Thursday, July 5, 2012

Document of Discussion (7)

I don’t know why, is all,
but The Soviet and I have locked
onto  each other
like magnets, greedy with want.
He speaks of his friend
in St. Petersburg, who hires
the same prostitute every night
just to talk, no dirty stuff.
He also mentions how he’d like to die.
I lean forward and confess:
when I was age five through nine,
I was terrified of Russians.
Every plane that flew by,
I thought was a Russian
nuclear missile.  
I tell him this:
my older sisters lied to me 
they told me nuclear war
could not happen at night
this was the only way 
I could fall asleep.
The soviet orders me a drink,
winks, grabs my hand,
runs his hand over my thigh
and says,
“In 1987, I was thirteen,
and at school
I was practicing how to assemble
a kalashnikov
in case you Americans invaded.”
He drinks his vodka tonic,
laughs most joyously, in a deep
genuine way that makes me jealous.


  1. The Cold War may be over, but its residue is to be found inked into the epidermis like a tattoo.
    I love the way you created a stalemate within this conversation, and framed it with lust and jealousy.

  2. Yes, I agree with Kerry. My memory of the Soviet Union was more ominous back in my day.

  3. This has so many layers! I love it!

  4. This is such an interesting vivid poem. The intersecting memories, the tale of the prostitute, the want, your sisters. It's a wonderful story. One question i have has to do with tense change in last line--it works as written, in that it immediately distances one from the experience, but I wondered whether it was intentional. (I mention it because I don't always focus on these things in my own work.). It's a very cool poem. K.

    1. hiya K....good catch on the tenses.
      This was not on purpose, but a result of writing a poem in 7 minutes. I shall fix and thanks!

  5. Every existing power entity needs a bogeyman. If there isn't one, one can be created.

  6. This one is my favorite in this series so far, because I like the bits of conversation you chose and the layered story they tell. Also because of, you know, nuclear missiles and vodka and all that.

  7. Apparently, to paraphrase the old Sting tune, we do share the same biology. There is a sense of the odd all through the piece--the man with the platonic relationship with his prostitute, the teenage with his Kalashnikov (it is not unnoticed that he is not "Russian" but a "Soviet") but the whole thing is plausible, true-to-life; indeed, I feel a short film of this scenario could very well be a Coward-esque farce. Despite the whimsical, almost breezy air here, there is a certain uncertainty, a certain uneasiness playing about the edges. As Kerry wisely notes, it's an unsteady detente here. Just a wonderful piece of writing.

  8. god, i just want to fall into this.
    the flashing facets of memory - sisters, soviet night terrors, sleeping girl - and his - prepubescent militia ...
    and how the immediacy and urgency of the political fear can be laughed away now, but (to echo above) there remains a shadow-fear, untethered to any such clear territory. There is a strong undercurrent of dis-ease, of disembodied anxiety. ...easy drinks and thigh-navigating hands notwithstanding.

  9. I guess kids were the same on both sides of that one. I was afraid of a nuclear war as a child as well only that was in the 50s and 60s. I was hoping we had progressed by the time you were a kid. Sad.

  10. A microcosm of the macrodegeneterive effect of propoganda on youngsters and the fact that human contact can be a salve of sorts when misunderstanding rules the roost. I just wish I cound use macrodegenerative in words with friends...I would be a rock star.