8 x 8 (In Passing)

31 Mar


  8 x 8 (In Passing)


Russians root for good football. Because we haven’t had a good national team since 1966, we just want to watch a decent game jostling along the pitch. We’ll cheer enthusiastically and drink in bars watching the little sportsmen running diligently from goalpost to goalpost. We’ll watch a tie with zeal, because it can always be worse.


I love the way you laugh. It’s as though there was something physical, fingers maybe, not rough hands, shaking you. I can’t laugh like that. Even when I let my entire body convulse from a witty anecdote overheard, my mouth produces a sonance that tends to sound vaguely carnivalesque. While your foudroyant laughter sounds appreciative, nearly honest. It reminds me of the arabesque nature of the act, slippery and epileptic. Like a Dostoevsky that finally got the joke. It reminds me of school children; of laughing at something that you would find bafflingly modest just a decade later: but, at the time, it’s pure, it’s sincere, and it’s the funniest thing that you’d ever hear. That’s the way you laugh. And I’m not trying to patronize – I’m simply trying to indulge while I still have the chance.


I know the light fading from my eyes

I feel them moist

I wonder how much time I’ve left now

the light that had been vigorous

this light that truly was

present and casual

as a hipster in the bathroom of a dive bar

I know this light fading from my eyes

and the last analogy was unnecessary

but I just wanted to connect

to my new audience

we, the bad writers

strive for accessibility

because it’s all that’s left besides the guilt

and those sumptuously guilty

a light fading from my eyes

what else is left

if it wasn’t me


I love the way you laugh. The way you asked me “do you think that you can take me somewhere where I can breathe?” I love how you never heard that song. It played a long time ago from the portable cassette player we brought to watch the bridges rise over the Neva, as the light, struggling, crawled into the world. It used to be so beautiful when it still was. But I still love the way you laugh, and I haven’t forgotten.


Russians believe that whistling indoors forces the depreciation of your assets, the bleeding of your fiscal endowment. It seems that most of us have been whistling through the early chunk of the twentieth century: think what a beautiful, accumulated noise that would make! Somewhere in the night tears and whistling and hungry stomachs and hope souring into bread, into something simple. I’ve been known to whistle too, but I seem to be making a different sound now: something unexpected, like a weary chess player who didn’t notice the potential of en passant charging his pawn prematurely.


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Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings

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