Epic red

Light up the sky red
with a red blaze — not blood
red, not even a patriotic flag
red that could be politically
hazy and scared red — but a
brilliant and artificial red
like good communists make
in factories. Then paint.
Paint the house, embassy,
the politicians, dictators,
tyrants, all the ordinary
people and their comrades;
paint them all top to
bottom and the middle parts
too, especially the penises.
Bright red penises of Russia
standing up to be counted
for mother country. —And
don’t forget the women:
the women who take out
their finest brushes to
paint the red lines in
the eyes of their sons.
They get down on their hands
and knees to wipe the paint
off the factory floors;
they stand at sinks for hours
scrubbing the paint spots
out of their husbands’ shirts;
they wait outside the operating
theatre when paint messes the
mechanic’s table; they cry
and scream the throat of Russia
red-raw till the whole land
coughs up blood. Ordinary
people understand this sort
of red. It’s the red leaders
use for wild speculations and
artists paint radiant futures
with it. Red is an image
by itself. Red is hell. Red
is unnatural, oppressively hot.
Red like the inside of a mad
animal’s mouth. Blood-sucking red.
Red on the screen of the blood
film. Historical red. The color
of revolution red. The red hammer
of education. A red sickle
to chop off heads. A shade of red
to blame for everything. Women’s
red. Menstruation red. Red
faces and red sex. Red rage.
Who made the Red Sea red?
The Russians did. Who invented
red herrings? The Russians did.
Who built the pyramids?
The Russians did. Who shot down
the Korean plane? The Russians
did. Who made America what
it is today? The Russians did.

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