But there's more. I noted how the style of Stubborn was modeled on some translations of Mandelstam (the Monas/Burago versions). I was also taken with M's working lyrical method : the way he produced little sequences, "versions", repeated patterns which built up a kind of landscape.
Pushkin, of course, was the central sun of the Petersburg poets called Acmeists (Mandelstam, Gumilev, Akhmatova). Pushkin, the Russian national poet, Russia's Shakespeare, was of African descent - was a "black man", at times an endangered outcast. What's happening here, though, is that with "Pushkin the cat", the epic mock-epic Stubborn is snaking out invasive vines, binding Russian & American culture.
I'm looking for a lost cat – Pushkin,
whispered Henry, in the whisper gallery
of the grey-leaved garden. Whitely
his teeth shone, a ghostly grin.
Disappeared one day, last Halloween;
pirated away, no doubt, by a hateful crew
abroad, aboard some Lovecraft canoe
for no good – some unseen kerosene
kids' goatsblood adventure, some dim
dullday's decadent grotesquerie – broiled
Bruegel, missing his crossbred breath of old
mastery. They've all forgotten him.
Left my home, left my family, left them all
behind, for the sake of that gypsy feline;
a four-legged green-eyed sailorman – a
Manx, with an extra leg for a stolen stool. . .
Henry peered into the willow branches
weaving a blurred grey pattern overhead.
His memory. . . a mountain range (gone dead).
Bluejay smiled – a shadowy Sancho Panza.
RIP dear Pushkin