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...

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.

The Writer Writes

If everything that I write

is everything that I am,

then all the words I’ve written

is all of me;

Words are my flesh,

and stories my breath;

I walk in dreams,

I have been to the mountain top

and have come back down;

And if those words

are all that I’ll ever be,

then those words suffice;

it is written,

it is done,

it is ineluctable,

it is immutable;

I have breathed stories,

and my words became

flesh.

Coffee Table

Giant,

glossy,

glamorous

coffee table magazines,

with those portraiture pictures

that capture those

” just so ” glances,

contemplative

meditative,

with that pristine air

of purposeful confidence,

of a knowing what lies ahead;

and the apparel just so,

the complexion just so,

hair,eyes,nose and teeth just so,

of shop window dummies

playing at being us.

Hotel Nacional

The Hotel Nacional,
glamorous epitome of the Jazz Age
now a faded dowager in
her declining years;
riddled with labyrinthine corridors
arteries where no lifeblood flows;
Room 4-2-6 where Dexter Stevenson
a contemporary of John Steinbeck’s
who disputed the authorship of “Cannery Row”
claiming a similar manuscript and title
lodged in Paris in ’39,now long ago;
Room 3-1-5 where Steinhoffer,
distinguished doctor of medicine
originally from Klagenfurt
glowers in exile and
cannot return home due to
some administrative requirement
that he be detained and questioned
about his work at Dachau in 1944;
Elsewhere,black and white
portraitures annotate mildewed walls
fading to a natural sepia,
there the one with Cary Grant
and Marlene Dietrich
on their way to Rio,
or was it Havana?
and there,sailor-hatted,bare chested
the great Hemingway himself,
though he never deigned
to shake Dexter Stevenson’s hand;
And in the rundown lobby,
a receptionist stares into space.

The Dust Bowl

The names and their faces
those times and their places,
the rundown rail depot
from where the last westbound left
in that dry-cracked goodbye summer
when water was heaven
and wells coughed their
grinding choking echo,
dust for a future
that had yet to be;
In those places and their times
heavy inked portraiture faces
made indistinguishable by
careless careworn thumb and fingers
of the ones chosen to
witness their passing,
so that records were kept
for whoever would come after
to research rediscover
those times and their places,
shrouded names and their faces
down by the rail depot
in that dry-cracked summer
when the westbound whistled its goodbye.

Of Games & Candles

Time is etched like memories

on the membrane some

call fate and others chance;

none there are now to

gainsay the swinging pendulum

that swung so far

yet never returned at the

unstruck hour on the

unremarkable day that

slipped quietly away and

lost itself somewhere in the mist;

others say that carousels have

stopped running rings around the moon;

and when the moment comes that we’ve been waiting for

we’ll discover that in truth he left us far too soon.

 

 

Heckler & Koch

It’s gonna be a Heckler & Koch morning,

but i don’t know that yet as I get up at 4.30 a.m.

to use the toilet;

The hall light’s on and I notice the front door’s open,

wide open but I need the toilet first;

Minutes later appropriately attired I almost somnambulate

toward the wide open front door and the faces –

flecks of colour- in black black black camouflage;

It’s a Heckler & Koch morning alright,

Their voices instruct me to come out,

there they are strapped onto body armour,

their Heckler & Kochs:

who am I, who lives there,how many flats ?

I make it casual even conversational given the situation,

getting up and ready for work,

they say I should get back to my flat,

I do;

Time doesn’t flow,not much really,

I’m getting my breakfast ready,

they knock diplomatically on my flat door;

I cajole one of them to come in –

the rest of the squad is jackbooting

up to the other flats and I’m chatting and

giving what useful info I can ;

The scenario continues for about half an hour,

I hear them smashing the door to the empty flat next to mine:

It’s a Heckler & Koch morning in downtown Wakefield,

and I’ve had my breakfast and I depart for

my Heckler & Koch day at my Heckler & Koch job ,

the main entrance door to these 5 pokey apartments –

pied-a-terres-but without any metropolitan pretensions-

remains wide open until I close it respectfully behind me

and step out into the Heckler & Koch morning.

 

Author’s Footnote:

At around 4.30 a.m. Monday 26 November a heavily armed Police SWAT unit showed up at the address where I live; it turned out they had the wrong address.

 

Flashpoint

FLASHPOINT

It’s Aiko’s birthday today. Just as the new chrysanthemum dawn begins to beckon, she awakens and her naïve sleep-filled gaze is captivated by the spreading dawn that’s only an hour or so into its ineluctable theatre of nature. Its flamingo-hued fingers are drawing back the veil of night; a clarion call if any were needed to announce that today is little Aiko’s birthday. An auspicious day with celestial harmony and tranquility prevailing. Later, once this nascent day has matured into full morning, Aiko will show her draughtsman accurate hieroglyphs to the school-teacher and he will smile, applauding her endeavour.
Having breakfasted with special treats her Mother made and fastidiously donned her uniform, Aiko accompanies her grandfather holding his hand on their stroll to school. Looking up, far up in the early morning sky, the observant Aiko says that she can see a silver kite drifting slowly, slowly across the azure canopy. Her grandfather squints and knows it cannot be a kite. Though from that”kite” a tiny silver sliver appears to begin to somersault endlessly earthwards. Momentarily transfixed, Aiko pulls impatiently at her grandfather’s sleeve, and in that moment he understands that all the rumours were true and that this moment would forever be separated from all the other moments and all the other times and all the other places would be separated from this time and this place by this silver kite. Without knowing that to-day is Aiko’s birthday and she would show her classroom teacher her draughtsman perfect hieroglyphs, that silver kite brings with it an inauspicious augury. Aiko will not be celebrating her birthday today, the day when time itself will come to an end, and it will foreclose on all birthdays. On this sixth day of August. 1945.

Warriors

Running. Days spent running. Long days running away. Far, far away from that Hill. Senlac.Where Harold Godwinson fell. All that remained of his Housecarls, all that evaded the keen eye and whetted blades of those Normans was here in this rout.

They are seized by fear as they broach the deep autumn green of the forest with the day darkening about them. They trample into the swirling grey and brown. Heaving past trees so gaunt, so erect everywhere flecked with its shadows.

They feel feral eyes lurking, they smell that stench only warhorses make; the tang of their salivary breath as their stalking footsteps are tramping heavily on foliaged ground.

Warriors, masterless curs with their master dead, are breaking, staggering into a run. The run of hearts and minds now fleeing and pounding all at once as if seized by a madness. Their fevers fired by diagonal shafts of sunlight and arrows. Threading and piercing. Whispering their death, clattering and cutting.

Bone bared, sweat-browed fighters are now falling amid the dense. And of all the summers that are to come, those summers no longer are theirs but the forest’s.