So for every Cossack
From a pauper to an ataman
There is one mother Ukraine,
But there is also Panama Mama.
Kyiv is the mother of all Panamian cities,
Salvadorian and Surinamian,
And Puerto-, and Costa-Rican,
And Soviet, and post-Soviet ones, –
All cities where the citizens of Panama
Feel themselves to be masters.
Flow, my song, like tequila!
Reach both the wise and the stupid,
Both a narcologist, and an addict –
We’re all covered by Panama Mama.
So, when we’re almost finished,
We have to rise. And again
Flaps the banner of Panama!
December 1998(Oleskandr Irvanets. Satyricon-ХХІ. Kharkiv: Folio, 2011, p. 680.)
The poem comes from The Poems of the Last Decade (2001). The use of Latino-American exoticism is typical of Bubabists: for example, in Yurii Andrukhovych’s poem The Cossack Jamaica. That is not the matter of exoticism per se, but the fact that Ukrainian literature had to cope with post-colonial topics and traumas in a way similar to Latin-American literatures.
Parched lips whisper: ‘Pana–’ – an allusion to the Russian poem Granada (1926) by Mikhail Svetlov, where the protagonist dreams of a far-away land: ‘I saw, above the body, / the Moon vailed, / And the dead lips / Whispered Grana…’
Kyiv has your face
With greenish eyes.
You are not dear as you are the dearest.
You are the consequence and not a cause.
You are the result, the concourse of circumstances
In this autumn, in my life.
Whatever plot I choose for you –
A novelette, a play, a poem,
You grow out of the plot,
Develop it like a film,
As you smooth your hair
With the slightest of gestures.
A shot develops on the film
(As if the shutters are opened);
And now we’re descending in an elevator
And your eyes meet mine.(‘Bu-Ba-Bu’: Collected Works. Lviv: Piramida, 2007, p. 241–242.)