© 2018 . All rights reserved.

Anton Yakovlev reads from Ordinary Impalers

Anton Yakovlev was born in Moscow, spent time in Paris, and moved to United States where he now lives fluent, as every poet ought to be, in three languages. Ordinary Impalers conjures up, in my mind, Vlad the Impaler or Ivan the Terrible or even more recently the Communist, Joseph Stalin. Now, ordinary impalers might only be ordinary, but they still impale, don’t they? One’s mind goes ouch! anyway. Anton Yakovlev’s poems have a compelling “Yes, but” quality about them, an irony in the often surprising concatenations of the images, conditions that are more althoughs than becauses. In English we say that we must take the good with the bad. These poems do an almost impossible task—they take the good from the bad. I thought to myself, “Yes, that might be the Iron Curtain over there, but on a really sunny day it still offers shade.” No matter what, these poems can touch, and make you smile, and make you laugh.

Here is the title poem. Enjoy.

Ordinary Impalers

You punch a pickpocket to thwart him
then doubt your right to keep your own wallet.

You listen to the sirens on the radio
but get sidetracked by a burp half a block away.

How could you ever hope to glow in the dark?

It’s April Fools’,
so pretend we can cheer each other
even if’s Russian Roulette that we play.
I’ll sip some Poland Spring,
wear my lucky coat,
and walk you past the cliffs.

Those inclined to solve mysteries
can’t help seeing murders around them.
I’ll gently wave my hand in front of your face
until you’re so dizzy you can’t remember
who done it.

It’s not midnight yet. Force your aorta to oxygenate.

Won’t you pick up some garbage
from that toppled can
and make origami?

Every time the crosswalk walking man
changes back to a red hand stop,
the festival in your eyes
burns down.

It’s Ash Wednesday.

In Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy these lines especially caught my eye:

I could ask you questions to make you figure it out,
make you Sherlock your way to the only reasonable conclusion,
but still it wouldn’t click,
just like the description
of a chocolate bar’s taste and shape
doesn’t make someone blind from birth
understand the color brown.

Ordinary Impalers is published by Kelsay Books. You can check them out here:



Anton Yakovlev

Leave a Reply