Katerina Gogou, From a new translation of her book “Three Clicks Left” (Τρία κλικ αριστερά), Kastaniotis Editions, 1978

*Translated from the Greek by ΔT and JC.

Wage-labor capital

and imperialism as the ultimate stage of capitalism

betrayed revolutions

Hey, comrade, we miss you so much . . .

Time is worm-ridden

nuclear tests, popular fronts, brothels

(the Portuguese regime has fallen too)

hyperproductive Catholics and the mafia

have become multinationals, they forbid

love, comrade.

Like dogs on soccer fields

agents climb our stairs

anytime they want they

can yank down our pants and fuck us

peace and harmony and socialism in one country—

but comrade, if you only knew the heavy loads we’re carrying . . .

No one could endure the Moscow trials

you were left all alone

people grew weary, that’s when they were pounced on.

But you already knew this.

And so they’d fink. But you already knew this.

January 1977 in China they butchered workers

the news arrives like a poem by Mao

(with blame placed yet again on the dead), but hey, comrade

why weren’t you more careful?

It’s the same over here. People hide out.

Two Communist Parties and thousands of androgynous “revolutionaries.”

If you’re a little too loose you just switch sides.

Don’t worry though. We’ll be alright.

It’s just that sometimes I feel wiped out,

I’ve got no job, I feel like crying

and when I miss you the most

I “scold” you for being careless

I’m not ashamed to cry

and write poems

Comrade, you never betrayed me.

It’s brutal here.

Meeting

Listen, I walk barefoot thru a world

I’m trying to change, leaving

bloody footprints on the ground.

Slowly but surely I run out of energy

and today Tuesday 5 o’clock it’s dark again.

The safety valves in my brain

have loosened, so be it. I feel like I’m eight again

on a boat bound for Tinos Island

and its miracles.

Angle iron, concrete, and cheap blankets

hermetically seal off people with zero

hope who lock themselves in stalls

to weep. I have to deal.

You go over everything you want to say, word

by word, and end up pale

yet determined at the meeting

waiting for the right moment

and you are indeed there, my brother

but you miss your chance—you lose your cool

you hear yourself shout:

Proletarians of the world, unite!

—everyone stares at you like they’re watching

a western, and even though a cowboy never takes

his hat off, you nervously

try to take yours off but you’ve never even

owned a hat and you stare

at your shoes, embarrassed

completely alone

at this general meeting.

But you were right. At least one person was…

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