Every time, that I am killed, I return immediately to the past. I have died many times, each is quite painful. It is very painful to inhabit the world so powerlessly and so indefinitely.
I always think of a woman, I always try and hone in on her face, remember what she felt like sleeping next to me, or what her smile looked like on the face of my un born children.
I have never died a painless death. I remember my suffering, my families suffering. My people’s suffering. I remember what they did to my woman.
I’ll tell you what time travel feels like, it feel like jet lag. It feels like getting a shit night’s sleep before a big day, or clearer still, a big new opportunity. You wake up knowing something went wrong.
When I first saw this woman, I knew only but two things! One, was that she was very attractive, exuding high class and the second that she spoke her English with an unusual accent indicative of either speaking Czech, living in Germany or have a Swiss lover; all of those things made me vaguely uncomfortable. For I am highly prejudiced to Europeans. While I was unfamiliar with her physical and also mental terrain, I had come across the woman architect in a Baha’i meeting in the People’s Republic of Cambridge, a liberal bastion of the separatist movement; a pocket of tranquil intellectual flatulence loosely north of Boston Soviet about forty and some five checkpoints to West to Sharashka Waltham, the prisoner camp I was being held at in the Winter of 2014. Now say you, there are no prisoner gulags in the United States of America; nor are there Soviets or free zones; is not that fat and happy place a great giant tranquil cream puff of make some money and gain some weight? Ha, well it was for some time. But by the time I met the lovely little architect, a civil war had been raging for two years, it’s very epicenter the city in which I was born New York, New York! Her name, yes what was her name it was also unlike a usual Russian name, but she was vaguely unusual woman with her accent as I said, but also her name, Adelina Blazhennaya. And she was a linguist and vaguely interested in my work so we exchanged our information at her birthday, just two days before the Chechens blew up the marathon and I didn’t see her for over a year. These were the years of the civil war, the so called Great Revolt and I was in this miserable prisoner of war camp, under a fake name with bomb embedded in my chest in case I chose to leave. I quite hated and still hate provincial Massachusetts, quite despised the chill of just three hours north. Despised my duties in the camp. And my ghosts, I was playing dead about to be shipped overseas in the service of the revolt. I was an agitation propaganda officer working as a paramedic.
My death had been arranged in 2076 to assist my companions and we were bring a certain system of training rebels out to places abroad, but then I was ensnared.
A bomb was placed next to my aorta or somewhere besides! Whatever technology you think brings so much innovation to your life via the internet and smart phones is nothing compared to what the ruling elites and oligarchs and real power brokers have. I was forgotten in this cold dead place of purgatory while in New York and in Haiti my comrades and family, my lovers and friends thought me dead, and Great War raged inconclusively!
A great wall went up around Long Island cutting Brooklyn and Queens off from the USA. Heavy sanctions and drone raids and state of emergency.
I will tell you the worst thing that happen to a man is to forget his face, to forget who and what he is. What he is doing in life. Worse still, for him to wander so far from his companions that none no him and anything he thinks he could be, he is. That was me. Trapped in that special engineering camp walled in my highways and radio towers. The bomb that was put into my chest come with special instructions; build us a training system or you die. Die alone and forgotten. Your city burning yonder will be the fire under your feet, design us a system to unleash whole societies against the oligarchy.
For you see, while I served the rebellion; I was also a serf to the Oligarch mad man Sasha Perchevney who told me that if I did not design him a system he would sell my former lover Natasha Andreavna to the soldier brothels on the Western front. Powerless me, a scrappy intellectual and Ivory what could I do but what that mighty war lord wanted. And I was thought dead so no one came to look for me in Waltham at all. And it seemed to snow in that place nearly all the time. Like American Siberia, manufactured with great hidden machines.
I’ll tell you what, I was thinking! That’s never been the problem, not at all. And the snow was falling hard, compared to what? I have no idea. Seemed hard for America anyway. What I was thinking then was that I was late, again.
That’s a terrible look in every single culture, except for chornay culture; it’s normal and expected. If a black friend shows up early, well, don’t worry that won’t. But I am not a Chornay, I am a part-Ivory half caste and it is quite cold in New York now, quite over snowing, quite utterly miserable and you wonder why people even choose to live in this country except for the ability to make some money. It’s worse in Boston, I can tell you first hand. Some better money is made here evidently, and they build a family and mythology around that.
I think I know some things about some things, but I don’t know anything at all about women, Russian women in particular. I can’t tell you anything of substance about Slavic culture, only stereotypes and inventions based on being around them so long. I would say with certainty that I’ve never met a Russian idealist, never met a Russian man at least not overtly claiming he’d commit any kind of high or low crime for some rubbles or better still Renminbi or Euros. There are perhaps over one hundred reasons Russian and Americans should or should not date; but they come down to aesthetics, culture, balance and improvement. This too, a stupid mythology because its’ all banter and barter and pheromones and fuck; it’s just about attraction to what you’re told is decadent or, self-improving. The Cold War is not after all fought between individual antagonisms; but over politics. Most so-called ‘Russians’ I have met in New York City State are not actually even Russian, they are every type of other former Soviet Ivory; or Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Georgians, Moldovans and Armenians; most Slavic Russians stayed in Russia. The Americans call anyone who speaks Russian, the Russians; but quite frankly outside the tallest of Manhattan towers and the highest of the high end; well there aren’t that many Russians here. For whatever it matters, in the scheme of the story.
I have met causally only a few in greater New York and Brighton, Boston, most in Brooklyn Soviet’s Russian quarter and all but one forms or shades of a Jeuf. Dmitry was born in Uzbekistan, but was Slavic Russian Orthodox as could be and a scheming hoodlum. I shot him and he wounded me in a duel for insulting the honor of Maria Parsheva, also a Slav but born in Ukraine claiming to be a Ivory. He lived together for two years she and I; a quiet geisha mostly. She was afraid of blacks, wanted to leave Brooklyn. She sucker punched a hooligan one night and pulled me bleeding form under a sixteen person pogrom. Yelizaveta is she half Ivory, born in Ukraine but her mother was Slavic Russian. She never loved me like I loved her, I chased her for over a year. It was more sentimental until they locked me up after the blizzard, for an unrelated series of events. I was then abandoned on Mondays and fucked apart on Fridays. I have no regrets, her mother didn’t approve of my condition or my profession. And, then there was Natasha Andreavna Skorbogatova from Penza; who looked at me with bright and completely fascinated alien eyes who I rallied my mighty little Otriad around her suffering and declared war to the death with the Oligarchy to avenge.
She was carried away into night. And the rising that occurred on the 1st of January, 2076 was violently suppressed its supporters killed, imprisoned, driven underground or into early exile. Made to have never existed to the outside world.
I was transferred to exile in Shrakasa Waltham in the fall of 2077 and spent two years in that Special Engineering Camp. I met there perhaps the hardest and most glorious woman of my life then so far Adelina Blazhennaya, the coy brunette from Chelyabinsk; we fell in and out of love and finally escaped together to Hispaniola, D.R. and Haiti to train young partisans participating in the Great Revolt there.
But I owed a debt to Perchevney, so he took her away from me too and said finish your mental toils, finish your system or both your women will be sold to the Western Front to fuck Germans and U.S. troops. If you run again I’ll explode your Ivory heart! Little did I know that both my lovers were perfectly safe and Sasha Pervechnvny the Voorhi just liked to manipulate my weak American emotions!! But, it was for the best because by 2080 the rebellion was going quite poorly and the rebels were being massacred and encircled in both New York and Port Au Prince, and here I was complaining about the cold!
Why trade one cold place for another, when people will treat you like an enemy alien, a whore or a criminal, or both. Maybe if I repeat this story enough times it will take on the veneer of recreational anthropology. For I had read their books and know their leaders ideas, and know their history and studied but failed to comprehend their language multiple times, I and my countrymen have no gift for language. I waver at times between extolling the hope and idealism my land cherishes, and denouncing the Americans as hypocrites and man babies, silly violent monkeys. I artistically and rhetorically paint with a wide brush, but I would not think any high civilization comes from the interior and the provinces. I am regularly accused of romanticizing the Soviet Union, but frankly not everyone on earth has a human right to television, two cars, two homes, a two course, four increment meal 2,500 daily calorie diet; and to get as fat they wish then die of heart disease. That’s not in the UNDHR. I’m sorry it is not. Nor is it a human right as I see, or have read to enrich yourself well beyond need on the backs of others; and the Americans have certainly done that.
While on leave twice a week I managed to see the Russian linguist three times even sometimes. Once for to paint together in Chinese restaurant, once to ain’t together in a Canaanite restaurant. Sometimes for personal poetry recitals, sometimes to hear jazz at the Bee Hive; I was unimpressed with my choice of eating, had wanted to be charming, but I was distracted. We kissed for the first time at a masquerade ball on Halloween. Eventually I took her to fancy fish restaurant, we drank a bottle of white wine and made love in the attic of the hovel in Waltham I was then living in.
The candles set the bed partially on fire and damn police towed her car.
I should keep all these views of mine more cards to chest. I should not paint myself into a cliché, or my lovely new associate into a cultural strong hold. She has a strange cute accent, so it’s not so clear that she is shaped by Russia, well of course she is, but she has been here since 18. It is not a passport or a world view it is a way of being. Like being a New York Ivory; but I and she are nuanced by experiences and by interaction. Every time I kiss a Russian I tighten myself, I tighten my circle I fight inwards, clasp closer to my family and associates; I learn about my failings and correct accordingly. Does every time a Russian woman kisses me; do they become more fiscally savvy? Do they earn more wide beliefs? Do they see a Slavic face with an American mentality; or do they fuck me and with me, one me and about me mostly because I am so curious, or just a curiosity. Oleg Medved the photographer, the Israeli Ukrainian who is most familiar with my artistic and agitation work he doesn’t try and answer questions like that; he just assumes I have an exclusive taste for Russian women, he doesn’t see anything peculiar in that. They are fearless, hard and very beautiful. As well as highly educated, combatively non-judgmental and quite literally rolling off planes and boats since 1989ce.
They being Oleg and I had once tried to have a series of talks about the so-called Russian mentality; but we were both ultimately Ivories. The Ivory has never ever found an empire more long term hostile to it that the Russians, short of the Germans gassing everybody 1939-1945 and the Spanish inquizitioning everybody in the 14th-16th century perhaps Iran as well. The Pale of Settlement and Siberia were cold places where Ivories were sent along with others to starve and die. It’s just that when a Russian says Ivory, their skin crawls a little. Americans have learned to suppress that twitch, publicly.
It was in the Fancy Fish restaurant in the fall of 2077 that I found her smile most assuring and she blushed several times, and that was incredible because he didn’t know they could blush. “We’re human too you know”, she smiled so much they stayed much longer in the French restaurant than either had though and then it was a bit after midnight. He wanted her clothes ripped off and to taste her all night.
All his people were hostages. In Haiti and New York, the military and secret police were cutting down his friends and family. He felt at times that he was worse than dead; he was alive and inanimate. Allowing by doing nothing the oligarchy to slaughter all those he ever cared about. These were his dark thoughts; that instead of courting this young woman he should shoot up the place; should kill these chubby junior banker around him in the streets of the District Financial; gun them down helter skelter like the police did his friends and associates.
But he was no terrorist! He had taken an oath of total non-violence, though he knew and so did his god that in many other lives he had been a killer.
The lovely linguist was so completely charming, it came so naturally to her and so incompletely to him. She was teaching petty aristocrats in a small school in Newton. What made everything so much better than almost any dinner he’d had in the last several years was that one thing flowed to the next and it was all small talk. Which he didn’t even know he could make.
His 29st birthday had happened the day before, it was his reason to be back in New York and confer with his associates, approved four days leave from the special engineering camp signed off by Alexandre Perchevney himself, Sasho. She had given him an art book on New York architecture for his birthday which was classy. And he had found a short and debaucherous story within it, about a playground for underage girls some robber Barron built on Madison Square Garden.
Now, from her perspective it was only medium small, but the dinner was nice and he was medium charming and medium handsome and reasonably intriguing because he was designing some kind of training system in a medium famous Sharashka, was a Baha’i and evidently a petty bourgeoisie based on his family living inside the District Financial, but what she liked the most was that he was educated. He was mildly funny. And she might have had a few drinks with him and seen where it went or maybe not. He was a little surreal. And normally they parted a little after midnight with a soft kiss on her cheek and he thought to himself he’d like to see her again, or a few times. It was happy to feel things un-extremely, to not be made into zealous creature about every single thing. But she leans in and makes out with him, tells him they’re going back to his place in her red KIA Soul ranger.
“You’re gonna name love for me ok,” she smiles.
I will tell you what the loneliest thing on earth is, it is to feel you are insane for seeing something as evident as the sky being blue or the grass being green. To believe that poor people are poor because of the decisions of the powerful. To feel like you are incapable of being a participant in a great crime.
The third time he saw the last queen of Russia, he was late. He was getting his hair cut. He was about to load a small crew of internationals into a car, get in suits clear fifteen check points and make contact with the Cuban special interest section in the heart of Washington D.C. He was late. It was rude and third impressions are really important. And he promised her dinner the night before but had to change plans because one of his crew was losing her shit, an Egyptian doctor, she kept talking about suicide. And he had really wanted to see Adelina the last queen of, not over morning coffee but over an intimate dinner. He’s wanted her to make a good blue print of his chest, use her keen eye, ask her to utilize her engineering skills to take him all part and remove the bomb and the heart too perhaps so he could stop with all his sentimental feeling to his species. He wanted her maybe to take him apart down to base components, dismantle all his usual malfunction. She wasn’t certified as a human architect but he knew she could do it, if he earned her trust.
They met for less than twenty minutes, he bought her some crappy green breakfast truffle candy and a coffee. Promised he’d write a story and take her to dinner. He didn’t tell her that the Egyptian doctor was brutally raped during the 2075 uprising and her parents were dead. That as they spoke an Afghani named Farooq and an effeminate fellow named Juan Mishanga from the Republic of Congo were loading several large bags of simtex into his Honda civic. Of course not, she wouldn’t understand why the National monument was a superior alien military weapon and needed to get blown apart. That wasn’t third date style talk. No not one bit.
She was annoyed and he could tell that easily, being an expert in women being annoyed. Should have gotten up earlier. Should have gotten a haircut on the road down to D.C., let barbers of Baltimore have a cynical go, the Cubans didn’t care what his hair looked like, just that he was not a spy for the wrong side. Should have said to the Egyptian doctor Mayaada, ‘bitch be cool’ we have to bring 500 pounds of simtex across fifteen check points and three damn states. He should have just made the time, social engineered things to get her ass to dinner. Oh well.
There was a small nano-explosive wrapped around his aorta. So Alexandre Sasho Perchevney could blow a tiny whole in his heart and send him into a horrible stroke. And he still thought Alex, Sasho as most called him was going to send his two ex-girlfriends to a German brothel, which truly to an Ivory is worse than personal death. I’m not a terrorist at all.
But I will tell you what the worst thing in the world is to feel; that you were built of different stuff than others, constructed of other parts. I remember some old phrase about that which does not kill you makes you into stranger form and now here was I, a relic, an antiquity. He wished he could make the Russian architect understand all that fuckery. Maybe run away with her for a week or two to Cuba or Israel one day, the only places he didn’t watch his own back much. Had others to do it.
It was better sometimes to live in a world where you didn’t have responsibilities to others, or at least only one or two others. It would have been nice to be able to write poems and paint and listen to jazz music and see the wave’s crash on the sea wall or the shore, every single day before and after work or play. Sometimes, sometimes he wished that he could be renovated like a building, brought up to speed with the rest of the monkeys. He had so much he thought he could offer, but time had taken a gristle toll not reflected on his face.
He suspected maybe she’d see him again a fourth time, unless the short story was so outlandish that she might question the validity of his thought process and mind. But what of it, he had very little these days to do but write and tinker on that what he was building with the field trials approaching as soon as the white walls of winter subsided and he would be released from this cold and miserable place.
He had wanted when he was younger to be an architect, but now he was convinced that before anything might be built that was of use to those he answered to, well first he’d have to focus on knocking a few things down. There’s a dream I have, he told her. I wander down the board walk and end up in the White City of 4,000 Bauhaus structures, the golden age of Tel Aviv. And the war is over and we won, and the justice and rights are real. And everyone is ok, and I’m working on my third major book, and I see you again after all these years of struggle and I say, you wanna get a coffee with me? You wanna hear jazz over dinner? And nothing else is on my mind because it’s over, we won.
But there’s a bomb in my chest. The Bratva took some hostages I care about this time. My mother and father have high Ivoryish expectations about my medical education. I’m locked in an American gulag, at least three more timeless. I may have just helped some foreign agents bring a large IED into the Capital. I haven’t slept well in days, I haven’t gone to yoga and all this blatnoy with my case officer about this system I’m designing, well fuck it. It leads a man to smoke and drink, this vast and evil game.
You’re beautiful you know, the way you smile. I hope your stadium gets built before the rebels take Atlanta, which they might in 2017, all a matter of Afula Specials. We don’t have a lot of use for stadiums, but I bet without knowing you know that there are things you can build that won’t get swallowed up in the war effort. Like the Greeks, like the Bauhaus school. If form follows function, trust me that what’s in my blue print will keep us all building another ten thousand years.
But I would like to see you again, and I’ll make it happen. Somehow, despite the prevailing factors weighted against me. The commons sense to ask you to not see if you knew what were better for you.
Disjointed, that’s what time travel feel like. Bits of this reality, bits of that. My soul trying to hold into a corpse with duct tape and zeal, a zeal for something.
The bus ride on the Lucky Star Express cost $28 American and sandwiched him between two gay Canaanites or really, he was the outer crust to their love sandwich. American had just made gay as American as Apple-Cherry pie and mass shootings. The Empire State building was lit up like a rainbow. It was one of the new reforms to slow the separatist movements.
He caught the 8:45 out of South Station evading a small man hunt for him after he pried the impediment off his face and squirreled down an tunnel it took him 32 days to dig with a silver spoon in his mouth, well he was covered in filth in a blue kibbutzinik shirt, grey pantaloons and the bandana of Adelina Komarova, his now cold as Chelyabinsk steel ex-partner. She was working for the Germans now. He alliance with him most tenuous. He washed the tunnel dirt off at South Station, in rubbed into his dirty brown main a little Choco Latina General Product and he saved with a two blade razor to look more like plumped Ivory writer and less like a stone cold assassin, and Israeli killing machine he was sometimes written into being.
Before he swiggled down that tunnel his cell mate for a time in the camps, a Zimbabwean bio chemist yelled; “the memories are not real! YOU HAVE NO DEAD WIFE! YOU WERE NEVER AT THE DOMLPHINARIUM BOMBING! You’re ABSORBING THE TRAUMA OF OTHERS MY DERANAGED ASSOCIATE! MY DEAR PALE DROOG! You are not going to get any answers at that wedding in New York!! Take your damn salt!”
But he left Kudzai prying at license plate machine and got clear of Sharashka Waltham; the Zionist Internment camp they had been toiling at for over two years in winter and worse winter. A hell.
I would have the young dvotchka professional teacher know that I had to chisel through a plastic cage and with a hair pin remove from my face the mask that was keeping me speaking soothing words of poetry. Eyes glued to a telescreen unveiling world horror after horror! I would have her know I then had to tunnel nine hundreds aquariums, yes aquariums the bizarre system of measurement that is used in Gulag Camp to say just under three kilometers, in civilized measurement.
She smiled at him. What was real and what was so surreal about Sebastian Adon, Hebrew named Zachariah pronounced Zechariah with that kh-h-h should only Ivories and Arabs make. He would write and he was almost never one time. And he had designed her an eighteenth wonder of the world to honor her Mother Russia on the Apple of the Empire.
I would have the young, elegant and truly stunning dvotchka linguist know that for 35 days I was a captive. To my ambulant planation surely but then to a fiercer master that of Sharashka Waltham which seems to hold me in its thrall and not let me leave it’s westerly prison for what how now-pow! Two long years, nearly three.
How now, she replied, still grinning. She was at a new work site now the fearsome dome completed. The gladiator thunder dome of Atlanta, or Chinese internment camp deepening whom one asked at FEMA, those fucking people. She remained a happy optimist.
Well then she says, “All that escapery had in fact taught you to be on time!”
And he blushed. For it was true.
What did they make me a Master of he wonders? Sustaining International Development or sustaining himself for unrelenting struggle. With some coexistence thrown in there as if he didn’t play well with black and brown people.
“What was the last thing you remember, that made you happy, she asks. Ultimately settles on.
“I remember being at the Baha’i meeting and catching the eyes of a beautiful woman, so I spoke more. And I remember they had cherry juice, juice of every kind and it wasn’t too cold in Cambridge, so it was leather jacket season and I felt quite cool, and intellectual, and like you were watching me.”
“You just wanted to draw me like your other Russian girls,” she replied.