“We swim as far as there is ocean to believe in”
One of my favorite lines from The Catalog Of Broken Things by A. Molotkov. It resonated with me from the moment I first read it. In life we are taught that broken things have no value. They are garbage to be discarded and replaced by something new. In the grand fashion of any Cheshire creature, A. Molotkov so easily shows us why that’s not so, that there is treasure in broken things.
He guides us down the mirrored halls of the book’s four chapters. The experience of reading their pages is as walking through a dream; hazy, seemingly disconnected pictures, appearing and disappearing, revealing just enough to inspire our minds to fill in the rest. It reminded me of Relativity by M.C. Escher where every angle, every light variant reveals something not seen before. Turn around and you’re looking at the past. A slight shift to the right and you see the present. More than telling a story or evoking sentiment, his existential writing asks questions that only the reader can hear and answer. Perhaps that’s why that line, “We swim as far as there is ocean to believe in,” struck me from the moment I read it. As with most of A. Molotkov’s writings, I find The Catalog Of Broken Things so thought-provoking.
Even after meeting A. Molotkov, I still wasn’t sure what type of reading to expect from the soft-spoken author. Would we see the delightful mischief-maker or the backpacking old soul? After a fantastic introduction from our brilliant host and coordinator, David Hill, Tola lit up his poems with his energy and warmth. I need to pause here and give a gigantic shout out to David Hill for putting together such awesome open mic nights. They’re just phenomenal. Whether you’re sharing your own creations or pieces from your favorite poet or just enjoying hearing poetry, these open mic events are so much fun! The people you meet there are just amazing. Bjorn Sorenson, the Community Business Development Manager for Vancouver’s Barnes and Noble, is another person we owe a huge thanks to for creating a lovely hamlet for people to share and enjoy such great works.
Tola performed at a rhythmic pace that scoops you up like a tropical current. One couldn’t help but be carried away. I was inspired on more than one occasion to shout “right on!” but had to suppress. It’s impossible to do that and hold a camera steady, but that’s how moving an A. Molotkov reading can be:
As Tola effortlessly shifted between the old soul and the mischief-maker with little more effort than the Cheshire Cat, I couldn’t help but think of kintsukuroi. It’s the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that something is more beautiful for having been broken. Perfectly metaphoric for The Catalog Of Broken Things. From broken things, something stronger and more beautiful can grow.
The Catalog Of Broken Things can be purchased at Barnes and Noble stores or through their site (purchase book).
Additional works by A. Molotkov are available through his website.
The next open mic poetry event will be on September 26th at 7pm at the Barnes and Noble store in Vancouver, WA. Featured poet, Andrew Michael Roberts, will be reading from two of his works, Good Beast and Something Has to Happen Next. For more information on this event, please visit Open Mic at Barnes and Noble.
by Danielle Champiet-Coronado