We were not duped by capitalism and didn’t desire
exploitation, and a lot of us saw Western consumerism as both shallow and wasteful. It’s more because of our poverty and powerlessness than our intelligence that in the end all we got in Eastern Europe was neoliberal capitalism. After all, even American citizens, empowered, enlightened individuals, have been unable to stop its ruthless progress.
Bronka Nowicka’s poems, “Tights” and “Stone,” translated from the Polish by Katarzyna Szuster, appear in the Michigan Quarterly Review’s Fall 2019 Europe issue. Tights It likes the taste of a knee. In the summer, it has mouthfuls straight from the skin, in the winter, through
Sometimes when language is song-like and rhythmic, it’s because it’s coming from a core part of yourself that’s not interested in façade. It’s an inner layer. Like a hum, a vibrational hum in the throat
she stood there, smelling sweetly of sweat, shawarma, lipstick, the several different perfumes she’d quickly sprayed on herself at Sephora, hair spray, and hot love, with its intrinsic note, it so happens, of urine.
How easy it is to tell the story of myself without Lila: time quiets down and the important facts slide along the thread of the years like suitcases on a conveyor belt at an airport: you pick them up, you put them on the page, and it’s done.