I don’t want no f-ing two-step. I had a stereo once: I clicked the on switch, I heard music. No f-ing codes.

g-Hoover-dam rotten-apple excrement (ghdrae)
you (g-1)-ing excrement
I hate ghdrae apple.
I don’t want no (g-1)ing[ex] 2-step.
I put the ex-thing in airplane mode
just so you’d stop draining the battery
and stop connecting to the internet.
I bought the ex-ing thing for myself
for music and stuff, and not
to be harrassed and updated
and authenticated again —
the ex-ing thing is in my draw, and
I don’t want you to touch my ex-thing.

I hate the internet.
I hate life.
I hate dating up-dates.
It’s assault and battery.

I bought the ex-ing thing
to own it; not to share it.

Get you ex-ing hands
off my property.

F/*!%
I’m so angry
I want to throw it in the ocean
and my ancient self

I don’t need your help to vomit.
stop helping F/*!% apple

first the pandemic and now
the pod people
the body snatchers

OK, that was futile trying to write in Belarusian and expecting a useful comment, so I did an English only poem for Belarus. Translate at your own risk.

The Tractor Miracle of Minsk

I know someone on the police force.
He used to be a friend in discourse
but my friend, Stanislav, is losing his mind.

He’s in the midst of a dilemma:
loyalty to an oath and club, or
keeping old friendships intact.

I see I must leave before
he becomes a Zombie and
tortures every orator, but

Join the celebration dear patriots!
Let us apply to the Vatican immediately
to make Lukashenko a Saint forgot

Yes, indeed, the two miracles required
have been etched into a document
on a giant starchy potato augmented

Witnessed and attested:
all the tractors in Minsk
on the factory floor jinxed
ran away from the workers, and

they drove themselves across Lithuania
and into the Baltic Sea with a splash
heard around the world, pliant
as they played “Changes”

Stanislav told me I’m about to be arrested
and I should flee to Lithuania, but unfed
I had to make potato pancakes first.
I had a recipe from Tikhanovskaya.

I’ll miss the harvest of the grain and of the ballots.
For now we

honk his glory with the snout of our cars!
Everyone is astounded by the supernatural:
The greatest grain harvest ever was achieved when
opposition ballots were buried in the ground as seed.

Burned votes are a fine ash for plants to grow
out of season, out of reason and a scarecrow.

Please for a change. Make him a Saint
and invite him out of the country to
visit the Vatican forever.
We’ll give him a new tractor.

Вецер Усходу халодны

Гэта ранні праект. Я паняцця не маю, калі гэта наогул мае сэнс.

Вецер Усходу халодны

Ёсць злыя стрэлы, а Лука – пусты лук.
Аляксандр набірае сілы з Усходу
Як пусты мяшок вецер ветру

Ён лічыць стрэлы
як злы матэматык

Арыфметыка простая:
адзін голас са стрэлкай
равно миллиону бюлетэняў

Аляксандр д’ябалшэнка
ён валодае парады і
у яго стрэлка,
стрэлы,
збіццё,
дыктатура

На целах памерлых
– гэта вяршыня айсберга, як стрэлка.
Карабель затапіць разам з капітанам
і ветравая сумка не можа плаваць.

———————–
The Wind of the East is Cold

There are evil arrows, and Luke is an empty bow.
Alexander is gaining strength from the East
Like an empty bag of wind

He counts the shots
like an evil mathematician

The arithmetic is simple:
one voice with an arrow
equal to a million ballots

Alexander the Devil
he owns tips and
he has an arrow,
shots,
beating,
dictatorship

On the bodies of the dead
– it’s the tip of the iceberg like an arrow.
The ship is sunk along with the captain
and the wind bag cannot float.

Спектакль – старажытная рэч

    Верш Дугласа Гілберта

Сябры, паэты, шэльма, пазычце мне мазгі,
Я прыбыў, каб пахаваць Пуцін ў магіле Шэкспіра
бо імператар не цэзар Беларусі.

Кажуць, Брут не быў бы пачэсным чалавекам.
Усё наадварот. Але паглядзіце
лялечны спектакль.

Будзь мне вушамі, каб слухаць мудрасць і стратэгію
Прыходзьце паслухаць; шэпт ад мяне, гром ад цябе.
Будзем валадарыць над дажджом, які мы сутыкаемся разам
шпацыр па румянай мутнай зары
спевы з здзекліва птушка
хто пераклікаецца з нашымі смуткамі
—————-
Performance Is an Ancient Thing
A poem by Douglas Gilbert

Friends, poets, pranksters, lend me brains,
I arrived to bury Putin in Shakespeare’s grave
for the emperor is not the Caesar of Belarus.

They say Brutus would not be an honorable man.
Quite the opposite. But look
puppet show.

Be my ears to listen to wisdom and strategy
Come listen; a whisper from me, thunder from you.
Let us reign over the rain we face together
a walk through the ruddy muddy dawn
singing with a mocking bird
who echoes our sorrows

A funny thing happened on the way to a translation

    Someone on Q asked. “Is it possible to write a good short poem in several languages without being fluent in any?” Someone responded with “No.” That was about it. No one got the joke of not being fluent in one’s own language. So…

    As they say, it’ll be possible when pigs fly. But I bought a first-class ticket on a plane for a theatrical therapy pig. I don’t know if he’ll make it because if I can get my money back on the ticket, I think I’d rather eat bacon than fly. So here’s a short poem to start with:

Friends, poets, rabble, lend me your brains,
I have arrived to bury Caesar in Shakespeare’s tomb
and to borrow your ears for your discernments;
Come listen; the whispers are of me, the thunder is of you.
Let us reign over the rain we face together
walking in the ruddy muddy dawn
to sing with the mockingbird
who echoes our sorrows

Then there were three phases: translating this one into others, and then translating from the results back into English. Something was lost in translation it looks like. But then something funny happened (the thirdly thing). I was reading about the troubles in Belarus and I was wondering if this poem might apply. I had already translated it into Russian. Belarusian is a related language, so I tried Russian into Belarusian… and then the poem didn’t seem exactly right… so havoc:
=====
Russian

Друзья, поэты, деревенские люди, одолжите мне свои мозги,
Я приехал похоронить Цезаря в могиле Шекспира
и заимствовать уши ваши для различения;
Подойди послушай; шепот от меня, гром от тебя.
Давайте править дождем, с которым мы сталкиваемся вместе
Прогулка по румяной мутной заре
петь с пересмешником
кто вторит нашим печали
============
Indonesian

Teman, penyair, rakyat jelata, pinjami aku otakmu,
Saya telah tiba untuk menguburkan Kaisar di makam Shakespeare
dan meminjam telinga Anda untuk pemahaman Anda;
Ayo dengarkan; bisikan itu dari saya, guntur adalah dari Anda.
Marilah kita menguasai hujan yang kita hadapi bersama
berjalan di fajar berlumpur yang kemerahan
bernyanyi dengan mockingbird
yang menggemakan kesedihan kita
========
Khmer

មិត្តភ័ក្ដិកវីកំណាព្យខ្ចីខួរក្បាលខ្ញុំ
ខ្ញុំបានមកដល់ដើម្បីបញ្ចុះសពសេសារនៅក្នុងផ្នូររបស់ស្ពា
និងខ្ចីត្រចៀករបស់អ្នកសម្រាប់ការវែកញែករបស់អ្នក។
សូមស្តាប់ សំឡេងខ្សឹបប្រាប់ពីខ្ញុំផ្គរលាន់គឺជារបស់អ្នក។
ចូរយើងគ្រប់គ្រងលើទឹកភ្លៀងដែលយើងប្រឈមមុខជាមួយគ្នា
ដើរនៅព្រឹកព្រលឹមដែលមានភក់
ច្រៀងជាមួយលេងសើច
ដែលបន្ទរសេចក្តីទុក្ខព្រួយរបស់យើង

mittaphkde kvi kamnapy khchei khuorokbal khnhom
khnhom ban mokadl daembi banhchouhsap se sar nowknong phnaur robsa spa
ning khchei trachiek robsa anak samreab kar veknhek robsa anak .
saum stab saamleng khsaoeb brab pi khnhom phkarlan kuchea robsa anak .
chaur yeung krobkrong leu tukaphlieng del yeung brachhommoukh cheamuoyoknea
daer now prukaprolum del mean phk
chrieng cheamuoy lengsaech
del bantor sechaktei toukkh pruoy robsa yeung

So that went mostly Ok. Some translations became odd in English, but not too bad.
English from Russian

Friends, poets, country people, lend me your brains
I came to bury Caesar in Shakespeare’s grave
and borrow your ears for discernment;
Come listen; whisper from me, thunder from you.
Let’s rule the rain we face together
Walk on a ruddy murky dawn
sing with a mockingbird
who echoes our sorrows
========
English from Indonesian

Friends, poets, commoners, lend me your brains,
I have arrived to bury the Emperor in Shakespeare’s tomb
and borrow your ears for your understanding;
Come on listen up; the whisper is from me, the thunder is from you.
Let us master the rain that we face together
walking in the reddish muddy dawn
singing with a mockingbird
that echoes our sorrows
=========
English from Khmer

Poetry friends borrow my brain
I arrived to bury Caesar in Shakespeare’s tomb.
And lend your ears to your reasoning.
Listen to me whisper, the thunder is yours.
Let us control the rain we face together
Walking in the muddy morning
Sing with humor
That echoes our sorrows

So then thirdly, I did many versions of Belarusian and came up with this extended version:

Сябры, паэты, шэльма, пазычце мне мазгі,
Я прыбыў, каб пахаваць Пуцін ў магіле Шэкспіра
бо імператар не цэзар Беларусі.

Кажуць, Брут не быў бы пачэсным чалавекам.
Усё наадварот. Але паглядзіце
лялечны спектакль.

Будзь мне вушамі, каб слухаць мудрасць і стратэгію
Прыходзьце паслухаць; шэпт ад мяне, гром ад цябе.
Будзем валадарыць над дажджом, які мы сутыкаемся разам
шпацыр па румянай мутнай зары
спевы з здзекліва птушка
хто пераклікаецца з нашымі смуткамі
————*
Friends, poets, pranksters, lend me brains,
I arrived to bury Putin in Shakespeare’s grave
for the emperor is not the Caesar of Belarus.

They say Brutus would not be an honorable man.
Quite the opposite. But look
puppet show.

Be my ears to listen to wisdom and strategy
Come listen; a whisper from me, thunder from you.
Let us reign over the rain we face together
a walk through the ruddy muddy dawn
singing with a mocking bird
who echoes our sorrows

So then Belarusian to Russian to English becomes:

Friends, poets, pranksters, lend me brains
I came to bury Putin in Shakespeare’s grave
for the emperor is not Caesar of Belarus.

They say Brutus would not have been a worthy man.
On the contrary. But look
puppet show.

Be my ears to listen to wisdom and strategy
Come listen; whisper from me, thunder from you.
Let’s rule the rain we face together
a walk on a ruddy cloudy dawn
singing with a mockingbird
who echoes our sorrows

Marks And Angles (Draft 4)

An old word on a path
of a thousand miles
just a saying, hurrah

uh damn, just saying a journey
begins with a single faux pas
said Laozi
not Confucius
ha

a word of confusion
a two-step to completion
an old word in subversion —
it takes a contaminated bat,
and a virus to conquer.
Tick-tock.

China had a plan
and knew fanfares:
peace on the road
to be woven,
friendships for
fair weather, a shrewd
bounty before a storm,

a word in malice
a step,
Jane’s tale
was to fail
in bans pretty soon.

The Wuhan plague
brought chaos, and then

when all the local stores failed
the aristocrats pro temp bought them
and Jane’s requiem began to play, hey

In a word
Jane had gone batty
over the Summer:

older daughter home,
younger daughter beaten
dead by the gangs, and

she had been annoyed by
the constant chants on the speakers
of the Chinese language lessons
mandatory to earn guanxi
as in Nineteen Eighty-Four

But she had enjoyed the fantasy
that fall would be glorious, for
the eldest jumped for joy
when accepted to
a tuition-free school
as good as Harvard, a
part of the Red Ivy League, funded by
a Confucius Friendship Society

Pandora’s virus box
had bats in it for Jane.

Her daughter indulged her
by sending hand-written messages
by snail-mail

It was lonely, and
all of Jane’s neighbors
took the trains out to
the re-education camps.

Her daughter’s letters were
incoherent she began to think,
or was it that she was going mad?

A government grant check
came with a flier
asking her to
memorize the manifestos

Pandora’s virus box
had bats in it for Jane.

Her decline was sealed
the day the grocery store
checked her credit score:
The princeling who owned it
refused to serve her because
she didn’t have enough caution
in social credits for conformity:
a black mark for twice not
wearing a red mask and
not passing her basic
Chinese language test.

All the stores had been
taken over by the princelings
after the coup d’etat, so
Jane had to walk far away
for Amerigo Supermarkets.

Walking was a complicated fate:
she had to hang with
the ‘hood committee
to negotiate with the gangs
just for a safe passage.
(The citizen’s police
had no guns anymore)

Her daughter indulged her
with an incoherent letter,
left off the “love” valediction —
no closing remarks, but
just odd disjointed slogans:
“repentance and confession,”
“remedial Mandarin,”
“Help Mom,” and
“Truly Transform”

The gangs received
new Chicago weapons,
joined the mask militia
or went back to the well

protestors
burned the Constitution
in a sunrise red fire
by the dawn’s early light

Proudly, great progress
was hailed without bullets
on the conveyance belt
and hellion roadway

John, offering hope, was long gone.
Pandora’s virus well
had bats in it for Jane.

Well, sitting at a window
Jane without living water
a heart attack

Love China,
or well

Marks and Angles (Draft 2)

An old word on a path
of a thousand miles
just a saying, hurrah

uh damn, just saying a journey
begins with a single faux pas
said Laozi
not Confucius
ha

a word of confusion
a two-step to completion
an old word in subversion —
it takes a contaminated bat,

a virus to conquer.
Tick-tock.

China had a plan
and knew fanfares:
peace on the road
to be woven,
friendships for
fair weather, a shrewd
bounty before a storm,

a word in malice
a step,
Jane’s tale
was to fail
in bans soon.

The Wuhan plague
brought chaos, and then

when all the local stores failed
the aristocrats pro temp bought them
and Jane’s requiem began to play, hey

In a word
Jane had gone batty
over the Summer:

older daughter home,
younger daughter beaten
dead by the gangs, and

she had been annoyed by
the constant chants on the speakers
of the Chinese language lessons
needed to earn guanxi like “1984”.

But she had enjoyed the fantasy
that fall would be glorious, for
the eldest jumped for joy
when accepted to
a tuition-free school
as good as Harvard, a
part of the Red Ivy League, funded by
Confucius Friendship Society

Pandora’s virus box
had bats in it for Jane.

Her decline was sealed
the day the grocery store
checked her credit score:
The princeling who owned it
refused to serve her because
she didn’t have enough caution
in social credits for conformity:
a black mark for twice not
wearing a red mask and
not passing her basic
Chinese language test.

All the stores had been
taken over by the princelings
after the coup d’etat, so
Jane had to walk far away
for Amerigo Supermarkets.

Walking was a complicated fate:
she had to hang with
the ‘hood committee
to negotiate with the gangs
just for a safe passage.
(The citizen’s police
had no guns anymore)

Sitting at the window
she had a heart attack
when protestors
burned the Constitution
in a sunrise red fire
by the dawn’s early light

Proudly, great progress
was hailed without bullets
on the conveyance belt
and roadway to hell.

Marks and Angles

An old word on a path of a thousand miles
begins with a single faux pas
said Laozi of the Dao De Jing

More than a two-step to completion
of propaganda and subversion —
it takes a bat and a virus to conquer.
Tick-tock.

Peace on the road
was to be woven
in friendships for
fair weather, a shrewd
bounty before fool’s storms,

in malice from unforeseen red feuds,
Jane’s tale was to fail in bans soon.

The Wuhan plague
brought chaos, and

when all the local stores failed
the aristocrats pro temp bought them
and Jane’s requiem began to play

Jane had gone batty
over the Summer:

older daughter home,
younger daughter beaten
dead by the gangs, and

she had been annoyed by
the constant chants on the speakers
of the Chinese language lessons
needed to earn guanxi like “1984”.

She had thought
fall would be better:
the eldest jumped for joy
when she was accepted
to a tuition-free school
as good as Harvard, a
part of the Red Ivy League, funded by
the Confucius Friendship Society

Pandora’s box
had bats in it for Jane.

Her decline was sealed
the day the grocery store
checked her credit score:
The princeling who owned it
refused to serve her because
she didn’t have enough caution
in social credits for conformity:
a black mark for twice not
wearing a red mask and
not passing her basic
Chinese language test.

All the stores had been
taken over by the princelings
after the coup d’etat, so
Jane had to walk far away
for an Amerigo Supermarket.

Walking was a complicated fate:
she had to hang with
the ‘hood committee
to negotiate with the gangs
just for a safe passage.
(The citizen’s police
had no guns anymore)

Sitting at the window
she had a heart attack
when protestors
burned the Constitution
in a surise red fire
by the dawn’s early light

Proudly, great progress
was hailed without bullets
on the conveyance belt
and roadway to hell.