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The Worker and The Kolhoz Woman Monument, Moscow, Russia; Vera Mukhina

i was born in the magical circle

which cursed tram number two outlines

around the innards of the city

which used to be completely white*

quite near the Synagogue

on a street named after Marshall Biryuzov

but we lived there only briefly


then we lived in Sofia

on the very transition

from socialism into  communism

when everyone used to get whatever they needed

and gave as much as they could

or something like that

most of it was humble

and our needs were politically correct

like the Biblical Adam and Eve

the people were naked, barefoot and happy

as long as they lived far from the temptations

of the snakelike West


yet this idyll did not last for too long

the serpent of western propaganda

offered a can of Coca-Cola

to the girl with the sickle

who forgot her partisan name

and bargained off her badge with Lenin’s face

for a McDonald’s cheeseburger


for a while i lived in Moscow

long before the chap with the hummer broke off

with the girl with the sickle

in Moscow i was, as expected, sad

most of the time

most of the people

were getting wasted on Vodka

because the reality hurt too much

if we looked at its eyes while sober

thus my own memories

by choice

are clouded by Vodka fumes mixed with

icy winter frost



*in Serbo-Croatian and its “children- languages”, once the capital of Yugoslavia is called Beograd, which literally means  – the white city

photo: The Worker and Kolhoz Woman

copyright notice: the poem was originally published as a part of novelette Teshuva within Anthology of contemporary Montenegrin literature, publisher Katedrala, 2010.

The original translation (here altered), copyright  ©Zoran Paunovic, 2010

Novelette “Teshuva”copyright  ©Lena Ruth Stefanovic, 2010, All Rights Reserved