21 March 2016

Which Poet of the Stray Dog Cafe are you?

Posted by John Clegg

Morning found you lying…

a) In a sledge packed deep with straw, the fateful matting scarcely covering you
b) In a bunk bed above Nikolai Gumilev, your first husband
c) In a bunk bed under Anna Akhmatova, your first wife
d) Many versts from Boris Pasternak, a 'conspiracy of miles', in which nevertheless you find a strange unity
e) On the floor in New Orleans, looking like the patches were about to eat your jeans, feeling like your belly was a warehouse for the blues

How does love taste?

a) Almonds
b) Gummy bears
c) Banana
d) Lava and battery acid
e) Sweet, when hearts like ours meet

Early one morning while making the rounds, you:

a) Were hit on the nut by a horseshoe, lobbed – strangely enough – by Stalin himself
b) Were labelled ‘half harlot, half nun’ by the USSR’s Director of Cultural Policy, Andrei Zhdanov
c) Remembered you had an appointment that evening at a cultural salon run by Symbolist philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanov in his famous ‘turreted house’, overlooking the gardens of the Tauride Palace in St. Petersburg
d) Walked across a number of bridges and thought about leaving your lover, Konstantin Rodzevich
e) Took a shot of cocaine, and shot your woman down

In what did you get married? How would you describe it, in five words or fewer?

a) Kiev, artistically
b) Kiev, wholeheartedly
c) Kiev, excitedly
d) Koktebel, youthfully
e) A fever, hotter than a pepper sprout

What do you keep the ends out for?

a) Political integrity
b) Remembrance
c) Big-game hunting
d) Honesty of vision
e) The ties that bind

What, in your opinion, is a good name for a child?

a) ‘Young Acmeist’
b) Lev
c) Lev
d) Efron
e) Sue

Where would you expect to find the highest concentration of wackos, weirdos, dingbats, and dodos?

a) Among the patrons of the ‘Stray Dog Café’
b) At a cultural salon run by Symbolist philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanov, which your first husband Nikolai Gumilev has dragged you to against your will
c) In a hunting lodge somewhere in Africa
d) In the ‘surly dawn / Of the Vagankovo cemetery’
e) With a backstage pass to the Willie Nelson show

Would you love to wear a rainbow every day, and tell the world that everything’s okay?

a) No
b) No
c) No
d) No
e) Yes


Mostly As: You are Osip Mandelstam. You believe (correctly) that a poet's biography should consist of nothing more than a list of books they have read.
Mostly Bs: You are Anna Akhmatova. You are tenacious, elegant, austere.
Mostly Cs: You are Nikolai Gumilev. You are an underrated treat, especially for people who like poems about giraffes.
Mostly Ds: You are Marina Tsvetaeva. Friends admire your vicacity and passion. No-one can spell your name right on the first try.
Mostly Es: You are not a poet of the Stray Dog Cafe at all. You are country legend Johnny Cash.