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LUKOIL (poem) - Serhiy Zhadan - Ukraine - Poetry International
 
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LUKOIL
When Easter arrives and the sky becomes kinder
but everyone becomes more intense, saying, Easter, Resurrection Day
then the dead start to turn in the ground,
breaking up the cold clay with their elbows.
I’ve had to bury friends,
I know what it’s like to bury your friends in the dirt,
like a dog buries a bone,
and wait till the sky
                                 becomes kinder.

There are social groups
for whom such rituals are very important,
I mean, first of all, mid-sized businesses.
Everyone has seen
the sorrow that envelopes these regional
representatives of Russian gas companies
when they descend on the boundless
cemetery fields, to bury in the ground
one more brother shot through the lungs;

everyone has heard the loud beat of their hearts
when they stand near the coffin
and wipe their stingy tears and runny noses against their
dolce & gabbana
slurping hennessy
                         from disposable
                                                         glasses.

“So, Kolya,” they say, “here’s to you and the hereafter.
In the great field of offshore business
we fall into the cold pools of oblivion,
like wild geese in the autumn with buckshot in our livers.”

“So,” they answer, “when we
send off our brother
on his long journey
into the radiant Valhalla of Lukoil
who will accompany him
through the dark caverns of purgatory?”

“Bitches,” they all say, “bitches
he’ll need bitches,
good bitches
expensive ones, without bad habits,
they will warm him in the winter
they will chill his blood in the spring,
on his left will lie a platinum blond,
on his right will lie a platinum blond,
and he won’t even notice he is dead.

Oh, death is a territory where
                                        our credit won’t reach.
Death is the territory of oil,
                                         let it cleanse his sins.
We’ll place his weapons at his feet, and gold,
and furs and finely ground pepper.
In his left hand we will place his newest nokia
and in his right an indulgence from Jerusalem.
But the main thing are the bitches,
two bitches, the main thing are two platinum bitches.”
“Yes, that’s the main thing,” everyone agrees.
“The main thing are the bitches,” they agree.
“The main-main thing,” adds Kolya from the casket.

We’re all sentimental at Easter time.
We stand and wait for the dead
to rise and come to us from the hereafter.
You become more interested in death
when you bury friends.

On the third day as they flank
the doors of the morgue, on the morning of the third day
he conquers death through death, after all, and walks out
from the crematorium, he sees
that they have all fallen asleep exhausted
after a three-day drinking spree
sprawled out on the grass,
in vomit-covered
dolce & gabbana.

Then quietly
                              so as not to wake them up
he takes from one of them
the charger for a nokia
and returns
to hell
to his
blonds.