Volume 47, No. 2 - Summer 2001
Editor of this issue: Violeta Kelertas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2001 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.




And it smells
   like fresh blue and yellow bouquets
   in knotty twisted hands
   on streets with too much amber

   all is gray
   but the gray offers gold
          golden wood
          golden straw
          golden hair of beautiful boys 
               with tight pants 
               who don't spit on streets 
               but walk drunkenly through Old Town 
               beer and cigarettes on their breaths 
               folk songs in their throats

And it
   is going to rain again
   descend upon blue and yellow bouquets
   and knotty twisted hands
          soak pale petals
          pale skin
          and pale teeth tearing at plates of pale pork

And the boys are out again 
   this time with girls 
   shortly cropped 
   tank topped

   whistling late night Vilnius blues 
   in unchic shoes s
   tepping over gutters filled with

          and blue and yellow bouquets

And it stays
   the sun reflecting off
   tables of amber
   rubbing off on linen sweaters
   and glass smashed to the ground
   like a man who needs to sleep
   and dream

And it seems
   like the stars could only glow whiter here
   and the air could always stand the thickness of the smoke

   Houses massaged by the shoulders of kissing lovers are  clean
   and so are the singing boys watching the sky grow blue 
   as they race the birds home

And the women with knotted twisted hands 
   holding bouquets come out



She was a lover of horses
Bay, sorrel, dun
Feet in the grass callused, toes wet squirming in dew
Tongue dipped in milk, cheeks in freckled light

She was a lover of horses
Maker of ships of driftwood sailing off to where it's lonely
Writer on birch
Taster of honey on warm cucumber slices

She was a lover of horses
Hair like vines, tangled like mine
Hands wide, life line long
Nails scraped through earth, eyes afraid of burning things

She was a lover of horses
And a love of one man
Bare stomach kisses mounted to wrists
His poetry curled around her fingers like air

She was a lover of horses
A carrier of tombstones
A warrior of rain
A rememberer of poetry soon buried with violets beneath her

She was a lover of horses
Necklaces hanging with amber to her breasts
Champagne painted upon her lips
Cigarettes between her fingers, a farewell to poems

She was a lover of horses
A teller of stories, a baker of gingerbread
A warm scent on wilted skin
A gatherer of mushrooms, fingers in my hair

She was a lover of horses
Shuffling steps down long halls
Six kisses on each cheek
White hair like feathers wrapped in silk

She was a lover of horses
A love of one man
A love of mine
A rememberer of poetry soon buried with violets



She was with hollow eyes 
Unseeing things, they were 
Pits in the dark, swallowing sight 
She was in the black 
A carrier of night

With hands that smelled of shifted earth 
And none beneath her nails 
She blew the fires from the wick 
And left only wax to melt

She cried
"Capture the forest 
And bury the poems with the roots 
Let them write with ice and paint with blood upon the snow"

An arm was found at the edge of a river 
She kept it in her coat 
It grew old and heavy 
Still she kept it in her coat

"Unplug the radio
Let them sing with soil in their mouths"
She screamed
She kept the arm within her coat even as it pulsed and breathed

Like carrots she pulled the crosses from the hills 
Like yellow seeds she tossed old hymns 
She was with hollow eyes 
And lips she painted red 
"Have them kiss me, I wish to feel their tongues 
Watch how they'll be fed"

With hands that smelled of shifted earth 
She collected lullabies 
In bags that smelled of summers lost 
And forgotten thrusts and sighs

"Steal their books
Put a match on beloved pages" she ordered
Voice is not quiet
When thoughts speak so loud
Yellow grain broken
Green forests captured
Red blood painted in the snow
She with hollow eyes sleeps well, an arm rotting by her side

Russian occupation of Lithuania 1940-1991



Sing me your song 101st and Amsterdam
On my long walk home
Tell me of your sidewalk cracks
Meat patties
And tight black skirts
Show me your rhythm
The flick of your wrist with the roll of your dice
Your merengue twists and coconut ice
Show me, Amsterdam
The way your Maria paints her lips
I love the red she wears like heat
The battered bruised gray of your free flowing streets
The beer and sweat on my front steps
The way you lick your teeth and sigh
When smooth flowing hips go swaying by
Give me a taste, Amsterdam
Your corners rot and crumble away
Your street turns, shifts in daze
Your music injects an energy craze
Show me, Amsterdam
The way you break your glass and sell your sugarcane
How about a bite of your meat?
J love you, poets of 101st
The way you wink and wear your hats
Take long swigs from paper bags
Give me your song
Let your car alarms bing
Door bells ring
Happy men sing
I'm in love with your
Sticky, green bottles of Coco Rico
Your red bodega signs
Your shift
Your way
The lyrics of your song
Your sensual sway



It was her room, my mommy's, my mamyte's, snug off to the side, a wall of shelves hurriedly stuffed with tambourines and bongo drums, blue wigs, diamond studded leather jackets and red tiger striped tights which bulged at my knees even when I rolled them over and over tucked beneath my tutu. It was her room haunted by the scent of Chloe Perfume, aerosol hairspray and Benson & Hedges Cigarettes. The room was fanciful with the piles of the legendary Rastafarian records and flame colored stiletto heels. Most of the time when I sat in that room, I snuck on baby blue eye shadow with a powder puff that made my eyes close. Or I slept cuddled up with a bunny blanket on the huge trunk just beneath the dressing table. But this time, this time, when I was four years old, being here was something special. Mamyte wasn't in the studio rehearsing or off in Jamaica. Mamyte was in her room with me, her little girl, brushing my hair, my hair not dyed red, purple or blond, but my natural amber colored hair that matched my eyes and fell thin and slippery just over my knobby shoulders. Mamyte was using her brush, the hard yellow brush that hurt my scalp and was made for fire engine red, spiky hair, her hair. Still, even though it hurt, I loved it, the way her fingers caressed my hair after the brush bumped along. "Papa is taking you to dinner, Nevada," she said, "so I have to braid your hair into two buns instead of spiking it up the way I like it. Papa loves it when you look like one of those Black Forest German children." I nodded, my pouty lips pushed together as I stared at my reflection. I stared while my mother created, pinning and braiding, making sure the part was nice and even. "You look pretty/' she said when she was finished. But even then I didn't know how to respond to compliments. I just winced and looked away as usual, thinking I looked like something was weird or wrong with me. She pulled away, but I clung to her Trash and Vaudeville mini skirt. "Stay. Stay. I just have one question," I shouted. "What, Nevada? What do you need to know right now?" I looked in the mirror and smelled her Chloe. I didn't want her to leave and close up her room. Think of a question, any question so I can be in here a little while longer', I thought. "Mamyte. Who's this man? I like his hair." I pointed to a large, round pin on the collar of one of the leather jackets hanging up in the closet. "Oh! That's Bob Marley, the greatest reggae artist of all time. But he's not here, anymore, baby Nevada. He died of a brain tumor." DIED. Bob Marley. DEAD DEAD DEAD. Why, I'm not precisely sure today, but at that moment I understood what that word meant and how much it hurt to lose someone. Mamyte loved this man, Bob Marley, and he was dead. I looked in the mirror at my face and saw a tiny German-Lithuanian girl with braided hair in buns and a button nose, hazel eyes flooding uncontrollably with tears. This meant I could die, too. One day I would be gone like Bob Marley, no longer able to run my fingers curiously through the blue wigs, try on stiletto heels, brush my eyes with the powder puff or smell the Chloe. If I were gone, I would never again feel the thump thump caress of my mamyte brushing my hair. But, at that moment, I felt her arms—her arms, which closed protectively around me and I remember, although I was scared, terrified, with my new understanding of death. In a second, I was fine. My mamyte's arms were around me and I was going to stay there locked between them as long as I possibly could.



Alina Nevada Diebold is 17, lives in Manhattan, and is the great granddaughter of the Lithuanian classic Balys Sruoga (1896-1947).