Don’t Look Away Putin tracks the value of the ruble a barrel of crude then ruble then crude his thin lips wet with drool. Here is the bread line in Chernihiv, simple human hunger strafed by Putin’s pawns, & the mother of three warming soup for her children when shrapnel tears out her throat. Putin LOOK, as her children were forced to look. Lash the beast to the mast of humanity. Make it see what it has wrought. Putin, horror movie supervillain, sits at the head of a long table of boot-lickers barking orders barking mad at Europe who flicks her skirt and shivers. The youngest corpse still has the umbilicus attached … the mother, pelvis shattered by a missile aimed at the maternity hospital cries “kill me now” to save the baby who cannot be saved. Putin, is this what you mean by denazification? Vladamir searches Volodymyr curses the comedian who revealed the mighty He to be a scared little shit riding shirtless on the wild horse of history. Look: there’s an old woodcarver laid in the street under a blue tarp, shelter from a nation’s tears. There’s someone’s lover legs neatly bound with yellow ribbon, left by the cratered street where in summer she grew watermelons. Hollowed with hunger, Putin licks his spittle, searches Stalin but there’s no longer any signal just a dark ocean swimming with monsters. Don’t look away: there’s 16-year-old Iliya whose legs were blown off while playing football at school, now stacked with her friends in a mass grave. Putin wipes blood from his bloodless hands, fingernails scraping the chalkboard of missile-scoured playgrounds. There’s the Mariupol Theatre, CHILDREN in Russian blazed in front & back big enough for bomber pilots to read. Where Romeo kissed Juliet, choirs sang songs of peace, scared children cried, were told you are safe now … wiped their tears, hugged their stuffed bears & died. Putin your wife is gone your mistress fears you your tanks are charred & frozen alone you wander frigid Russia land of icy mirrors nuclear silos, leaking dread a long-suffering history of history herself forbidden. Putin look: here’s 18-month-old Kirill fatal shrapnel wound to the head & a 6-year-old in unicorn jammies, dead. What lies do you tell your children, safe in a Swiss Chalet? Putin in bed with the dead while the living whose mouths he sealed shut cannot sleep, cannot wake from his terror, his haunted vision, his insatiable cruel ambition. Lash the beast to the mast of humanity. Make it see what it has wrought.
Michael Schein wrote Liquid Perishable Hazardous (2019) (poetry), John Surratt: The Lincoln Assassin Who Got Away (2015) (historical), The Killer Poet’s Guide to Immortality by AB Bard (2012) (hysterical), & historical novels Bones Beneath Our Feet (2011) & Just Deceits (2005). Schein edited Poets UNiTE! The LiTFUSE Anthology (2015). His poetry appears in many journals & has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times. Schein is the founder of LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop (litfuse.us), & has taught at Port Townsend Writers Conference, Write on the Sound, & elsewhere. Spirits inhabit earth & sky. Poetry is everywhere. Write on! michaelschein.com
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