BY Adler S Walt
Dedicated to: Daria Andreavna Skorobogatova,
With Special thanks,
To Elena Anatolievna Komarova, Yelizaveta Alexandrovna Kotlyarova, Valentina Stanovova,
And the Encouragement of Kenneth King & Alan Medvinsky
As Well as Technical Support and Editing from
Jessica Pilot & Daniella Bondar
Published 2016, Limited Circulation
S T R A S T,
Or The Passion of Daria Maccluskey
A Safehouse in Central Moscow. Snow is falling.
The room lit only with eerie blue electric candles. A man is seated with a bale of manuscript papers, a small lap top on a red desk. A woman is seated on a bed taking apart a futuristic pistol and putting it back together. In the background, the Russian song ‘OY MORUZ’. The sound of record skipping and it becomes a dancehall song, then abruptly turns off. Sebastian Adonaev, a 29 year old American with brown hair and gray eyes is seated at the red desk going through a lengthy manuscript. Intermittently he is also typing in a device that is a lap top where the words appear holographically projected about the walls of the room. Daria Andreavna, a 25 year old Russian with bleached blond hair is meticulously assembling a pistol.
Appearing bold on the Screen:
“Two famous partisans hide in safe house in Russia.”
I recall, that I’ve had many and multiple lives.
In my opinion, you keep those mad notions to yourself for now.
The snow fall was exceptional. It was as if god had pulled a vast white blanket upon us to tuck Russia to bed.
Then the devil and a host of petty bureaucrats did not take the time to keep the power running. And so this winter was the winter that tens of thousands across the country, were tucked in without heat into a long kiss goodnight.
Where did you find that?
Sebastian pages through a leather bound compilation written in what she recognizes with a dismissive glance to be English.
SEBASTIAN: (Stands, reads)
In a well-fortified safe house buried in the heart of the Russian capital. I lock eyes with a woman who in another life broke me down and sold me as a slave!
Her eyes, her eyes!
Even the bluest day on the Caspian contains no such expansive shimmer! There is no comparison for this level of captivation. All things we have done, or did or may even still have to do are only so that we might never have to bear again the painful agony of our tumultuous separation.
My, my! The stories you tell yourself, and others. Read then my little bleak one, my American Mayakovsky. Read, and torture yourself once again.
Daveigh, Refer to Poem #38: Moscow Hostage Crisis Part One.
Dedicated to me, Dasha Andreavna!
Her hands pantomime the signs for quotations.
Are you blushing yet?
She ignores him. She stands, waving the gun about to the music.
We know not how.
She then claps with excitement. She kisses Sebastian’s cheek suddenly, then wild eyed then retreats to the bed and goes completely under the covers.
She jumps out and makes the bed her stage.
Reciting the Poem:
Life of the slave show. Let me remove you from your castle and let you observe how we live, in the wilderness below.
I take it you like it a little bit?
I like very much it when you try and talk so dirty to me in American. This is for sure.
He leaves the desk and follows her up her leg under the vast red folds of the heavy blanket. She points the gun at him.
I am capable of just about anything when you believe in our work.
Our work? The censors will again say you wrote it all yourself.
Our work. Important work! Giving the working class hope. Giving people in the streets and trenches of America’s civil war something to believe in.
She laughs at that.
I believe, that you still believe in your own lies about the Brooklyn Soviet. You still find it useful propaganda. Publishing these, Je Ne Sais, conspiracy theories. These delusions of grandeur. Written in antiquated prose of a dying language!
Just I think it’s dated.
Poetry and Martyrs are immortal.
I think all your friends are dead!
She keeps pointing the pistol at him and bends slightly to kiss his lips. Just for a second.
You always whisper always of such treacherous things. Such blackness! Such hopelessness embedded in all you, mad man ideations! You have a deep amnesia.
An amnesia you say!
Yes, you don’t ever remember the good times. You forget all the possibilities we unleashed together.
Story time Tovarish lover. I challenge you now. One for one. Two for two. The Ministry wants to know how our poems are coded. The proles need something to believe in! Your Moscow Hostage Crisis cost the Oligarchy dearly.
The poem, or the massacre event?
No one reads anymore. That which you cannot see with your own eyes, is just some kind of porn or propaganda. Tell me your tales, like you used to. Remind, me again what we’re worth.
The trouble sweetness, with your tales, is that not a single one of them are true. And frankly, they’re bleak.
The greatest fun with your war stories is that so many of them are real. You give everyone away. You reveal your entire naked plot points! You expose yourself to liability.
What will be the prize for the partisan with the premium story tonight?
The usual my daring. Only the usual. I won’t be raped and you won’t get tortured. The people you love most won’t get killed. You’ll get to bring your city back from the ashes.
She licks her lips.
Your amusement and our perpetual survival have gotten us in quite a yarn of danger. You’re worth every bullet.
You will draw on Russian fairy tales but I will spin from the ghosts of my dead friends and the overwhelming darkness inside me.
We expect and encourage each others full participation.
Sebastian sits again at the desk. He is taking dictation for her. The device he types one projects the words into Cyrillic about the room.
Ladies always go first, for this is the code of the Haitian gentleman. Let the mind games begin!
If I am woman, and he attempts to be man then we are easy prey.
For the gods, the spirits, lesser demons and also human devils! Sin and general winter are historically undefeated. That’s a fact. Above all those forces seeking to make us base slaves, we are bound most to our own wild passions!
I am creature ruled almost selfishly by my passion, and so is he. Inevitable really that so much did burn.
I do not make any remembering when we had this conversation. Only that it once occurred.
It was sometime after our very first meeting.
Sometime before I found myself handcuffed to a chandelier fixture in the Millennium Hotel awaiting my deadly snuff and torture! Sometime after blue moons of their Bohemian festival. Sometime before that murderous uprising called “the Great Disorder”. Sometime after the Great Revolt. Which was its more articulate, yet ultimately more homicidal older sibling.
Before I sold soul to a devil without making ask of questions!
Certainly after I realize I loved him as I have never loved a man before in this life or the next, or one after that. But, it was a dark and unusual love.
I realized that I had loved him several times before. And that we are both so dangerous when in love. To each other. Also the world at large.
And that Russian love, and American love have very different expectations that come with them.
I will now make careful my choice of my words.
Speaking his American language with my Russian thoughts is to attempt placement of entire Caspian Sea into a shitty hip flask. My English when spoken without any intoxication hints that I will speak more clearly with my actions. Were he sober then when we found each other on that roof top, instead of passion punch drunk he’d not have ignored the threat our lusty adventures soon presented. We would have walked away.
Despite his fascination with me. Despite my overwhelming beauty.
But that is not how the story was to write itself!
He could deny me nothing. But no one dare should point the finger to me that I did not give warning!
Perhaps we were blinded by the vodka lullabies, the bright lights of the towers and the good night moon.
I’m going to use you. I announced as much on the roof of the district. And I know you don’t care.
Completely and utterly so that I may get from point A to point B. Did I say that to him, or did he say that to me?
I consented to such use, use away. We will see how far in the alphabet we can climb with you on my shoulders!
The Russian alphabet, it has more letters. The letters also can take different subtle meaning based on where they are placed. The sounds, they will completely change. Some hard, some soft.
She sits back down on the bed. He sits beside her.
Place yourself besides me for now. You know me to never surrender.
I shall, but tomorrow this will be finished. How long can you make more of your favorite poetic noises, your rhymes in American English as you devote your life to something hopeless that cannot ever be?
I like the way that all sounds. I like way the way the word ‘hopeless’ rolls off your lips. I am an Amerikanski, as you accuse me. Hopeless is just a call to arms.
With one hand she’s playing with his hand. In the other is still the pistol. She points it at him again, then lowers it.
What can I say in the face of mad idealism! Your passion did and does touch me. I’m going to devastate you though again, you know.
She takes his hand and thrusts it against her heart.
No angel. Or Devil. Or ghost.
Well we shall not later claim I wasn’t given a fair warning. Had we met in another time, were I a different person wearing a different life; I would still know you.
I cannot put the emotions that I wear like cuff links to my funeral to bed as easily as you.
In the darkness of the district night. In the wilderness of North America I repeatedly told you nothing but enormous destructive lies.
It was, what it was.
I did what needed to be done. As usual.
It is sad that it all has to end.
Turns to face the viewer.
These were the first words uttered in acceptance of a risk and a warning between myself Daria Andreavna and the mad idealist named Sebastian Adonaev. Our love and the totality of our affair will be thing of Post-Soviet lore and Amerikanski voyeuristic fascination. There have been many doomed loves before. Captured artistically in bright theatre lights of both empires.
There have been tales of hard hearts which remain unbreakable. And wild bohemian longings that conquered heroically the conventions of their day.
I needed to get you to Moscow.
Is the story of our love to be more like Russian literature or more like American cinema; mere Paramount Pictures?
She jumps up again, freezes, and he returns to the desk.
General Winter has never been defeated, not once ever.
So we will have to perform more wine soaked miracles. In the wilderness to remain together a variety of strange longings took shape and bore most irregular fruit.
That much is clear.
The first miraculous act will be turning your tragic tears into vodka.
This is my happy gift to you. To turn an unusual and storied past into a heroic song and dance. And make your dead mechanical heart beat like a war drum as the waves of the uprising crashed upon the nation we shared or really I should say, co-inhabited.
The second miracle will be the theft of the blue moon itself. Such a task is just a starting point for you to please me, also pay my ransom. Take to heart that the materialism of a Russian woman is but an ante up to play a high stakes game of loyalty.
The third miracle will be for us to put some bullets in the devils collective. In retaliation for crimes of the past committed against us, and our love, and humanity in general.
We’re gonna kill some oligarchs.
The fourth miracle act will be that I can truly come to love you one day. And forgive you for what you had to do in my name. In the name really of your long dead wife. More on that later.
It will take several lives and a solid contact between us to accomplish these four miraculous acts. They will make wild tales and epic songs. And some poems when we must.
I would prefer it if we keep my poor dead wife out of this, completely.
Save me and avenge your fallen tortured soul. Via my company and our secret series of kisses we made war on the devils and their entourage. And we painted together a portrait that in the end makes Russian literature look like tame romantic comedy, and Amerikanski Cinema, just flickering soma on telescreens.
To beat back brutal hunger and or feed those dependent upon them; to meet the benchmark called survival; the human body and mind capable of any number of general sins.
At times grossly unpalatable to human soul. If you believe in such things!
It is not just a question of what we all must to do to preserve our own selves. The shifting of alliances in pursuit of securing our deliverance from the wilds of worldly living is exhausting. Strange bed fellows make and break even the strongest of hearts.
The wilderness at night is vast and treacherous place that to some is source of fearful panic. To others bevy of potential opportunity!
In darkness of night fallen angels appear as demons at times. Most treacherous are our human misjudgments. The nuances of intention are lost to perceptions of trickery. Violations of trust. Devils can look angelic for a time and humans with host of mixed motives can see best kept secrets revealed like so much dirty laundry blowing in the cold winds of night.
But, I’m not here to talk to you about night! Or about all the devils that thrive in its long shadow.
This just story about when feeling returns to the heart when the body has been dead for many days. So many that the world of the living is but a restored memory. Also about the selling of souls and the banding together of destinies.
Also about whether poems can feed anything more than hope in the face of hopelessness.
And whether more reckless and brazen hope, is indeed the only cure something so called hopelessness invites.
So it’s Haitian love story, also a Vodka Lullaby staring brave Russian angel from Penza!
And a devilish American paramedic born in New York. And it’s also about trying to steal away another man’s wife.
Which is whole category of crime and punishment onto itself.
It’s really about old souls coming back for each other, even if just for a fall.
Based on a mostly true Brooklyn Noire, circulated by the underground in 2012. Based on some wide range of prophesied events which we set in motion via of our high impact knowing of each other. Maybe like in a biblical sense. But with more carnality! And gun play.
Set in the Holy Land of Brooklyn and the Wilderness of the Financial District in the City of New York, mostly to glow of blue moon light at night and structure fires by day.
In Moscow! In Haiti! In the heart of twisted Brooklyn Soviet! In places that were and also soon could be!
It is also a tale of forbidden-impossible love in the age of anarchist trials. Of great train robberies in the former Soviet Union and of a tavern in the wilderness where lost souls find short but wholly tumultuous company in post Capitalist America on the eve of a global human rights revolution. Or, something.
And so begins again the tale of Daria and Sebastian, a Russian she and a most irregular Amerikanski me and the partisans we led into a grim battle. Star crossed lovers with the moon as our witness, fuck and vodka as our means of cross interrogation and higher ground beyond the waves of hopelessness and fate as our primary objective.
You begin often with strange memories of a murder and a war. I chose to begin with my winning smile. Also with a warning. This courtship cannot end well. A promise of deliverance via passionate love, once adequately demonstrated. This is not ever to be that tale.
We begin instead with a double funeral!
They pause frozen.
You my dear old friend, my Tovarish, are a genius artist. A thrilling propagandist. One hot catch. I am honored, truly honored to be your front man. Your fall guy. Your comrade and your everlasting droog. What have I done to me, in the name of you?
You have too many fucking names.