Member since Apr '07

Working languages:
Russian to English
English to Russian
English (monolingual)

Mark Berelekhis
Retired from translation

Swampscott, Massachusetts, United States
Local time: 18:35 EDT (GMT-4)

Native in: Russian Native in Russian, English Native in English
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Some of my poetry:

Of Unity

I offer thanks to Jobs and Gates
for helping me erect
a thousand shiny screens
between me and the world,
a neighbor’s icy gaze,
another human heart.

Encased in an impregnable cocoon–
coasting on hashtags,
bouncing off Facebook walls–
I toil from dawn till dusk
to sow and harvest the illusion
of connection.

What do I know of unity?
A transient alliance
against a rival sports team,
against an ideology,
against the one percent.

Discordance makes a flimsy foundation–
values shift, teams relocate, fortunes are lost
or gained.

The lens inside my skull is on the fritz,
capturing stills of enmity and strife,
where there is only love.
But this, alas, is all I know of life.

Metamorphoses of a Muse

My muse’s home must be a subway stair—
from dawn she waits
for my slumberous ascension.

Now she stands like you—
torso shifted on a leg,
with a conqueror’s look
and a promise of hips—
a resounding aureole
in a sea of grey
hats atop Grisham books.

She visits most
when I’ve my own to read,
retracting sundered dreams
from an intrusive dawn,
croons over my phones
tickles my fingertips.

In all she wreaks unrest;
only my pen
within a cloud-cut,
urine-clad subway station
retains its regal form,
and aches to render yours.

What else am I to write?
Semites are losing sons,
Americans—their freedom;
these billows trickle past my feet;
it’s been a month and
I have seldom seen a life beyond your face.

When I would wake to Beauty in my arms,
there was no need to seek it in a verse;
the Poem lay complete
in wait of my caress.

But even as you slept,
forevers I would wrest from an ephemeral night;
I’d flaunt you to the moon,
and she, seduced,
would help me forage stardust from your eyes.

Oh, I have scraped too many midnights
with metaphors that clacked
and fell to rust.

I do not fear my subway concubine,
though she had gathered volumes of your touch,
for I am doomed to watch the volumes tear.
Her flawless frame will chafe
(and dust will disappear)


Even the stars seem strange
on this un-April-like April night

Eyes slanted, trace
their luminous dalliance –
like speckles of snow
blithely blooming a cheshire grin
in the mouth of a midnight sky

On an un-April-like April night,
I must swallow their smile
in the absence of yours.

The Artist

From a bridge connecting New York
to New York,
I see you

You shred the encroaching blue
with a thousand horses,
conveniently packaged
into a middle class’
midlife crisis’ metallic wet dream

If I were an artist
I would paint fireflies,
and look on with reverence,
breathe as they blink
passion and death
to my heartbeat

I would taste their curses
of twilight and blessings
of dawn

and for a time,

I would relish the canvas with fresh strokes
of emerald and gold,
maintain the radiance of my creation

Until the everflowings of moons and moods
thread through my dreams of fireflies
into dreams of lilacs, or elves,

Or, as I turn thirtyish,
(it’s unlikely, I know, but possible)
Two thousand and six
Nissan Maximas

And I would find their luminescent wings
flutter with tedium and rust…

Bad art and poetry will outlive
an artist’s compulsory, transient desires

All but the Artist that desires to give.

A Vision of a Thousand Tomorrows

With frantic eyes and arid lips
hearts interlaced
like coalescent hues,
your phantom sighed–
imbuing barren afternoons
with scarlet strawberries
and skyward blues.

To Retrieve a Fairytale

You did not believe in fairytales:
like a child that outgrew bedtime,
you walked unsettled amongst your peers
with Starbucks on your lips
and dryads in your eyes,
measured wisdom with dreamers’ hearts,
wrested and cleft,
as you sipped Wallace Stevens
into your stone-still own.

Beauty in gypsy skirts!
ambiguous as fog,
you dared not ride the G beyond World’s End
nor heed its siren song,
but whispered all your rainbows
to spiraling snowflakes,
as they bedecked your window
in ashen arabesques.

It’s not that I mused myself special–
a cherished gem’s luster or fading rust;
I’ve not seen my reflection in your eyes,
have never known my worth.
Just that I knew a snowflake once;
over a game of pool one New York night
he has told me of you,
then sighed a sated smile and cheshired away.

There was no suddenness to us–
too many moments to pinpoint the time,
too many metaphors to manifest the feeling,
maybe too few.

Our hearts flamencoed through the palpables,
resigned the rigmaroles and inured masquerades.

Their dance had evanesced a time ago…

Even my journal simply shook its head
and floored
its flustered eyes.

Manifestations of a Bard

Show me
another world
in gentle guitar strums…

with hair uncurled
over your aground eyes

a crowd of huddled chairs
(I hide behind),
three-dollar vodka shots

I fear that you will look
from those candid chords,
and clench my lawless eyes

that if I move,
the stage will disappear
into prosaic mist

and you
and your guitar
into that other world,
for you’ve no part in this–

in leathered dilettantes,
and self-proclaimed beatniks,
No Parking Anytimes
or city’s Sunday midnights

Show me a world,
where souls make love
and never get enough

Show me your world
in strums and rhyme

And sew a thread to mine.

The Great Experiment

One too many moons ago,
In Sociology,
I should have had the thesis read:
We all come from one great big giant Cunt
—capital C—
We call it God.

Wrap history’s debris
Into a minuscule misunderstanding.
Blame it on education,
Gaps in translation,
Humankind’s senseless sensibility.

Woe the Great Experiment;
I’ve guessed the wheres and whys
Welled wisdoms of another
And yet another dozen others
Into a many great big giant C—

None seemed to match
Neither in taste nor texture.

Nor any suppositions or conjectures
Retain the splendor of a spring-spun plum,
Neither do they
In measure thrice reduced
Relay the awkward mid-October meet-and-greet
Of beds bedecked in foliage crimson red
And my gulliver feet.

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