When will we begin to read like Westerners?
From mud and boredom, from spit and fear of enemies,
from bones pulled out of sand and stolen quicklime
we’ve fastened a golem. Nothing’s enough for him—
a share of eggs and vodka, a seat in the henhouse,
monthly visits from virgins and schoolboys.
He pesters us while cooking, barges into the bedroom,
panting, puffing, grunting, but he can’t pronounce
a single word. He’s speechless, set in motion
by a complex code of letters, now unknown,
forgotten along with spelling rules in the constant
crisis of education, the shortages and lack
of humanistic subjects. For who can mold
a string of signs so that even a rolled-up paper
gun can open fire, bringing down the ghost
with a round of explosive sound, a flash of meter?