Durak poems

Transitions №7

Author: Michael Graves


I have a persona in some of my poetry, Blatnoy, a Russian immigrant who speaks in broken English – the broken English of Russian immigrants can be incredibly beautiful, powerful, and funny. Sometimes. He’s a durak, a fool, sometimes he makes satirs, satires of duraks, and sometimes he’s both.


Blatnoy and the American Zek

Because you was beat as a child
And do not remember
Before you was seven
You call youself “Zek.”
Because of you trauma
You become drunkard,
Drink with you father,
Try to fuck mother
When you insane,
Then you have terror
And always obsess
And self is you partner
When you have sex,
You call youself zek.
Because you momma
Love novels of Russia
And say they so sad,
You learn of gulag
And call youself Zek.
You cannot even
Pay for apartment
Or work a good job.
You is disable
In prison of self
And call youself Zek
But even in Russia
Hell hole of Stalin
Zek is not nut-job.
More so in Gulag
Zek of a prison
Is a profession
Doctor, soldier,
Scholar, lawyer,
Dignified man
But you is disgrace
And call you self Zek

Blatnoy Enters AA

In basement of church
With criminal drunkards,
Dregs of U.S.
I enter A. A.
With paper to sign.
Report to parole,
Prove I attend,
Give up wodka,
Liquor I crave.
Many sub-human
Black men and white
Full criminal type.
Like pictures of textbook
Come to life, who say God
Cure you addiction,
Rescue from booze
Like ignorant peezant
Or fat russian priest.
Should be underground men
Of Dostoevsky and Gorky
Place of disgust, despair,
Cruelty and wiolence,
Sewer for misfit
Instead of nice, well-lit.
They talk, laugh,
Pretend happy
Serve coffee and cookie.
Where whiskey
Line cocaine?
Prob’ly secret in kitchen,
Pour in coffee.
Before bug eye shake and fight.
And this meeting called
Twelve to Life
Like sentence in prison,
While I crave
Double of wodka,
Great russian liquor,
Elixir my soul.

Blatnoy and the Implant

AA in Russia?
Never can be.
Maybe pretense for duraks of west.
Truck sweep street,
Drunkard collect
Parazeet and refusenik,
Enemies of people,
Hooligan crazies
Beat with nightstick,
Maybe knuckle of brass,
Fling into truck
Which howl like mad man,
Bringing to clinic,
Doctor put in
Device to convulse
Better than Clockwork of Orange
Who need AA
If you a zombie?
But drunkard of Russia
So full of his hatred
For communist country
Is like a demon
Cannot be stopped
And return to his drinking
like a Rasputin
Nothing can stop
Except he be kill.
Rip out implant
Or cut with knife.
Operation easy.
Do it myself,
Have pouch on my neck.
But sometime don’t bother
Chugging cheap wodka
Under dome of the Kremlin.
I don’t give a shit
If leg, arm, head twist
Tongue writhe like a snake
To be swallow
Like ant-abuse fit.
Already I drinking on it.
Nothing can stop.
Fuck judge and parole
I drink every day.