Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


Antonia Alexandra Klimenko






Antonia Alexandra Klimenko 2







Timeless key    unlocking feeling–

Floating bridge   to other worlds–

how deeply we enter


from within  your chords

your harmonies   your dissonances

your associations so strangely familiar–


your gentle waves that beat upon our soul

Out of Nothingness you appear—

unfolding wings of invisible light


to transport us to the other there and here

(of what ? of when?  of where? we do not know)

How more clearly    we can see, now


into that   which may only be heard

as we, ourselves, dissolve into thin air

What is it?   that we remember


that transforms, transcends all language?

How delicate your breathing

into earth’s distilled atmosphere




Etude in Grey


There is so much certainty

between the black and white keys of my piano

that I am almost tempted to learn how

to play the notes as written.  It’s so unlike

a violin or slide trombone straining under

and over and finally into; or the bittersweet

arrival and departure of a Spring or Fall

that Keith-in the moment–Jarrett can recreate

or even how I might arrive at a poem.


I like to liken it to Winter:

crisp, clear, cascading, cyclical.  Determined

de-pend-a-ble chords.  Simultaneous fingers

on scales like children running up and down

cadences of well-defined stairs in a C major house.

Little trills at the ends of phrases plucked

like colorful embroidery on Tyrolean sleeves.

A Gershwin log in G major, burning brightly.

My unseen spirit like smoke in B flat minor

rising through Bach’s working brick chimney.


No, that can’t be right.  Rising through a chimney

would be more like an organ…and unseen smoke

Let’s try that again.  It’s like

fingers trying to grasp clouds moving through darkness,

or is that…

fingers trying to grasp darkness moving through clouds?

fingers moving through darkness trying to grasp…


                     thinking of taking up

the                     piano




That Cat Named Bird


Charlie “Bird“ Parker, jazz legend, 1920-1955


He could have squeezed the living daylights out of Hell

And so he did   And at his very leisure

His euphoric appetite for bright pain and dulled pleasures–

hip-hopping, be-bopping, jammin, slammin,

pumping iron and ironic in metaphoric basements

where swinging trumpets blow– was legendary

His valves, those brass knuckles of brute sound,

opened like delicate testicles (ah…the swell of it)

under the pressure of his well-manicured hand

Sometimes out of hand   But, then, that was Birdland


He lived for…Oh, what he’d give for:

whole notes suspended from jazz-stained ceilings

ripping, renting, warbling, squealing   A yardbird,

desperate to fill the uncompromising space

His face, a black hole, where stars exploding,

collapsed into fusion, replaced  glass windows

shattered like melting mirrors from the Ice Age

Nineteen was a nice age   The kid had class

His Cherokee, in B flat—pure synergy—

(unsurpassed) peeled poems off of every wall;

drove a silk fist, with a twist, through blood knowledge

stripped down to the quick    Once he heard the call…


no one could keep that horn in its cage


Dawn and neon merging together echoed

his interpolations   Muted shades of strobing rhythms–

he was a language of collisions–a free fall

of featherless wings,  Icarus caught in the wailing gale,

the chromatic scale of stark illusion, penetrating confusion

soft callused lips cut from the equinox of  tonal

depth and fragile power    The cryptic

and unspoken lodged in his bill–a shuttered

windowsill opening into a symphony, an epiphany,

a sunflower smiling wide in the ache of his throat

The dark chords of his vocabulary—stuttering nocturnal–

perched, now, in treetops   pronouncing his return


Melodies rose up through  rampant leaves of  invention

Green summer ferns, potted plants, rotted plants,

April in Paris, Bird Gets the Worm, Ornithology, (no apologies)

34 years of unearthly episodic breakups, breakdowns,

a narcotic intervention gave him pause, but no rest

Melodies rose up through visions of greatness,

sketches of  Miles, Young, and Dizzy,

burnt bulbs eclipsing, distant strains mixing chaotic

in fresh saxophonic, kaleidoscopic dimension


Pneumonia in half breaths, a heartfelt diminuendo

What was he thinking?  This is it, maybe

This is the moment, this is the tone,

this is the one sound I can really bring home

No more hot-lining liner notes for the final crescendo

Play me the sudden death of midnights, Baby!

Play me the jazz-beaked Bird, that old deaf fool

Play me that one impossible screech of a cosmic sage

Blue on ebony    arpeggio of dreaming


No one could keep that horn in its cage!


And in one hush of morning, Destiny brushed

his dry parting lips, his unfettered hips,

the suicidal longing of his cold wet drool

The wick of his short flame lit an interval higher

in a sky of blazing burnout—his fame gone cool

That formless ghost of his haunting moan–

his feathers clipped   nothing lost   nothing wanting

His music out the window   his notes off the page


no one could keep that bird in its cage!




Neither This nor That


In the beginning was the word

and with it came the sound

That sound, that sound

that chanking echo of light vibration

intonation of creation

virtuoso improvisation

in the moment celebration sound.


And the sound came

from his horn of plenty–

that primal piercing pulsation

of deliberate distortion and       syncopation

like hot chocolate

like hot chocolate goin’ dowwwwn

in the steamy jazz joint jungle sound

bum bum bum bum bum-bumbumbumbumbum

And the sound came

From her soft bruised lips in the dark–

that low slow moaning

that low slow moaning of nuance and rapture

rising in polyphonic rhythm

like a choir of angels

through the rafters


And the sound came

and the sound Caaaammme

and The Sound CAAAAMMMME




Jazz new and quivering between two notes–

neither this nor that

neither this nor that

Jazz Cool and Jazz Hot

maybe I am and maybe I’m not

neither this nor that neither this nor that


And the sound came

How did I get to be so black and blue?

from New Orleans to Saint Louie

Armstrong waving his white handkerchief

like a flag

sounding his trumpet   and a call to freedom!

Because the sound went–

the sound went where it pleased!


And the sound came–

the sound came where it pleased!



neither this nor that

neither this nor that

Jazz Cool and Jazz Hot

maybe I am and maybe I’m not

Jazz blowin’ our minds

out of BOTH sides of his mouth.

Hush now, don’t explain…You’re my joy and pain…


Ragtime in no time

in the meantime    in between time

bebop and rebop

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing

Doo wop doo wop doo wop doo wop

Razmatazz and free jazz

to be or not to be jazz

Fusion in profusion in come-fusion

empty talk and stuff

whadya talk whadyatalk

and all that jazz


In the beginning was the word

And with it came the sound

the sound of the universe

expanding and contracting

breathing out and breathing in

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it

Let’s fall in let’s fall in 

Bum bum bum-bum bum bum-bum bum bum-bum


The sound known and knowable

through the essence of common senses

the spiritual exper—i–-en—ces

the inhalation and exhaltation

the horizontal celebration

of Love’s poem.

(Oh baby! Give me that anything-goes-jazz!)

The sound of the universe

earthbound and divine

breathing out and breathing in

Man trembling between both spheres

earthbound and divine

(breathing out and breathing in)

rocking back and forth between two notes–

neither this nor that

neither this nor that

Jazz Cool and Jazz Hot

Maybe i am and maybe i¨m not

Ohhhh Maaaannnnn!

CONTINually Blowing His OWN HORN

Bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah bah

Waaah Waaah wahhh




OH YEAHhhhhhh!













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 Henry Miller 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 Prsss’ presentation of Dada a la Carte at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art and Culture and performed in Entrée Dada at the Au Chat Noir. Klimenko’s work has appeared in CounterPunch, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Iodine Poetry Journal, Howl: San Francisco Poetry News, Boheme Verite, The Seventh Quarry, 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, The Best of Mad Swirl, Knot Magazine, Vox Populi, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Criterion International Literary Journal, Occupy Wall Street Anthology (in which she is distinguished as an American Poet) and Maintenant: Journal of Contemporary Dada Poetry and Art archived at the in Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She lives in Paris.

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