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Cultural Hegemony : Voices in the Margins by Mark Murphy   < back  : index >  

Rabochy i Kolkhoznista

With the help of time and other disasters
the heroic statue has almost gone to ruin,
and the words of Mayakovsky are only a far-away echo
in the snow-white streets of old Moscow;
the confident outstretched arms, lying, as if in state, do not mock,
but plead against a backdrop of struggles,
wars, massacres and defeats.
And though Stalin’s Moscow may not have believed in sorrow,
the worker and the farm girl may still cry
and turn the Moskva River blood-red
with their indignant tears;
while man, imperfect man, controller of the universe,
whose hopes and dreams are the stuff of children’s stories
will find nothing surprising
in the lickspittle, the gangster and whore master

riding Leningradsky Prospekt in search of dime and dollar.

And though the iron frame decays in some back-lot,
their handsome faces remain undiminished,
as if the twentieth century
could not have disassembled all their hopes;
his hardened grip still beckoning the future,
her stubborn nipples persisting in their defiance of history
where Vladimir Mayakovsky
still feels no love without communism.


* Rabochy i Kolkhoznista refers to the sculpture:
The Worker and Collective Farm Girl, 1937 by Vera Mukhina

(first published by Poetry Salzburg Review and Left Curve)

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