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From "thirsty poems"

ukrania

in the ukraine the insect turns and devours its own head.
the grasshoppers are indeed the plague but still it was the crops failed to get up.
tractors are run until they all run out and are left to open in the slanting rain.
chernobyl, we sing a song of thanks for chernobyl, for putting us...in hell...on the map.
in the public park in kiev radiation is gotten so bad the children no longer merely play at being “dead”.
I cannot imagine the ukraine, I do not have to; it is a frontier of me.
on the road that needs attention a man trudges home with absolutely nothing on his mind.
there are red soils and grey, but it is for our black soil for which we are justly famed.
the coupon is so worthless no one spends it and so finally we have solved the problem of our inflation.
the potential future leader of the ukraine can’t speak ukrainian yet.
tell the tale of l’vov, a dirty jewel left unattended.
on a farm-strip the head-scarf of a woman balloons suddenly with the wind in it.
I will go there and I will be there and I will face a field as big as we say europe is (is it?).
there is a plot, it gets down to hatching in the south-east corner where nobody goes.
the train of kiev arrives mysteriously in warszawa; with snow still melting on the roof...
in a quiet yard are a hundred needles; locals quoth “lo! see the warheads as they glow in the night.”
coughing on the dust of a lung the worker swigs beer for old times’ sakes;
recent past revisited on the populace moves on with little real effect noted at ground level.

deepest winter. the streets of the nameless town are empty, tail lights of the occasional cares are in trouble with the falling snow. a tram gives it a go, the darkness snuffs it out; from the drains the steam purrs out and birds gather there. in the ukraine, there are no wild-cats nor stray-dogs, or if there are, as obviously there are, come the winter they die. some force has soldered them to the ice. leaving the city. the silence, it is respectful high above the slithering taxi. huddle of lights of the housing projects where everyone this night is living and everyone this night is in. to night and every night. it is minus twenty five degrees and getting colder, here!

but in the country-side the temperature slips on and beyond and is gripped with a wild negative ambition; here it can kill you just to breathe: a hundred people die from broke lungs, thirty die from just the fear of frost, seventy three people, a village, is lost. simply mislaid by the drift of the snow. come spring. they reappear in another place entirely but they carry on because here it all feels the same in any case.

I walk. down a lane. in snow, ‘cept it is not snow, not exactly and here the word pool gets parched like peppermint and where did that come from? in this lane the few ruts are left by carts and the often hoof prints, three trees are getting dressed bit by the moisture freezing in the air. every night they are the ones you see decked out in a pristine fur, silvery and haughty, dropping in white sheets in day light, for. when it is this cold the sap is pulled so far back that these trees are actually dead; nothing lives. when spring comes, the way a baseball haemorrhages in your hand, they still wear the trauma of completion and people don’t particularly bother to speculate as to why.

let me just say this:
this lane is here in darkest galicia
makes a province of ukrania
it is the other world is a subterranea
beneath the carapace, this winter’s night
and in the spring when the air is thick with blossom and each lane is a carnival
of colours, a scents certain
people are know to say they don’t
they hardly they really don’t
that it looks so very different from before because it is a different place.
or this:
when winter’s vice is broken
and retreats and pulled back north
to the caps
on great rods
that run along great grooves
ancient as ever and it all takes on its own
with it and destroys what it
is left by so it can not not be got at.

I arrive at a place where I can go no further.
my host leaves open his door and the yellow gash ruins me.
I see the stable and the stable, it sees me too.
after this place there is no other place for me.
the border is internalised and so very hard to place.
the yard is gloomy though the moon is full.
in it the useless tools are spending some quality time.
how vain is the plough when seen out of season. I
enter the house and this door shifts. on its hinges
my host welcomes me and his wife it is she opens a bottle.
the house is still, wooden, and the centre table is rotten.
on the walls superstitions barely camouflaged in gaudy icons.
the woman’s skirts are home to children which are lovely also.
in this place, this square box, came I to rest. it is trapped by winter and blocked in by the moon.
I will sleep here and dream though often content disturbs my equilibrium.
in ukrania I find my frontier and the weather lays me down.
come morning, whose son’s brilliance, leaves me tearful, leave me alone!
where is warsaw? where is lublin? in ukrania no thing stirs.
sunday morning, the church is full;
held resonating on a shivering rock of earth.

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