That city would not lack a yacht club, would not lack
a soccer club. Noting the absence of smoke from the brick
factory chimneys, I’d know it was Sunday,
and would lurch in a bus across town, clutching a couple of bucks.
I’d twine my voice into the common animal hoot-
ing on that field where what the head begins is finished by the foot.
Of the myriad laws laid down by Hammurabi
the most important deal with corner kicks, and penalty kicks to boot.
—Joseph Brodsky, “Plato Elaborated,” trans. George L. Kline, New Yorker, March 12, 1979, p. 40
It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to be a regular guy, to immerse oneself in enjoying life, in a pleasant job, and forget that a dictatorship for life has taken root in our country? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to forget the dictatorship wages war against neighboring countries? It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to forget it has destroyed all constitutional rights, the freedom of speech, secularism, the right to a pension, the right to one’s native language, and the right to forget things and be happy?
—Sergey Abashin, Facebook, June 24, 2018
Photo and translation by the Russian Reader