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Russell Ragsdale   Contributor -- Kazakhstan



Russell H. Ragsdale was born in California in 1944, educated at the University of Arizona and lived for many years in Tucson, Arizona.  He has been a resident of Almaty, Kazakhstan since 1992.  He has nearly forty years in the food industry with eighteen years as a retail meat cutter followed by fifteen years as an executive chef.  He has been writing poetry since the early sixties.  In the past few years he has started teaching English and is currently a full time English teacher at the Kazakh Institute for Management, Economics, and Strategic Planning.  He has published many newspaper articles, and is a contributor to Doing Business With Kazakhstan, Kogan Page, London, 2003.  His poetry has appeared in Banks of the Little Miami, Autumn Leaves, Blue fifth Review, and he is awaiting publication of his first chapbook.  He speaks several languages and has performed in theater, movies, as a guest on numerous television shows, and as an actor in several commercials.  In Kazakhstan, he’s become an old stranger on the bus. 


unmarked doors
on unnamed streets
she stumbles
on the loose rocks
it is always so
going to work
she leaves all
maps behind
at the border between
democracy and
the spanish inquisition
his world
is a vast library
he is lost there
for hours at a time
quieter than
the end of a lullaby
he goes to the corner of
resentment and petty condescension
and punches in
they take
separate vacations
a voyage to
the continent of wild romance
a travel book
made from
pages torn out of
each imagination
frail visions
always a little disappointing
i am
a tourist here
castles of importance
seas of forgetfulness
towers of alone
rivers of regret
i can only view
others lives superficially
only they can go
where they live
the doorway to
the house of rumors




the faucet of winter
nothing comes out

mouth open in

frozen surprise


difficulties bark in the streets

laughter has closed the door

the lights are on

they are in there


Penelope has retired

to think about it

oh so many thoughts

while banquets rage


so many questions for me  too

how to quantify

what I don’t yet know

life singing songs I can’t count


moscvo vechera and countless songs

that lie hidden

the late night waking

dialogs of lovers


these words urge viewing

as I sit a swallow

down from Lethe

drowning by the capful


or drowning on an island

of my own invention

trying to count

time lost track of


because the dialog of lovers

is my first and last theme

as shallow tries to save my shipwreck

and I drown there


because I am shallow

and it knows me like cousins

because I am still here

and the question rages


an afterthought of casual relation

should I risk the frothy sea

an imminent shipwreck

or sing tonight to Circe

all copyrights belong to Russell Ragsdale

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