Saturday, 14 December 2013




      Preamble to Nine Lives

Fifty or so momentous seconds. Four young women open the gates into a cathedral sanctuary in Moscow. Or vault over the gates, I don’t know. I’m not there. A music quartet, they drop their shoulder bags. Hit the mosaics running with guitars and vocals:
      “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Put Putin Away
               Put Putin Away, Put Putin Away”,
 A  punk-rock performance to an anarchist lyric. Pussy Riot. 

Some two thousand years earlier, a Galilean and his mates walk into the temple in Jerusalem. Nor for a mere fifty seconds, but one might get that impression from the readings clerics select for Holy Week. For an entire day according to Mark. Whether the Son of David’s upending of the tables of the moneychangers and the chairs of the pigeon sellers and acting the bouncer is followed by punk hymns, dancing and prancing, a real knees up, or dancing the karar with his beloved, in Galilean colours, as David with his Jonathan, is not recorded.   How did they pass the time?  We’re told the onlookers are carried away. The din raised comes to the ears of the chief priests, who resolve “to find some way of doing away with him”.

Both cases provoke courtly uproar. Charges of blasphemy. Fomenting of public disorder.  Hooliganism of a magnitude of eleven on the Richter scale. Both events, it is reported, are inspired by religious hatred: true, maybe, if one equates religion with the Putin-supportive verbal antics of Patriarch Kirrill and a hatred of the ruling  Sadducean priests, who cream off for themselves the ample temple fees and surcharges and live in grandeur just west of the Temple, and must live with the loss of income for the day during the busiest week of the year. Loss of revenue always a bother, whether at Passover or at Sochi.

Pussy Riot are hunted down and charged. The Galilean as well. For the Galilean, death in the hideous manner of the day. Temple and Roman Governor (nervous of yet another Galilean uprising) breathe a joint sigh of relief.

Russian Officialdom is right when it refers to the public outcry over the Pussy Riot knees up in the sanctuary. In the same way in Jerusalem the crowds that cheer Yeshua riding on his humble donkey into the city are yelling within days “Crucify Him”.   His running amok in, and taking over with his mates,  of a sacred precinct for the whole day, disrupts the Passover Schedule, what people looked forward to, travelled from afar to, and probably saved for the whole year. 

Yeshua and Pussy Riot live on different planets from those caught up in the backwash of their antics.

 Yet, within a while, the mood in Jerusalem changes; babbling together in different languages, people begin to acknowledge what Yeshua stands for.  Closer to these parts, when news of the 1916 executions reaches the ears of the Irish MPs at Westminster, they cheer with the news of each death and bang fists on the benches in approval. But by the time the authorities shoot an injured James Connolly in his chair just to finish the job, clean up the mess, bagging quicklime on him too, their tide  reaches a high point. Consigning Bin Laden to the depths ensures he will rise again. By the time the Moscow show trial ends for Pussy Riot, orthodox supporters crying outside the courtroom are praying for the women from booklets of prayers long compiled for prisoners.  All too late to save Nadya from Mordovia or Masha from Perm, Siberia, two of the harshest of prisons in all of Russia.

Authority ever magnanimous in Victory.  Were there not four of the Pussy Riot twenty-two in the sanctuary?   One slips the net. Another is freed (well, really, she is apprehended by security before she reaches the sanctuary- fortunate they are there) with an admonition for good behaviour in the future in holy places. But Masha  seriously disrupts prime minister Meredev’s plans to build a mansion for his wife in the nature reserve of  Krasnador. Putin admits in an interview with Merkel that it is the ringleader Nadya he’s after. The Orthodox Establishment, cute as christians, promise to pray for the women and to forgive them. Who knows in time, they might even elevate them, suspend them on high up beyond eye level like bothersome Elizabeth in Christ the Saviour? Or have their hack sculptors give them doleful eyes like Magdala?

And that is that. Or nearly. The Russian  President, tongue in cheek, suggests court leniency for the women. The notorious Mordovia for the ringleader, Nadya. For the Galilean, a kind of Joe Hill ensues for the pious, the stone at the tomb door rolling to one side, much running to and from an empty tomb, stuff of a poor comic book. The Galilean’s own people, the Ebionites, keep the head down in a dangerous time: he remains in their minds as a plain and ordinary fellow, who also is a healer and has a way with parables. His story is told and re-told orally and when the texts come to be written, there’s textual jockeying for position of those around him. James, his brother, who takes over as leader, is butchered. Simmering dissent, that addendum to John, Peter dismissed. Catacomb and fresco records. Partner Mary from Magdala tells his mates how things are going to be. Peter (by his own Acts) a street thug and gang leader kills off the opposition. Misogyny is well re-established by early 300 AD. . . .

…Until Pussy Riot kick the jackboot from their throats. This, apparently, is what is meant by anarchy. (Well, earlier Pope John Paul 1 invites the Etruscan Women at his audience in the Vatican to pray “Our Mother, Who art in Heaven . . .” with him. He writes his own cupla focal and in front of everyone throws away what the Cardinals write for him. The women cheer but the cardinals in a semi-circle around him are not amused. He lasts thirty-three days. Forgets to take his tablets).
Misogyny is alive and well and I am sixty nine. Time to face up to essentials. Pound (quoting from the Chinese) is of the view that if a person has not reached wisdom by fifty, the contempt of others should be one’s lot.  And I, nineteen years on the wrong side. . .

A follower of the Galilean, whatever texts we have on him hopelessly compromised, I’m still attempting the sycamore for better vantage. Risking his laughter, heard only in The Book of Judas. Yeshua tells Judas in Luke to do what he has to do and to do it quickly. No way back after the temple fracas. How sure is he of his Father Coming?  Doubts multiply in Gethsemane, but the die is cast, no going back, no escape. High since he was a kid on Messiahship. No way back either for Pussy Riot into obscurity. Their names are forever synonymous with freedom wherever and however that is sung.

The Galilean’s alter ego, Nadya, is still with us. She has her own close followers, so my verses are at a great distance.  Banging their lids nonetheless. Doing an Icelandic.

In Dublin in 2012, at the reading for Pussy Riot, there are divided views on how to proceed: will our continuous making of noise help the women or will this only further antagonise Vladimir (if his regime adverts anyway) and have Nadya end up another Anna Politkovskaya “brave beyond belief” and a trenchant critic, murdered and her body dumped in a lift on the president’s birthday. His reported comment “She was a nobody anyway”. Perhaps the former approach is working: the prisoner governor at Mordovia confides in Nadya that had it not been for the fuss kicked up about her worldwide, she’d have had long ago the boot in the gut. Common treatment apparently for dissident women prisoners in Vladimirland.

The verse that follows? 

No place, or time, to tread soft in the house shoes of poesy, if there ever was.  Put on your stomping boots. While Yeats was writing his early stuff on Innisfree, even at the end in the phallic tower, courtesy of the blue pencils of Pound, tenants were scrounging for a bite. “Easter 1916” was written when it was politic and advisable to do so.  Poem’s a tat overblown. A wax museum.  Even the revolutionaries didn’t see themselves in such a fair light.

The people Masha refers to in her closing statement to the court limp in the grip of Privilege and Religion.  Years ago, Paul Durcan wrote a collection of poems entitled Going Home to Russia.  In both places (Ireland and Russia), artists with any dare are caught in the closing pincer of state and church.  Kavanagh grows old eating out of the paw of McQuaid for a tosser or two.  Clergy close like jackals at his funeral, the afters of his verse. The censer-swingers come out in force playing the altar for the dead laureate. Nauseous.  Nausée. Iron’s needed in the Soul. Come back, Sartre. An episcopal retiree stands at the altar rails, declaims for O’Driscoll. Lucky my hearing’s poor.  Bells, bells, bells galore. An Egyptian export.  Every corner of the country.  Bards, O’Brudair’s line, continuing into the corporate beyond.  Academia Ltd.  Aosdana.  Privilege. Privilege for The Indomitable Irishry.

I want to write poems like the paintings artists painted on the rough walls of the catacombs. My kind of gallery. Continuous with what goes on, above.  Poems praising the halo-slipping saints of the real. The women, if they want to, officiating as equals. Female bishops further safely down. Mary of Magdala, between clients, ranting at the eleven.  Her partner tucked in an ossuary. Their kids making their own way. Keeping their heads down because of the Romans among the Ebionites.  Orpheus and Yeshua breaking bread together.  Acting David and Jonathan if they want to. They know the Day of the Lamb won’t last. Basic Instinct.  Handelic Victory and Power and Heavenly Kings and Queens.  Byzantium Abú. The Yeatsian gait. Emperor,  Fuhrer, Duce. Czars. Papas. One language, that of the smiling jackboot walkabout.  Speak free like Diana and be left to die in your car. Your innards ripped. Nobody the wiser. Ever.

Off-rhyme, half-rhyme, bad rhyme (like those of OBERIU, Nadya favours), pathetic fallacies, no rhyme, parallelisms , dissonance, the absurd, doggerel snapping at the heel.  Poems, immediate, the present continuous.  Scant A4 for the toilette of reflection and tranquillity. Out with commemorative manipulation of what is. Cop out. The worst is happening now: the kicks in the gut for Nadya, or Tal Al-Mallouchi or Gopey Tsang. Unless we shout up. 

Verse in this context can only have the quality of a D-Day bombardment.  It would have been politic if the warships in the Channel could have yelled through their magaphones:”Go back to where you belong” and the Nazis obliged as asked.  Saved tens of thousands of brave lives who came across the Atlantic, for instance, laid down their lives for people, us, they’d never know.  Sometimes the act of rebellion or violent disruption of the status quo is called for. Bombardment, or the excising of one more tumour from the body of humanity.  Which is why we have whatever freedom we have today in these parts. I have tried to come to terms with this fact in the poem “O When the Saints . . .” in a country which sees as a joke the cosy aphorism “Which side were we neutral on?”

But the job is not completed. Within months, the Vatican facilitates the escape routes of its soul sprites to Argentina and elsewhere, according to documentary after documentary. If one thinks that a line like “Putin and his Kirrill snot” is harsh, then he or she forgets that failing to excise a cancer will in time lead to the spread of devastating secondaries. The bombardment must go on.  Until universal  human rights are won. Those of women are a case in point. It is no accident that the stated purpose of Putin’s recent visit to Francis in the Vatican was a closer linkage with the Russian Orthodox. This at a time when the latter is held in growing universal disdain for the part it’s playing in the incarceration of Pussy Riot. Such means little for a man that fraternises with Videla, while Benedict before him stops being a Nazi only on the news of Hitler’s death. No news either, that Francis is runner up to Benedict at the penultimate conclave. That we have this Snowden-like glimpse into the impenetrable darkness that are the conclaves, is indicative of a gleam of hope. But whether there is any infant Yeshua to clean out the stygian stable that is the Vatican is unlikely. The St. Peter’s mob is too busy yelling Francis, Francis to bother about the Videla likeness at the upper window. Though better PR, and a camera over his shoulder, so that the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, work wonders.  Pity the Galilean wasn’t so equipped. But he gave the Videla of his day the perfect answer when frog-marched into his presence.

Silence.  Refusal to acknowledge. Something anyone can do.

Ultimately, Christ the Saviour in Moscow is the People’s Space. Not Kirrill’s.  As is the Vatican. Not the Pope’s , the cardinals, the dubious oldies that have voting power.  Vatican 11 establishes the People  principle. But it’s with John XX111 in the grave. Space for people to vent or pray, or both at once.  With no caveat on dress or none.  Headgear or none.  Play the wild Galilean there, who dares, like Pussy Riot.

“He[the Galilean]is demon-possessed and raving mad.”(John 10 :20).
The journey of these poems with Nadya and Masha from the sanctuary in Moscow to Perm and Mordovia, however it ends, and wherever it takes, like Krasnoyarsk, has been one of realisation for this one person.  I don’t speak for any other.  I’ve learned that the concept of DIY extends to more than the trade of Yeshua.  When I gave a Marian summons to the persona of the Galilean to speed to Nadya’s side in a dark time, there was neither bread nor wine. At many a battle front, there was scarce either, but those present made do with what was to hand.  Shared and ate and wet their lips.
 I saw all Nadya had to hand was prison slop, but I knew she was communing deeper than any.
Ultimately she’d no need of a priesthood, male or female, or mixed.  Not that the boys will ever accept this. Having set it all up for themselves yonks ago , in cold and adorable Kells,  they’d be well on the way out of a job for starters. And those above them.  And those above them.   And . . the House of  Cards then Francis adverts to.

My first poem written to Pussy Riot was “For Nadya, Katya, Maria” when I spotted the eerie similarity between the Pussy Riot of the Muscovite and the Yeshua of the Jerusalem sanctuaries. The poem was featured in the anthology Catechism    Poems for Pussy Riot (edited by Mark Burnhope, Sarah Crewe & Sophie Mayer).    Harry Giles, in a review of the book, referred to the poem and interpreted the “I” as some variant of lyric “me” and not the omnipresent Voltaire persona I’d intended.  But he made the unanswerable point that the verse seemed “a little limp in the face of Pussy Riot’s Punk”.   He was probably too kind to say that at best such is irrelevant, at worst, patriarchal.

If you can’t punk it, in some measure, shape or form- as these poems attempt to do - for Pussy Riot, forget it.   So, -

Rampant Maleness (an RC and Orthodox Speciality) is satirised in “Dogsgirl”. . .

John, Boanerges, who stands his ground to the last on Calvary yells “Hello, Shitface” at the Chiefpriest poncing in his regalia up the hill. . .

The Galilean is asked to move his butt with a Marian “She has no wine”: go comfort Nadya in prison, in disguise if need be, while he visits his close cousin, John. . .

DIY. No bread or wine. By whose transmutation the boys are kept in a job.
With only prison slop to hand, Nadya can still commune deeper than any. . .

Liz (St. Elizabeth once exiled for her demand for a return of the Russian Orthodox female diaconate) does a naked Marcel de Camp down from the high vaults of the cathedral to help the women. . .

The icon (of kindness) Patriarch Kirrill sends to Nadya, the oldest trick in the breaking down of prisoners. Interlude in the violence. . . Or is it a relic, testicle or tit? A safe pass, though, would be useful.

Moods oscillate between hope and despair of Nadya’s and Masha’s positions . . .

Recognising the enemy without, the enemy within oneself (Putin) on Orwell Road . . .

With Mangan on the streets of Dublin where the homeless suffer their own Siberia. . .

                                     * * *

Why are so many silent while Nadya suffers?

Att the still centre of Lincoln, all persons have equal rights.

Females bursting into the Sanctuary on that fateful day, a small step for Pussy Riot, a big step for womankind and mankind. That area is not the Patriarch’s anymore than the Vatican is the Pope’s. Both spaces belong to the People. One might have thought 1917 established that. Or Vatican Two. Betrayal of essentials.

Dam burst.

   Will the gates be forced shut again or will the cascade keep them open?

“Pointillist” – each one of us, like the mosquito in the tent, pace Socrates, can make a difference.

Where “Nadya”, read “Masha”, “Katya” also and all the other brave women.   All prisoners of conscience, female or male, worldwide.


 for Nadya, Katya, Masha
Johannines Three
On Orwell Road
Saint Liz, she looks down at them …
Nine Lives    We  Hope
Lest  We  Forget . . .
Nocturnal  for  Nadya’s Day
On Learning that Patriarch Kirrill Sent Nadya a Relic in Her Confinement . . .
Because you, mon frère, are neither hot nor cold . . . Sunday 20 Oct 2013 . .
A Call to Songs and Poems and Dances . . .
After a Line by Peter Levi and a Phrase by Cohen
VON  for Nadya
and Sofia rocks
Zima Junction Revisited
None Curse the Czar
Of Joe Hill and Nadya
Jubilate in Punk Minor
Nadya in Krasnoyarsk  “I Fell in Love . . .”
Masha Appeals . . .


                                                                                  “ Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!
                                                                                    Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!”
                                                                    Pussy Riot in Christ the Saviour

Here’s to the boys now swinging their censers
Here’s to their harems now all candly-lighty
Here’s to the boys now and their gospelly answers.
Here’s to the boys still demanding your apology.

Here’s to the boys now, on your shoes now meaner than dog-shit
Here’s to the boys now up the candlesticks dragging their scrota
Here’s to the boys now knee-deep in the male spoor of the pulpit
Here’s to the boys now lifting legs on altar rails for the pee-rota.

Here’s to the fat cats, the sleek toms, that did Pussy Riot on trial.
Here’s to the gates of Mordovia open for them too just a while.
Here’s to the boys now that give dog shit a bad name.
Here’s to the boys, their chants and their chants now part of the game.

O Curse o’ Christ on you, that threw the women into prison!
O Curse o’ Christ on you, that threw the women into prison!

   for Nadia, Katya, Maria

 What you did is the best icon for our times
For the Galilean, long lost in credal factions,  arguments over bread
Who strode in like yourselves, Hooligan, caused a riot in the temple,
For that droopy-eyed female of the males his mother’s long become
For self-serving artists hosting after finance from the sanctuary,
Mary who called her other kids after revolutionaries the Romans killed.
But when you climbed up under them to punk on the altar
Where the Blasphemer, and  his  apostle Voltaire linger still -
I will defend to the death your right to say what you will -
They might have added where, and if one could sing it all the better
For Putin, Kirill, caught up in their own whirlwind.
But you’ll endure, even if caged all day in the mind
Crushed now to apologise. Nor will he matter, Nikiforov,
Nadia will, and Gera, lost these dark days for her love.

                                               Johannines Three
Frankly, I used to think you, John, ended up in dotage, a right old cod
cranky at that, given to rambling on forever about an entity called “god”-
“love”, - all the besotted rest of it. You’d a right though. Young fellow, you stood
gutsy to his last breath, stood by him, hugged that gutted side of bacon dripping blood
and when you saw the chief priest climb up to taunt your dying lover
the eagle flashed from your eyes on Golgotha, did a little hover,
“Get lost, shit-face, with your poxy balls, this is not your place,
 Or is it you still envy me my embrace
 And if you’ve come up just to mock
 Him, ponce round the hilltop, go put a sock
 In it, back to your palace, safe tonight
 As you’ll always be, you pile of shite!”
Would you expect any less from a Boanerges
would you just, the loved one, or his rioters, down through the ages.

Have to admit too you’re not far out about the Beast, how its tentacles
worse than ivy bring many’s the good yggdrasil down, its manacles
numerous as betrayers talking petrine, their way back in, catechumen,
Indifference. Assembling a temple, a church, a new mob behind them.
Young fellow, at the edge of the limitless Awesome, galaxies and stars –
some still call heaven, - unlikely, I know, old  paradise; yet still, if, just if you are,
spirit to Nadia and Maria, as you do to him, wrap a lover’s arms round them
same as you embrace him, breathe on those brave women the scent of him.

                        On Orwell Road

When we few had shouted our piece for Pussy Riot
And the youth with the loudspeaker could catch his breath
And telling it straight from the IWP, young Madeleine Sigursson
Spoke to the converted with convincing eloquence, -

With the girls in riot headgear, we were left to gaze through the bars
Of the railings, where the County Dublin grounds were ample,
The embassy amid the tall trees evergreen and deciduous, and it was hard
Not to think back to the author’s fable

The last immortal paragraph where Napoleon
Plays his cards at the table, and the humans concelebrate what’s done
With him, but this is no last supper gnawing its Judas bone,

Just the smelly orthodoxies come to the trough in their prime
And our twin revolutions, what’s left of them, a long time
Ago, that last orthodoxy, oneself, swill in its primeval slime.


                   Saint Liz, she looks down at them …

Surpliced and long stoled with long beards for solemnity
Priests chant from dubious texts their art eunuchs embroid.
This flowering of clerics, much given to eternity,
It’s work for them just to dispense the bread.

Micks daily given to their maleness, and all it might stand for,
The way they might look at you, brides of c. with a baleful eye
And where would you be then? Like moths wrapped in camphor
Balls, you’d be spirited off to Stalin’s gulag. Goodbye, goodbye.

Hold on, hold on! Black Pangur arches himself, roughs you up
Like any laureate writes the court to go light on you at sun up.
Find out what the so-and-so’s up to when you go bottoms up.

But Liz, she does a Duchamp like the Nude down the staircase,
Roots for Nadia, Maria and the come back of the female diaconate.
Fat chance. Knots the beards of this lot, cracks male pate on pate.



Came by Kirrillspass, where we’d the dust up,
And you sang out for me when others would not
When the sanctuary head honcho like a long green snot
Vestmented the body incarnate and he, like a pampered pup,
Stood pissing on my bread and all memory of me.
I see our mother tear up her canticle for you for the fire, hear her cry,
She’s off for a burn up with other prophetic rubbish out the back
Since the times they do not want for many’s the hack
Lording my name.  That’s why I gather for you in some haste
Scones she’s newly baked, these I break, praise, - they’d suit a vegan taste, -
Rob a bees nest or two for you as I did for my imprisoned cousin in the past.
Think of me as I sweeten your lips with every mouldy crust,
Can’t make it to you. So let water, or whatever prison bilge it is, be your wine.
For your lot, whatever is to be, it is also mine.

                                      Nine Lives    We  Hope

(Fated by Kirrill and Putin to Hard Labour, Often round the Clock, Nadya, it’s reported, fell to Exhaustion, and was Force Rested)

Circling with others then, your face spittled, you lot, from those seen, or unseen
That finger the prison batons still, like gods, the powerful ones
Unspat yet every pomp of office, altar, whatever courtly scene
Lords it, wherever the leftovers on combs, the hefty drones,
None,- a compliant populace,  -to turf these out of the hives.
So, you must slop the long dark, until exhaustion comes
Only there’s more and more of it to take a cat’s nine lives
Slopping shitspeak from skulls beneath their comfy whited domes.
I hope the easter sun at Mordovia it lasers a path
Somehow into your cell, or to your hospital bed.
Memorials, magnificats are made of this, in truth,
Your beautiful eyes sunken in like one half dead.
 I hope the sun re-kindles your bones, lingers above you.
To your good health!   Rise, Nadya.  You’ve work to do.

Lest  We  Forget . . .
            Putin, Merkel and the Naked Woman

 Babe, you’re  less to him
Than babes tossed man to man  on  halberds of Spaniards
In the Low Countries once, all the newborn, innards
Warm from cots, or prams,  straight from the womb,
Macho practice.  Before your man seeks out his tomb
Though, he’s well chastity armoured, his own guards
Circling at the ready, guardians, angelic bastards,
Blades.  Nor were all the Sabine Women to come
What, blond, brunette, at bold Vladimir, all the one
Full nude, say, even  a few unfashionable brown,
He’d display all just a modest Kirrill’s thumbs
Up, departing  to matters of state, yours the bums
Rush. Spits of his eyes , they say what’s on his mind.
The old  mills grind slowly for you, but they grind.


Nocturnal  for  Nadya’s Day
                                     after a poem by John Donne

No te conoce  . . . Federico to Ignacio,
 only the ghosts of moths for company,
your spirit may it hover summer free
pollen- flowery- stubborn somehow
as it did at your Moscow trial
-when you put Russia on trial –
your eyes bold Lucy’s still
if plucked from the world.
Hope you dream that kitten curled

somewhere by a good fire made.
Conceits are just superfluous
stock in trade plucked by us
to-day the old saints parade
like a gay carnival across Red Square
impossible in the calendar
odd balls most some swear
by still.  No word of, on you.
Silence thunders, that obnoxious crew

the hydra-headed Putin ghouls
kirrilled even if their eve is over.
Dawn’s not far, like your lover
helpmate, he hopes  all souls
that we see you, unversed, unsung
climb the shaky steps  rung by rung
with your Kid, when tinsel’s hung.
My verses, dead flowers they are,
yet dare to hope, hope to dare

as you dared the thirty seconds
rocking sanctuary and state
hand in glove, early and late
pummelling their commands.
Hope, a punk-dress screw,
not the breed about you,
hell holes, a shitty crew:
nocturnal, the password
wherever love is poured.

On Learning that Patriarch Kirrill Sent Nadya a Relic in Her Confinement . . .

Herewith this lonesome morsel back, with my gratitude,
Dear patriarch, I know you hurried it from your plenitude.
Repent, heart to heart is it? Withered ball or tit? You sped

Me saintly skin off the shin? Funny bone?  So I might
Hold, whatever, close to me these endless days of fret
Me trembling beneath the Awesome, night after night

Prison lorrries rev up for us, or the gov’rnor hints of death,
Your KGB pieties in the stomach for my better health,
Privileges revoked sister inmates creep up with stealth

- Let another speak -vent on me their petty hate.
I’m sealing this priority to you with what grace
I can fast-track.  Promise, put it in a safe place.

Free, I’d punk a prayer over it. Better still,
Give it, as you’d give me, a decent burial.

Because you, mon frère, are neither hot nor cold . . . Sunday 20 Oct 2013 . . .
Read where Kirrill is concerned about the loss of faith in Russia - be of good cheer - he needn't be, it's near D-Day again and some American Evangelicals are winging to his aid - those that believe in modern-day crusades to rid themselves of the bothersome
 And so the Christian juggernaut rolls on across the highways of the mind, there are Videlas to be bowed and curtsied to by Francis, Benny has his guns to man, not ask the names of the latest batch from Dachau
And today all the kirks, chapels and cathedrals they will fill and empty, all the more intimate spaces where hymnsters meet to praise You-Know-Who, indifferent as the temple head honcho who clambered up that much-trodden hill, saw  with his own eyes, through lenses of relief, just one less wannabe-messiah
 Nailed for the common good, and now he can hammer the other eleven ranting and wandering the wastes of Judea  or wherever, well, I've good news for you lot, as bees still live in their hives
 Nadya lives, Nadya lives, Nadya lives, Nadya lives, Nadya lives, Nadya lives . . .

A Call to Songs and Poems and Dances . . .

If they must have their pound of flesh
let it go rancid in their mouths
let the worms assail them before their time
or their ash dissipate by a February wind:
those that have nailed  Nadya  to the bitter end
her only crime to sing up for those
who’d none or too few to speak for them,
who donned the headpiece of the Galilean
 rocked the Herodians with her mildness,
for such have made of free song a crime.
Within days now she will be free  -  let’s count
them down,  -the one hundred or thirty or so.
Each day a song for her, or poem, or dance, just one more heave
at her cell door, whose songs would not singe a sleeve.

After a Line by Peter Levi and a Phrase by Cohen

“Nobody’s suffering is bearable,”  Kirrill
Knows this, it’s in the joint hymnal
Of KGB and Guantanamo,
So the Patriarch sends her a relic of some ho – ho – ho
Nadya on her train or transport east of Beara,
Aeons ago she’d a home,  a kid called Gera.
But what is all that to another  Nicolas in black
Or to the one that wrestles bears, his side-kick.
Bigger and better things on their mind, like State and “God”
And the world goes on anyway,  ipod to ipod,
And poets write their verses, songsters their hits
Or wannabe ones.   That you are on the rack, in bits
Is forgotten news. The two pray for you “It is enough”.
The two boys kiss, embrace, dance to the end of love.

VON  for Nadya
              after Sigur Ros and Har

Von is the saliva of the wolf’s mouth, so says
old Norse wisdom, so we wait in clearings
for the bright eyes, and to taste it, Tuesdays, Thursdays
say, any day in the spot a lone wren sings.
But he never comes, old bright eyes,
he has not appeared to us
except in a mirage that never dies
the moment we reach out a hand in the house.
So, abandon hope as the leaves
choke the gutters, no one believes
in that Norse crap anymore.
Sit at a lonely table, write it forever more:
that line, a hundred times like his infant lines, Bart:
the wolf in us lingers on, heart to heart.

and Sofia rocks
                        22 / 23 October 2013

for the Sofia Symphony is no Medusa young one
and the Scorpions with garlands are back in town
“Our folk came here with tanks”. They joke aloud
(and miles upon miles of strangulation cord)

for the women and kids they wrote home about,
Hans did). Klaus waxes lyrical. Big boy with a grin,
sometimes just the five of us, sometimes plug-out
acoustic.  Tonight it’s full blast, Sofia rocks with us, a real Berlin

2000.  Round Gorky, you have a big heart for the ballad.
We, we just play music.  Politics, none of our Stalingrad.
Open your Scorpion heart to the big country. Volgograd,
No great news she’s bound for Siberia, your Nadya,

Fans must rock to music.  Like the shrines, their candles.
Hit after hit. Gays in a barrel.  Kveikur, it never dwindles.

Zima Junction Revisited
              remembering the young Yevtushenko

The trains roll in and out of Zima Junction
As they always will, and some carry prisoners
And some, freight, and some, cattle and some, dead mutton
As they always will, along with ordinary passengers

A dwindling commodity, for to look into their eyes
You’d be hard put to distinguish in the pupils
Any rationalisation of the species.  But the paid up
Soldiers know where they’re going and the stop

For Kingdom Come, where they alight to embraces
Dragging their holdalls after them.  Disappear into the night.
But you are like the young woman a younger Yevgeny will  overhear

Every night he comes home, turns me over and then and then . . .
Rapine does up his flies.  One after the other, Putin
And Kirrill, bareback,  hold the reins, ride the wind.


Beatriz,  Nadya,  Masha,  Katya
Shaye,  Abdullah,  Shaker Aamer
Bassem, Anwar,  - name after name -  does it matter
Yes, for Jean-Claude set upon in the Cameroon:

Now I know I belong to a world-wide family.
Noxolo Nogwaza, raped, beaten, stabbed
Roma evicted in poverty and in despair
Lin Xia, China,wife to laureate Lin Xiabo

What cannot be said out loud . . .Shout it, God damn it
For them, each of you, set upon too, distinct dots,
Your coloured canvases, a bad case of the measles

When we were kids.  Human. Mites.  No George Seurats,
You’re in good company, if only our names to bring
To help you in Siberia with Flogging Molly, Sting.

None Curse the Czar

When the wind blows
From where you are,
So writes Mangan
On the streets of Dublin
Sharp scymitar,
James Clarence,
As the wind whistles
Over lengths of cardboard
Where without a word
Stretch like dead thistles
The young and homeless
By locked doors, vagrants
Like him and you, they still live
What does it take to survive
What cry of distant ants
Like ours, who can’t relieve –
Except maybe share a morsel
Of what’s in your head, - the pain
That drives you to complain
In your freezing hell.
These days they bleed you dry
Of your headgear
As the snows without
Drift like black doubt
Over Gethsemane in fear
Of what tomorrow brings.
For they have the power
To free you, yet will not
Putin and his Kirrill snot
Where mercury drops by the hour.
Rather, they’d freeze your tongue
With the anaesthetic
Of their punishment
And your banishment
One more statistic
Fluttering in their dual grip,
If brave enough
To punk within the rails
Of their cathedrals
Sing of love.

Of Joe Hill and Nadya

That sliding tomb gate, entrance, call it what you will:
It was designed to keep the dead tucked safe within,
Just one of those prison doors that shut on people
When their lot’s spelt out by court, incensed pew
Or society in tandem.   But in that deeper dark
Her thoughts are already vine tendrils through the bars
As in her letter to Slavej. 
Cool out in the wars.

Nadya’s the root that drags sap from the soil.
She is Joe Hill roaring Shoot to the firing squad
Whose ashes they‘ll not handle in the post
Too hot, they complain.  Too hot to hold.

The butterfly mannequins parade Red Square.
But dream Joe Hill when you think of Nadya, post her your love,
Whose frailty is daily tested, more than enough.

                   Nadya’s partner, arrested now himself, reportedly inKiev      

Maybe your time is at hand, redemption as an Arnaut Daniel
Plunging back again into the Ukrainian flames of some Alighieri Hell
Or lesser P. and not for some petit bourgeois cleansing of the soul
But for Beatrice, the 92.3% of the People
Voting X on where they want to dwell,
Europe with its Daccau to haunt forever.  Europe, warts and all.
Pyotr.   Beatrice tosses you a balaclava from her penitentiary with a yell
Go, move your butt to Kiev. . . . . .   Today, each well-dished  lavish table
In Moscow thinks the bloody bludgeoning of every boy and girl’s
Just a little hoppípolla in international relations, or highway pot hole
For the wider Russia, and Stalin dines as ten million “Kulak scum” starve and fall:
“Ten times lower than the Indians”, says Father Morin.  Liz Bachinsky tells
 it plain in the god of missed connections.  Putin at his wedding ball
Connect s as P. with his mates attempts to storm Kiev City Hall
To fly the People’s Flag.  With Nadya, or without, Pyotr’s call.

Jubilate in Punk Minor
                                                   one father rejoices with another

Praise Masha first. She spurns their opening doors, stands resolute
At Nadya’s side, your flesh and blood, her Moscow punk mate
Masha, so many miles removed, Masha, oaken for her comrade
When the last card, or so, is played to silence your spirited Nadya.
The road that Putin paves with the dead leads to a hospital in Krasnoyarsk
And there are mouths, frozen mute in this man’s stony winter, who’d rather not ask
The horrors of every mile of it, brave women beaten, like the dead Roma
Woman. Her spirit’s more lucent  than any false-gilt sanctuary gleam.
  “For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand”,
Yeats writes for a young Gera.   But Nollaig sa tSamradh is at hand.
Opening for all of us that groaning sluice gate chorus of our hope at last -
For all parents despairing of their kids tossed among the desaparecidos  -
“Wow”, Andrey shouts.  “Wow” as he sees his daughter’s jet-black hair cascade
                     on the video,
 “Wow”. Least we can do is share with you “Wow” forever. “Wow”.

Nadya in Krasnoyarsk “[Her] face radiates peace and happiness”Andri, father)
“I fell in love
with the functional ward of a chest hospital”.
So wrote the rowdy poet of blackbirds and desolates
like Paddy Maguire.  And Kavanagh was in St. James’s
Dublin not for TB but for the removal
of a lung gone cancerous.  Poet of many loves and hates
like most humans despite their counter claims.
Looks like you’ll have mostly concrete
where he’d a gravelled yard to stretch his feet.
Hope when the sun it rises in the February sky a bit
you’ll find a suntrap too for a quick cigarette
     if it’s bad again, the head pain.
Krasnoyarsk, girl, it looks just as functional
the hoarding walls (in ply?) of blue and white
the odd bus passing, car, a battered taxi beside a wall,
a visitor’s papers twice checked or more at the nondescript
      side entrance.
But the miracle of your healing will be within the wards
among the bed-ridden outside of earshot of the guards
your new Tolokonnikova punk role, nightingale apprenticeship.
Gracing the hardback of Putin’s History, a young slip,
the story of your mad stomp round and round his sanctuary.
You are the original Yeshua in his passionate transitory
Sick thrown your way will grow to love you in that penitentiary.
Love you for what you did, for what you stand for, let the word for them be good or grim.
Love you, knowing your face is paradise, what they or we will ever see of

Masha Appeals Medvedev before the Supreme Assembly of the Druids in Russia

Your Patriarchships, who begat us all, I, Masha,  J’Accuse this man who is hell bent
In bulldozing your juniper groves. He acts the bollix in the holy places of Krasnador;
OK, OK, tit for tat.  And I know, it’s not for himself but for his bosom heaven-sent
Partner-in-Kirrill,  that she might witness with her lovely eyes the wild wolves roar

As she gazes from each of the high moonlit hundred windows of her modest  palace.
What value our primeval  treescapes?  Your only juniper preserve in Russia?  Unique –
Who would have thought just two mere humans needed so much space –
Stop this mid-age sanctuary bopper and his wild amazon running amok.

Yet, don’t be hard on Medvedev (as his boss advised on us), he’s
Just another Funny Man with funny money we read of in the press.
He likes to copycat the Man Above, the Supreme Hooligan,
Run riotous in your temples amid the juniper when he can

With hardly a loin-cloth on them both.   O, O ,O the naked  brutes
Who like to wrestle bears their size and twist their screaming nuts,
Good manly fun. Rifle-stalking naked now, today’s emperor or Czar,
Scare the living shit out of the woodcocks hiding in the juniper.

So, sing up, you Russian Choir of Choirs, to Juniper, with its resins and its tars
Bass voices deepening below your own aeons, and even Nicholas Alexander’s,
Boom it to the boys of Vladimir. No eco-maids. Good for bloating and the gas
As V.  grows old to stall of the bladder, joint pains, or, God forbid, psoriasis.

 I plead your protection. He has it in for me, I fear, has Medvedev for my sign-up,
Train load of signatures, to stop him in his ministerial tracks with his pin-up
Desecrating your wild forest.  Is my work, all of it, and this prison, in vain?
Command our little junipers to trip him up with root or two, in their uprooted pain,

Permit both the boys to fall flat, just once (or twice) on their faces,
Taste on their deceitful lips a spot where badgers pile their faeces.