Archive for December, 2016

What do you believe?

What do you know?

Mistake?

Terror?

Weapon?

Disaster?

Holodomor and beyond.

Emptiness, death,

betrayal, dearth.

Immoral,

evil,

depravity,

ultimate stupidity.

Stalin eats cake,

smokes,

chokes,

fears the shadow of his plush settee,

and shoots his left foot to spite his right.

Beyond this,

out of respect,

my page remains blank.

Empty,

but not starved.

Quiet

but not dead.

Lest we forget,

humanity’s regret.

 

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She was the sister I never had.

I was low, blue and sad.

She swooped in from nowhere,

right in my face,

and, with a flash, took my photo.

Surprise!

Startled,

I blinked.

The camera was one of those old Polaroid types,

gradually the photo emerged from bottom,

printed,

developed,

so as to speak.

She waved it so the ink would dry,

and slid it smoothly into an envelope.

She’d be mailing it to me, she said:

“So, you’d better start looking out for yourself!”

Hah!

Ha, ha, ha!

Immediately, I *got* it,

and, genuinely touched,

I smiled.

“In the meantime, here,” she said,

and handed me a notebook.

“Write!”

Meaningfully and winsomely, she beamed,

turned,

and said goodbye.

I got on the bus, holding the notebook,

128 blank pages.

Mamka,

Papka,

Sestry,

Pechali,

Pamyat…

Such words swirled through my head.

Perhaps I could dream.

Perhaps I could write.

Prison.

A kind of prism.

Whatever imprisonment actually means,

besides bad luck…

Inside or outside,

to me,

there’s nothing better than solitary confinement,

indeed,

contrary to general perception,

it enriches the soul,

and offers a special kind of refinement,

if you’re receptive

and the right type.

Alas,

it breaks most,

and that’s what *they* want.

Me,

I must avoid Gen Pop at all costs!

 

A different kind of deportation…

A reverse orientation…

They sent me to Lviv

for writing a poem.

Little did they know where it would lead.

 

Ah, yes, Gleiwitz,

A lie,

Like all the others…

A lie,

To die for?

How many millions followed?

Deafening,

Deadening,

Noise.

 

Everyone hates Ukrainians,

apparently,

read history and news.

They all have a reason,

Poles, Jews, Russians, the EU.

… And you?

Me, I try to escape.

I go to the Pentathlon World Championships.

It’s Moskva (Raz, dva, tri!)…

The action is good and honest.

But, shit!

The Ukrainian has a gun,

pointing straight at everyone.

The poster is loud and clear, I turn away in fear.

Propaganda,

Impulses and repulses,

We miss the years of Soyuz,

In a sense,

Pain and defence,

We flinch…

but, please,

most of all,

can we remember,

fashion,

imagine,

the things we share,

like

peace,

and

recognize,

matter of fact

… we don’t have to be enemies?

 

Pamyat.

Memory.

History.

Both sides of the barricade,

border,

divide,

and everywhere in between,

we all have Pamyat,

feeling and belief.

Yesterday,

today,

tomorrow,

we can respect our Pamyat

and respect each other,

maybe,

with hope and charity,

honoring the commandment,

that we love one another,

as He has loved us.

Indeed,

indeed and in fact,

the Savior has been provided,

God born as flesh,

and Sacrificed.

Humans,

however divided,

… we don’t have to be enemies.

 

And, fitfully, I dreamt I was back in Vienna.

Which may, or may not be, where it all began,

this civilizational saga,

of freedom, captivity,

ideas and societal blues.

Walking the Ring,

with my friend Freud,

after lunch one day,

before and after coffee

(black, no sugar, no crap),

we stopped and looked in the window of an art dealer,

a Soviet specialist.

I smiled at the images,

and the images smiled at me.

Still life.

Life, still.

History.

Pamyat.

 

Are you ready?

It’s a long way up

and we’re going all the way to the top!

 

I stare at the wall until it becomes too much.

Then I shut my eyes.

I deliberately deep breathe, a certain rhythm.

I fall asleep.

After a while, I dream.

This is special, this place,

the only one left in all of Russia,

you must embrace the tradition,

the way,

if you are to get any benefit,

so they say…

Strip naked

and smear yourself with the greasy solution

(you need it for protection),

then wait for a booth,

get in,

shut the door,

and, in darkness, alone,

embrace the corrosive steam,

no one will hear you if you scream,

but endure,

endure,

embrace…

embrace the dream,

and you will come out better,

refreshed,

ready to go

forward.

Beautiful,

we must try.