Monday, February 22, 2010


Thoughts about Toenails

Even though I do not need you
To scrap up trees
To eat flowing mangoes,
You are by my side, always,
Dutiful lovers,
Hugging curves no one else would.

I am your house of worship,
But you are my god.
I will stand as four walls can,
But you are my nails and screws,
And you will keep me together.

Justine Bienkowski

Monday, February 15, 2010


Butterfly Man

          “Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a
          butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
          - Zhuangzi

A thing happens in the night, when eyes shut,
Like whispering doors, and we die for a few hours.

But where are we truly alive?
Which part of us is the dream?

Half our lives are spent in dreams with one set of objects;
How could they possibly not exist?

He floated mid-air, murmuring to himself,
As butterflies are want to do,

Extending dusty wing tips upward into sun,
Dipping his mouth into succulent flower sex.

Justine Bienkowski

Friday, February 12, 2010

Free Verse

There is currently an exhibit at the Zimmerli Art Museum featuring the famed Russian poet Seva (Vsevolod) Nekrasov, who passed away in 2009. I had never heard of him before I went into the museum yesterday. Much of his poetry was inspired by his artist friends, and likewise, they were often inspired by his verse. The exhibit has many paintings and drawings created by visual artists who were inspired by Nekrasov. Also in the exhibit are a few of his books, as well as some other various pieces. For example, there is a moebius strip that he created which has the following written on it (in Russian): today still all still is fine still today still. In addition, there is a dvd playing of him reading his work in Russian, which I watched for 15-20 minutes, completely mesmerized.

Here is a poem I wrote about my experience at the exhibit, which will be further edited in the future. It is partially based on the following painting:


The Portrait of the Poet

Did he pose this way?
(Mouth cracked open in a smile,
Cheeks smiling,
Eyes smiling,
Eyes closed).
Or is he just--remembered
In minds,
The face of Buddha.

Would my parents trust him?
Or would they blame him too?

The Russian Essence is trapped
Within his wrinkles--
(Is it in my shoe?)

If I do not listen carefully,
I almost believe I can comprehend
The carefully crafted phonemes;
But, I think, it is just his looks
I understand.

Does he weep as he reads this poem?
These are not words,
They are the cries of a time.

He scratches his face with
Two fingers and I
Almost think at first
He just needed a cigarette.

Today still
All still is fine

Justine Bienkowski

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ballad Stanzas

The following is written in ballad form:

a (iambic tetrameter)
b (iambic trimeter)
c (iambic tetrameter)
b (iambic trimeter)


On sticky summer days in June,
When grunts become low sighs,
The knees of certain women can't
Be covered. Stroking thighs
Distinctly echo, screaming out
The foolish promises.
The ladies laze about courtyards,
Awaiting knights and mounts.
Their scarlet lips are pursed, perhaps
For kissing, maybe for
Some pouting. Who will tell them that
They wait for naught? A tour
Reveals a desperate desire
For close proximity.
They stretch, and playful knees escape
Their bounds; begin to flee.

Justine Bienkowski