Art and poetry on page and stage

gift box


Anton Yakovlev


The evening clacks its jaws,
and I wonder how to get rid of that smiley face
outside my window,
floating in the yellow.

Also, I ponder the eternal question:
why is the bear visiting me so often?

So high up in my seventy-second floor office —
and still the bear’s visiting me.

Everywhere I look, he sits there.
I curse the diploma on my wall.
And when he looks out the window,
the smiley face responds with its yellow grin.

And the tiger on the wall’s been repainted again.
Now it’s a zebra again.
But the bear’s still here.

Behold! They’re screening movies outside.
God is making heretics’ heads turn into green threads.
An autobiographer is hanging himself with typewriter ribbons.
Even the honorable woodcutting machine has visited us today.
Why are you sitting in my office? Why don’t you
go take a look? I’m sure you will like them!

But the bear’s still sitting
next to me, in silence,
still looking at the smiley face outside.

Then it’s Friday,
and I leave the office.
I go off into the yellow dusk
and take the yellow bus.

But when I get back home,
I stop and wonder
if the bear’s had time
to follow me here.

I Throw Boulders Out of My Window Sometimes

Your memory, a whimsical stump, still fools me.

Screeching thump-dreams wake me up in the morning,
creep like plants along the walls of the house.

I go to the pinball machine —
your memory is right there, in the flower pot.
I turn to the wall.

The ducks are silent.

Sometimes I see patterns of light on the radiator.

Born in Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev is the author of poetry chapbooks Ordinary Impalers (early 2017), The Ghost of Grant Wood (2015), and Neptune Court (2015). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Hopkins Review, Prelude, and elsewhere. His book of translations of poetry by Sergei Esenin is forthcoming in 2017. He has also directed several short films.