Enter the Abroad, lamenting, with the Forbidden Hemisphere,
And with the Horizon, debased, dangling from her evening gown.
She calls our simple Yermolai names like François, Jacques or Jean-Pierre,
Carps on and on about the law. Unfair tariffs get her going.
She blurts out, “How are things!” Raphael and Buonarotti
Disturb our gaze with flesh’s gloss, but on the back there’s not even a jot.
Workers of the world
March into a bar and grill.
“In those jeans you look like a Yank.”
“Popped her cherry when I was drunk.”
“I was just a simple worker.”
“By the by, we all are wankers.”
Enter Thoughts of Days to Come, dressed to the nines in khaki blouses.
They carry in atom bombs, ICBMs, a launching pad.
Oh how they reel, dance and caper: “We are warriors and carousers!
Russian and German will fall together; for example, at Stalingrad.”
And like old widow Matryona, cyclotrons are dumbly howling.
In the Ministry of Defense a nest of crows is loudly cawing.
Look at the pillow. What do you know!
Shiny medals all in a row.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“A pint of vodka, they say,
Soon’ll be a ruble a pop.”
“Mom, I really don’t love Pop.”
Enter a certain Orthodox, saying, “These days I’m number one.
I’m pining for the sovereign, and in my soul the Firebird flares.
Soon Igor will reunite with Yaroslavna and have his fun.
Let me make the benediction or else I’ll box you on the ears.
Worse than evil eye or herpes is the plague of Western thinking.
Sing, accordion, and drown out the saxophone, jazz’s vile offspring.”
On the icons they plant a kiss,
Sobbing victims of circumcis—
“Me? Steak, Director’s Cut, of course.”
“Barge haulers in Severomorsk,
Wasted thin by radiation,
Drag the cruiser to its station.”