The Rat's Nest
крысиная нора

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

[updated Wednesday, August 12th, 2015]

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Late summer.

The new paradigm is, in essence, the old paradigm
solitude and lovelessness
as ever in exile.

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

fur and blood

The drunk in the doorway
has more secrets than teeth. Here
girls wear cat’s ears, whiskers…
holiday. Here, teeth rhyme with stupid.
Having them is a luxury. The kisses of summers
past sound violent. The tearing
is welcome, the scars
all that remain, save the sot
blocking the steps to the street –
we have so little mercy for our brothers
ourselves, even less.


Ah, but for glimpses
moving shadows along a curtain
lace velvet whispers, afternoon angles
dust dance, the scent of shed clothes.

You know all these
and have seen, and dined, and tasted
the toast and tea in cramped kitchens
foreign, in disbelief. The days ache
arthritically, and pass into exhausted evenings
haunted, glimpsed, desolate.

carpathian poem five

The birds of winter have fallen
wayside gas station
castaway in sandals
and brittle nails
bitten to the quick.

Mister Black has often wanted
to collect their bodies
in neat little piles.


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

june 27th

So this is what it feels like

Mister Black holds Saturday
in the palm of his hand.
It aches, and swells.
The young noon
is unwelcome. What looks lovely in the morning
gets uglier by the hour.
Like a lovesick dog with muddy paws
Saturday begs for table scraps
and whines. Mister Black knows what this feels like
all too well, creaking and wheezing

carpathian poem three

Friday, the messiah will be
accompanied by the sound of wasps
and spiders drifting
wisps of summer lightning
and Anya and Olya and Katya and Lesya
will wrap his honeys and poisons
in plastic and glass. Pronouncements
will static globally. The armies of the east
the horrid, dead souls of Russia
will leave.

carpathian poem two

Awaits chaos.
Хаос. It awaits
the doctor with the wicked cough, it
slips on paving stones slick with summer rains
and cigarette butts. It waits
tables, school and picnic, the evening
cognac in company with electric
murderous stimulation. The afternoon
is tedious fear. The morning follows
small and dirty, like a homeless leprechaun.

carpathian poem one

Coffeeing through the lecherous days of summer
still on a park bench, pain radiating
upward. The years are divided this way:
along the cutting edge and diagonally
punctuated by nakedness remembered only
in the most flat and mundane terms
accompanied by the ever unsatisfied curiosity
as to whether anyone or everyone
experiences it thusly.

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

angels aren’t

but sometimes the summer air teems thick with them.
Soon off to Warsaw. Hours in an empty
train compartment to wonder whether
the dead in war or massacre
are still angry. The physics of
timelessness clearly only apply to the living.
The anger and horror of extinction
swarm beneath cobblestones, through foundations
and cracks to catch in your eyelashes. Summer has arrived
in a low-cut top and flats
anticipating unpleasantness.




not full of feeling, but emptied

The first cottonwood drifts
catch in the throat and nose
much as pleasant memories stifle
in wartime.

The bare-shouldered girl is within reach and worlds away.

The morning exploded brilliantly
everywhere smiles, conversation
unknown languages sound
soft songbirds. Sunburst.
The day slows proportionally.
The remembering slips in unwelcome
an unsolicited catalogue of
products no longer available.
The mind has no mercy.


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.

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


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.

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.

“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