Jack Hirschman: The way it is & 3 Arcanes


J.W. told me tonight

that Mitch the Chippewa

died two nights ago.


“Over-exposure and drink.

39 years old.” “And he had

a bad ticker,” said Gyzmo’s


friend, coming into the Bar

mainly to whisper some stash

of a deal into J.W.’s ear.


The Tenderloin Times says

108 or 109 died homeless

this year, but we know many


more simply could no longer

bear the excellent San Francisco

food fare. They preferred


choice cuts of wrist or night

dives where you’d never hear

the bodies hit the water, or just


wasting away till they were

nothing but filthy cardboard

itself that the garbage men


slap together and fling into

they ass of their truck, never

knowing they’ve just liberated


even the dead from an American

concentration camp, all things

being equal in human beings now.




Here’s what happened

on the Internet,

which is what we have

to call life by: I ran across

some words

of the Trumpbenik

to the effect that the most

disregarded, misunderstood man

in modern times

is Joseph Stalin!

And the next day

when I looked again,

though I Googled and Binged

high and low for them

I couldn’t find them,

as if they’d never existed

or the President

had given orders

they be removed,

they were Fake News,

or one of his fascist

anarchoid buddies

like Bannon in a payback

for having been forced out

of the government,

or some joker of a Trotskyite

who wanted to undermine

the image the Prez was daily

tweeting and whipping

Donald Trump on his rump,

because one thing’s sure:

between the billionaire

thuggery that that ass

in the Shite House

has accumulated  at

the expense of the exploited

American working class

and the daily poverty

that the leader

of the Soviet Union

and of the people there

who destroyed Hitlerian

Nazism at the cost

of millions of lives,

an abyss exists,

an abyss that includes

the revolutionary study

of Marxist and Leninist

writings, the organization

of the robbery of banks

to help fund the new

Bolshevik party with

the money stolen from

the people by likes of

the rumpy Trumpbenik,

who wouldn’t know

what a real street was

if it upped and stepped on

the curb of his lip.


I’m laying it on the line:

do you think that

second-rate teevee clown

knows the first thing

about the revolutionary

ideas of Karl Marx?

He knows Nothing,

which has made him

all and everything

in his own mind.

He’s narcissistically

Nothinged his song,

which has been his

singular gift:

Divide! And let me

rule in a land where

only money’s ego counts.

Divide and rule! Divide

and conquer by tweet,

by poisonal penning,

rheumantically dead schmalz.

Like in the 2nd Debate

when after stalking

the Clinton dame

he was asked five questions:

by a Black citizen,

a Caucasian citizen,

a Chicano citizen,

an Asian-American citizen,

a Native American citizen,

and he answered not a one.

He no sooner began his

responses when he shifted

into a personal attack on

Clinton, so that anyone,

after such dismissals

of his brothers and sisters,

who would vote for him

was simply stupid

and that’s why, given

the stupidity ruling

this country damned

to endure the monstrosity

of a lieing clown who

has nothing to do

with the dignity

of the American people—

Oh, Melania, before

we start calling you a slut

of sluts and a sucker

of billionaire cock,

Presto the Generalissimo,

who’ll make sure real

laughter rules again,

from CNN to the butterflies

fluttering out of the mouth

of Huckabee. Stalin affirms

the People in knocking off

this flock of white supremesists

and the thug-hustler Nazism

that’s stinking up the land.




Yuri with the perpetual scowl,

chain-smoking Yuri with

sapphire-blue pupils beneath

beetling eyebrows,


Yuri in double-breasted suit

white shirt and tie, war medals

pinned over his heart, a lover

of cats, with impish flashes


of humor, who asked comrades

to call him Don Jorge for he felt

Mexican at heart, who was death-

threatened by a paramilitary


fascist grouping when he came to

Guatemala in 1990, had to go

underground, escaped some days

later, and died alone of pneumonia


in a corridor of a Leningrad hospital

a year before the new Millennium.

At 30 he’d cracked the Mayan code,

a year before Joseph Stalin died,


and yet for more than 20 years after

was savaged year after year in print

by the leading Western Mayanist,

James Eric Sidney Thompson,


whose scholarship and sophistication

were so winning, they hid his virulent

anti-communism, who read the glyphs

of the stone trees simply as hieroglyphs.



Time is a sound, Yuri said. Time is a

sign, said J. Eric. No sign without its

relation to a phonetic, Yuri said.

  1. Eric called him a Red, he couldn’t


be right, couldn’t have broken the code.

Yuri Valentinovich Knorozov was a

Red menace, a Soviet communist, his

breakthrough a Marxist hoax,


a propaganda ploy which he discovered

nestling in the lap of Marxist philosophy.

Thus J.E.S.T. Thus Thompson whose

myopia kept Mayan decipherment


20 years in the dark through the sheer

force of his mystical will, wit and scorn.

Even “King” Solzhenitsyn, interviewed

on the bench outside the church he’d built


for himself in his massive New England

garden, decried the Soviet landscape in the

‘70s, which was still dotted with “’little

stalins’ like Knorozov.”


In this dark time, which poses itself before

the mirror, which is lemo’, that also means

the word, reflecting its greed, which it denies:

Te-Tun,Te-Tun, Stone-Trees, Stele you that


have mouths that like strong drink and the sound

of words, sound an Izibongo for one of the

splendid heroes of the mind’s eternal quest to

root the seen in the sounds they were born with.







itz      am

na       C


I         the

new     mu


sic       thir

teen     tones


sur       pass

sing     the


B         U

T         full


mount   ain






ca        tu

quix  cur


chah   haz

ca       me


quix   tu

bu       cur


ho       gua

ca       ma


ya       chah







And Cuceb Gilgul, the revolutions

of Jaguar Thunder—B’alam Toj—erupt

with the monster Earthquake running

around loose all over the planet:

dam     tzfar

dey       ah


kin       im

ar         ov


de         ver

sh’       khim


bar       ad

ar         beh


kho       shekh

ma       kat


b’kho   tat













In Memory of Nelson Peery

In black fire

in white fire,

the name of one

who moved me to

unite with him,

his Sue Ying,

and other comrades

who formed in the ‘70s

the Communist Labor

Party, Presente!


A principled, courageous

troupe of Marxist-Leninists

refusing to not read the

works of Joseph Stalin,

teaching them as well;

and when the CLP dissolved

voluntarily in ‘92 becoming

for the next few years the

National Organizing Committee,



and I got down trenchwise

with Sarah Menefee and the

homeless and the poorest,

got busted a bunch with Food

Not Bombs, Homes Not Jails,

with poems and sales of the

People’s Tribune of the soon

to be League of Revolutionaries

for a New America (LRNA),

ever Presente!,


that enduring comrade,

the one who, even before

I’d met him (he was but ten

years older than me, like

these ten-lined strophes

hopefully inscribing a dignity

and boundless respect for one

so magnificently present),

lived through WW 2 with

his youthful Black fire,


his radical Black fire, this

African-American mensch

(as Tony Ryan calls him)

of a mason who’d have

fought with the Huks in

The Philippines after WW2,

if they hadn’t told him to

return to the States, organize

a resistance there. Where he

became an authentic spirit of


dialectical materialism

in action, a humanely

sage communist writing

the true stuff ‘til his last

day at age 92. So this isn’t

some eulogy mourning him

who passed away, because

he hasn’t—not last week,

not next week, not next year

or the next generation.


May to peery be a new verb

in our language, meaning

to give and receive the

respect of all human beings

as equals and manifesting

everywhere in New Class

consciousness bound for

transformation and the glory

come from such a one as

Nelson Peery, Presente!



*an aspect of the etheric double


The death only this kind of living lives now:

Party of the third part,

voice in the handwriting

amid cricket-cry,


the stream song running through my palm

into the ink,


your clairvoyant cough upon the page,

son of a running brushstroke

and the starry body of Kim Van Kieu,

with your small rattan suitcase,

your traveling inkwell and papers,

on the other side of death’s cheekbones

and the kaka of the narcotic cry

of the world’s trade, where you emerge,

etheric double:


Nguyen Sinh Cung at birth,

Nguyen Tat Thanh at 10,

kitchen boy and pastry cook in Saigon

alias Ba, the cabin boy in Marseilles

and Africa, crumpet-maker in Soho,

scrounging for crumbs in Harlem,

for francs you could scrape together

in the Bamboo Dragon in Paris:


You who wish a living remembrance

of your parents, have your foto retouched

at Nguyen Ai-Quoc’s. Handsome portraits

and handsome frames for only 45 francs.

9, Impasse Compoint, Paris, dix-septieme.


The Black race in Moscow two days

after Lenin is gone.

Father to no one. The open-toed sandals

of victory. You change your name

in China to Tong Van Sox,

known to the OSS as Ho Chi Minh.



Desinence upon the end,

Desinence upon the double entendre of the End,

desidence upon the paradox of freedom,

who played the dangerous game

only a true poet could,

to lighten the darkness at home,

to free Kim from the 2,000 years

of the rotting piastres of reincarnation,

to raise the dark fist flowering in the face

at the showers of bombs from the Red River

to the Mekong:


two rice baskets with mountains poled between

that the whole world shoulders now,

like the coolie Ba,

like Nguyen, defender of Connolly in Ireland,

like Tong, imprisoned with his poems

and a mind that could talk to itself

in French Russian English Mandarin and German

yearning for 30 years to cry

Doc-Lap! Doc-Lap!

Independence for the poor

through the walls of cyanide and dead money,

for the small shoots of Spring

in a whirl and vortex of dance

across the parallels north and south.



Your death’s the mingling stems

seeding somersaults and high-binding

leaps over and into the seasons

of the smuggles of love,

with transmigrating hearts

recollected collectively,

passing through stone without

any either/or but at the speed

of ether now,

of the essence of our fathers’ brothers,

of the essence of our brothers

Roberto and Udi Adiv and Rene now

in the rain of sunlight bowing

the knot of wild gauchos, mad bonzes,

and the 79 Springtimes of Santiago

seeing through, singing Throughth

to the man within, and the woman

within your death petaling petaling

outward the bicycles whose wheels

are roses red and black blossoming

in your exile home.






When my eyes fell

upon their tears,

they couldn’t keep

from remembering,


and I stammer at the

memory of my own

beholding it, what I’d

never known about,


never saw a mention

of—not a one—in

my 34 years in the

communist movement.


No article I’d ever read

referenced it, neither in

Russian nor in German,

and not in American.


What I’d seen on May 8,

Liberation Day, in that

shrine 10 hectares long,

created collectively by


sculptor Yevgeny Vuchetich,

architect Yakov Belopolski,

artist Alexander Gorpenko,

and engineer Sarra Valerius,


was: my whole life, from

before I even was born,

and then, having been

born in 1933 to destroy


the bestial force born that

same year, a power which




maliciously dismissed,



tortured and killed


not simply me when

a child or adolescent,

but even now and

into the future:


“I was and I am!” and

this isn’t some esoteric

Arcane, though the

memorial Cenotaph,


with its drop-mouth sheer

size and perfect symmetry

intrinsic to its form, is a

schrei of silence, a mysterium.



Past time one wants

to redeem is the future

one is present for. A

foto can’t capture it.


Absolutely cannot!

Nor can photos of the

statue of Motherland

grieving for her dead


sons near the entrance,

or photos of any of

the sarcophagi reveal

the feeling of the Park.


You may google them,

computer images, even

videos, will appear but

they’ll mean very little.


You must go there!

I’m not pitching a tour!

You must go there

to feel and understand


what your life’s about,

what’s happened to it

and all you loved since

Yevgeny Vuchetich


completed the towering

statue of the soldier who

saved a tiny 3 year-old

German girl from death


in the battle and today

carries her at his shoulder

high over the stairway

and Grove of Honor below.


You must go there

with me, now!

We’re going to see

a hymn,


a socialist realist


perhaps the most

extraordinary work


of sculpture fused with

a threnody of stillness

creating an apotheosis

of modern classicism.



You’ll become originary

in this solemn ground!

Time will stop for you.

Uhr will doff its cap


and, with a good and

gentle smile, will be-

come Ur in you as

it’s made me become


so ontologically

intense, as after the

death of a friend,

when life insists,


as if he were still

talking to you, on

continuing, but—

after this, which is,


after all, after that

which, immeasurable,

is still resonating so



And I write here and

now KEHTABP in

the Cyrillic letters

I’ll forever love,


the first word I wrote

in Russian one night

in 1976 in Specs Bar

in North Beach, San


Francisco, California,

the United States, the

World,—finished my

first poem in that


language and for the

next 11 years wrote

a poem in Russian

between two written


in American virtually

every single day,

I’m pleased to say,

and to the: Why?


Because the weight

of death is heavy, the

Soviet Union had be-

come champions of


sacrifice in defense of

the Revolution its 16

republics had sustained.

Because a pack of bigot


political whores, year

after year, decade upon

decade, had poisoned

the minds of my own


countrymen with filthy

hatred against Russian

people and even against

the Soviet government


that had been born to

lead an international

charge. From the very

start its Revolution


had been mocked,






comrades jailed,




so, yes, KEHTABP for

I love a centaur image

of half-man half-horse

and would lay there


in my unconsciousness

as a boy mythologizing

it in mind. And maybe,

when I wrote that first


poem in Russian I was

thinking not only of

Kent State but Kent

McCarthy, barman


in Specs who’s long

since died of a rotten

hotshot overdose he

accepted one sleazy


early morning: so yes,

fuck you, capitalist U.S.,

for him, but not only:

for the millions upon


millions of dead, near-

dead or anonymously

dying souls in this den

of drugs run by pukes


of runaway rotting

greeds, Wall Street

mafia crapshooters,

markets with golden


oil pissing out of corp-

orate penises jammed

into global butt-mobiles.

And for East Berlin and


Peace rallies after 1945;

for Joliet-Curie, whose

sister was blessed with a

radiant soul for a brother;


for Paul Robeson, noblest

American artist of the past

two generations; for Terri

Winter, my adolescent love


who opened my eyes to the

whole dream for the first

time; for Pablo Neruda, poet

who’s remained with us all;


for the Associated Press tele-

typist in the execution room

weeping out each letter,

taking a lifetime, no, two


as life was taken out of the

Rosenbergs: the copyboy

tissues with the story on

them that I had to spike


on the editors’ desks

around that vast office

arrived wet with tears;

for René Depestre, all


of 19, with no alas to his

name then, who was a

Haitian comet; for Steve

Nelson and the Daily


Worker and the Jefferson

School; for I.F.Stone; for

Jennings Perry (google him,

he’s here too); for the many


Nedicks workers and those

in the Automat, and those

in Unions kicked in the teeth

by a fascist Taft-Hartley Law;


for masterful comrades like

Nelson Peery, and Fran Furey,

bus-driver Bobby Jordan, who

in truth’s time never swerve;


for Charlie and Miles bop-

ping on 52nd St.; for every

thing making me curious

and opening wide; for the


women in the sweatshops

on 149th St. in The Bronx

before there was sex, or

just as girls were beginning


to be afreud, and shrinks

got under the masses’ skin;

for the Communist Labor

Party and Sue Ying, and


Willie Baptist in the Tom

Mooney Bookstore on

Valencia St., where I first

asked for the poems of


the man known as

The Devil

The Monster,

The Serial Killer,


The Destroyer

of Communism,

The Worse Than Hitler

Twice Over,


and whose words on each

of the 16 sarcophagi in this

Soviet Cenotaph, written

in stone between 1947-49,


—texts you can’t find on

any google file, words and

ideas un-censored only

by going to the Cenotaph


itself—are the reason the

Event of the Park known

as Ehrenmal Treptow has

been removed from your


humanity and overlooked

as if it were nothing more

than propaganda etched

in stone for the curious.


Through the arched entrance

on Pushkin Alley: a distant

statue in springtime in snow

in lightning rain or sunshine


of Motherland seated, raised

up on two granite plinths, her

head lowered in grief, her left

arm ending in a clench of her


cloak over her heart that’s also

her courage and resolve, Along

an avenue of birch trees then

you come to a wide portal of


two huge red granite pylons

in the form of soviet flags and

beneath each a young and an

old soldier, both kneeling,


helmets in hands, heads lowered

as solemn guardians of the way

to the Grove of Honor some

steps below. Under its grass


the 4,800 Red Army men and

women are buried. To the left,

a series of 8 white marble

sarcophagi, each separated by


about 100 feet, showing aerial

attacks on Soviet villages by

Hitlerian villains who wanted

to enslave or eliminate peoples

of the Ukraine, Belarus, Baltics,

Crimea and the Caucasus.”

Showing also seeds of partisan

resistance, the contribution of


workers to the Red Army, the

unity of army, the people and

the Party, rifles raised to the

distance under an image


of Lenin. Extolling defenders

of besieged Russian cities.

And then the battle of Berlin

and the courage, sacrifice and


sorrow of the Red Army. The

act of liberation contrasting the

Soviet ideology of harmony

among peoples to the Hitler—


fascist ideology of bestial

nationalism and race hatred.

And the final sarcophagus

evokes a funeral ceremony


for a fallen soldier who

fought for the liberty and

independence of the USSR:

Victory, and Heroic Death,


with texts written into the

stone on the spine of each

bas-relief in Cyrillic by

J. Stalin,


which texts are translated

into German and appear on

8 marble replicas on the right

side of the Grove, the total


of 16 representing all the

republics that comprised the

Soviet Union. In the center

of the two series of sarcophagi,


up the steps of the kurgan, an

ancient Russian burial mound

under which 200 more Soviet

soldiers lie buried, where you


can look through a window

silled with flowers on this Day


of Liberation and see the 16

Union republics’ delegates

in a semicircle in the many-

colored mosaic mausoleum,


all eyes upon a radiant blue

ledger in which is written

the names of all the soldiers

buried in the Grove and under


the kurgan hill. And from the

roof of that mausoleum, which

is a huge pedestal, the giant

figure, nearly 35 feet high,


of Nicolai Ivanovich Masalov,

holding the German girl on his

arm, his sword lowered, his foot

stepping on a broken swastika.


Slava! Slava! Slava, Geroiam!

Slava! Slava! Slava, Geroiam!

I declaim it as I’ve sung it for

a generation, the triumphal


Requiem of R. Rozhdestvensky,

a summit of song on the Orphic

mountain of the truth of life that

Rilke understood as “Gesang ist


Dasein”: Song is Existence; and

because, when I ask myself and

am asked by myselves: What’s

the most significant historical


event in the life of the 20th

century to now. the event which

all subsequent events—wars,

murders, suicides, natural


disasters— resonate with?

From the mountain’s height

of song, the Park of the Soviet

Cenotaph below, —its shape


a long coffin where the body

of your life is lying in a state

of soul enclosed by trees with

leaves of grass all around—


the second generation since the

end of the war 66 years ago

lifts its voice and sings its reply:

Slava! Slava! Slava, Geroiam!



Jack Hirschman is a prolific revolutionary and communist poet, painter, writer, agitator, multi-lingual translator and culture-maker. Hirschman has written more than 50 volumes of poetry, translated dozens of work into English and was named San Francisco Poet Laureate  in 2006. Generous with his poetry and art making, Hirschman is a human force for deep social justice and revolutionary consciousness; he is a leader in the Revolutionary Poets Brigade and

Read “Chorosho! An Auto/Biographical Sketch of Jack Hirschman” here.


Photograph of Jack Hirschman at the Caffe Trieste by John Perino.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s