From the cycle of poems “Cognitive capitalism”

Alexander Skidan (born in 1965) is one of Russia's most critical social poets. His poetry often emanates from the complex interplay between ethics, aesthetics and politics. In this newly written poem, he gives a commentary on the change in our working conditions from industrial to cognitive capitalism.

December 19 2013 Text: Alexander Skidan Translation from Russian: John William Narins

I descended into the subway, I saw the homeless
with plastic bags on their heads,
with garbage gags in their mouths, like mummies
in mausolea of intrauterine slumber,
like the raided tombs of the brotherhood,

                                    embedded
in the window-frames of the fetal footlights,
dissected into equal sections of inequality
in the distribution of disintegrating halos
by the ribbon of the escalator defiling
down the hollow tunnel of the harrowed pupil,
where a socket night picks out
the dragon-tooth filament
in the diurnal incandescence of the retort
with its currentless strand
slipped through a venerable limb-stump,
a surgical strike of humanitarian aid –
a creative industry with a red cross on board