, June 24, 2024

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Navalny On Jeopardy

  •   2 min reads
Navalny On Jeopardy
Mitya Aleshkovsky via Flickr


“Listen, I’ve got something very obvious to tell you. You’re not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong." ~ Navalny      

By Andrew Dickens

When I think of him, his last day,
I think of him there in the courtroom
behind the shatter-proof glass

grinning at Putin's judge,
joking with Putin's judge
sentenced to more time

than he could ever do
but there defiant, a stand-up convict
doing his time, spitting in the eye

of the judge, joking
at Putin, grinning for
the geopolitical world that claims

to care but not enough
to do anything really strong--
lukewarm brave is not enough

you must sling the joke-stone
at the devil's head-judge and make the
toady in black joke feebly back

with his dripping gavel shaking
and Putin's cardboard guards trembling
and his palace of kitsch decaying

and his tanks rusting
and his supersonic tchotchkes glowing
and his atomic trinkets ticking

and his radioactive heart rotting
and his utter utter utter emptiness
practicing emputin-emptiness

Yesterday Navalny made it to Jeopardy.
and Ken Jennings said something about
Arctic Circle and politician and "passed away"

and I was yanked upright
by rage and irony and--

And there was Navalny
laughing his ass off
at the absurdity of it all

taking a leisurely tour
through head and I'm going
Navalny, dammit, Navalny!

No, no, he saying. Must be put in form
of question. Udderwise dey gonna put
you in place like me. See? Got to laff!

But I can't. I just can't.
You didn't pass away.
You were as-sass-i-na-ted.

Yet...you live on. You do!
More alive than anyone I know,
while we below remain in chains.

Not you. Not you, Navalny.
The question for you, Mr. Jennings, is...
Would you rephrase your answer, please?

About the Poet:

Andrew Dickens, in his own words

"An old man who majored in English at Kansas University, taught English in Japan, sold investment diamonds in Honolulu, spent six years homeless on the streets of Austin, Texas, San Francisco, and Honolulu with seven months in a radical Christian cult in Honolulu. Ran the Honolulu Marathon in 1980. Been there, done that."

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