K. V. Twain is an English-language Romanian writer of literary fiction and poetry, with degrees from Williams College (US), Harvard University (US), and BPP Law School (UK). She made her debut in 2015, with a deliberately self-published novella, and is currently working on her first novel.
Here are two poems from her, “23 Disaster Street” and “Vonnegut.” Enjoy!
23 Disaster Street
I have lived, for a long time, at 23 Disaster Street.
Brass letters mark my name on a door: Mr. Error.
Tolstoy the cat also lives here; there’s no woman.
She died, that is, some years ago, many, if I think.
The postman comes once a week, unless he’s sick.
She didn’t really die, I mean, only abandoned me.
The postman’s name is Tom; he seems to like me.
It had a reason, her departure, making it dreadful.
I like Tom, too; now and then we sit down for tea.
The reason had to do with me: I made a mistake.
Tom is good at dispensing advice, if you ask for it.
It took me a while to comprehend the enormity.
I know because I saw Tom counseling a neighbor.
Perhaps it wasn’t a while, but one infinite second.
Tom has a kindly mien; St. Tom, I called him once.
Yes, yes, a substantial second of limitless sadness.
I never asked for Tom’s advice; we’re mostly quiet.
What does it matter, how long it took? It doesn’t.
Yes, Tom and I sit down in muteness, gulping tea.
She left without a word, her face wetted by tears.
When we chat, we chat about Tolstoy: it’s easiest.
I thought she was shattered, but it was I that was.
And how’s the cat?, Tom will ask, Great, I’ll reply.
Seventeen years, but who counts?, I’m too tired.
Sometimes I bring Tolstoy to him, show him off.
’ was a time I was eager for letters, anticipating.
Tom strokes him, tugs an ear, says, Oh hoy, boy!
Anticipating what? News, I suppose, something.
Tolstoy likes it, when he’s not woken from sleep.
Now I don’t, sometimes I hardly open envelopes.
Tom and Tolstoy are all I have, I sometimes think,
Would be quite nice for us to be buried together.
Yes, yes, that was his place, in the Happy Tragedians’ Corner.
That fellow Chaplin was there too, a bright brother-in-vision.
I don’t have much to share, apart from a personal anecdote.
Vonnegut once noticed the broken lights, offered to fix them
I set him straight: You’re mad, there’s no fixing, they’re dead.
But what d’you know, he was persistent: Ah, let me have a go.
So I did, I let him work on the goddamned lights, which he did,
He exerted himself in there for many years, if memory serves.
Every now and then we’d run into each other and stop to chat,
And he’d thank me for letting him try, without talking of work.
He once spent some time giving me tips on light and shadow:
Said something of them being twins vying against each other,
And something about adversaries forever loving one another.
The last time we met he was still trying, although he was tired;
He admitted that it might be a lost cause, an impossible glitch,
And I urged him then to give up the task, no point continuing,
But he contradicted me, said I was dead wrong in that respect:
The point is to attempt, and keep attempting, until death hits,
The point is to befriend the absurd, revel in its mad company,
The point is to chase the tail of impossibilities through infinity,
For the joy, for the pain, for the truth, for the lie, for the thrill.
That’s what he said. I never saw him again, for I moved towns.
Some years later death stopped by, calling on lucky Vonnegut.
Some people are saying that the lights are still there, still dead.
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