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Thursday, May 25, 2023


by Alan Walowitz

Russia has expanded its list of sanctioned Americans in a tit-for-tat retaliation for the latest curbs imposed by the United States. But what is particularly striking is how much President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is adopting perceived enemies of former President Donald J. Trump as his own. —The New York Times, May 21, 2023

I want to get on that Russia-list.

To be among those who can’t go to Moscow—

would be so Chekhovian, bittersweet

not to see the Cyrillic sights, or trade in  

Gazprom futures, or pass gas in Red Square.

Here in the Times is a list of my peeps, my peers—

the Jews, the odd, the Kleptocrat wannabes, 

the comedians, the gays, the left-wingers, a few right

who despise George Santos, his lies which

make them queasy, though wonder at how easy. 

Some who grew up in Brighton, or 108th in Queens—

and here a Huckabee from Arkansas, 

notorious for lying herself. 

And others, much kinder, smarter—

actors, heiresses, entrepreneurs, free-thinkers

who submit clever Shouts to The New Yorker,

most never to be heard

except for an occasional squint 

through that imperious monocle.

All of us who would have been

red diaper-babes once upon a time

whose mothers never lived to see the day

our names had made the Russia-list 

in The New York Times.

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook Exactly Like Love comes from Osedax Press. The full-length The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night written with poet Betsy Mars. Now available for free download is the collection The Poems of the Air from Red Wolf Editions.