Lager NYC

You, volunteer:
You choose to be here

You, volunteer:
You know the difference
Between cause and effect:
The people on the street
Are too stupid to have homes
Too filthy to wash
See them root through the garbage
Nicht essen aber fressen
Ni yest' a zhryat'

They deserve to be there
They deserve to be there

See the dark people
Sitting in the cells
They deserve to be there
They deserve to be there
And the women of the Frauenblock
The Fraulein triple X
Control her, detain her
Pick her up 

Cause and effect:
You know which is which.

You, volunteer:
We see you
On the job where you whisper
Half of what you think
And none of what you feel.

See the clock:
The digital tattoo says run now
Rush to the train the transport
Who cares who gets in
Who cares who gets out
Push into the car the transport
Who cares who gets home
Who cares who gets shot
Arbeit macht frei.
You choose this
You choose:

Hey, you, volunteer
We find ourselves together in the subway
The Grand Ka-Ze Zentral:
Here in Ka-Ze
Your face is not a face
Ni litso, a morda:
Your face is not a face
But a snout
We don't eat here, we devour
Nicht essen aber fressen
Ni yest' a zhriat

We don't give an inch
And we don't give a damn
Only weaklings fall to the tracks
God knows the difference
Between cause and effect.

The selection is over:
Look how it happened that you fell.
You choose this
You choose this



The text of "Lager NYC" first appeared in In Paran (BlazeVOX [books] 2009). The audio first appeared in the author's spoken-word CD, The No-Net World.



Larissa Shmailo

Larissa's poetry collections are #specialcharacters (Unlikely Books), In Paran (BlazeVOX [books], and the chapbooks A Cure for Suicide (Červená Barva Press), and Fib Sequence (Argotist Ebooks). Her poetry CDs are The No-Net World and Exorcism (SongCrew). Larissa translated Victory over the Sun for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's celebrated reconstruction of the first Futurist opera; the translation is in now in print from Červená Barva Press. Larissa edited the anthology Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry and has also been a translator on the Russian Bible for the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society. Her new novel is Patient Women (BlazeVOX [books]).


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, December 11, 2016 - 19:28