DOCUMENTARY POEMS

DOCUMENTARY POEMS

By Raman Abramchuk
Translation: Hanna Komar, John Farndon

 

VANYA

practicing meditativeness in the middle of the battle
the months of Belarusian news
because I imagine myself such a Zen master

I wavered
between shame, faith in the future and fatigue
constantly anxious

the months of Belarusian news
people imprisoned for socks!

I had a week to pack
I visited mother on Saturday
she was crying
I was crying too

nothing threatened me
but yet I was anxious

a spoon made of juniper
a tea set with a teapot and two tiny cups
three of the five Belarusian bracelets

and a flag

just sit back, there’s nowhere to rush

it was green and warm outside
a little cloudy
there are no Belarusian bandits anywhere in the city
so surreal
I stared at the ceiling for an hour

…now hangs on the wall

a jar of chestnut honey
has a floral smell and tastes a little bitter
khachapuri shop near the house
the owner of the shop is Ossetian
I heard him say Belarusian words ‘khalera’ and ‘dobra
a light pleasant smell of spring
which I had not noticed before

I lay down and slept until I woke

I am reading books that I have wanted to read for a long time
my friends are alive and not in prison…

such joys

I miss the hypothetical Belarus
the youth on the streets dancing a kind of ‘dryhula’

there are many dogs and cats on the streets
last time
I saw beggars in Minsk
maybe ten years ago
they are just where the animals are

I am leaving, deserting
it is difficult to predict the future
but I can come back just as I left

I almost never notice my dreams
I just wake up and don’t remember them
here is an interesting thing
I dreamed of hideous things
but what dreams did I see in Belarus then?

sending you hugs!

NASTA

they were looking for me
I got it

I had to
as long as there were other people
who I could leave with
by car

I was looking out the window
feeling a little nauseous

right bubble,
I needed to go to the sea
to walk on the water’s edge
a kilometer from the cabin
in the forest…

a border guard
barked at me and
just returned my passport

bubble,
I know they won’t come for me
and I just won’t come back
I got it
I lost everything
I have nothing left…

December 10
my fingers were freezing
when I was smoking

bubble,
I took a book with me
walked along the sea
and shouted its name
Sarmatia!..

bubble,
I love Belarus so much and I did everything I could…

the forest smelled like a forest
the shore didn’t smell of the sea
they won’t come for me
I need to cry
to walk in the forest
and my fingers are freezing

how to live on,
bubble?..

I started watching tiktoks
collecting plates of various shades of green
purple and pink candles
I gave up the idea of
self-immolation in the square

I need to cry

how to live on
seagulls shouted
the water got into my boots a little

this new experience is a bubble
peace and beauty
gorgeous stars
very steep stairs
very dark

old Riga
with an open window

only a month later I could burst into tears

NADZEYA

first day of early voting
a friend gets detained
like in a child’s dream
you run and hope
you won’t get caught

no answer to mom for 2 hours

I said I was going to Kyiv for a short while
maybe I’d be lucky and catch a glimpse of the sea …

until January
I put off my whole life

we had to return home
we had to return home

I really wanted to vote
it seemed like the final push
and everything would go right after that

you wake up to learn that someone
again was arrested kidnapped or beaten

we woke up and worked away
it will be different with us

it will be    different   with us

it’s just streets, everything is empty for you
I’ve accepted myself regardless of the place

the sea
a calm confidence in victory
helping yourself too
being present in the moment

we won’t be back?
what nonsense
I threw it out

for the first time that summer, I heard crickets
going back now is the road to jail
going back now is the road to jail

it is not time yet

Max jokes in his letters from prison
and I want to cry
I couldn’t even say goodbye to anyone

PALINA

i just wanna go home
i just wanna go home
i just wanna go home
i just wanna go home

fucking immigrant

DARYA

for an hour
a month
six months
and yet still
on an empty bus
on rare sunny days
in the pouring rain
I continue living
in Belarus remotely
in fact

PS The most touching part of the farewell was how
much my brother worried about me,
we had never been that close
before the events of August 2020…