Archive for the ‘Samizdat’ Category

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.

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.

Everybody thinks

everybody else

is trash.

Guess what?

En masse,

they’re right!

This is the world we have become.

 

The Boyars are back in town,

the Kulaks are happy,

the revolution’s complete,

360.

The people are screwed,

further than ever,

into and beneath the ground.

Oppression.

Compression.

Landfill.

Nastiness rules in society,

no real gain.

 

Discombobulated.

At first glance I thought it said:

Kinder, Küche, Kirche…

The 3 Ks,

what women are meant to be,

as they used to say,

devotees.

Then my eyes focused

and the words formed more clearly…

My preconception was incorrect.

Reality was way more banal.

These thoughts repeated as if on video loop

through my mind,

as I felt the crash

of a fist

or a rock

hitting my skull,

then another

and another.

Dazed,

I fell to the ground.

Bloodied and soiled.

Sullied, desecrated.

Woman misunderstood,

stoned.

 

MacGyver got drunk.

’twas a long and taxing day.

Realization.

Futility,

Utility,

Tool.

Live to fight another day.

Correct some wrong,

maybe.

(What more do I have to say?

1980s

Cold Warrior,

Here to stay!)

 

I woke up and found myself outside of the Mir,

it was unpleasant,

it quickly became a way of life,

*sigh*.

Village, community, commune, collective, safety, peace, the whole world as I knew it,

GONE…

Imagine being excluded!

With no hope of returning to something which probably never truly existed (except in our collective imaginations) …

Imagine.

“What is ‘truly’?” I asked myself, from my new (every morning) perspective.

Indeed,

I prefer sleep.

 

It was strange.

We were on trial.

We had to represent ourselves and what we believed in

(our would-be leaders).

They had us skate around the Hockey rink as some kind of warm-up

(in a freezer).

Then we had to give a speech.

I did the best I could,

nervous,

somewhat wooden.

Indeed.

The woman decided to be cruel,

she said I had a future,

possibly,

as a senator

or as a rubber prostitute…