Author Archives: Louis Kasatkin

About Louis Kasatkin

Unadulterated commentary and analyses on all aspects of contemporary literary arts news and topics, can be viewed on twitter under the cunning guise of @louiskasatkin also at my blogs,"fahrenheit451"on blogger.com and "And So It Goes"@ www.wordpress.com My facebook page etc.etc, ad infinitum...

The Stranger, one last time.

There he sat,

in the place where he sat

the last time that we spoke

all those years ago;

And there he sat

as if he’d never left

and the years hadn’t passed us by;

” I’m still waiting for my absinthe that I’ve ordered ” ,

he ventured apropos of nothing,

his deprecating smile lingered

as he brushed some imaginary

cigar ash off the table;

A faint susurration arose

from a Greek Chorus somewhere

in the background of this

mise – en – scene ;

” Years in a desert of empty days,

years in a white nothingness,

Time itself marooned in

a white swirling fog “.

” Waiting..” the Stranger began,

my curiousity piqued,he continued,

” is the worst part of waiting “.

I concurred,which seemed

to set him at his ease,

though he glanced obsessively

at his pocket watch;

” Time flies and having flown

runs out of fuel and crashes

amidst the contretemps and vicissitudes

of our world “.

He once more glanced around for signs

of a waiter with the absinthe which he’d

ordered such a long.long time ago;

but no-one was forthcoming and

overcome by ineluctable disappointment

he rose and bidding me adieu

swept with customary insouciance

from the cafe into the busy boulevard;

as I turned my gaze from the departing stranger,

I saw the waiter arrive with a tray

bearing a singular glass..

**********************

Author’s Footnote:

The reader might care to also read ” A Stranger Returns ” -April 23 2018

and ” Encounter with a Stranger ” -October 3 2017 .

Daily Routine

Daily Routine

Louis Kasatkin

The first thing I noticed about him was that he always favoured the bench nearest the ornate water fountain, the one at the furthest point of the park’s circumference.

And there he sat, every day as far as I could tell, on the bench nearest that ornate water fountain just at the same time as I was taking my customary perambulation around the park.

I was subsequently to ascertain that every evening at around 5 o’clock he left his office at a pawn-broking establishment, in the city’s old quarter, and would take the tram directly into town and go for what was his accustomed stroll down here in the park by the canal.

Gradually over the days whenever I took my rest on a bench nearby, I would observe this fellow and speculate as to what thoughts might be occupying his mind during his sedentary repose.

Perhaps he dreams, of a lost childhood, as indeed do I on the odd occasion apropos of nothing in particular. Perhaps he recalls long summers ago that he spent with his parents on holiday by the sea, days filled with singing, laughing and maybe crying.

Summers in the park such as those, from which I now I recall the series of incidents, are nature’s magnet for children. freed temporarily to frolic vicariously amid the splendid and plentiful lush topiary of the park’s environs, out of sight and out of earshot of parents and nannies.

And on that one particular evening, tired from my exertions and sat in my usual spot observing almost as a matter of course the likewise repose of my quotidian twin, I found myself idly speculating as to what he might be observing with his doleful gaze behind those thick lenses perched awkwardly on his visage.

I often thought that he may unbeknownst to me perhaps be slyly observing me rather than I him. But on reflection I guessed his thoughts were as far away as ever, dreaming of his long ago lost summers. It seems that we were simultaneously stirred from our mutual daydreaming by sudden sounds of crying. A child crying.

Crying now, the little girl who stood by the ornate water fountain, looking for all the world as one who has lost her way. There she stood with her golden hair and eyes of grey, reflected in his thick lenses;

And as he watched her he dreamt, of long summers ago, and a childhood by the sea filled with laughing and crying.

And as I look back to then in the park, I see him there as he lies beneath a summer sky and I am no longer sat on my bench but am there on the grass ,side by side with the golden girl and she lies very still.

Sci – Fi


twinkle twinkle distant star
how I wonder where you are;

..the Delta-ships stopped,
our transmitters failed
though they had brought our
words back to us as palimpsest,
from long lost millennia ago,
distorted and disfigured
rendered alien
by countless doppler-shifts;
our own broadcasts came back
to haunt us,
to betray the illusion
that we were reaching out
and yet we never were;
leaving us bereft,
we commodified them,
all of our ancestors,
the patina of their vaunted
golden age ages old by now,
were bought and sold
and kept us all so amused,
that was in the time of the
Delta-ships and their last flight;
Somehow the Epsilon-points
became shrouded in mystery,
lacking knowledge
still we search for them,
but the apparatus is gone too,
Magellan without astrolabe
Galileo without plans,
seared into our racial unconscious
we yearn for the path
outward and home for
an end to cosmic labyrinths;
the failed gleaming,
the sputtering glimmer of
candles that burned so bright,
yet for so brief a span;
hierarchies perpetuate themselves,
vaunt their traditions
and call them “ours”
yet “we” no longer remember;
Our own images haunt us
deep deep into the night,
we awaken to the cadence
of our own scream,
we cling to driftwood
in a shipwrecked sea;
the Delta-ships are gone,
tumbled long long ago
into a memory hole,
and where are those
pinpoints of transfiguration?
the Epsilon-points,
that took us,always,
outward and home;
Amid the chaos of ages,
redolent with anguish and fear,
a haunted face peers
into the looking glass
and beholds darkly,
a trembling trembling hand,
in its tenuous grasp
an ancient artefact,
its sleek barrel
caressing his temple.

twinkle,twinkle…

Days of Hope

Smoke-towered horizons burn
into morning over mill-towns,
steel towns,coal towns
shut and shattered,
their shopping malls and terraced
streets gaoled in ambered time,
the busy-ness of their
busy days poised at a
point that once was,
washed over by faint hallelujahs
fading amens from choired congregations,
church and chapel echoing down
dust filled years of better days,
when a nation was catching up
to its future,yesterday’s tomorrow;
the Now that is becoming
chrysalised as not far not yet,
tactiled anticipation of an opening,
gleaming mirrored strand of continuity,
its promise appropriating this space,
this time,this Forever,
becoming real.

Sticks and Stones

They’d taken me to A&E around 4 a.m. Not a good time to get sent to the hospital, Saturday before dawn, the morning after the night before. Drunks, junkies, vagrants, the knifed, the shot, the battered, the bruised and confused.

They were waiting for me, waiting for me to die, but not on their shift. I could tell immediately. I’m intuitive that way. I could tell that they don’t fancy doing the paperwork that my dying on their shift would entail.

Their words hurt me alright, worse than any sticks or stones if you come right down to it. “ Chest pains!” some intern or other announced as he waved a clipboard at me in the cubicle, the cubicle with its curtain left agape for the morbidly curious.

What chest pains? My badly timed interjection to the dominant medical narrative caused a furious raising of the hospital staff’s eyebrows and an increase in their patronising tones.

Well excuse them but they have tests to run, degrees to measure,percentages to ascertain ; so my p.o.v. didn’t really count. Not in this cubicle, not in this medical facility’s A&E and sure as hell not at 4 in the forsaken morning with blood, vomit and worse decorating the environs of this most sacred of places.

First I had to be disempowered, brought under their stewardship,my critical reasoning was to be set aside ,so that I can be assigned ,consigned ,designed to fit in with their industrial logic.They were waiting for me, to consent to my own incarceration ,so that they could transform me into one of their votive offerings on one of their altars dedicated to their idols of weakness and incapacity.

If I could only feel strongly enough the urge to discharge myself ,and I went ahead and did just that. Then maybe their words would hurt me less than sticks and stones..But they’ll still be waiting for me,waiting for me…..

Bruxelles

Starless

we waited,

for the dawn

together,

waited to hear

the hour chime,

waited

for the earth

to slowly spin

through time and space

and time again,

together

for the dawn

we waited,

and heard the hour chime,

Starless…

Author’s biographical footnote:

I originally composed this in 2002 dedicated to C.K.whose identity will remain a mystery

Dali Exhibition:Bruges

” Quick !”,
” The camera !”
aim,
picture;
before the buildings all
up skirts and run away;
tourists huddled in gloomy
noonday shadows of The Belfort.
Nearby they’re exhibiting Dali,
though I can’t quite determine
its precise geographic location,
the blind waffle-vendor tells me,
indirectly that Dali has been
relocated to a nearby aubergine;
” You’d scarcely believe it had sufficient
room to house all of Dali’s effulgent textuality”
at that the midnight grinning tabby-cat
pronounced itself satisfied with its
idiomatic translation of the
sightless vendor’s account;
” unlock the secret aubergine portal and
you’ll never need to approach any lemon again,
citrussy traitors the lot of them!”
hectored the petty feline demagogue
in the spirit of an alfresco symposium;
I antithetically posited that not all
lemons were conspiratorial and was,
” I tawt I taw a puddy-tat” aware
that Belfries emphasised a deep human
urge for freedom and democracy ?
disquieted in that Sylvesterine manner
that all Cats display he reiterated
that Dali extricated the snot
from his own nose,flicked it at
the world and the critics said,
that it was art,truth and beauty;
” yeah,but what about all those conspiratorial Lemons?”
we concurred, the Feline and I.

Vanishing Point

Far,far away

in some distant place

past some vanishing point

on a horizon pan-caked flat

indivisible from the sky,

here we are

here we wander,

around and around

wondering

how we’ve come to be

here;

newly arrived somehow

at a place beyond

the Vanishing Point

where earth becomes sky

and sky itself,

we see now

even thro’ the glass darkly

all before us

the parallax view.

My Sweetheart ( A Valentine’s Day Noir )

“My sweetheart!”..that random thought arced across the empty horizon of his mind illuminating its darkest corners like the flashbulb of a papparazzi camera.


He saw you there, there in the magazine, there on stage. there on the screen.Pristine,immaculate ; in black in white and in full glossy color.

You filled his eyes,sparkled and dazzled them in black ,in white and in full glossy..


The  hire car had taxed his already somewhat meagre budget that he’d calculated would be sufficient to draw this adventure to a successful conclusion.But it was a necessary investment ,after all anything even moderately inferior in style and quality than this latest model Porsche sports would raise furtive eyebrows here on the Boulevard Saint Michel.

And raised furtive eyebrows might become inquisitive,inquisitive as to what some tawdry, budget conscious vehicle was even doing parked in this pristine,immaculate area.

Pristine,immaculate – his thoughts strayed – just like your form,your shape.Sweet..heart! a form,a shape so casually,lazily represented as if painted by Michaelangelo in an Age of beauty and mystery.

The mystery he would soon reveal as no mystery at all.The bouquets ,the chocolates,the cards,the jewellery, all delivered by high end corporate business couriers and now on this very special,this unique occasion, Valentine’s Day,no more intermediaries would be necessary..


He sees you now. Pristine. Immaculate. Leaving your fancy apartment here on the Boulevard Saint Michel,

You are alone,You are pristine,You are immaculate;

He reaches for the syringe.And steps out to meet you..”Sweetheart!”

In Bruges

A soft elegant turquoise
caresses your eyes,
inviting you to join
and enter into the day;
a day of glances and looks,
talk and walk, coffee and books;
still now,languid at eight in the morning,
early buses down from
the station circumnavigate
the splendid Markt ,
diverting to destinations
hidden in a
nuanced symmetry of slowly
revealing labyrinths hewn
and cobbled,restored,narrow
and poignant two-storied brick
houses with neat serrated roofs
in angles and parabolas
fanning out from Langstraat
up to Jerusalemkerk with
their careful clever twists,
you navigate by spires,
cathedral and churches
and totemic Belfort ,
clocked and counting,
its innard three hundred and sixty-five steps
a challenge for later ;
now, bicycles, delivery vans
and the morning commuters are
unravelling their silken-thread
routes and your eyes trace a
lazy line on your pocketbook map,
from where you are to where
you need to be,
here in Bruges,
it’s all the same.