The Rat's Nest
крысиная нора

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

[updated Wednesday, May 4th, 2016]

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The new paradigm is, in essence, the old paradigm
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.

just black tea, no Masha

There are no oceans
just rivers and channels
radioactive and welcoming.

You drift from moments and associations
breathless and beaten, fractures aching worse
by the year. The crows in the dumpster
inquire, the first croaks “hope”
the second, “forget.”

The cottonwood has blossomed, life halfway
to death, pools at curbside, awaiting rain.
Your throat pulses with anxiety, feels
like love coughing
one shot more, one shot more, dear God.


She brushed an eyelash from my cheek
she stole quarters for laundry from my
wine jar while I was in the shower
she grabbed the wheel out of my hand
drunker than I she drove
the left side of the divide. I
simmered. Stewed. Once in a while boiled
burnt and scarred myself
broke hands and eggs.

These days of decay I find
I am much too tired to fight.

letter home

Dear Mother –

It seems everything starts with apologies.
I feel hot in my clothes
the pavement, broken and pitted
and the ptitsy have swarmed over Kreshchatyk Street
hazy muggy April cleavage
and I am alone as always
but I don’t want to break your
so I

I can’t read the graffiti
I need therapy
and a maid. I drink myself
to sleep
I hope you are well
I don’t know how many more years
I have here
or anywhere

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


More futile than
quitting smoking, much less drink
I have seen a nightly gallery
a menagerie of all the bestial mess
I care to see. I have forgiven
everybody else
everything. Not to say
I’m happy so its
piss under the bridge but I have become
half a dozen years too old to give many fucks
and forgiving does nothing.

It is a lie you’re told
from birth in a certain third of the world
and I remember once desperately wanting
to believe I could start over
but the only things that ever
is the reading of charges
and presentation of evidence.
All the rotten flowers
of years want more.

the conjunction

Oxana can’t explain
anything she says she
just doesn’t, and that’s it so
your choices have narrowed
from one to none and outside
is much colder than expected
and the sunset underdressed
and the nights are all coughing
ache and Oxana asks if you’re alright
and you say okay and
consider the conjunction but
reject it and swallow the rest because
sandstorms and dead soldiers
and oceans and ex-wives fucking and
witches and ashtrays and
litterboxes and service revolvers
and 12-step meetings and lectures
and shadows detached from doorways
bottles needles hospitals
warehouses counselors crypts
all make sense but
the conjunction never comes so
Oxana just smiles and says “great.”


Holidays. Flowers burst from
the metro station. Tolstoy
may have found them
incongruous once.

On a cold steel grey afternoon
bite the tip of a cigarette, toss
it off the bridge over Rusanovka Channel
let it drift and imagine it
the remnant of whatever passion you possessed.

Consider it.
The flame
the folder, the last smoldering
bit of it. Fifty

You want to throw your wallet into the water
but can’t bring yourself
to spoil the mood.

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

the usual

Every poem starts with a girl in a pub
with a frying pan. Yesterday was shit
interminable hours with wet socks. Today
is normal, stupid, and vague.

The pan is fresh from the store, by the way.
You did not stumble so much as shuffle
through the unexpected slush. Each minute
you think “there must be some sort of infamy
within these prayers” but age
makes them fewer and far between.


Of all the complaints
that remain to be dug up or
hurled through open windows
I am happiest to know
you left me, and not the other way

I am justified by the silhouette
of a man in a window in the city renovation
hanging wallpaper on a Saturday
night when the Anglophones emerge
with coquettish girls and the questions
are all the same for exiles both
temporary and permanent; why did you
come, indeed. Every horrible thing
I have ever is stuffed into
a closet shoebox you can open
but not interpret.

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

missive one

I know your scent has long since
washed out, but I confess
the greyness of the days have left
accidents and ashtrays and
lingering things that I
wish were you
your kisses, the remains of foregone summers
I clutch.

“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