UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
A week after his arrival in Queens from Ukraine
He became the president of
American Congress of Science Fiction
No one else wanted the job.
No salary or benefits,
8 hour work days
sending out letters
demanding membership renewals.
He licked a few envelopes
for half a work day,
poured himself a glass of vodka
and gave notice.
Only thing he kept was a
photo together with Isaac Asimov.
After then he became director
of The Society for the Protection of Central Park's Swans.
Posed for a photograph with the mayor.
No salary, as before,
Only reports on the swans' needs for their absolute fulfillment.
So he went to the Masons.
Climbed his way up to Astoria Lodge President.
This particular Lodge didn't secretly rule over the world
but did boring missionary work with sick children.
So he went into independent film.
Worked as a low level set assistant doing coffee runs
Then made an acquaintance with a cult director known widely in narrow circles.
It's hard to remember all of his escapades.
Last I heard of him was that he became a human rights personality,
traveled to some congress in Prague,
all expenses paid by State Department
— air travel, hotel, lunch, dinner, booze.
He gave interviews.
He was ecstatically happy!
Every night now he returns to his cheap studio
In Jamaica near JFK.
Empty bottles roll across a dirty floor,
Fat flies everywhere.
He pours himself a strong one,
takes a seat
next to the framed photographs of
the Masons mixed with Sci-Fi authors,
Swans and Russian dissidents
and peers out at the
tiny blinking lights
of departing planes,
completely oblivious of the Moon
laughing at him
way up in the New York City sky
"Humorous Moon" was translated from Russian by Misha Delibash.
Alex Galper was born in Kiev, Ukraine and has been writing poems and short stories since he could remember. Immigrating to America at the age of nineteen did not change it; to the contrary, majoring in Creative Writting at Brooklyn College and being mostly influenced by American poets created a fusion of Russian pessimism, Jewish humor and Western literary traditions and philosophy. Translations of his poems appeared in over thirty magazines in the USA and the UK. In his homeland, he is considered a cult underground poet whereas mainstream Russian literary magazines ignore him for luck of respect for rhymes, heavy erotic imagery, and being "too American".
© 2004-2010 Underground Voices