The Chronicles of a Collapse

This is not a fairytale,
not a cautionary tale.
It’s a chronicle of a collapse in all of its details.
It’s the freedom that you sold.
It’s the freedom that we bought.
It’s the stories of the lives of the people we forgot.

He was a 40-year-old
army colonel and a dad.
Served his country in two wars, gave it everything he had.
Then one lovely summer day,
at the height of his career,
he came to work to find out that his homeland disappeared,
That the medals he received,
and the oath that he swore,
And the code by which he lived didn’t matter anymore.
So he packed up all his things,
and he drove himself back home,
And he sat there on the couch, sat there thinking all alone…
And he looked down at his hands.
And he looked up at his gun.
He thought – This is not the end, because he still had a son.
Well, the army fell apart,
and he had no other skills.
Finding work can be quite hard for someone who’s trained to kill.
He had picked up washing floors,
so his family could eat.
All was well until he ran into four punk kids in the street.
They were bored and they were drunk.
They were in the mood to play.
He said: I’m ‎a colonel, son, please get on out of my way!
Just a soldier on his own
against four kids with a bat.
They had shattered every bone, and they left him there dead.

That’s the freedom that you sold.
That’s the freedom that we bought.
That’s the story of a life of somebody we forgot.
It is not a fairytale,
not a cautionary tale.
It’s a chronicle of a collapse in all of its details.

A physicist wi‎th a world name
He couldn’t figure ‎out the math.
The university had not paid scientist salaries for months.
Of the research assistants that he had
three left, one wound up dead.
There are riots on the streets each day. There are four hour lines for bread.
Equations blooming in his mind
are so precise and so right,
but he cannot afford to pay his bills. His wife cries every night.
He focuses on his research
in a futile attempt to cope,
though all his funding has been pulled. He cannot buy a microscope.
When the bus drivers went on strike
the state had budget for their checks,
yet the nuclear submarine research somehow fell through the cracks.
He doesn’t know how to fight.
He’s no good at commerce or crime.
A foreign firm expressed an interest – he thought it was genuine.
So excited there is someone
willing to discuss his work
he talked‎. They listened, and they‎ nodded, and they wrote down every word.
He had been brought up on ideals
of human progress and world peace,
as the result, he sold nuclear secrets ‎to the terrorists.

That was not a fairytale,
not a cautionary tale.
It’s a chronicle of a collapse in all of its details.
It’s the freedom that you sold.
It’s the freedom that we bought.
It’s the story of a life of somebody we forgot.

Her nickname was Babe. Me and her
used to hang out after school.
She said: I want to be a prostitute, because that shit is cool.
I asked her: Are you sure
that’s the life you want to lead?
She shouted: Don’t preach to me! I’m not your daughter, not a kid.
I didna ask for your advice,
and I don’t care what you think.
All my classmates are doing it. They all have cash and nicer things.
I’m sick and tired of being broke.
I want to live like everyone.
It’s just a little bit of work. Besides, I can help out my mom.
I begged her: Babe, at least let me
set you up at a nice hotel.
She laughed and told me to butt out, she could take care of herself.
She went and got her hair permed.
Red mini skirt and red high heels.
She tried so hard to imitate the hookers from the Western films.
This was in 1992,
the year the Iron Curtain fell.
The government disintegrated. Streets descended into hell.
My parents yanked me out of the
country to give me a better life.
She was eleven. That’s the last time I saw my best friend alive.

That’s the freedom that you sold.
That’s the freedom that we bought.
That’s the story of a life of somebody we forgot.
It is not a fairytale,
not a cautionary tale.
It’s a chronicle of a collapse in all of its details.

Copyright @ Julie Deshtor 2017

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About Julie Deshtor

Julie Deshtor grew up in the Soviet Union during the turbulent 90's, and moved to the United States shortly after the Soviet Empire collapsed in 1991. A bilingual author, Julie writes both fiction and poetry, as well as translating poetry and lyrics. She brings her rich cultural and life experienced to her fiction, exploring the psychological struggles of her characters with compassion and insight, as they navigate the murky waters of the modern society. Julie currently resides in Utah, USA. Her interests include art, world literature, zoology, anthropology and urban subculture
This entry was posted in Literature and Writing, Russia - about Russian culture and Russian history - past and present, Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Chronicles of a Collapse

  1. Anonymous says:

    Eye opening perspective!

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