The Horns Not Blown

RadhusetTowerwithStatues.jpg

The Rådhus tower

dwarfs the shadow

of its miniature

pointing to the

same cerulean sky

as the lur-blowers

raise their horns

in readiness

to announce

the arrival

of a virgin

passerby, but

their arms are tired

and their bronzed

mouths breathless,

their instruments

never played,

eternally silent.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Sankt Aleksandr Nevskij Kirke

RoyalQuarterAleksanderNevskijKirke

The triple onion domes, gilded and crossed,

atop the stripe- and diamond-patterned bricks

of the Muscovite-revival façade leave little

doubt of the church’s Russian pedigree;

its name confirms its dedication to the nation’s

sainted patron. Yet here the building rises

from a street in Købnhavn, like a single

vodka bottle on a shelf of akvavit,

having been financed by the second

Tsar Alex after the marriage of his son

to the Danish Princess Dagmar, who

would become Tsarita Maria when

the younger Alexander ascended

to the imperial throne. Though fate

struck a cruel blow to their son,

who lost his head when the Revolution

felled the Romanovs, their church

in Denmark stands, solid and orthodox.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

A Minion of Death Serves Breakfast at the Wakeup Hotel

waiter.jpg

Too anorexic to work as a fashion model

(with translucent skin whiter than the ghost

of porcelain drawn tight over his shaved

skull, black apron wrapped like a shroud

around his skeletal frame, eyes set deep

as if peering from a cave, mouth set

in a show of perpetual doom) he has taken

a job as a hotel waiter, moving around

the restaurant with zombie-like efficiency;

he performs his duties wordlessly, with

neither smile nor nod, replenishing the fruits

that nourish the living, with the secret

knowledge that death will take them soon

and he will feast finally on brains.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper

Thor Makes Coffee in Vesterbrø

VesterbroJoeandJuice

The barista wasn’t actually called Thor,

though he certainly might have been,

fair but strong Nordic features and

long platinum hair pulled back from

his face, grasping the espresso-machine

handle as if it were the fabled hammer–

godlike in his strength and beauty,

the mythic illusion marred only

by the incongruous sweatshirt

from an American university,

where he’s probably the star

of the rowing team or something.

And the cappuccino was good as well.

 

Copyright 2017

T. Allen Culpepper