A Pack Of Gitanes

Poem By Andrei Sen-Senkov

1st cigarette

the red Gypsy dress
is sewn according to the schema of the tomato metro
in which
the sardines use the ring line

without one transfer

2nd cigarette

at the end of the film Tabor Goes to Heaven
all the main characters
are caught in a rainstorm

the wet sky squeals
the Gypsy God's voice
painfully breaks

3rd cigarette

the year nineteen forty-four

the extermination of the gypsies is coming to an end

something very wrong crawls in the dark
under the European trench coat
of lying nationality

4th cigarette

Gypsies consider the lost homeland
the island Tsi
island no island
Indian spoon
bent by a lover of tea
in sugar water

5th cigarette

the Council of People's Commissars
made a decree
"concerning the transfer of the peripatetic gypsies to
a working and settled life"

October 1, 1926
on the editorial page of local newspapers
printed horses trotted by the Gypsy men

...and then, walking past a construction site I gave the rest of the pack to a guest-worker

the Moldavian workers
hide from the policemen

they're not scared
it's just a kind of game-
sharpening their nationality
to the point
that it begins to crumble
on Moscow's uniforms

The pack still contained: a cigarette with a Polish director Andrzej Wajda, whose last name from the Gypsy is translated as "boss"; a cigarette with a picture of eleven Gypsies, who during WWII received Hero of the Soviet Union medals; a cigarette with mustalaiset (that is what the Finnish call their Gypsies): a cigarette with Japan: the only country in the world without Gypsies; and a cigarette with the marvelous male name: Dufunya.

Translated by Peter Golub

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