Andrey Gritsman









This country of mine is beautiful indeed.

So be it, my heart is untroubled.

My sadness is so light

so transient, fluid. And as we drive along

Tverskaya street is flickering with lights,

all changing, variable, flowing,

streaming as if a military parade

was winding down to the frozen fields

on the outskirts of Moscow.


There lies the carcass of the Nazi motorcycle ranger

like an exhibit from

the All-Union Fair of the Socialist Labor.

And further there is a no-man’s-land

where the lights of the airport bars

float over airfield’s trembling haze.

The lights of the sad villages

and the headlights of heavy trucks

flow along February’s frozen border


to the life that goes on without us.

Well, then, thank God!

I pass the X-ray control

and have a drink for the road

at the Irish Bar

with an Englishman from Kent —

Oh, such a Russian custom!


For the last time

I look at the eternal bitter smoke

over the bare landscape

of the invisible state border zone,

gently drawn in a black-and-white gouache

as the late dawn

adds some light,

a touch of wind

and a tint of blue.






The Holocaust never occurred,

it’s a matter of perception

and logical reasoning

said a young tall guy,

PhD from MIT in artificial intelligence,

sitting on the floor with Merlot

at a literary party in Cambridge, Mass.

A condescending hint was flickering

in his brown eyes of the half-blood.


And if it did—said, softening the point

his girlfriend, a knockout Harvard Law

in tight Donna Karan corduroys,

with whom I just pedophilically flirted

a minute ago—it’s not

virtually relevant anymore,

the train is gone, so to speak.


I got up and left the building

so not to smash his precious head

with a Wal-Mart folding chair.


That night I woke up in my childhood:

Moscow, January frozen precipice,

through frosted window

a huge poster: People and Party Are United!

held still by a projector,

my grandma behind the wall,

tossing and turning in her bed, sobbing.


The usual: remembering

her mother and three sisters,

their fading smiles on the old photo from a letter.

In her nightmare: their last supper

of bread and carrot tea,

night before their disappearance

into historical irrelevance.


Lodz, 1943, melting gray snow,

charred carcasses, monstrous Panzer,

roaring pointlessly at one spot.


Polish policemen warming up in the yard,

passing vodka around,

cold lard and cigarette stubs:


Jeszcze Polska

Nie zginela

Poki my zyjemy.*



*From the old Polish national anthem.












Andrey Gritsman, a native of Moscow, immigrated to the United States in 1981. He is a third generation physician, specialist in cancer diagnosis. He writes poetry, essays, and short stories in both languages. He authored seven volumes of poetry in Russian and five collections in English and received the 2009 Pushcart Prize Honorable Mention XXIII and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize several times between 2005 – 2010, and also was on the Short List for the PEN American Center Biennial Osterweil Poetry Award. Poems, essays, and short stories in English have appeared or are forthcoming in more than 80 literary journals. His work has also been anthologized in Modern Poetry in Translation (UK), Crossing Centuries (New Generation in Russian Poetry), The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place, in Stranger at Home: American Poetry with an Accent and in Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem.

The works were translated into several European Languages.

Andrey edits the international poetry magazine Interpoezia and runs the Intercultural Poetry Series at Cornelia Street Café in New York.




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