Still Water Prose Poems

Copyright @ 1989 by Arthur Garfunkel
ISBN 0-525-24795-5
Used by persmission of Author - All Rights Reserved

43

I walk down Nevsky Prospect. One attractive face—she
flirts as we pass. It means a lot to me. Sun comes out over
the Neva. Birds still fly free. On t.v. last night, Gromyko is
shown with Reagan in the White House. G. looks mentally
lively; R. is bitter-looking, phony-folksy. The editor's
power.
At dinner, an electric guitar, a Fender Rhodes, bass,
drum, and violin play "Moonglow," "I Left My Heart in San
Francisco." The maître d' wants to know if I still sing with
Mr. Simon or alone.
On Monday the authorities have decided to confiscate
my undeclared money. Then they ask for an autograph.
I get stopped for jaywalking into the road to see if a taxi
is free. Three rubles.
On the sixteen-hour train trip, my compartment mate is
a military man. He changes from uniform to blue jogging
suit. His book does not move one cm. over the centerline of
the table between us.
It's all about my grandmother here. I see how very
Russian she was. Tea in a metal holder, stern facial
expression, a chicken's neck in the cabbage soup, kasha, the
dryness of the liver, sturdy body frame, chess on t.v., the
specific human sweat smell of the sleeping car.
Cigarette holders, lamé coats, San Remo Music Festival
on t.v. (Russian voice-over), Gert Fröbe, the Refusenik in
Minsk…

Lenningrad, USSRSeptember 1984