Two poems performed at SAVAGE SHOWCASE by SOPHIE NEVRKLA.






My mind glows, a furnace of thoughts.

The phone burns my ear, scorched by the news,

and the silence burns too – unfair, unjust,

silence is a golden cancer – it is a fat Nazi oven –

roasting me, cooking me raw: fatted calf.


Outside, the January trees blow blue –

smudges of ink on a thin paper sky;

a first draft of a letter, crumpled and sad.

The streetlights stare – bright, strict and sorry.


My tears are red. They come, unwelcome

swarms of them – demanding, angry –

insurgent army with Bolshevik speed,

my face the battlefield – yet to be won.


I slice the white street, surgeon’s incision.

My feet are efficient, mechanical.

Footprints leave a trail of blood in my

wake and god looks down, angry doctor, scalpel in hand.


I ignore the red man – stiff little soldier.

My road is the funeral march – I proceed.

The house hides in the corner, flaming, blazing –

mayday signal, stock-still stop sign for me.


The crossed plague door opens, a man waiting.

Scarlet seeps from his pores

and the vermillion boy chokes on his words and holds on to me tight –

a family of red, family of blood.


And then the red of my mother’s new scarf.


A deep, velvet, claret warning.

That scarf: a cut – a target – a noose –


a red noose, round my mother’s red neck.








What of my father’s father?

In my mind’s eye, all I can see is a

ghost on a postcard: a man in black

on a Kaiser’s horse, somewhere in that

tug-of-war land squashed into the

tightest spot in Europe – a country forced

to look up in humble supplication.

“Pick on someone your own size!” I want to

say to Germany, Austria and Russia, the

bullies in the playground, scoping out the runt.

“What brought his son here?” I wonder, as he

pours me coffee at the breakfast table

and makes me beans on toast.