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Sunday, January 18, 2015


by Tatyana Muradov 

Stanislavski as the Knight in The Society of Art and Literature's 1888 production of Pushkin's The Miserly Knight.

Welcome to Russia circa 1991.  
Ask but do not answer. Survive.
Positions are fickle. Open lies. 
Wolf eyes. Uniform responses.  
Family fuck ups and generations of militants.
Socialist foxes sucking on the nothings of your neighbor.
Zone out. Fade out. 
You only exist in the reflection of your money. 
Don’t give input, just spend,
Push past the thieves and the games.
Don’t switch sides, nothing will change. 
Sleep, bitch.

I come from a battered peoples
I may look white, but I am muddied grey
From centuries of waiting for a parent
To teach my people how to live.
How to take a land so spanning and reign it right
How to use the resource full and make it use full 
How to take the money out of politicians pockets and put it into schools.
My sixteen year old cousin doesn’t go to school
She skips class to post pictures of herself on Tumblr
She skips class because no one taught her not to
Because the chances of her getting into college
Ride on the bank account of her mother
And the ride is short
And admission is partial.
I do not know how to tell her to behave in a country that teaches her daily to do what’s easy
To try less.
To play dumb.
To leave it to those in charge. 
I do not know how to love a country that gets away with murder, daily.
I do not know how to love a jungle,
A country with no name, just letters
that get shifted with each new president
who promises my people rights
and shits on them more than the last.
I do not know how to love a coward,
A country that does not fight back
A country that jails Robin Hood and cheers for the Joker
A country that gives itself a bad rep
With people that make me look bad.

I am so sick of being related to 
The mafia
The winter cold
The bad guy in every fucking movie
The mail-order bride
The Stalin
The Putin
The protests
The Pussy Riot,
The misuse of the word babushka, which means grandmother, you fuckers 
The word sneaky
The word evil
The word corrupt
The word communist
The word red
The word hate
The word fear
I have been soiled with hate and fear for years.
I had to put five thousand miles between us to feel safe,
And I’m still scared. 
But I miss her,
And every time I go there, I feel her underneath my feet, weeping.

Laughter is universal.
So is pain and pride.
But somehow here, at home, everything is more alive.  
Even the cigarette buds and pollen that pollute this city
Layer by layer.
But next to the industrial remnants stands a tree more beautiful than your own mother
And you breathe a sigh of relief
And remember about hope                                                                                       
And what could be
If only they cared more.
If only you cared more.
Apprehension lingers on your spine                                                  
Like food stuck in your teeth
And Pushkin’s “Land of Moscow” comes to mind:

“And where the luxury was thriving,
In shady parks and gardens, in the past,
Where myrtle was fragrant, limes were shining,
There now are just coals, ash, and dust.”

He’s right, the scent of dust is overbearing but what about the rose haw and the conifers?
There are still things to fight for, 
Aren’t there? 

Tatyana Muradov was born in Moscow, Russia and raised in a small town in Texas. She moved to New York two years ago and since then, has been a part of the poetry scene there in the city performing for spoken word/slam teams such as LouderArts and Urbana.