Telegram chat

By Raman Abramchuk
Translation: Hanna Komar, John Farndon

Telegram chat

In any uncertain situation — just set up a telegram chat
Add all but the shady guy — and find later who’s a brother and that
Announce a meeting at the stełła — and let the riot squad watch out
You don’t need maps with the riot squad — spot their black and go round about
When you meet, show a Victory sign; when you part, a heart or a fist
Name daughters Svieta and Maša, sons — Sciopa and Paša, or like this
And when you read them stories, tell them there are knights and cops
But remember all the time that the best thing about this story is you
And your ability to blow on ice when it’s minus outside
And not turn

For Raman Bandarenka

zero ppm of alcohol
a hundred ppm of courage in the blood stream
they say that heroes never die
but why are eyes wet however much we dry them


it’s IT people who relocate
what I had was a bitter escape
through the puddles of Kamenny Log checkpoint in dirty snow
laden with bags, one more ridiculous than another
– hey, how have you settled in, are the bills high there?
– hello, it’s not bad, we’re renting a house, just some trouble with the fireplace
– wow, so long live belarus, well done
– yep, we believe, we can, cheers, hold on

December, 2020

We will surely come back
Sooner or later
From kyivs, poznańs, dougaupils
Those who haven’t actually taken to drinking
Who never actually managed to warm themselves by others’ fires
Who never actually managed to settle in
And who are
Like those who on a roadside station
would buy a coffee and read the news —
when will they finally overthrow him —
Who’ve orbited around
Who are like me chatterboxes
If they caught hold of something it was with their tongue
But they clearly felt how all the rivers descend into the valley
Where home is


when I was leaving —
I hid my singing at the bottom of the suitcase
I stuffed all the foreign languages I knew into my pockets
cards and badges I shoved down my socks
I forgot my favourite places deliberately
numbers and correspondence — deleted
a smile — covered
the passwords — ate
I erased my names from my face

but the border guard woman looked at my passport
put a stamp on departure
and did not ask

To M.Znak, M.Kalesnikava and V.Babaryka’s office

It’s just that we hid our files in the clouds
Actually, it’s where we hid our dreams too
So you’d better take out the rubbish
Rather than take the equipment out of our office
And we also hid
Our secret weapon there
We poured the melody of the magic flute
And now you have to live under this rain-storm
From our files, dreams and notes

To the participants of the neighbourhood march on Lahoiski trakt, 12.04.2021

Okay, let’s be honest
There is no western front
And there is no kursk arc in the east, either
There is only you and your evil feebleness
And urine that runs down by itself
when you stand for a long time face to the wall in the local police department
… Do you remember the pointless ski trip
on the outskirts of Minsk
When I was looking for a gate for ages
in the endless fence round the enclaves of dachas
Until I gave up and climbed over
Breaking the rules of someone’s – well fuck it – game
Made it a whole lot more interesting
Well at least I got an adrenaline rush
Well at least I got where I wanted to
And from there home was
A short

To Jahor Marcinovič

Belarusian journalism is now
a sneaky video shot by you
from behind the substation
Info about cops
sent to ‘Minska Glaza’[1] just in case
A telegram chat
set up for your entire extremist
block, entrance, garden
Now it’s not I-WE Marcinovič
Now you have Marcinovič’s laptop
Don’t ask too many questions
Sit down, write.

To Vitold Ašurak

And the memorial has become uncontainable
in our memory, in time, on paper
Lord, save us if you can
if not — then at least don’t stay silent
Our throats choked with suffering
we can’t chew anymore
You once kicked us out of paradise
but what sins brought on us these hateful camps
Rise up God, draw evil on the powers of the earth
We were salt, and now the salt is scattered.
Please collect it.

Christmas 666

God has lost
There are upirs[2] everywhere
Upirs on the streets
Upirs on festival squares
Under the Christmas tree and in the nativity scene
In houses and churches
Upirs, upirs, upirs
Inside me
They make demonic faces
They blaspheme and swear
They bar up windows
I say
To upirs
I exersise power
I push out into the yard
Those big-eared bastards
And they come out from inside me
And I fix the memorial candle on my window
And I remain alone
By the window

Easter at the stełła

Why is everyone talking about the day
— we will all return at night, like Easter night
We will spill out of planes as if from churches
We will wallow in the chimes of kisses and tears
We will hurry like marys magdalenes with candles to the pre-trial prisons and detention centres
— to raise our people buried alive
We’ll go through walls, feel their ribs, sit at the table by the stełła.
Raman and Vitold will sit with us — their heads in wreaths,
And Aliaxandr — with a flower on his jacket…

The shadows of those sitting at the table
are gradually diminishing

You still lock your bike with
nine / zero eight / twenty
It’s pinned so firmly to the motherland
that emigration to Mars will not stop it
The date is screwed to the very core of our cerebral cortexes
We did not lose, kind of — yet why do orcs conduct mass in our churches
I’ll write a letter to Sciapan and Max,
I’ll send it with messengers…

The bicycle unlocked
It shines with Seven Sisters —
On the road home


[1] The Eye of Minsk, one of the telegram group where people shared info about police and so on, to help others escape or avoid arrest

[2] A demonic being – a proto-vampire