200 Section 7 Kseniya and Zhenya

[Section 7 of 200 introduces Kseniya and Zhenya, characters who will henceforth loosely guide this long episodic poem, like psychopomps, through its grim yet frivolous purgatorial landscape of political intrigue and social decay. The pair are introduced here as a fictionalized caricature of the Russian hookers who allegedly peed on Trump. The name ‘Kseniya’ is a Russian version of Greek ‘Xenia’, meaning foreigner or lover of foreigners; Zhenya is a common Slavonic diminutive of ‘Evgenia’, meaning pure in race. Although they act like sisters, these characters are thus also tacit representatives of the two sides that divide a world riven by identity politics. Both names are common sobriquets for Eastern European sex workers.

I should warn readers that this section of the poem necessarily contains much vulgar sexually explicit language and dark political satire, which may not be to everyone’s taste. I both apologize and do not apologize for that. The section is divided into four subsections entitled ‘Foreplay’, ‘Eye’, ‘Bar’ and ‘Date.’]

Foreplay

Kseniya and Zhenya’s dulled eyes

have been in the business for a long while now,

but they know how to put on a good show

in a hotel room, on the dark net, down there.

“Whatever Master want,” they coo,

flirting fleetingly, like serfs

through meth-damaged teeth.

“You want us dress up like schoolgirl,

pee on you, pretend we twins. We do.

Can’t show pussy juice

on US Internet? Russia free country.

Yes. You pay, we do that here for you too.”

*

Eye

Kseniya lounges back on the ambassador-

sized bed, smoking an Embassy and

watching a National Geographic Channel documentary

about extremophiles.

She thumbs herself distractedly. “That creep

didn’t get me anywhere near,” she laughs.

Zhenya touches up her mascara in the hotel mirror.

“They’re probably still filming us”, she notes,

blinking a little foreign matter out of one watery eye.

“Whatever,” Kseniya replies, looking up at the webcam

in the whirling fan over the bed,

sticking out her tongue

and waggling it about.

*

Bar

Kseniya picks the olive with a toothpick

out of her third straight gin, chewing

thoughtfully on it. “Love and peace!”

she blurts out. “You what?” Zhenya snaps back,

one eye firmly on a guy on the other side of the bar

giving her that look. “We do diplomacy,” Kseniya

goes on. “While guys play their games with guns

and bombs, we work with kisses and piss like UN

whores, with no limits and no borders, just

to keep peace.” Kseniya concludes.

“Shut the fuck up, Ksusha,” Zhenya

shoots back. “You don’t half talk a lot of crap

when you’re pissed.” “Like Florence Nightingale,”

Kseniya dribbles on into her half-empty glass,

as Zhenya marches off across the bar in pursuit of prey.

*

Date

“Do you think I’m pretty?” Zhenya, already naked,

and high, talks into the mirror, as the secret policeman

she has just snared, struggles clumsily to peel off

his jeans on the hotel bed. “Yeah,” he grunts over her ass.

“I mean really pretty,” Zhenya insists, eyeing him

backwards through the dressing table’s mirrored glass.

“Fuck yes!” is the best he can come up with.

“I could be a movie star,” Zhenya goes on. “Sure.

Yes you could,” soldier boy pants, as Zhenya

eyes him pityingly with curled ironic lips,

a twinkle of cynicism sparking in her dark

dilated pupils meeting his.

 

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200 Section 8 Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee

[Section 8 of 200 introduces the characters of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, whose role in the poem echoes that of the hookers Kseniya and Zhenya. Dumb and Dee, however, are far less likeable figures.]

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb

play dumb on CCTV in the police interview room.

“We love your Thomas Hardy. Great

poet. Great social realist. Jude,

climbing the spire of magnificent cathedral,

worker man. Your great prehistoric

megaliths. National heritage,

national trust. We get it.

Like Siberian Rock Art, our Lake Baikal.

We come to honor you as businessmen

and tourists and fans of sport

and bands, to do a deal that suits us both.

We do not come in vengeance

for Beckett slain or Jude undone

or for the slight your virgin queen

once did our Tsar Ivan.” Dee grins

as Dumb goes on to sum it up

with creepy nervous smiles.

“We come make money; fuck your local girls,

have a good time, not kill.”

“Piotr the Great worked in your shipyards like docker

back in day,” Dee adds. “He learnt your skills;

brought back wheelbarrow from you and now

we fly to stars and moon and Mars, and take you

with us on our ride. You give us stars of rock; our star men

teach you how to truly fly to stars. We are your

interstellar Uber drivers.” “We bring vodka, good

cheer, pussy galore. We love your pop

quizzes and pubs and football pools

& teams. Your bookies & hooligans best

in the world,” Dumb adds. “Just like your banks,

tax laws and property deals.”