The Rat's Nest
крысиная нора

poetry by Mickey Cesar (Микки Сизар)                     e-mail:

[updated Sunday, May 10th, 2015]

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Dear G-d…

Life during wartime, economic collapse, has been just a little bit… stressful.
Few poems.

But, as usual, find enclosed a few new unedited poems, with the usual caveat:
some gems, some trash.
Enjoy or don't.


I must remember
something else
for once.
Standing on platforms
waiting for trains, crossing rivers
each place echoes her
uncertainty. Streets, shops,
markets, the metro. The kitchen
has become insufferable, the scent of her
still strong despite the onion and grease
brimming ashtrays. Remember something.

to keep her in cheese and dill

left hair berets.
April, and all the fresh-faced boys
are ready for war
and bombs among the Magnolia blossoms.
There is still dancing on Saturdays
and soft-skinned girls loitering park-benches
and otherwise empty cafes.

magpies and

Days of magicians and laundry
rockets fall on other cities
here, the cat is calm. Little snowfall
so far. You, my friend, have wandered
from world to world.

Certain spirits return to you
from the pages of books from unexplored attics
these are the ones you see
at the end points of a circle
slips through the cracks in the windows
where the cold comes in on quiet
days only worth surviving.


If I were all the man that she is cat – if there were men like this, the world could begin.

to the girl I hit in the face with a snowball

I did it specifically since
you’d done – nothing. It was
surprisingly easy. The
shock was delicious.

ashen and the scent of fresh waxes

We haven’t had much
sun, and it seems the seaside
is a thousand miles distant.
And receding. The list of things we never had
is an ocean: how did we live
those years? Plans laid on the edge of exhaustion.

We had
a cat in the window, a few days
at the Botanical Garden, timetables
late salaries, trips to the pharmacy
evenings mistranslating the words we
could never bring ourselves to speak.

and death

will smell of musk
everyday clothes, even home
will reek of months-old mop heads
sad wax, artificial pine.
Home is the same as
half-lit echoish halls
clogged ventilation ducts
the hush of a cigarette
burnt to the butt end.

The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.” ~ Franz Kafka

nevermind, again

In the dim winter sun, devices
forget themselves, desires, functions
unravel like overcooked spaghetti
on a cold chipped plate. Even
the sense of injustice sends you into a tailspin.

You used to see it all as
as a series of moments
but this is coda.

I will bury you in the back yard

Just go about your business;
put your shirt on, Julia. It doesn’t matter
if I watch or not. You
will, still, be putting on your blouse.

Is this really who we are?
A strange portrait unframed, already dusty.

if you had emptied

If you had never
sang songs of snow and murder
your nightmares might color
instead of cobwebbing and
cold chip shivers.

Ads for budget taxes rift
through the morning. More artillery
in the east. Here coffee, a cough
and a patriotic cigarette.

Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.”
~ from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera


and yet, violins

Suddenly, September and symphonies
and inexplicable pain rippling
through extremities. It may be
therapeutic in some way, meditative
a time for swelling to be reduced.
Reconstruction. Retreat. Resignation. Defeat.

the good earth pt. 2

Ah, Stuart, this could be Kansas:
blue skies, endless fields of wheat.
If Kansas City had a mass grave
of thirty-thousand Jews and gypsies and patriots
murdered in a single day. It could
be Kansas but for the revolution
and Berkut killing a hundred
on Broadway. Sunflowers
everywhere in the country, stray cats
loitering alleys by the restaurants
Buckeye trees, Russian armored columns, and a lone violinist
playing Tchaikovsky in the metro station near the university.

chance of flurries

It is not enough to switch off the sun:
draw curtains. Anticipate ice
at the window, in your bones.
Autumn comes. You will be no warmer
although August has shown a tendency
to linger.

“Like all pure creatures, cats are practical.” ~ William S. Burroughs


75 poems, with photography by Allison Richardson
was released by Spartan Press on May 12th, 2011
and is available at
Prospero's Books 1800 West 39th, Kansas City, MO
Raven Bookstore 6 East 7th Street, Lawrence, KS
and of course, Amazon if you're not lucky enough to be close to Prospero's or the Raven.

54 poems, with artwork by Alexis Cullerton available at:
Prospero's Books 1800 West 39th, Kansas City, MO
Raven Bookstore 6 East 7th Street, Lawrence, KS
KU Bookstore 1301 Jayhawk Boulevard, Lawrence, KS
and, of course, through

23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. 25 And he went from thence to Mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

Poetry of
Matt Porubsky, author of Voyeur Poems and Fire Mobile (The Pregnancy Sonnets)
Laura Kitzmiller
reading at Prospero's
Hep Cat and Fab Art-boy
Andrew Jilka.
Jason Ryberg, author of Devils, Dice & Car Parts, Blunt Trama and other goodness.
Bronze Conduits poetry by Julianne Buchsbaum, author of Slowly, Slowly, Horses and A Little Night Comes
Mitzvah poems and random niftiness from Robert J. Baumann
My Favorite Barista Michaela on and blogspot

me on
feature in
Present Magazine July 2007
interview with four other soldier/poets from
WarNewsRadio May 2007
interview with Bill Radke of Minnesota Public Radio
Weekend America June 2007
write-up on the book release from the
Lawrence Journal-World January 2005
interview with Laura Spencer of
KCUR-FM Kansas City January 2005
contribution to KCUR
program on the Crimean Invasion (my rambling begins at the 14:00 mark)

spearmint tea, tracks, and trestles
aurora borealis
living rain
the psalms of wasps

Jazzhaus feature, March 2011
Jazzhaus February 2011
Prospero's Poetry Filibuster (setting a world's record for longest poetry reading!) June 2010
“the afterlife” at
Prospero's May 2010
lindsey & the f-bomb at the Writer's Place, March 2008
natalie 3:28 Kansas City Lit Fest, June 2008

and just for fun, I'm the “star,” but have no lines: how is this possible?
The Priest in the Porn Shop.





Prospero's Books used books, local poetry & events, and UnHoly Day Press
Flutter Poetry Journal
Glenda Rolle artwork
Rough Traces by Jason Wesco (review)
The artwork of C. Elisabeth Bear
Church of the Subgenius
and, of course, the amazing and talented Josie Wrath


The amazing Alexander Nevsky
(April 15th, 1999 – September 4th, 2009)



The incorrigible sorrow of all prisoners and exiles... is to live in company with a memory that serves no purpose.”
~ Albert Camus

increscunt animi, virescit volnere virtus