Friday Poem

The Roads of Western Europe

The roads of Western Europe hum
like parachute lines stretched taut:
there you see the patches of Central Europe –
a cup of poison, a few ravines with grapevine,
and here is Eastern Europe, a partly rotted watermelon . . .
Some put the blame on Tartars, some on Communism.

It was not long ago that bashful Franz,
a pariah with his earlocks shaved off,
wandered amidst the pines and churches
of Europe where you will never find
a mate for a one-night stand, a man to share
a drink of pure alcohol with. He should have fled
to our land of tolstoys and dostoyevskys, where
the red hag trots in the deathly foam of sweat,
where he would write and shine until the day
they would do him in . . .

by Bakhyt Kenzjejev
from Nevidimye
publisher: OGI, Moscow, 2004

translation: 2011, Steven Seymour