Words with Room Service: Selected Poems

Friday, March 25, 2011.

The following excerpt comes from Words with Room Service, the latest collection of poetry by Melanie Sevcenko. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Sevcenko currently lives in Berlin, where she works as a freelance journalist and reporter for international publications. Additionally she is a published poet and fiction writer and has worked for a number of international film festivals and non-profit organizations for documentary film development, education and promotion.

To purchase a copy of Words with Room Service please contact: info@berlinartlink.com and include “Sevcenko” in the subject line.


Senefelder No. 2

The weathered communist complex is built from
the book pages I hold in my hands,
free on my birthday from a vendor in Mauer Park.

I rest on the windowsill and face the building’s courtyard.

I once took a picture from down there in the rain,
framing up towards the top two windows of the fifth floor.

I have one exposure left,
I will give it to the alley of willow trees in the green park
around the corner from here.

I spent three weeks in this flat, smoking beside the record player
letting Miles Davis in headphones lead me into a dark snowfall.

Soundlessly it drifted down
when there was no horn for half a measure or more.

I walked back and forth across the wood floorboards,
swept them from time to time,
and crouched at piles of crunched up paper to find the loose change.


Hello to yellow and green
scattered along the canal side in a tessellation
of textured bits
rigged as set dressings of the seasonal shift.

And smells too, they comply.

The first floor wafts rich coffee
from behind heavy wooden doors.

The second is misted with orange zest.

Those beside the water have chosen
their outfits carefully

minding weather, their companions
and nature’s hues.

Most of today’s strollers
carry warm protrusions from their chests

four limbs in knitted wool
that dangle from a crossed sling.

Sometimes they hold a different kind of protrusion

a curved swelling with no extremities
a symbol of a generation, a demographic
a selfless shift.

How White the World Has Turned

How white the world has turned in a sky-lit café
at the center of Amsterdam.

I have been given heavy books that smell of the
virginity of printing presses.

and solid Italian coffee that makes an eclipsed moon
with its white china cup.

I’m planning on moving into this couch,
in your cross between London and Venice.

You may visit me as you please to discuss our age of access and
how technology might erase the past and let us
fear the death of the feel of books.

Tell me, Massimo,
how humans are analogue and how we like it that way
because we want to live life forwards.

I wish I could move about my lifetime as a mountain range
visible from a coin-sucking viewfinder

zooming back into the instances
when things made sense and brought gold.

There is the time just beyond now,
when he tells me about his missionary parents,
as I exit the film about missionary deeds.

There is the time when Berlin was my lover
and not my nagging wife,
and I was not growing so restless to cheat.

And just off this couch when I scoured the Amsterdam airport
looking for the library,
flying out of your wife and into your lover

There is the time she our housemate was the counterculture,
now she lives like a monk,
blessing her food and the space between our eyebrows.


Blog Entry by Clare Ros – in Berlin; Friday, March 25, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.