the lens effect

i dawdled over the anthill
‘midst the pomp and toil of their empire
and, boy, did they go apeshit!
spilling out like angry fizz from a bottle bomb

just look at their big-assed queen
they dance over the floozy like she’s putinella
swarm, kill, and swarm again!
the final solution visited upon my foot

we didn’t mean for another anti-rashist poem
but it’s been pretty hard to refrain from this
sorry, we’re not sorry, they started it!
and the sooner those ants fry ‘neath the lens of truth…

…then all the better

The Lens Effect

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

undeliverable

you arrived back home
letters ‘tween your teeth
the song on the radio
was ‘sunshine on leith’
you spat out the letters
and happily declared
that the war was over
we needn’t be scared

you ripped off the planks
opened the windows wide
let the sun shine in
on our ukrainian pride
the song on the radio
was cut by breaking news
of troop withdrawals
how we made russians lose

a sudden gust of wind
threw one letter to the floor
off the cuff i scooped it up
the return address i saw
i did not even know
that all joy could be stirred
sound and light could be cut
with only one terse word

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

hedgehogs in the fog

blue sky, yellow grain
winter’s leaving ukraine again
a ploughman’s cycle without end
i say life for all & death to kings

god’s got his tombstones all in a row
dominoes waiting for the drop
it’s all i can do not to cry a river

here in the dark breath is adjourned
i’m checking notifications again
you were last seen five hours ago
does god really think no one’s looking

so i’m trying to remember instead
the shape of hope & all that’s to come
& the hedgehogs we saw in kyiv

the warm hearth of your mother’s kitchen
your father’s childhood in chechelovka
our river walks & your brother’s games
the shadow cat i left behind in dnipro

so i’m trying to remember instead
shared sun salutes in an upstairs room
it’s all i can do not to cry a river

do you remember the hedgehogs of kyiv
i wish them well in forever sleep
& stand with ukraine in the fog of war
i’m thinking of you & the shape of hope to come

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

the fallout

when finally the winter’s regime
hugged with a gentle vise
once the hectic mainstream
got locked in a stasis of ice

a roar swelled from slander
antheming to sacred shit
both turned into frozen meander
adorned with a bilious split

prickly slush wrapped up tighter
rhetoric and gagged criticism
like a pearl torn from the peak of a mitre
the globe rolled down a glaring schism

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2022

GUEST POST // The Kids Must Grow Up by Cassy Single

No one should ever hear
the sky cracking open with bombs.
No one should live in fear
of what tomorrow will bring.
We think we are evolved.
We have leaders
that should serve the will
of the people.
The people say no.
All it takes is one man
to build enough power around him,
that this one man
holds a people
to ransom.
Politics is dominated
by children in a schoolyard,
small men
whose dreams shape our very lives.
The whole world must say no,
must stand together.
Peace must prevail.
Glory to Ukraine!

by CASSY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022