Two Poems by Wanda Phipps

Waltzing Nostalgia

now everyday i hear 
the bells at st. mark’s church
ringing in the hours
and the noise of street traffic,
then party people
occupying the sidewalk
through the night
a new apartment
full of new sounds:
doors slamming in the hall
humming refrigerator
and the arms of a mini art
installation moving on the 
mantle: gold painted
prosperity kittens with 
their arms constantly waving
and the words: ukraine
shall overcome 
& crimea is ukraine
painted on their bodies
i am back in a neighborhood
where i used to live years ago
things are familiar
yet foreign too
i run into old acquaintances
from when these few blocks
held a tribe i felt a part of
or at least dangled on the 
edges of or dallied there
but so many places are gone now:
sunshine deli, gargoyle mechanique,
the gas station, the telephone bar,
kiev diner, st. mark’s books 
but I can still visit the same parks:
tompkin square, liz christy garden
all the community gardens
and once in a while gaze 
into the same eyes
the same souls
older but still recognizably

Another Temporary Poem

smoke from some industrial fan
            constantly floating
upward beyond
            the windows
beyond the potted trees
            beyond the double glass door
opened by a special code
move to the atrium
            filled with sparrows
or are they wrens
            and the huge sculptures
spread through the space
            twisted trunks of
trees painted white
            with stunted bare
ragged branches curled
            like arthritic fingers

Wanda Phipps, author of Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire (BlazeVOX[Books]), Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems (Soft Skull Press) and the forthcoming Mind Honey (Autonomedia); has been published over 100 times in English, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Arabic, Galician, and Bangla; created theatrical productions with Yara Arts Group presented in Ukraine, Kyrgystan, Siberia, and NYC; curated several reading series and written about the arts for Time Out New York and Paper Magazine among others.