Fuck you, the Cossacks say
To the Turks
If there isn’t a war, we’ll make one!
What’s living without
A good horse, a good bow, a matchlock pistol and a tight-stopped powder horn, a rifle, a Luger snatched from the cold dead hands of a German kid with his mother’s kiss still wet on his cheek and a bloodied swastika pinned to his cap, a tax-free tank with working tracks, a glass of plum vodka, two, three, a song, another, six feet of soil to call your own – pass me the rifle, Olya, I’ve a few shots left in me yet, and don’t forget to film
So my dear old mother will know I died well
When she drops her petrol bombs from the sixth floor of her burnt-out high-rise
On the Swedish hussars with their mud-splattered boots
And the Turks with their thin black moustaches
On the Russian tanks
Did you think this was
A first-person shooter? This tank is real.
Isn’t shooting for YouTube
Your imperial history
If you think the soil under our feet is for sale, the oil more important than the miner, the grain more important than the bread – fuck you! Salt and burn these fields, this town square, the children’s playground, the steelworks: they will always remember. Do you think we forgot
The cattle-cars that took us to the front so that we could fight your wars
The bombed-out trains of refugees
Don’t forget – don’t ever forget - you are the enemy here, you, with your cracked boots and pockets full of sunflower seeds and stolen iPhones, your draft letter in your wallet or your two thousand dollars a month – what’s that worth to you, soldier? Your life? Ha! Fuck you! Remember Makivka!
Our hands are grey with ash.
Fuck you. We do not forget.
Like our partisans
And our parents
And every soldier who had served her twenty years or signed up yesterday
Bring us your war! We’re here!
When that warship fired
The ground lurched under our feet
But we will still be here in the morning
You nasty glob of spit
You snivelling bully
As the stains in your underpants,
And the pus leaking from your crapulous dick,