“. . . when the children guitared
At my footbed,
of my railroad”i
Kolya Krasotkin, that little son of a provincial secretaryii
Studied the trains
And for two roubles
Flattened himself on the railroad tracks face down
And let the eleven o’clock train pass over him (without touching his small body)
He fainted (confessed only to Mama) and turned white as snow
On that black moonless Russian night
Forever a hero to the other schoolboys
Desperado in rank
For his mad wild pranks
Ilyusha’s papa’s red beard
Dragged from tavern to square
On that terrible whiskbroom day
The sickly boy’s spirit rose
Defending poor Papa
Stones hurled and flew
Alyosha struck and bitten, too
Met the captain, sir, much ado
Shaggy Perezvon renamed
One-eyed tricks, gray Zhuchka dog stay
The boy’s mind tick, tock, ticks
The goosey goose cracked . . . in the peasant market place
A clever boy, intelligent, big-shot brave boy
Fourteen years old (in two weeks)
A socialist and atheist, too
A reader of Voltaire and books
Onegin knows he
Mathematics and world history
Old man, you see,
I’ve come to love thee
And visit your deathbed
Icons, cannon smoke
Karamazov spoke at the stone
The children raised up the little coffin
Bringing bread for the sparrows
So he lay not alone Flowers
Farewell sad little boots
All the boys cried
If we could resurrect our boy
Grief . . . and pancakes
i Kerouac, Jack. Mexico City Blues, 55th
Chorus. (New York: Grove Press, 1994). p. 55.
ii Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. (New York: Vintage Classics, 1991).
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