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the men of my country


ISSUE:  Fall 2011

the men of my country
give up their seats on the subway
to the handicapped the aged
and to the passengers with children
but mostly they go on sitting
since these categories of citizens
have a pronounced tendency to die out
or travel by subway less and less often

the men of my country
saints under the heel
with trained insect jaws
with which they gnaw their way
to deserved fatherhood
and later having untied their hands
savor children’s flesh
using proscribed methods
of raising the younger generation

the men of my country
are not mutants or perverts
but products of secondary processing
of amino acids
this is all that remains of the nation
which loves and honors its heroes
youths so roly-poly or with pit bull jaws
their love for motherhood
outgrew all discernible limits
and became a signature style

the men of my country
wonderful specimens for an entomologist
since they are fragile like exotic butterflies
pinned to a piece of cardboard
they acknowledge the value
of every move every sound
for life is an unending crime
that has no justification

the men of my country
blow their noses simply into their hands
since the hand is the most useful organ
for such an important deed
they usually don’t have any other
important deeds to consider

the men of my country
make no effort
efforts ruin the liver
their mouths smell bad
have they really been born
to exert effort

the men of my country
prematurely descend into the grave
and become weightless angels
ideal raw material
for metaphysical speculations
a superfluous argument in favor of the existence
of god or what’s his name

—Translated from Ukrainian by Vitaly Chernetsky

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