Where does the Red Brick Road go to?
The one in the Munchkin village in the ‘39
movie that swirls in sinister sympathy
with its yellow sister – where does it go?
Back to the small-town Kansas of the mind?
Had Dorothy followed that, would she
have been as friendless as the beautiful boys
strung up on wire fences and bleeding
in alleyways? Where did it lead to?
Streets of hisses and accusatory stares
far from the Emerald City’s understanding?
Does it lead out of the 1980s and the field
of Karposi’s red poppies? For millions
it didn’t, and they never got to Oz.
You were new to town, we met
for coffee, sight saw, then you wanted
to find a supermarket and I led
you to one close to my house so
you could get some things and I
never realised such a place,
bright and silent, could be beautiful.
The day before you left we went
to another supermarket to buy
fixings for the last supper, your hand
brushed mine on the cart and the
muzak was an orchestra, oranges
like suns, tomato hearts, that’s why
supermarkets always make me cry.
À LA RUSSE
Surely your grey and sainted babushka
told you that the hardiest of flowers
is the perennial pansy, scorning powers
greater than yours, tsarevich Vovochka;
their small bruised faces purple, mascara
blurred running with the tears of wounded hours,
can’t be eradicated. Soft sun-showers
see them splitting asphalt as before.
Pale moth and puppet master doesn’t have
a fraction of their virtue in God’s eyes.
Louder than your prayers, Tchaikovsky’s sighs.
Pansies will spring up from your narrow grave,
higher than Saint Basil’s domes that gleam,
like the tuttifruttiest ice-cream.
Andrew Paul Wood is a writer and independent scholar based in Christchurch, New Zealand. His most recent books are Three Worlds / Drei Welten (with Friedrich Voit), a translated collection of selected poems by the German-Jewish poet Karl Wolfskehl (1869-1948) (Cold Hub Press, 2016) and Dunediniad: A Psychogeographical Ode (Kilmog Press, 2018). He is Art and Essays Editor for Takahē magazine.