In which I ascertain the source of my own Danube
I was drinking in my favourite cafe in Zhakhiv. The one they call Kodoba entered, sat down and ordered mamaliga with salt cheese. He did not greet me.
I called over to him:
"So, Kodoba, in not greeting me
You are like the River Danube.
"Like you, the Danube rises in Bavaria
To greet Heine's dark hero, Germany.
"Like you, it pays courtly respect
To a fallen grande dame,
In its case Austria.
"It splits Hungary in two,
As you have promised to do
With Madame Tyskovitz
Should the opportunity arise.
"It separates the squally Balkan brood of Jugo-Slavia,
Roumania and Bulgaria,
As you seek to adjudicate
Among the various factions
Of your Socialist Intentionalist Movement.
"And, as the Danube shuns Ruthenia
By running to the Black Sea at Constanta,
So do you, Kodoba,
Kodoba eyed me steadily across the hushed cafe, and slowly brushed cheese from his moustache.
"I wipe my cock on your mother's grave," he pronounced at length, and returned to his lunch.
This moment launched the barque of my anomie against the raging torrents of my own personal Danube.
(Yizhak Zhatko, 1982)