey! It’s Las Vegas, who would want to sleep! So – we went for a walk, and watched the Belaggio fountains show.
The next day we decided to take it slow – we just walk around, admiring the architecture and the overwhelming grandeur of the famous casinos. I was completely taken by the opulence of the Cesar’s Palace. My parents enjoyed the Venetian. We had a most delightful meal at the Venetian, and after some needed rest watched a Circ de Soleil show “O” at the Belaggio.
Describing a Circ de Soleil show is an exercise in futility. I sat on the edge of my chair forgetting to breathe during the whole performance. It is everything I admire and enjoy – whimsical costumes, daring acrobatics, a story that reads like a poem, and clowns who cut one’s heart.
The next day we had a long tour to the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon. That was a rather different affair. I have learned that one must never ever do group tours.
We were picked up at 6:15 and delivered to some kind of tour center. There, we were sorted into two groups and lined along two walls. Some got red and some got green stickers we had to wear. Then we were moved through a window where we got some papers signed, then to a window with a Danish pastry and coffee, then to a bus. Hoover Dam was a disappointment – we saw it from far, but there was no actual sightseeing. Next, we drove through endless dusty roads covered with thickets of Josua trees. A stop. A terminal. We are divided yet again, into 2 buses. On the sticker, we add letter J. A step right or left means death, at least someone rushes to you and says: You cannot go there!!!! We were on the tribal lands. Next, another terminal. The heat is oppressive. No shade. We are unloaded and marched through some fences to a place where we are supposed to catch yet anoter bus – a shuttle. We are already not interested, but we go through the motions. We arrive at the Skywalk – a smallish balcony created so that Native Huallap tribe could charge you 35 bucks for a picture. We walked it, but declined to pay for the photos, and took perfectly fine pictures 20 yards away from the said walk.
As an entertainment, two very elderly Native women were tiredly sidestepping (or dancing?) to the accompaniment of a boom-box… Another elderly lady was posing at the edge of the abyss in her yellow traditional dress in the hopes of a tip… I cannot find words to describe the depressing picture of the people who were herded away from fertile lands into this desert and left here in misery and humiliation! And what else is there for them, when even potable water is brought in cisterns?
We were somewhat relieved in the Wild West village – even though it was a Disneyland-like affair, the food was good and there was a live band that played cheerful country music.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lake Powell

August 13, Lake Powell

Today we took a boat trip to the Rainbow Bridge. We boarded a small, but steady ocean yaht manned by two rather large men - Captain mark and crewman Tito, an obvious Navajo. Should I mention that the lake as well as 25 thousand sq. miles around belong to Navajo nation? Navajo are dark-skinned people with plain broad faces and flat noses;their eyes have a Mongolian shape Their English is impeccable and their manner is aloof at first, but if you manage a small talk, their faces light up with most beautiful genuine smiles.

Our destination was The Rainbow Bridge. According to navajo beliefs, this is a sacred place where their ancestors - two brothers
who were half-human and half deities - came down the rainbow to teach their people wisdom and how to protect themselves.
Navajo would never walk under the bridge - and we are kindly asked not to walk close to it in respect. Tito would not even approach the observation spot for tourists. He remained behind, perched on a large orange boulder, watching the fiery arch from afar, visibly in awe.

The beauty of the place can transfix anyone: the green crystal-clear water teeming with bass, bright reddish and ocher walls, tine gnarly cedars, willows, ferns in every crack and nook, the noise of the boisterous crickets and the buzz of large blue dragon-flies.

In the Anasazi canyon the walls were so close hat I could have touched them. The captain was just laughing - he told us that sometimes he navigates his ships in places where there are just four inches to the wall of the canyon, and just couple days ago they knocked off a loudspeaker from the deck...

Lake Powell is a beautiful, magical place - I highly recommend the boat trip. Be prepared though: hotels are bad, filed to the brim, and their breakfasts meager. Who cares!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bryce Canyon

August 12 To Page!

The weather has changed: the sky is overcast... There was a quick shower in Zion... You could see it in the colors of the photos.
We drove past Vermillion Cliffs to Page. An uneventful road, just 116 miles from Springdale. Page sits on top of a giant hill, and its main drag - Lake Powell boulevard cuts the town in half and then circles its north-eastern part. There are a few restaurants and many churches, a couple schools and plenty of desert around.
The Mexican Family restaurant is to be commended on the quality, prices and sizes of their dishes.

August 11 Bryce canyon

Today we traveled to the Bryce Canyon. If you need a comparison – think about grandiose fires … Think about Chinese clay army, a hundred times bigger… Think about Palmira of cyclopic proportions… Worth a visit… My favorite so far…
The park is well organized. There are paved paths and railings, bathrooms and parking lots, lodges and souvenier shops, horse rides and walking tours… They also offer a free shuttle – Zion does, too. If you are strong and healthy – take hikes!!!
In the evening we dined at “The Spotted Dog” restaurant. If you are a vegetarian – flee it! Do not be deceived by a sculpture of Buddha(? Spotted Dog?)! They do not know how to make a vegetarian meal edible! But if you are a carnivor – you are in luck! They offer 2 kinds of fish, lamb, beef, chicken, turkey… We tried thir lamb shanks – delicious!!!! Served with potatos a la farm and steamed baby vegetables, it is a treat for a connoseur! The portion sizes are gigantic, and if you are budget conscious, share a meal!

August 10, 2009 From Moab to Springdale

No breakfast at the Inn – no problem! Lots of places to eat in Moab. This tiny little place is a gem that I would encourage every tourist to visit and spend at least 2 nights in! Absolutely charming, easy-going, relaxed…
Next – to the Arches national park. The loop is about 18 miles. You stop a lot. Every turn brings new astonishing vistas. The most impressive were the red cliffs at the very entrance – the Courthouse Rock… Everywhere you see images of fantastic beasts and people… Arches are O.K., but they do not inspire awe the way those giants do…
We did do a short (1,5 mile) hike up to see the Delicate arch. And again – just walking on the blood-red sandstone, cut and criss-crossed by raised vein-like marks of former cracks in the pre-historic mud… it is amazing!
The road to Springdale was a torture. It is 346 miles long. My shoulders and thumbs burned… My eyes were closing… We stopped several times, because I was too tired… On one stop we watched chipmunks scurrying among the dry but fragrant pine forest… The next stop brought us to Cove Fort! It was a total surprise. We were looking for a gas station. We followed the sign – and suddenly drove into an immaculate green lawn with charming white houses emitting some kind of soothing music. To say it was eery is to say nothing.
An old gentleman in a spotless white shirt approached us and offered to use restrooms, and wondered if we are in need of assistance. We inquired about gas – he explained where we should be going. Then he offered us to see the fort – and we decided we wanted to! Unknowingly, we arrived at the family seat of Hinkleys – Ira Hinkley, who was one of the closest people to Brigham Young, built this fort in 1867.
Much later the Cove Fort was purchased by the Hinkley family and donated to the church- and considering that the grandson of Ira was the Head of the Church of the Latter Days Saints till his death in 2007 – the place is of unique historical value! The museum boasts a post station, a telegraph room with batteries made of glass jars- kitchen, dining room, living quarters and a semblance of an inn where for 35 cents one could buy a place on a bed…
The most interesting detail: Ira had to homeschool his childen, as they lived in the middle of a desert – and so, when it was time to study, he told them to “step aside”… from work, from everyday little things…
We all arrived to Springdale dead-beat. Luckily, we can rest here – for 2 nights.

August 9, 2009 From Salt Lake to Moab

We have arrived to Salt Lake City around 2 o’clock. Our hotel – Crystal Inn – offers rather large rooms with love seat sofas, two tables, two chairs, spacious bathroom, good breakfast and a smallish pool that we did not dare to use – a kid threw up in the pool!!!! Oh, how I missed the pristine pool in Yellowstone Best Western – I swam there in proud solitude… no kids… no chlorine…
As we have arrived early enough, we could unload, take a shower, change – and hit the city streets. We walked first to the Gateway shopping mall (the closest thing on earth to Disneyland)– which also contains the Olympic heritage plaza. The air was a joy to breath – warm, clean, and dry! The sun was bright – an unusual feeling to any Seattlite!
From Gateway we walked past the Convention Center with its glass towers of Babel towards Temple Square. The Tabernacle is an impressive building. Constructed in the end of the 19th century (it took 40 years to raise this edifice) it stands on almost 10 acres of flower gardens. The tallest spire is crowned by the angel Moroni that is holding the pipe proclaiming the end of days… The façade is facing an oval endless pool and a cascade of small fontains that lead to the doorstep of the Church’s headquarters. On a small plaza there stands a bronze sculpture of Joseph Smith and a sister that gives him her last penny. I loved the sculpture – it stands on a very small pedestal and is of almost human proportions. It does not instill awe or fear like the Brigham Young monument at the entrance to the park – the faces are soft and kind and somehow lit from the inside.
Next morning we listened to the Tabernacle choir at 9:30. 380 singers plus an orchestra – a sight to see (and listen to). We also rode the light rail – which is free in downtown Salt Lake City. They have a developed system of light rail that runs to the University District and other parts of the city.
Around 11 we left the friendly Salt Lake City and headed south east to Moab and the Arches National Park.
The road to Moab is not a very easy one – you drive endless serpentine turns between hills and mountain slopes… We arrived to our hotel around 5 in the evening.
My father was out of sorts because his supply of film was running low. So we decided to explore our new “campsite”. We drove ( a mistake!) and parked our ar in the heart of the downtown Moab (5 blocks from the hotel) . We got the film in a drugstore 2 blocks away and walked through some tiny shops. We ended up at an ice-cream shop – where they made sorbet for us – using real frozen fruit!!! Their coffee was excellent, too!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Salt Lake City

The trip from Yellowstone to Salt Lake City took us about 5 hours including a short stop on the way. At first we were trying to find our way out of the woods - we were following I-20 through Caribu Targee National Forest, which starts on the border of Montana and goes down south for miles and miles... It felt like we will never emerge from this stubby suffocating thicket... Well, an hour and a half later we did. Then the road led us among emerald mountains and rather boring farms with the same dull horses and cows chewing under the drizzling rain. The bird flocks criss-crossed the skies - geese, even herons, eagles... What? Were they fleeing the horrors of this so-called summer weather? Snake river followed us down south - we ran into it at least 5 times at different altitudes...
My father entertained us by descriptions of land formation in this area and showed us the marks that prehistoric sea left of the sides of the mountains. He also entertained grandma - calling her attention to the next herd of cows - "Look! Buffalo! Hmm.. rather smallish, don't you think?"

We were in Salt Lake at around 2, and eagerly went to explore the city. We admired the Gateway mall and the Olympic plaza,
The Tabernacle, the historic buildings... crafts fair... The weather is lovely, the air dry and fragrant. Tomorrow - to the Temple!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yellowstone

Whoever labeled Yellowstone "a park" made a grave error: the size of it is mind-boggling and exceeds two or three european states put together. Just to make the recommended one-day tour took us 10 hours - we climbed steep mountains, crossed The Continental Divide twice at more than 6000 feet, crossed vast valleys churning with geisers and watched elk, bison and moose.
The most impressive was the Norris valley of geisers. There one can walk past the Porcelain Lake, admire multicolored hot holes...
I dipped my hand into a warm stream and smelled a slight odor of sulfur. Dead trees stood on the whitened ground...
The Yellowstone lake was equally impressive - seemingly endless, it is also fed by geisers - some of the holes are under the water and look like tiny volcanos...
We also watched the eruption of The Old Faithful!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

From Missoula via Butte to West Yellowstone

Wow! What a day!
It all begun peacefully: the rain that poured all night subsided by 9 o'clock. The air was crisp and fragrant. The really good breakfast served at our Best Western Grant Creek Hotel also helped to put us in a pleasant mood. So, we decided to detour
and see the sights of Missoula.
We found it charming, provincial and warm. There were a few historical buildings, rather well preserved. The most interesting, however, was the railroad station.
We enjoyed the scenic road to Butte, and had a very nice lunch 30 miles before Butte, on Clark's Fork, of course.
After lunch our luck has changed: the roiling clouds far east turned a nasty color of dark grey, and it began to rain. In Butte, we missed I-90 and turned into I-15 by mistake... that took us extra 10 miles, which was a blessing in disguise. By the time we came back to Butte, darkness descended and all hell broke loose: it began to hail!!! The size of hail freaked me out: some pieces were as big as a hazelnut! I could see absolutely nothing - and stopped the car in a side street, which soon turned into a picture of white Christmas, with hail 6 inches deep on the grass. It kept banging on the car with such vigor, that I was expecting windows to pop out! After 10 minutes of this the hail turned into pouring rain; streams of muddy water flooded streets. Now i know what sewer does in a flood: it turns into geisers! Water was gushing 2 feet high from the lids of manholes...
It took us some time to get going again...
We passed the Continental divide at Pipestone, soon after Butte... Rags of white clouds drifted on the road... An hour later the car began to skid a little under the powerful gusts of wind. I slowed down, and smart girl I! Rain and a bit of hail caught with us again!!!
Soon after Whitehall we took state 359, then 287 - those were narrow, often just one lane one way roads.. Cows and hay in big rolls abounded on both sides. Strange skeletal abandoned farmhouses... And quiant little villages in mountain glens... The cutest of all was Ennis, almost at the doorstep of the Yellowstone. Well, we had to stop there!!!
It is dark outside now. We are all safely at the hotel in West Yellowstone. I am dead beat... Maybe should go for a swim...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Onwards East! Day 1

Today we - myself, my parents and my friend Larisa loaded a really big Ford 4-wheeler with our numerous luggage pieces. I could not but think Jerome K. Jerome... I believe we did look rather like we are going to search for Stanley... The only thing that saved us from gathering a large crowd was that we packed our car around 6 in the morning... But, as it usually is, we left only by 8, as I kept loosing one thing after another.
I do have a navigation system, so driving was not really a problem. We crossed the Cascades and entered their rain shadow areas- dry, yellow, barren, almost a moonscape. And yet - there was something majestic about the dusty baked gorges and passes... something untamed, defiant, powerful beyond imagination. Then the I-90 crossed the Eastern Washington almost straight as if drawn by a cyclopic ruler... There were some fast drivers out there... By 2 we crossed the state line into Idaho. It was quite different - more moist, lots of conifers, especially pines, narrow lakes, small rivers. The names Clark and Fork and their combinations - prevailed. Montana welcomed us by even more rugged rocky slopes, mostly covered by dark conifers, and sometimes scarred by long shale tongues. Here and there one could see marks of past forest fires.
Missoula appeared through a haze of mock rain at 6:30. We landed for today!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Liturgy

A boy and a girl, very little
sat down on the steps
of the kiot
amidst the marshmallow innocence
of pink chrysanthemums
at the footsteps of a Golgotha
made of painted wood
where every turn of the carved ornament
is a new adventure and a new island
and the carpet on the floor rises
in the brilliance of dazzlingly beautiful
flowers and trees
with the dulcet music falling from the skies
in the soft even light of the golden candles
the oak floors melt into the ocean
and above their heads
rises like a sail
The Holy Mother with the eternal Child
smiling gently,
tenderly,
a devastating, heart-stopping smile

Friday, June 19, 2009

Low Tide

Somber cinereal disconsolate skies breathe wet heavy breezes
Over the slick leaden mirror of salty waters, trembling in cold and fever
The tide carries away the last whispers and long-broken promises
Adorning the sandy strips in shiny necklaces of broken shells and dead crabs,
The concentric circles of life and death, ephemeral and eternal.
Acacia trees on the dunes and crabgrass spread hungry nets of roots,
Among the sharp pungent odors of decomposing seaweed
Round pieces of polished glass, the green tears of the ocean,
Sparkle in longing for the by-gone waves,
And by the piers the boats crowded, narrow, nervous, like a flock of seagulls,
Like young girls in white dresses, in the wind, their hair undone and flowing
Their long slender arms lifted in a gesture of prayer and hope for the wind
And freedom, their hearts unevenly beating in presentiment of a new dawn.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Birthdays, Cowboys, Indians, and Goiko Mitic

Well, I have officially finished my 53 round trip around the Sun. We celebrated this meaningful event in the most childish manner possible - I threw a Cowboys and Indians party! It is precious though to watch young and not so young people turn into children again... Please, do not tell me you have never built a teepee or shot arrows or walked the path of war!
I certainly did. Together with my best friend Alv we researched Native footwear, clothing, art and mythology... We chose to be the Blackfeet... I cannot believe I now live so close to the actual Blackfeet tribe! Now, why Blackfeet? The answer is James Willard Schultz, a wildly popular author in the USSR in the days of my childhood, a virtual unknown in the USA - even though he lived here in the end of the 19 century, wrote here, has become a Blackfoot himself and wrote a painfully truthful and poignant memoir "My life among the Indians".
Most of the Soviet children (and, by the way, German children) of my generation see Indians as martyrs and heroes, and the face that they see is that of... a Yugoslavian actor Goiko Mitic, he was our Chingachguk, and Vinnetu son of Inchuchun...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tulips. Central Asia.

The irrepressible lark fills the warm air with a joyous trill,
the lusty grass gulps the sun in,
red headscarves and silk dresses burn against
the pristine verdant hills.
Tulips bleed onto the road
in bunches, clutched by dirty-faced urchins,
and on the back seats of dust-covered cars, or
woven between the spokes of old jingling bikes
upon which olive-skinned boys
with almond-shaped eyes,
carefree, boisterous
ride past.
By the side of the road
loom
mulberry trees
with the stumps of their chopped-off arms
that haven’t yet shot into the sky
the new arrows of branches and leaves.
The earth is still heavy and moist,
the brooks are still ringing with cold crystal
young girls on the roadside hide timid smiles behind their narrow mahogany palms

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Arboretum

Yet again the giddy sakuras drop their tender pink petals
Onto the furious lusty green underneath;
Trembling tiny leaves
Tender like the touch of a new-born baby
barely opened their translucent bodies
to the unfamiliar warmth.
A young couple lost their chaff of clothes:
in the brightness of this day they are two luminescent angels
completely engrossed by each other,
their light skin breathing warmth and
a slender hand unexpectedly traces
the slight depression of his chest.
Circles on the water
run from the bare feet
sending shocks and sighs away
like heartbeats among the creosote-soaked piles
rocking arrogant yachts in their white solitude,
still further,
where the wild ducks are courting each other
where the dead cattails, silvered by the frost,
fall in a jumble of slain stalks,
where the blackbird sends a high-pitched cry
to claim his territory,
crimson badge on his sleeve,
on a thin branch in the wind
dark, as a coal drawing, waiting for his mate.
The flight of a hawk cuts the azure space of the sky,
his shadow sliding along the bars of a joyful chorus
like a dramatic pause.
Pink petals in my hair, I stand at the gate of the fall

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time and phenomenology

Most of us have contemplated Time at some point of our lives. Have you not experienced the existentialist Angst while pondering the ultimate end of self? Or mayhap you considered the transient nature of the Universe itself? Have you ever wondered why some moments of your life you remember with such clarity and vivid details and do not seem to remember other ones at all?
Philosophers from Aristotle and St. Augustine to Heidegger, Al-Ghazal to Lenin, scientists from Dekart, Newton to Einstein grappled with the notion of time. For some – time is the objective quality of substance. For the others – a means of internalizing the outside reality by the subjective conscience…
Aristotle defined time as “a number of change with respect to the before and after”. His time is unbroken, consisting of infinite number of instances between any two instances.
Augustine's time is, on the contrary, made of separate instances. Augustine’s inquiry into the nature of time arises from his attempt to understand how God, who is in Eternity, could create the world, which is in time. Like Plato, Augustine wants to understand the relation of Being and Becoming. Because God creates time itself along with heaven and earth, Augustine argues that it does not make sense to ask what God was doing “before” creating.The creation of time and becoming must somehow be a timeless act. Augustine also presents what is perhaps the first phenomenological description of time, observing that the past and future are never directly experienced as such, but are only known as certain types of experiences in the present.
“Thus it is not properly said that there are three times, past, present, and future. Perhaps it might be said rightly that there are three times: a time present of things past; a time present of things present; and a time present of things future. ...The time present of things past is memory; the time present of things present is direct experience; the time present of things future is expectation. “(Confessions, 11, XX)
“...see that all time past is forced to move on by the incoming future; that all the future follows from the past; and that all, past and future, is created and issues out of that which is forever present. Who will hold the heart of man that it may stand still and see how the eternity which always stands still is itself neither future nor past but expresses itself in the times that are future and past?” (Confessions, 11, XI)
Augustin’s time exists as long as the universe, created by God exists; dying, we are freed from the chains of time and would be able to view the totality of Creation…
Dekart and Newton view time as flowing evenly, and Einstein as relative and changeable. Husserl's Phenomenology views a continuum of experienced time similar to viewing a space continuum and demands a conscious reflextion; the retention of the past and the foreshadowing of the future are, in essence, the present. The flow of time becomes the intentional flow of experiences, a subjective passage that can be faster or slower...
The retained past – however subjective it may seem to the outside viewer,- is quite objective to me, the insider... The Heraclites river suddenly stops in its flow, and I enter it again and again watching my winged shadow flying ahead of me on the pale tiles at the bottom of the swimming pool, as I re-live this moment today, yesterday, tomorrow...

The Hedge

The tall dusty hedge divided the world
Into “my own” and “theirs”
Bitter-smelling dark leathery leaves
Deliniated the safety of space
And held the uniquness of the moment
Where a three-year-old boy
Is lost in baking his sand pies.
The softness of warm light and the thickness of time
At the bottom of the brook red worms wriggle among naked roots
The water between my fingers is clear and same always
In that instant I am forever ten
And my mother is still wearing a beautiful short dress
Standing in the doorway
With a song on her smiling lips.
A transistor radio and strange noises of the unfathomable planets
Under the golden moon
When loneliness is a gift you prayed for
And night belongs only to you
And you belong to the night...
And on the other side – noisy footsteps and loud voices
And the abysmal clanking of a trolleybus
Speeding along in a reckless abandon,
And multitudinous roads
Convoluted, endless
That lead you away
from your own self.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Snowfall

Suspended in a strange kaleidoscope
of night
and twirling snowflakes
I fall without sound through the wind
My car is weightless
The street below
Unfolds its sleek and lonely arm
To catch my heart
excepting both
my fears and the quiet hope,
exuding sense of a wondrous
new beginning…

And yet - how mercilessly snow falls
on trembling innocent half-open blossoms…

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Artemis and Gaia

Artemis, tall, white
Radiance in the night
Half-moon in her braid
Keeper of our last dolls
Breasts like the teats of a she-wolf triangular pointed
Long stems of her slender legs
tensed muscles and bowstring
Caressing the lucent pale curl by the ear
On the exhale – a faint whistle between clenched teeth
And the flight of Death

Gaia, shade of the day
Lithe in her flowing deliberate movements,
Her thighs are strong, she carried many children,
Her buttocks are perfect spheres
The sky and the earth
And the juicy ripe mangoes.
Where her tender foot treads,
Lakes are filled with life-giving water
Grapes dream, translucent in the sun,
And the irrepressible desire of lovers
Burns mortality with a sigh...

Then why does Gaia discover with trepidation
a grey hair in the tumbling mass of that dark waterfall?
Why does she peer at the mirror
Studying a new line at the edge of the dusky eye?
And why does the virgin vernal Artemis
Weep for Aktaeon
Why would she flee the enchantment of the starry effervescent night?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Old Tree

An old tree twists its body over the intersection:
How many times have I passed it by?
How many times did I promise myself
to stop and take a picture of it
at dawn
wrapped in its pale diaphanous gown
of lilac mists,
black branches engraved mezzotinto
across the vellum of the skies;
in spring clad in tender buds,
dreaming, luminescent, pregnant;
in summer its dark heavy leaves cast a shade
of the deepest emerald hue;
in the fall the intense acrylic of carmine and ocher
seep through the threadbare foliage
in reflexes of gold and green.
And today, amidst cold and sickly grey,
nakedness and sulking silence
I have finally noticed that
moss
streaming down dark massive branches
was robust and fresh, filled with vigor and sunshine
like the grass in July.
Wet colorless day was suddenly transfigured:
The dull greyish February palette
flashed the fiery crimson of a flicker in flight,
a patch of turquoise smiled
upon the roiling led of the fleeing clouds,
and wrinkly puddles burned
with reflected viridian light
My tree does not ponder the bygone days

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sleepless Night

To measure night by sleepless hours
To fathom darkness
to its inky heart
delirious
devoid of breath
cut mercillessly by the silver arrows
of branches in the streaming light
of a weather-beaten lantern
softly creaking
its painful gasp
among the whispers of the leaves
seeks shelter.
Restless solitude
reveals its inner sanctum, quiet peace.
By dawn's blade touch
come to your senses
ever grieving
to loose
to leave
but never able
to forget

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Russian Orthodox Christmas in Seattle

This year the Bishop of Seattle Feodosy came from San Francisco to serve the holiday liturgy.
The service was beautiful and somehow solemn. It was my first time to see Feodosy, and at first he impressed me as a tall man with a commanding presence. Imagine my surprise when I met him face to face and discovered he is an average height, quiet voiced man with kind and vulnerable eyes. I could see he enjoyed fellowship with the parishners - and had a wonderful time at the yolka. By the way, I played... Baba Yaga... Hello, old age... Oh, well, I had fun!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Silence

I know how silence traces with dusty fingers
Shelves and desks
And paints in somber grayish colors
Dark screens of monitors.
It swiftly streams along reluctant quiet keys,
Plays with the golden dust
In rays of sunshine falling gently
Onto my floor, and watches
Intently from the other side
Of a looking glass
Among tall slender vases - fractured shadows
Of lilac irises and
Dreams

And on the other side it's calm and quiet and serene
where oak frames imprison solemn faces
and polished wood of cupboards seems
a pool of mirky cold waters.
The venerable chairs' twisted backs
hide in the corners softly waiting,
The curtain of a carpet slowly drops
its purple bloom
towards a forgotten tome.
A lamp under a plastic shade
A glass of tea in etchéd-metal holder
A spoon,
A cube of sugar

Silence came

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Captured by the Snow Queen

(to my childhood friends, Lucy and Alv)

The childhood time was golden and slow
Like honey from a plastic bear bottle
The old apricot tree would get dressed in pink lace
Alive with the purposeful buzz of the bees
The wet clay between fingers was fat and pregnant
With a host of ideas demanding immediate implementation
Even the moss had its own inimitable sligtly pungent smell
Colored sea glass spoke of distant shores and adventure
Dead goldfish were awarded lavish funerals
Cats on the roofs engaged in mysterious rites
A boy and a girl were reading a book together,
Their shoulders barely touching, and it was important:
Trust and intimacy; in November the wind tore off
Acacia pods, sharp, curved and pointed Tartar swords,
Their seeds perfectly smooth, their juice bitter-sweet and gooey.
The unbearable backpacks were dragged on the ground,
And even the pouring rain could not interrupt
The conversation of two fifth graders.
And at home there was the hot stove, yellow light and cocoa
The fervent wait for the snow would be followed
By the impatient hope for the spring
The last icicles like some crystal amber imprisoned
All sorts of strange little creatures, wood chips and sand.
Sitting down by the bluish mounds of ice by the water
Lost in the halls of the Snow Queen,
I am still expecting a miracle.
December 31, 2008

I love these movies!

  • The Fall, directed by Tarsem
  • Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jennet
  • Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson
  • Moulan Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrman
  • Moonsoon Wedding, directed by Mira Nair
  • Australia, directed by Baz Luhrman
  • Despereately seeking Susan, directed by Susan Seidelman
  • Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, directed by Bharat Nalluri

Favorite books and authors

  • Boris Vassiliev, historical novels
  • C.Cherryh, Morgaine Sagas
  • Ch.Dickens, The Bleak House
  • George Martin, The Chronicles of Ice and Fire
  • Gregory Frost, Shadow Bridge novels
  • Heinrich Mann, Henry the IV
  • J.R.R.Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
  • Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma
  • Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time
  • Sir Thomas Mallory, Le Mort D'Artur
  • Ted Williams, Green Angel Tower
  • Terry Goodkind, Magician's First Rule and the following books in this saga
  • Thomas Mann, Joseph and his Brothers