A Colorful Divorce: A Short Romance

Like the rest of us, Antoine married Jordyn on a whim. And also like the rest of us, he had brought an entire history along with him into their marriage. Some would say Antoine carried with him an entire museum, stockpiled with various ancient artifacts, fragmented grenades, and broken timelines. He had his mistresses, his girlfriends—but mostly he had his mother.

“An-t-whone!” she used to shout from a room that could host a New Year’ party. “An-t-whone, darling! Let me have Ardell make you breakfast. You must be staar-ving, baby.” She was a short woman with black hair that somehow managed to reach her waist. Her big, greying eyes mostly spent their days observing the maids cleaning her villa or Antoine having breakfast. But most of her days were really spent gazing at a large portrait of Antoine’s father that hung over a fireplace.

“He was a good man,” she used to say, as she’d look up at the painting. “You need to be like him,” she’d command him, as she’d wrap her arms around his shoulders.

She never failed to remind Antoine of the riches they had come from. Antoine’s father, who had died of a heart attack in the most formulaic of manners, had been a boring justice who led an almost mechanical existence.

Antoine only had a single memory of his father, who had died when Antoine was still a child. One summer, the three of them had gone to a lake for the weekend. On a hike up a nearby mountain, the little boy brought a canteen along with him. After he had finished drinking the water from it, Antoine decided to toss it into a nearby stream. His father, who was ever-present in those days, quickly taught his son a lesson. He asked Antoine’s mother to toss her canteen into the stream too. When she had done so, the justice himself tossed his near theirs. And so, it was there, on a mountain overlooking a blue lake, that Antoine first learned the concepts of ethics and rational thinking.

“Look here, boy,” his father scolded sternly the son. “Does this stream look as pristine as you found it?” he questioned him.

“It’s nice, father,” Antoine replied ashamedly with eyes cast low (for he did not know what else to say).

“Now go pick up your canteen and carry it. You brought it up the mountain; you’ll take it down,” his father decreed.

He explained to his son his reasoning. “If everyone were to act in the way you had acted, there would be no stream for us to look at here. It’d be a trash heap.”

“Yes, father,” Antoine had answered.

“Are we interested in hiking to admire a trash heap?” he had asked his son.

After the incident, the family had picked up their canteens and had walked in silence for the remainder of the hike to the sound of his father humming Bach.

This was the sole memory Antoine had of his father—and it used to follow him wherever he went. During his high school years he was known as an austere young lad who acted in the most self-controlled of manners. However, with the passing of his father, the passage of time, and with his mother’s overbearing defensiveness in regards to all of her son’s actions, Antoine would soon grow up to be the vain, unethical man that he was. His overbearing mother smothered him in an eternal and unconditional love, a love all mothers are familiar with.

During his undergraduate years at Princeton, he was the lethal playboy who broke two hearts a week. He led a lavish lifestyle devoid of all ethics. He inherited his father’s wealth and squandered it on liquor, Friday night parties, and women who were willing to sell themselves for “an experience of a lifetime” with “Princeton’s own Gatsby.” In such a way, as it so often happens, the young man became increasingly dependent on sex, women, and alcohol.

One night, after much drinking, Antoine slept with the university president’s own freshman daughter, before kicking her out of his room. The next day, the entire school knew of the event. It wasn’t so much the fact that he kicked her out after ravishing her that fed the rumors; it was, rather, the manner in which he did it. He made her leave naked. Someone kindly handed her a pillowcase, hence alleviating some of her humiliation.

For a man who only stood at five foot eight, Antoine had an arresting personality that conveyed to those around him power, privilege, and prestige. His black hair, undoubtedly inherited from his mother, shone like onyx. His green eyes dodged sharply like his father’s. While studying economics at Princeton—and having developed his own capitalist system—Antoine met our Jordyn.

Like Antoine, Jordyn was old money, mostly in school because of her father’s “connections.” Jordyn was unquestionably a splendid beauty who was more interested in whether “Princeton’s own Gatsby” noticed her scarlet lips than she was in medieval art. She had one of those charming college-girl personalities, being agreeable in the most timid of manners. For Jordyn, every question always led to an “Ah” or an “Oh, so yes.” Her petite frame made her somewhat legendary at the school. The boys used to open doors for her mostly because they did not believe she could open them on her own. Her hair was gossip-catalyzing and talked about in the school’s literary journal. Whereas Antoine broke two hearts a week, our Jordyn wore two colors a week—her hair being dyed a various array of colors throughout the school year. An anonymous romantic once wrote a poem for her titled “The Queen of All Color” that was published in The Daily Princetonian.

She was the royal confidante Antoine needed to secure a prosperous future. (By this time, his inheritance had all but been exhausted.) And so Antoine wooed Jordyn in the most playboyistic of manners.

It must be added, however, that Jordyn was a girl who, like Antoine, “had so much and yet accomplished so little.” She was, as it were, the epitome of a spoiled child raised without a hint of self-consciousness. The money she had—that is, the money that fell from out of the heavenly vault above, being provided by her father—would shortly be spent on the most vain things imaginable. The two lovers would soon find themselves bereft of any ethic, solely living on the toxic fumes of alcohol and squandered riches…

One fine spring morning, Antoine parked his convertible Lexus on the shores of Lake Carnegie, just south of Princeton’s campus. The sunlight was falling in streams of violet and yellow, causing the lake waters to glow in a varied rainbow of colors. Antoine, dressed in suit and tie, made his way to the water. He was alone, having spent the previous night relishing the presence of dozens of college girls. It was on mornings like this, right after the storm of a party, that he felt most satisfied with his life.

“How goes it, father?” he mouthed the words while looking across the lake. “I’m pretty sure none of it matters to you, but I’m doing an epic job here at your alma mater. The professors love my outlook on life. They find my academic achievements rather mediocre, but that was never my forte anyhow. I’m here to enjoy every little bit of sunshine that I can. Mother is still worshipping you. I guess that’s the one thing you and I have in common: we want to be worshipped by our women,” he mumbled the last words with a smirk on his face, looking down at his dress shoes with his hands in his pockets.

Behind him a feminine voice, as gentle as the breeze, made itself known. “Are you praying?”

Startled, Antoine quickly looked up, jerking his hands out of his pockets as if in self-defense, only to find himself staring into the eyes of a most wondrous being. She had two spring green eyes and long eyelashes that seemed to dance even when her gaze calmly rested on his face.

Finding himself in a rather awkward position, Antoine struggled to articulate a confident response. “Yes, in fact. I’m praying to the goddess of this lake to send me a mermaid.” As he said the last line, a huge grin erupted gleefully on his face. “Yes,” he thought to himself. “This is the Antoine the women here adore.”

“Is that so? And what name does this goddess go by?” the girl asked, stretching her right arm out for him to grasp in an almost meticulous manner. An inviting smile took ahold of her beautiful appearance.

“Electra is her name.” He looked at her delicate fingers and allowed himself to be invited. Taking her hand, he said, “They call me Antoine. But for you I’ll be Merman.”

“I love Electra,” she softly cooed. “I’ll be your little mermaid.”

“Mermaid it is!” he excitedly repeated. “Well, where do you want to go, my lovely?”

“Take me somewhere. Anywhere.”

“‘Anywhere’ it is,” he said. “I know just the perfect place for a beauty such as yourself! It is the best ‘Anywhere’ in the whole wide world.”

And that is how the two lovers met.

Antoine wrapped his arms around her petite frame and carried her off into the sunrise. With the light blue sky above and the morning dew below, and the wind necking Jordyn’s hair as she drove beside Antoine, a prequel to a summer romance began to take form. Out of the primordial waters of memories past, a simple act of confidence, buttressed by feminine curiosity, gave birth to what we now call love.

It was all so very easy—a mere façade. A smile. A strong handshake. An explosion of confidence. A nonchalant stance mixed with arrogance and self-certainty. That was all it took to make a young girl go all hypnotic-eyed over a male. And it worked every time.

At a faded red stop sign, near empty fields budding with an unknown fragrance, Antoine reached over and grabbed her shivering hair. He inhaled her scent, letting his hands invade her hips while she panted with novel fascination. She helped him remove her dress, not in the least intimidated at how indiscreet, how vulnerable the two of them were near those fields.

After what seemed like hours—as if time itself were put on a time-out—the two found themselves eating molten ice cream from a rooftop bar. He was licking the warm cream with a tired tongue, a tongue that had, only moments earlier, worked Jordyn into volatile ecstasy.

“So what brought you to Princeton,” asked Antoine, after they had finished suckling on mounds of ice cream.

For a momentary second it appeared to Antoine that his unnamed date—his “Mermaid”—was on the verge of blushing. Then, in a most unpredictable manner, she bolted up and exclaimed, “Why talk about Princeton? Let’s go for a walk in the park. I want to leave all this nonsense behind. Come with me.” She said that last sentence with an unknown urgency.

Without hesitating, Antoine called the waitress, paid the bill, and took his mystery woman to a nearby park.

“Is something the matter?” Antoine asked when they were about a half-mile into a wooded area.

“I like you,” she bluntly said. “I heard about you from the others,” she continued. “I think you and I will be very good friends.” She placed a confident emphasis on the word “very.”

A peculiar effervescence settled like a deep fog near his groin as she carefully said “very.” “And what exactly did the others say,” he asked with interest awakened.

“Oh, you know, the usual. That you’re a fun guy with lots of ambitions. I followed you down to the lake.”

“You followed me?” he asked surprised.

“Well, not exactly. I just saw you go down to the lake several times. I thought it was the best time for me to catch you alone.” She was speaking now in a hushed voice with bits and pieces of uncertainty.

He felt an emotional tug within. “That’s very thoughtful of you,” he said with a newfound tenderness. “Why did you want to see me alone?”

“To be honest, I like how similar we are.”


“How shall I put it? You…you wear such fine apparel. I absolutely love it. And I find you so attractive. I think I could marry you,” she laughed. Her eyes beamed with light warmth and childish humor.

He was taken aback by her comments. “I guess I’ll have to buy a new wardrobe then if I want to leave you,” he joked.

“Oh, you won’t leave me. I’ll be your muse. You heard about that poem they wrote about me?” she asked him. “I always imagined you wrote it for me.”

Antoine laughed. “I did indeed! I wrote it for you.” He had no idea why, but her little laugh, and her desire to please him greatly inflated his vain ego. “So what that he did not write poetry? The hell with it. The girl liked the poem and imagined he had written it for her. Well, let it be so. Let it be so,” he assured himself.

For several hours he engaged in such charming dialogue with his muse. She swayed side to side as she walked beside him. It was as if she did not walk at all; it was almost as if she glided. And next to her he felt like a god in his own right. All they needed was a book of Psalms, a book that she could use to sing him his praises. Before the day ended, before either of them had closed their eyes, they both knew one simple yet profound truth: they were made for each other.

Several years later, after throwing a wedding that included some ten thousand guests, Antoine and Jordyn drank from the deep wells of marital love. The stories they told one another, and the stories they told themselves, were as grand as the paintings of the Renaissance, as large as a Rubens. Everything Antoine did was done on an epic scale in the most grand of manners. The parties he threw were notoriously rowdy, being filled with every elitist prick that ever shopped at a Von Maur. The alcohol they drank was imported from the vineyards of Italy, sold to them at exaggerated rates. Jordyn put her art degree to use by employing artistic painting techniques whenever she had a chance. The conversation could be about saltine crackers and she’d say something like, “These crackers are as brittle as the age-old tempura paint of the Ustyug Annunciation.” Nobody would have a single clue as to what she meant by “tempura” or by the convoluted title “Ustyug Annunciation.” But, nonetheless, everyone would smile and agree with Jordyn’s input. She was, after all, the beloved hostess.

Many years were spent like this. They were deemed, in retrospect, “the honeymoon years.” The pathetic things that held them together—good sex once a week, Antoine’s “fine apparel,” and Jordyn’s worshipful behavior—would soon come to a bleak end by means of monotonous routine like a repetitive E. L. James novel. The sex was boring and routine. The clothing was boring and routine. And the worship was boring and routine. Even the alcoholic hangovers became as boring and routine as the rest of their ridiculous existence.

One morning, when the sun had barely dressed itself for another day, Antoine woke up with a blasting headache. His wife, who looked like shit, lie still a few inches away, sprawled on a bed that contained vomit on its sheets. “Is it the hangover or is this woman really ugly?” he asked himself. “Why is she in my bed?” A flicker of sobriety led him to believe it was, in fact, not just any woman, but his very wife. Perhaps it was this moment that led Antoine to believe that he and his “wife” were no longer what they were: married.

On a Saturday afternoon, roughly a few weeks before their divorce, Jordyn and Antoine sat ten feet apart from one another on an old leather couch in a small office.

Blaine Fowers was a little-known professor at the University of Miami who disagreed with a lot of his fellow peers. He had little tolerance for so-called “communication therapy.” In his opinion, people didn’t need to communicate more. In fact, the issue was rarely communication per se in marriage; instead, the issue was that there was nothing to communicate about. When he heard about “the Gatsby of Princeton” he immediately felt it was his duty to work with this renowned playboy and his wife.

Professor Fowers, a man who looked to be in his forties, wearing a suit and tie, walked in. He looked at the couple briefly, before staring down at the massive folder full of papers in his hand.

“How did you two meet?” he asked, once he was settled in his armchair.

Antoine sat calmly while his soon-to-be ex-wife twitched ferociously as if suffering from a grand mal seizure. She was evidently uncomfortable with the entire ordeal and understandably nervous.

Antoine’s voice cracked the silence. “We…we met at a lake. It was spring. She wore a yellow sundress, and I just sort of, uh, went along with it.”

“Went along with it?” Jordyn piped in. “What are you talking about? You said so yourself. You loved me,” she exclaimed angrily.

“Of course I loved you, but I loved many women…” Antoine’s voice trailed off. His hands, which had found their way to the brown leather belt he was wearing, preoccupied themselves with it. His face wore a tired and worn-out look.

“I just don’t understand the sudden change in your dressing habits. How could you do this to me, to us?” Jordyn’s eyes were filled to the brim with an authentic disbelief.

“Dressing habits?” Professor Fowers asked, evidently confused. Jordyn ignored the Professor’s question.

“You used to be so lawyer-esque with black suit, white shirt, and grey tie. Now you wear bright colors. Why did you change on me? You know how much I love to wear the bright colors in this family!” Jordyn passionately explained, looking directly at Antoine. He seemed to be unmoved by her pleas.

“Is this entire divorce centered on the issue of attire?” the Professor asked in dismay.

“Yes!” the two of them responded in concert with one another.

It was this “yes” that seemed to hold this couple together, the Professor noted. Outside of this shared unity, this shared agreement as to what their problem was, the couple had virtually nothing in common, no bond that held them together.

“Did your marriage produce any children?” the Professor asked. He almost wanted to laugh. “How could this couple produce anything but the absurd and the ridiculous?” he asked himself, knowing the answer beforehand.

“We didn’t want any children because we felt like it would disrupt our harmonious household,” Jordyn quite seriously said, with her eyes wide and large. She seemed to believe every word that proceeded from her own lips, as if the words were placed there not by her own will but by the gods themselves.

“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘we,’” Antoine interrupted. “You didn’t want to have any children because of one simple fact…”

“Oh, and what ‘simple fact’ is that?” Jordyn shot back.

“You didn’t want your blouses getting soiled by the child’s vomit. You said so yourself.”

Not in the least embarrassed or cognizant of the sheer stupidity of her opinions, Jordyn bluntly replied: “I was only joking. But you believed the joke. So you wanted that too.”

The Professor leaned back in his armchair and exhaled a long breath. He chose his words rather carefully, knowing that there was nothing reasonable one could say to this most irrational of couples. “I was under the wrong impression that this divorce, this great divide, was instigated by Mr. Antoine’s—how shall I put it?—‘loose’ behavior. I was led to believe that we were dealing with a philanderer and a heartbroken wife. I am sorry for assuming such…” He did not know what else to say, so he let the words float aimlessly around his little office.

“The women?” Jordyn asked. “I knew about them all along. That was never the issue.” She leaned in and looked deep into the eyes of the Professor. “You see, Professor, I’m a very simple human being. I am as aesthetic as they come. I love art, literature, paintings, clothing,” she said. “It’s what gives me life. And it’s not my fault that he went all different on me. I married him for who he was back then. And then he changed.” She snapped her fingers sharply when she pronounced that final word.

Looking annoyed, and having suffered enough of his wife’s bashing, Antoine uncrossed his legs, turned his torso towards her and said, “Oh, come on! I’m tired of having my pink t-shirts and purple flip-flops criticized by you! Cry me a Nile River,” he replied with a winsome grin.

Jordyn looked hurt by his remark, as she believed herself to be an expert in matching colors when it came to clothing. It was the final straw. “How could he dare criticize the very essence of my existence?” she tearfully asked herself. With that, she bolted up and left the office, leaving the Professor staring at his papers and Antoine fidgeting with his leather belt.


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev



You Keep Me In Rain: A Poem

Tonight the moon wanes tired

Sad wrinkles stretch across our sky

A nightingale sings without choir

And black rain flows with head held high


Is it brute fate that we both walk to?

Puddles—like sinkholes—beneath our feet

A whispered, “I love you” so overdue

You clasp my hand in exchange for dreams


The wretched umbrella with holes and leaks

Like love stories you and I once knew

“Where are you, darling?” my mouth still speaks

And raindrops fall like “I-love-yous”


You lean in closer to feel my wasting body

You’ve felt it once or twice before

In warmth, in cold it was you sought me

And still you keep me—in rain—once more


Written by Moses Y. Mikheyev

Dedicated to A (with no traces of K)



Adieu: A Poem

“You don’t even give me time to miss you,” she said

While I had one foot out the door and both eyes

On the girl from across the room who was

Paying rapt attention to my half-sulking, half-dead

Words hanging at my sides


“She always like that?” the girl whispered

I moved closer to her, just to feel her breathe on my pale

skin. So seductive those mouthfuls of poems

Being sent my way, like words wrapped in blankets,

Warm and cozy—and I felt at home


“Are you always this kind?” I asked her.

“See, the last girl never cared about it.

I spent most of my days jotting notes written

On the backs of letters being sent to ‘Elsewhere’

A place where I knew she’d never miss them”


“Don’t stop now. I hear your love in writing.

The way your eyes light up against a dark-night hurt

as you hold my hand and tell me all the places you’ve

never been but wish to go. And time leaves us alone.”

I whisper, “Promise me you’ll be here when I return.”


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev

And I Smile Too

Is this “I love you”? For—


Your lips taste like hallelujah

The kind that is muttered during godless hours

when children lie dreaming

beneath starry showers

And your nightgown is the see-through-you


Your eyes cast the divine

The kind that is found in cathedrals and stained windows

icons casting glances

wax candles that burn low

Painting sunsets on my soul’s tide


Your words are the lovely simple

The kind that slip through holes in your body

falling on my tongue like

mists of sweet, sweet honey

Watching your cheeks forecast dimples


And I smile too.


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev

In Search of ‘The One’: Disfiguring the Myth of American Individualism

In the dramatic dialogue The Symposium, Plato placed on the lips of Aristophanes a tale about the origins of romantic love. Aristophanes recounted how it was that humans had come to search for love. In the beginning, he tells us, the gods created three sexes: male, female, and the androgynous sex. The primal humans had four legs, four arms, and one head with two faces. They used to cartwheel around, and were rather powerful. In due time, Zeus became frightened at the possibility of an invasion of the gods’ residence at the hands of the primal humans—so he sought to strike them down with lightning. But the sacrifices the primal humans rendered unto the gods were enticing, so another way of limiting their primeval power was devised instead: cut them into halves.

Having sliced every primal human into half, the gods watched the humans run around as if lost in a haze looking for their other halves. The males sliced in half went looking for their counterparts—thus explaining homosexuality. The females sliced in half went looking for their counterparts—thus explaining lesbianism. And the androgynous primal humans cut in half went looking for their counterparts likewise—thus explaining heterosexuality.

“And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together; yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover’s intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment.”[1]

And if ever asked what it was that these lost “halves” desired, they would readily admit they desired to be one, to be whole again. “[T]here is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need.”[2]

This Greek myth is at the center of American individualism. It pervades our culture, our religion, our romantic rendezvous, our language, our literature and our arts. There is not a single facet of American life that is not rendered absolutely helpless in the face of this myth. What, then, is our version of this Greek myth? In this essay, I will argue that American individualism is the idealized obsession that some singular individual—seen as an “autonomous self” detached from a communal reality—exists who could satisfy another individual’s universal cravings. I believe that our individualism plays a particular role when it comes to human relationships. According to our myth, there exists such a person—whom we endow with the endearing phrase “the one”—who is able to fulfill virtually all (if not all) our primal and present urges. This person, this “the one,” is predominantly seen as the end-all-be-all of our entire existence, a person who is able to make us feel “whole again” (whatever that means). In our myth, then, the community—i.e., communal reality—is almost entirely displaced by thoroughgoing individualism. The person is not seen as a part of a community of human beings that share one another’s burdens; instead, the person is seen as a detached individual who must embody the totality of his or her culture’s existence. No longer is the burden of embodying the aforementioned existence placed on the community; in our American culture—driven by the myth of individualism—the burden is shifted onto the individual: a single individual is thought to be capable of embodying an entire religion, an entire nation, and an entire culture.

When the individual is seen as separate and distinct from his or her community—when the community plays virtually no role in romantic relationships—the burden placed on individuals is exceedingly great, even impossible, in my opinion, to bear. The expectations are enormous, being intolerable to sustain. No single individual, no matter how great they may be, could possibly embody an entire community. No single individual could play the role of spouse, lover, sex symbol, parent, employee, religious cleric, food critic, arts and culture specialist, etc., etc. The myth of American individualism supports the ludicrous idea that a single individual—whom we call “the one”—is able to replace the community. In this essay, I will argue that no individual can replace communal reality—and it is detrimental to the human psyche for someone else to expect the impossible from him or her.

In the beginning was the myth, and the myth gave birth to other myths. A thousand myths sprung from this one myth, and this one myth found its way into a book we know worship and adore: the Bible. And God allegedly endorsed this myth, and he called it good. “…[A]nd the two are united into one” (Genesis 2:24).[3]

In the book of Genesis, whatever its origins may be, the idea of two becoming one is present—as it is present in Plato’s Symposium. Whatever interpretations one may conjure up in regards to Genesis, the myth, as found in Plato, would be fully and lucidly presupposed in a Jewish text called the Book of Tobit, which dates from around the second-century BCE.

In Tobit, a young man by the name of Tobias falls in love with a virgin girl named Sarah. However, despite the presumed romantic future, Tobias is made aware of a sinister rumor: Sarah had been married to seven different men—and all have been killed by a demon whenever they tried to have sex with her. The demon was thought to be madly in love with Sarah, forbidding any man to sleep with her. En route to Sarah’s house, Tobias was instructed by Raphael, an angel. In his angelic instructions, Raphael told Tobias what he was to do on the first wedding night to make the demon go away. In addition, the angel assured Tobias that Sarah was meant for him. “Do not be afraid, for she was set apart for you before the world was made” (Tobit 6:18 NRSV). The story ends on a happy note, as everything goes as planned. My interest continues, however, because of the verse cited. What the angelic instructions presuppose is the idea of romantic predestination “before the world was made.”

Many Americans today, except for the few Catholics, probably have never heard of Tobit. But that’s all beside the point. The point is that our culture continues to tell this very story using different people and different names. Our romance novels betray romantic predestination; our pop music betrays romantic predestination; even our language betrays predestination. For example, the fact that a definite article precedes “one” in the phrase “the one” assures us of the singularity of this person’s existence. The idea is that there aren’t just several “ones” out there; nay, there is merely “the one.” If we had not bought into the Greek myth, we would have, at the very least, had a language in which “a one” was a colloquial expression. Such is not the case, however. Instead, the myth is shaping our language, the very discourse governing our romantic relations.

From scattered verses in the Bible to love songs buzzing on the radio, the myth of individualism continues. It is not that individually these ideas form a coherent myth; rather, taken as a whole, the ideas shape the underlying myth governing our romantic endeavors. Somewhere in the thousand or so years in which myths such as those found in Plato’s Symposium or the Book of Tobit found their voice, we have tuned in to them along the way and have become their audience. Whether we like it or not, the myth has ruined marriages. A husband turns to his wife for psychiatric consultation when, in fact, he should probably be turning to a trained psychiatrist, one who is within the community. A wife turns to her husband for an emotional need that may only be satisfied, instead, at an all-girls night out. But the myth is there: she was predestined for you; he was predestined for you. The struggle to make an individual replace a community is an impossible struggle—but the myth sustains that very idea. The marriage fails because an ideal is held up as a kind of reality. “I want my husband to be a good parent, an excellent lover, a perfect engineer, a humorous socialite, a…” The list continues into eternity until it vanishes from human sight. It’s okay, in other words, to have a wife that doesn’t function as your psychologist. Maybe you should actually talk about psychology with your friend who is a psychologist. It’s okay, in other words, to have a husband who doesn’t write you breathtaking poems and take you on wild dates. Maybe you should let him take you to the theater and let Hollywood do the romancing on his behalf. It’s okay to be married—and remain in need of community.

The myth of American individualism needs to be disfigured for what it really is: a myth. It’s not helping anyone by implying that someone could function as your everyone.


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev

Dedicated to Andrei Semenov–for being a good conversationalist as we sipped on Woodford bourbon and discussed the finer things in life…



[1] Plato, “Symposium,” The Internet Classics Archive, accessed December 17, 2016, http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html.

[2] Ibid. Italics mine.

[3] New Living Translation.

Bloomed Explosions of Radiant Unknowing: A Romantic Poem

I drew her up like water from a spring found flowing

With rains placed on receptive laps of summer

Where flowers bloomed explosions of radiant unknowing

And eyes that haunted mellow stars above her


Her eyes a deepest black of bluest seas

Hands trading in burnt bronze for pearls

Damn necklace torn from collar in ecstasy

Restless lips of mine find home eternal


I had her pressed against the ground like an iron plow

Her straps dropped like kernels into fertile black soil

Green valleys of rolling love on her naked brow

Kisses etching marks on her skin unspoiled


Near the desert regions of her sunshine navel

I found myself lurking in quenched exploration

That thirst of old and fragrant new, entangled

Her body, my body, in Edenic damnation


Did I ever know her, and she know me?

Or were we seasons on opposite ends of the year?

Always holding hands at a distance of two trees

One blooming summer and the other budding spring…


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev

I am currently finishing a master’s thesis at Emory University in theology and the philosophy of language. In my spare time, I am working on a romance novel called “The Seduction of Koroleva” and a collection of romantic poetry being written under the working title “In(Finite) Red.”

adultery poem

Ghost Kiss: A Poem

I cannot kiss your sparkled lips
As we roam our souls downtown
City lights wander drunken, toxic
Blind ghost-kisses landing on your mouth

The wet paint from twilight’s crime
Sticks to your heels like lover dust
Leaves you adulterous and mesmerized
Vain attempts to pretend focus

You quake your spine to face my wrath
Those sacred lips of yours still moving
Two ghosts and an insomniac
That tongue of yours accusing

And who the hell may they all be
if not some ravenous intruders?
I’ll wait for death to erase me
To discuss what still behooves us

So will it be that frozen phrase?
We said: “‘Till death do us part”
If so, then kill me; do not wait!
Your vows writhe, breaking on the rocks

But you are much too cunning, Sweets
To speak cruel words, weep poison
Beneath the skies of tidy sheets
You’ll sex me till I’m noiseless


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev

Dedicated to: E. A. P. (without traces of K)


AUTHOR’S NOTES: I’ve always found the concept of reconciliation post-adultery rather fascinating. Do people actually forgive the Other or do they merely forget? Or, which is more likely the case, do they simply pretend? Pretend to not care; pretend to not recall the atrocious act committed; pretend that it’ll never happen again.

It is, as my poem suggests (not that my interpretation of the poem has anything to add of any authority, since authorial intent is usually eradicated in the presence of the potent subjectivities of my fellow readers), the story of an adulterous affair committed by the feminine, female character. (Not that female characters are predisposed to such things; rather, I could not imagine it otherwise, being a heterosexual male myself [and such acts would, I assume, be committed against me by none other than a female character; but, of course, “God forbid!”]).

The poem begins with the negative, the “cannot” (reminding me of the “thou shalt nots” filling the Hebrew Scriptures). The characters find themselves entering city lights. And, if one is familiar with Johannine literature, one would know that sinners are afraid of entering the light. And the light becomes, for our female character, something which is rather “toxic.” Once in the light, the male character realizes the ghost-kisses, the “twilight crimes” committed by the Mrs.

But where lie her crimes? They are stuck beneath her heels; they are hidden—but they are, nonetheless, there, stuck to her like wet paint.

Once the conversation turns to confrontation, she pretends to focus. But it’s not meant to be. Then comes the victim mentality, the psychological rationalization. “Of course, it wasn’t me! It was that ghost, that invisible and ever-absent Other!”

The next several lines are self-explanatory; there is no need for me to comment on them.

The closing stanza changes the scene to the bedroom. There the couple is having sex with the male character’s voice coming to a close as he exchanges ethics and anger for sex. And so, sex wins. Sex is the de facto dictator when it comes to silencing those who have a voice, making them utterly “noiseless.”

poem poetry rain drops romantic romance dark unrequited love sensual

When the Tears Wrote: A Poem

Seek to love first rather than understand

For faith is a virtue your lover demands

Hurricane tides and nomadic dreams

Innumerable changes in fluctuating seas

Flowers sent first, prior to meeting

Hand held back, coy, her passions receding


Oh, but her youth, so brief and so tender

Like reckless and wilting roses you sent her

Maybe she’ll change? Maybe she’ll listen?

Could I be a god in her damn religion?

May I be Bonhoeffer when your Hitlers rise?

Could I be your Jesus or your Anti-Christ?


But this—this is poison, her potent hemlock

She’ll rest, peacefully, while I wrestle sleepwalk

Drug me tonight—again, again, and again

I’m spent on you; have no hope left to mend

Take all you will; I’m distant and drunken

I, Leaning Pisa; and you, Tower of London


Roses I’ve sent for various reasons

A poet’s regret is a literary artesian

And who am I to be sending her blossoms?

A ghost lingering ‘round her mind so colossal

Surely she knows that I am mere human?

Dead words on my page, while her body’s my music…


Why not take a chance? Why not share a moment?

Are you really so cold? and I, so fatefully boring?

Your beauty makes poems rain in my head

Floodwaters and rhymes have left me for dead

Should I charge you for murder on numerous counts?

Will you offer salvation? Grace—just an ounce?


Am I not worth saving, if only for rhymes?

For you, rewrite Shakespeare in four lovely lines

But you’re just a girl with a heart made of foam

Poets, like myself, your naiveté dethrones

So long brazen mistress; I’ve done what I could

I’ll rest my pen while tears write of you


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev


Dedicated to K.

human decay materialism critique of

Materialism; Or, The Human in Decay

Material things function as extensions of ourselves, extensions that serve as substitutes for the living and breathing beings that we cannot have. A romantic in despair is an impulsive consumer. When the life which we lead forces us to be “at peace” with the unpredictable, we, naturally, seek something stable, something material that will numb our senses. For example, if you were involved romantically with someone, and out-of-the-blue he or she decided to call it quits on the relationship, this instability—this unpredictable and uncontrollable chaos—would have terrified you, the romantic. Maybe it was all in my head the entire time? Maybe love was never there to begin with? Maybe people are just too unpredictable? Perhaps, this is why my own world is so prone to falling apart…

The unstable characters which surround us, characters that are no different than us, create within us the desire—nay, the demanding need!—to find something eternal, something stable, something that would last “forever.” And what could be the polar opposite of the unstable and the human? Material things of course!

It is in material things that we find a kind of permanence. No, I’m not suggesting that material things are permanent (for one knows that steel rusts and wood burns); rather, I am suggesting that material things are permanent enough for us to feel as if they are, indeed, stable. This stability, this permanence that we desire begins to surround us in our chaotic world as our material things increase in number. The more material things we buy, the more stable the environment around us feels.

Take me, for example (allow me to function as a sort of “martyr” for this piece!). In losing a relationship—or should I rather state “since having lost a relationship”?—I have done nothing but consume. And it was this nonsensical consumption that prompted my interest in examining, philosophically, what exactly it was that was causing me to consume.

I purchased a Fossil wallet, throwing my old, black leather one away. I use my wallets all the time, and the fact that I changed the wallet gave me a sense of “Well, you’ve entered a different stage in life; now you are a different person. Cast off your worries! The things that occurred in the past are no more!” Maybe that’s what I had been looking for all this time: I wanted to feel as if the past was the past, the relationship was over, and it was time for me to move on. My old wallet would have hindered that process. I am no longer that man who had used that wallet!

I purchased a new car, trading in my hybrid for a convertible Lexus. And why the hell not? You only live once, they say. I drive a lot. Maybe this, too, was a way for me to evade reliving the past—and I wanted nothing to do with it.

I also went shopping. (You might as well change out your wardrobe if you are planning on reinventing yourself, correct?) Why wear the same clothes that you used to wear? That person that wore them, that was a different he. That was a he that belonged to a she; a he that lived a life that is now completely foreign to you. You’ve left all of that behind too.

I then dyed my hair. Why look the same when you are no longer that you?

And so, in a mere few weeks, a distance had been created between the present you and the you who had lived in the past. Lines were drawn, phone numbers deleted, photos erased—an entire epoch in your life brought to a slow and annihilating death. And that was that.

You left it all behind.

You walk around feeling like a million bucks; you laugh in the most evolved of manners—for, by all means, you have changed.

But that is all change controlled by you. The entire time, you had been in charge. The dying of the hair, the purchasing of a new vehicle, the sheer mind-numbness of materialism—that was all “controlled demolition.” You were in charge. It gave you a sense of power, a sense of control. And it had been control that you had wanted the entire time. You wanted to feel like life made sense. People made sense.

But they didn’t. And they don’t.

Out of the tumultuous dizziness of heartbreaks and sorrows, out of the nauseating suppression of the human—there, in the dampest and darkest of places, out of the utter decay of the human, there materialism rears its monstrous head.

But materialism is not some sort of dream-state. Like anything else, it has its problems. Surrounded by the nonsensical possessions, one sinks into a despair far worse than the original wound—for the plastics and the steels of this world cannot quench the fires of a burning love, a dying-yet-resilient passion.

And so all one can do is return to the initial despair, to the initial wounds, the initial life-beginnings of a romance that would not be. “As a dog returns to its vomit…” (Proverbs 26:11). Perhaps it is here, in that most remedial of places, that one discovers a single truth: tgtyelijtlablir.[1]

Or maybe not.



As I leave the Mall of Georgia, sporting a new jacket, the sound of a folk artist playing guitar and singing some melancholic tunes distracts me. I approach him, toss him some money, and sit next to him. I ask him to “play me something romantic.” He complies with my wish.

After playing three songs for me, I finally leave a lighter and happier soul.


Written by: Moses Y. Mikheyev


[1] For those who do not know, this is the acronym for “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” It is a lyric written by Eden Ahbez for Nat King Cole’s song Nature Boy.