Poetry: High Heels by Nene Giorgadze
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a shoes can serve as such luminous tissue between cultures—here, Nene Giorgadze, a Georgian poet, covers them with sperm, with desire, with silence and nostalgia. “High Heels” is both an ode and a surrender, and our speaker makes an offering of broken heels like they were a bundle of flowers missing their heads.
I was only reminded of you when the high heels broke,
replacing the black and white slideshow,
somewhere between memory and reality, at a breakneck pace.
You know well that rhythm is my dark and perilous element.
As I ran away, the broken heels smelled of sperm.
An accessory of solitude (like a nose between the eyes)
or the color red anywhere on the body.
Sure, you will correct me and say that red is the color of undying passion.
I won’t argue, since that equals permanent loneliness, too.
How much I have wanted to pick up all those sharp broken heels,
put them in my purse instead of cosmetics, and come to you
like that. Would you have accepted me without the red lipstick?
Do you remember our childhood photograph?
There, carefree, we stood on the old fashioned balcony having
no idea of how we would prepare for each other in the future.
Or do you remember how I started wearing high heels
while watching a kaleidoscope of your women?
“Your heels move so smoothly,
as though pebbles leaving behind soft circles on the water’s surface.”
Your words were so tender.
After a long time, you let it slip
that you preferred the heels of sophisticated courtesans.
I know you would say it’s my endless improvisation
on the theme of love, but you see, it’s impossible
for the same thing to ever happen again between two people…
You know that rhythm is my dark and perilous element.
I’ll tell you more: the rhythm of silence is the swiftest.
Now—listen—the heels are rushing and clacking,
and now, all of the heels are broken,
their tips lodged into the most lethal point.
And only then does your image come to life.
Nene Giorgadze is a contemporary Georgian author and translator. Her poems have appeared in a number of literary publications in the U.S. Europe and Russia: POESIA, RHINO Poetry, The Raleigh Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Deus ex Machina, Vozdyh, Kreshatik, Zerkalo, and others. She is the author of A Triangle, the collection of short stories in Georgian (Pegasus, Tbilisi, 2011), and Point in Common, a chapbook collection of poems in Russian (Free Poetry, Cheboksar, 2016); a co-translator of Microscope, a collection of poems by a contemporary Georgian poet, Maia Sarishvili, into English. She has translated contemporary poetry from English and Russian into Georgian. Nene Giorgadze has participated in a number of literary festivals, including Poetry Days in Riga, Latvia, and New Poets’ Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her poems have been translated into English, Russian, Dutch, Italian, and Latvian languages. She lived in USA from 1999 to 2011. Since 2011, she has lived in Saint Petersburg, Russia.