Leon Trotsky is now on Facebook
Written & read by Elana Seplow-Jolley
Comrade, you have memories to look back on today with Stalin
Would you like to share them on Facebook?
He’s scrubbed me from the photographs and to the right of Lenin there is always only a smudge—
a shadow shrugging off a shadow coat
a blur standing tall and proud
a patch of shade sitting beside brethren
Malkov, Rahja, Tomsky, Lashevich…
Before he learned to disappear my face
before he taught a country to look through my body as well
(to a disarmingly well-kept staircase
amid otherwise crumbling soviet décor or
an unsettlingly serene swath of the Neva
beside more fractious waters)
there were invitations to picnics, rallies, meetings—
mainly I suspect to ensure that Lenin would come.
Sometimes he even wrote on my wall for my birthday:
C Днём рождения!
Or at least commented on Lenin’s post, always that video
of that cartoon alligator playing the accordion
in the rain on his birthday.
Always that made me laugh, Vlad knew,
until hot tears pushed out from my eyes.
But now I see Stalin posting photos
of that grand rally in cobbled Sverdlov Square
and I am vanished from them, along with Lev Kamenev.
For a moment I anticipate a wave of roiling anger
though as soon as it breaks it washes quickly away,
as emotion tends so often now to do.
I should text Lev, see what he’s up to now that we are all dead.
What a thrill this electric hum was at first, like nothing I had ever dreamed.
But even though I can listen to “Kalinka” on my phone
read Vvedensky on my Kindle,
I feel a hoarse rasp within me
straining at my wrists, my ribs, my jaw
and the flowers and their loam that fill my eyes
the teeth behind my petaled cheek.
What would I not give to be whole again
replaced within my pictures at my comrade’s side
added back in granule by grey granule into frame?
I picture it often, imagine being restored in truth, particle by
particle to the grey streets of Leningrad.
But as I grow speck by blurry speck
and the industrial tang of oil and grit fills my sinuses
I feel a pain between my shoulder blades
and with a sigh turn again to check my feed.
Written & read by Dan Chung
what do clouds know of
floating above all
yearning for flight / light
sun shines through the underside
of bird's wings flapping
begetting begets begot
blockages of harmony
envious of happy folk
jealous of their ease
choosing to be sad
toughness no longer serving
remove the armor
concealing a cosmic smirk
sacred fool dancing
new song repeating
buddha in nikes
believing one out of place
and mistaking which