“Art Isn’t Dead-It’s Still Dying” by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko

Art Isn’t Dead-It’s Still Dying


                                       “like Dali’s melting clocks”

                                                          ~Steffen Hortsman


How you plan to kill time
means nothing to me
as your troops invade my body

the city falls to its knees
I hold it crying in my arms
as I fall in love with strangers

Come, my friend
let us crucify the hour—
minute-hands nailed to the cross
our faces slowly turning
like Dali’s melting clocks
to and from the horizon

Please, let us hurry! We must go!
There is no arguing
the yes and no of night and day

But first
let me murder the piano
one by one and in every key—
lifting and lowering each tone
into its ebony grave its ivory tower—
raising even the dead
in living color
as only an Impressionist can
who draws pictures and no conclusions—
my blood spilling onto
the human canvas
stretched beyond all measure—
lamp-shades of skin and ash

(How beautiful the light
that bears the weight
of its own unbearable absence)

See how the undying wave to you, now
from the unframed corners of my mouth
(that other gas oven)
in muted screams of crimson and orange
bewildered yellow…muffled brown…acoustic blue
How sudden inspiration Dada!!! Mama!!!“
can explode
like shooting stars or automatic fire
into the tone-deaf illusion of pitch-black Nothingness

let me recreate
the fluorescence of your smile
let me reinvent myself
as I, on display
walk these random streets
freshly garbed in widows weeds

Even, now, as I speak
I am painting my screams green
I am dying my hair red
(as only the color blind can)
I am changing my name to Violette
and I am returning to that other country
I, a Russian da-da refugee
as cumbersome as obscure as open
as any French Door by Marcel Duchamp—
my windowpanes—translucemt, fragile cities of light—
my memory polished beyond recognition
my nose pressed to your shattered glass—
Paris, my mirror

O Paris
How often I have wandered your truth—
looking for me in search of you
And where is God when I need Her now
to find my way back in the dark?

Please, let us hurry! Let’s go home!
Let us marry the bed
Let us marry the mirror
Let us marry this moment—
my fingers kneeling before yours in prayer
folding the blessings of faceless angels
into the corners of my mouth

Only this There is no other moment
Only this
crossing the threshold of Dream
passing through our veil of tears
crossing myself
as you enter me
the window of my reflection
transcendent, decoded
Holy, Yessssss




Antonia Alexandra Klimenko trained as an actress at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary Tambimutttu of Poetry London–publisher of T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, and Bob Dylan, to name a few. After his death, it was his friend, the late great Kathleen Raine, who took an interest in her writing and encouraged her to publish. Although her manuscript was orphaned upon ‘Tambi’s passing, her poems and correspondence are included in his Special Collections at Northwestern University. The former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion and devotee of Spoken Word has performed at various venues such as the renowned Purple Onion and The Intersection for the Arts–the oldest alternative art space in the City by the Bay. Her one-woman-show, Where the Blue Begins was presented in conjunction with Sonoma’s performing art series Women on the Edge. Most recently, she participated in Three Room Press’ presentation of Dada a la Carte at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture. Klimenko’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in CounterPunch, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Seventh Quarry, Howl: San Francisco Poetry News, Boheme Verite, The Bastille, Paris Lit Up, Strangers in Paris–New Writing Inspired by the City of Light, The Last Clean Dirty Shirt Anthology, Voyeur, The Indian River Review, Blook, Sweat and Tears, Quail Bell, Southeast Review, The Best of Mad Swirl, Knot Magazine, Vox Populi, Levure Litteraire, The Criterion International Literary Journal, Occupy Wall Street Anthology (in which she is distinguished as an American Poet) and Maintenant: Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She lives in Paris.

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