I will not kiss your commie flag
a sickly sickle and rusted hammer stuck in the mud
hollow scythe dulled with Ukie blood
when the steppes were silent dark and deep
stopping at the Gulag on a snowy evening
watching the pits fill with bodies
as they choke and freeze in their own vomit
the gnarled hinds of Siberians frozen to their beds
they do not go gentle in the good night
no eulogies for these union dead
or the dead at Katyn Forest, the Kazakh famine, Stalin’s purge
Babi Yar, Stalingrad and now Kyiv, Odesa, Mariupol and Kharkiv,
it’s absolute horror, infinite pain
sadomasochistic machete emaciated
like the long dark trail of the German 6th army
as it headed east into oblivion.
We are trapped in this hopeless reality
living Napoleon’s rear guard as it headed west out of the steppes
the lines on the map moved from side to side
like Mother Russia I have become comfortably numb
no star spangled banner only yellow and blue
and red, rivers of red pulsing mulching merging.
Arbeit macht frei mein Bolsheviks
as the Mariupol residents know
but only in their dreams as
Morpheus sweeps them into the light beyond light
deep into the Matrix
into the known unknown center of relativity
beyond the event horizon
their mass accelerating into reductio ad absurdum
where does it end
how does it end
does it end at all?
All we are is shell shocked
stumbling amid the rubble and limbs
numb, frozen, hopeless, starving
knowing how getting nailed to a cross must feel
because in that feeling we fall,
hands clutching blood
hugging what’s left of a toddler
as the next blast pummels the building
watching it toddle down flaming stairs screaming…
Mark HammerSchick writes poetry and fiction. He holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and a BS and MBA.
He is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area and currently lives in a northern suburb near the shore of Lake Michigan.
His poem "The Tides They are Rising on Up" recently won third prize in the Poetry Society of Virginia Anne Spencer Memorial Prize Category "Overcoming Adversity".
His current work will be appearing in: Calliope, Fauxmoir Literary Magazine, Sincerely Magazine, Mignolo Arts, Blue Lake Review, Naugatuck River Review, New Plains Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Griffel Magazine, Voices Magazine, Wood Cat Review and Change Seven Magazine.