Read introduction

Февраль – February (Russian)

Арка Дружби Народів – Arch of brotherhood of peoples [i.e. Ukraine and Russia] (Ukrainian).

на вынос – takeaway (Russian)

на винос – takeaway (Ukrainain)

націоналізм – Nationalism (Ukrainian)

бандитизм – Banditism (Russian)

фашизм – Fascism (Russian)

экстремизм – Extremism (Russian)

Голодомор – Hunger extermination; name for famine of early 1930s. Buried by Soviet history, resurrected in
Ukrainian independence. (Ukrainian)



Kneegee_croppedby twdhughes08 Apr 2014

We walked, my darling,
from the fish of Bessarabsky

past oppressive adverts;
plutocratic watches, totemic
- like constructivist exhortations to labour -

the length of Kreschatykh.

Slush and turbid tears.
Underneath, the black
damp of Pasternak.
We met in февраль.

Kreschatykh, with a McDonalds
and now with an M&S too.

We skirted quiet Maidan, climbed
to the arch of the brotherhood of peoples
Арка Дружби Народів,
holding hands beneath.


Once, when I waited for you
I indeed ordered a Big Mac
на вынос
or I might have meant на винос

unaware quite of the tone;
how inflexibility
mounts up in the mind.

Now it's inevitably
and in reply

Out east papa guards the statue
in Lenin Square
with his pistolette
against the Banderites.

Aunty phones in anecdotes:
psychotropic drugs
administered in fast food
by the Americans.


We are late to this
as with everything, my love.
We do not see doctors
treating the wounded in hotels.

We learn of Pirogov
physician of empire
who retired to the Ukrainian countryside
and when dead, was embalmed
by his own technique.

We listen in the Kievan museum
in whose dioramas
I could detect counter rhetoric, even
a wearily pretend cant of triumph.

Later, giddy with propaganda,
we discuss versions of the

walk past the opera,
where Stolypin was shot
in the presence of the Tsar,
buy seeds from a babushka
in the shadow
of the Mandarin Plaza -

consider the exhibit in Requiem,
a gift to the people of Ukraine.
You father would agree;
Death Explained.