Four Poems by Susan Steudel


New Life

The dead give way –
want to curl against you like a new life,

want to carry
the bowl with you and me in it.

A penny hidden in a teacup,
teacup turned upside down.

Where the lake was once. Evaporated.
A flame cups into wax
new phased


The city is a folk tune.
The city, mirrored in night sky.

Listening to the revolutionary poems.

The old venue creaks under our feet.

Reality a roofless house.

A small dog wanders into the poem,
slinks out.

Some dogma makes out with itself.

I can navigate this.
I don’t know you but it doesn’t matter.

A Modern Painting

I wake in darkness
thinking of an Edward Hopper documentary
narrated by Steve Martin.
I see in detail
a corner of theatres and taxis,

an orderly photographer’s studio,
and invent motives

for the noncommittal postures.
muddiness of concrete.
A simple dress.

I wake beneath dark lamps,

my window fractions into deeper darkness.

A flooded road,
faces of the brown deer and limping buck.
From an antler
grass trails by the roots.

Lenin’s Telephones

Kremlin, 1918

Visible signs that this was a command post:
five telephones
which in Lenin’s hands
became instruments of naked power.

Lenin had the best telephones in Russia.
They were among the few telephones in Russia
in good working order.

Intricacies delighted him.
Lenin had an almost personal affection for his battery of telephones.
They were living presences.

‘Lenin’s Telephones’ is a found poem and incorporates text from The Life and Death of Lenin by Robert Payne (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1964).

Re-printed with permission of the publisher from New Theatre, by Susan Steudel, Coach House Books, 2012.

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Susan Steudel

Susan Steudel is the author of New Theatre (Coach House). She lives in Vancouver, where she belongs to a local writing collective and works days as a court reporter.

Copyright 2010 Great Plains Publications/Enfield & Wizenty

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