Steven DaLuz   © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Putin Versus Obama on the Phone (March 30, 2014)

Putin (in Russian): Barry, what can I do?

Putinís translator (in English): The president of Russia sends his noblest respects to his American counterpart.

Obama (in English): This bullshit of yoursóCrimea, the Ukraineócouldnít come at a worse time for me. It is so nineteenth-century.

Obamaís translator (in Russian): President Obama is very pleased to have a constructive dialogue with you on matters of mutual concern to our great nations.

Putin (in Russian): You have some fucken nerve dictating to me about troop movements considering how many boots you put on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and they arenít anywhere near your goddamn borders.

Obamaís translator (in English): All right. This one time I'll let you ask me about my affairs.

Obama (in English): Iím willing to overlook a lot. Like the death of ---- [name redacted for security reasons]. When he turned up dead, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business weíve chosen; I didnít ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business.

Putinís translator (in Russian): He say: If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.

Putin (in Russian): I donít feel I have to wipe out everybody. Just my enemies.

Obamaís translator (in English): That ainít the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I'm smart! Not dumb like everybody says! I'm smart and I want respect!

Obama (in English): Weíre both part of the same hypocrisy, Mr Putin, but never think it applies to my family.

Putinís translator (in Russian): He says he has been reading Anna Karenina with great admiration.

Putin (in Russian): I'll change...I'll change. Iíve learned that I have the strength to change.

Obamaís translator (in English): He tell anecdote from Gogolís boyhood: Every time he put his line in the water he say a Hail Mary, and every time he say a Hail Mary he catch a fish.

Obama (in English): Tell him I donít like violence. Iím a businessman; blood is a big expense.

Putinís translator (in Russian): He say he no want anything to happen to you while his mother is alive.

Putin (in Russian): I got a business to run. I gotta kick asses sometimes to make it run right. We had a little argument, Freddy and me, so I had to straighten him out.

Obamaís translator (in English): There are negotiations being made that are going to answer all of your questions and solve all of your problems. Thatís all I can tell you right now.

Obama (in English): Tell him he can do me a solid.

Obamaís translator (in Russian): President Obama asks his counterpart whether he is ready to use all his powers and all his skills do him the service that he promised.

Putinís translator (in Russian): He don't want his mother to see him that way.

Putin (in Russian): I put a special tape on the trigger and the butt and I left it noisy. That way it scares any pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders away.

Putinís translator (in English): You got everything you need? The chef cooked for you special, the dancers will kick your tongue out and your credit is good. Draw chips for everyone in the room so they can play on the house.

Obama (in English): You can sign up for Obamacare.

Putin (in Russian): Tell your boss he can ask for anything else, but this is one favour I can'ít grant him.

Putinís translator (in English): Only if I can keep my own doctor!


Man in Santa Suit Kills Eight

Man in Santa suit kills eight
and then,
with a single efficient shot,

At a party of his in-laws
near Los Angeles
on Christmas Eve
the man in the Santa suit
drew his gun
and started shooting
as soon as they let him in
which they did because
he said he was Santa Claus
and they thought he had come
to entertain the children.

Then he sprayed
the room
with pressurized gas
and set the house on fire.

The owners of the house,
an elderly couple
retired from the
spray-painting business,
and their daughter, Sylvia,
the estranged wife
of the gunman,
were among the dead
or missing.


The Antagonist

Ring fear.
Ante gin:
Flow bear.

Flow gin:
Row where?
Sloe gin:
Sin here.

Mad ovary.
Mist air.
Am Bovary.
Sign here.

Must wear
Tow hair.
Singe ear,
Kill dear.

Emma ho.
Femme to bow
Low to son.
Auntie gone.



David Lehman
Copyright © 2015

David Lehman has two nonfiction books in 2015: The State of the Art: A Chronicle of American Poetry, 1988-2014 in the spring (Pittsburgh), and Sinatraís Century: 100 Notes on the Man and His World in the fall (HarperCollins).

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