Antonia Alexandra Klimenko – A Writer’s Habit

Klimenko profile Dec 2020

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume One, December 2020.

Antonia Alexandra Klimenko was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary James Meary Tambimuttu of Poetry London. Her work has appeared in (among others) Live EncountersXXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada and Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the recipient of two grants: one from Poets in Need, of which Michael (100 Thousand Poets for Change) Rothenberg is a co-founder; the second—the 2018 Generosity Award bestowed on her by Kathleen Spivack and Joseph Murray for her outstanding service to international writers through SpokenWord Paris where she is Writer/ Poet in Residence. Her poetry collection, On the Way to Invisible, is forthcoming in Spring of 2021.

A Writer’s Habit

for David Barnes
’Make it come alive!’’

The hour is turning shades of blue
and I  in eclipse  like this crescent moon
lament the loss of fullness
in these shadows  passing through

Ancient echoes
resound in me   are profound in me
as from another time and place–
yet cannot fill this hole in me
Heart’s whole of me   this shattered space

We trace our lineage   from dying scrolls
to lips of living Light–
harmonic vibrations of the soul
intonations   approximations
howling  breathing  illuminations
flickering candles in the night

We catch the blur of a reflection
in a café window   a passing train
as the scent of perfume
still unnamed
(or is it only our perception)
skims our senses   drifts by   evokes
moves in past tenses
then falls away   in silence

Anonymous passers-by
hum a distant tune   inside our brain
Memory fades to black
We   looking back upon histories
draw ink like blood from collapsed veins—
slide the needle   to present perfect
score another line or two
for the monkey on our back

Family Album

The key is in the lock
Places, please!
Dinner will be ready in half an hour
There’s Susie clearing the table
Photo of Skippy feeding the cat
Here’s Hubby taking out the garbage
Morning will follow
Kiss me to the door
this one last time
We made love   or didn’t make love
The night before   we cried in our pillow
Dust collects with photos on bookshelves
Friends come and go
Babies are born   parents die
Everyone say Cheese!

One by one the pages turn
moments pile up
Whole sentences   semicolons
in linear suspension
He said this   she said that
sometimes out of sequence
But does it really matter ?
marveling as we do
in spite of it all
in spite of it all
how everything you loved
or didn’t    really
is a voice remembered–
how even the unknown
will soon ring of the familiar


Myth of unsolved mystery
Color of smoke and shadow
What have you done November
with October? last September?
Not even cold December
could resist your profound shudder—
your dark obsessions   musty scent
distant rolls of thunder

Silent film on tiptoe—
Chaplin Bergman Pasolini—
heavy trains of thought
limping through me now

Deep in my throat’s forest
your oboe’s haunting timbre–
twisting tones of burnt sienna
living embers turned to ash

hands pointing to
The Eleventh Hour
ever on the edge of slumber
your days of dead
were never numbered


His love of open space
left blanks between his words
gaps  between his teeth
silences within
All intervals in time–
the measure of   height and width
the depth in which all things exist

and move    moved in him–
a boundless three dimensional
journeying between the planets and the stars
the flat surfaces of  his mind

How he distanced himself
from things and people
invading his terrain–
floor space   parking space
objects and events which occurred

in the space which occupied him–the Absolute Space–
was beyond even him

Often he would go to great lengths
extending himself
the rings around his eyes–
sunken in their dark orbits
in some alternate Universe

is relative to position and direction
he said
but only in the physical realm
The celestial beauty of inner space

is infinite
There is no separation   between
sunrise and sunset
shadow and light
the dead and the living
Life belongs to both worlds
and to neither–
rests in the breath
inhabits the mystery
of here
and oh so there

He said   he said
taking one last drag
on his burnt-out cigarette
before he shut the door
behind him
Blew his brains out
in the hallway     he did

Now, go to Hell !
he said

The Merry-Go-Round

So here we go again   you and I
picking up speed   on our magic steed
riding   sliding   up and down
whirling round and round
with no ending or beginning

Everything comes full-circle
Everything passes through us–
a breath   a memory   a vision
some inexplicable Miracle
that has happened before
that is happening right now
all   at   the   same   time

One moment…
you’re a child of six
gliding into the sunset   on a wooden pony
Next moment…
you’re a child of six-ty
shuffling back into yourself
like your favorite rerun

your dreams have packed their bags
and are leaving for Paris without you
your night-lite is flirting with that first star on the right
all the lovers in the world are coming together
in spontaneous combustion

In this very moment…
a stellar explosion thousands of light years away
is spinning through space
is becoming   that radiant smile
on your down-turned face
Past future and present
are converging in harmonic synchronistic rhythm
The sun and moon are aligning
with Venus Jupiter and Mars
Energy synergy electricity    deaf lightning
is coursing through your varicose veins
Every broken atom   every imagined pain
every cell is being reborn
Words that have flown south
missing in action   or in revision
are coming alive   are exploding into light
are taking back the night
The unspoken and unsaid   at this very minute
are orbiting your head

dust particles are colliding coalescing
merging converging   to form a new planet     T
The music of the spheres is unrehearsed
Black cosmic rays are holding the magnetic field–
a convex mirror in reverse
My tears   a cinematic film
are rolling back into my eyes
Regret that once escaped my lips
is falling to its knees
is begging me to PLEASE   not wear it
like a saddle ‘round my hips
is begging for forgiveness

So here we are again   you and I
on a carousel in the park
We fall off our horse    and dust ourselves off
and fall in love   again   of course
before it grows cold and dark

One day we’ll get it right   you know
The moon is out tonight   you know
Nothing is by chance
The music is playing
Remember our first kiss?
Please save me    this one last dance

©Antonia Alexandra Klimenko