Vladimir Titov (b. 1950), “Queuing for Wine”
Courtesy MutualArt

A floor show seen in Arkhangelsk many years ago
He walked up to the hostess and lay down on the floor
And while she contemplated him flat lying at her feet
Outside people bounced off walls and reeled around the street

Friday night in Arkhangelsk and all were getting crocked
Meanwhile systems fell apart, the stores no longer stocked
No milk nor eggs, nor butter, and there was only bread
Other things in plentitude were guns and tanks instead

More of vivid memory—seeing on the Metro
A man in quite a decent suit, reeling, clearly blotto
Motionless and watching him, clearly in disdain
A decently dressed woman, his wife who would remain

To make sure that he would get home and not fall on the track
An eminent official lying passed out on his back
This could be a country too, Russia, even we
Might fall flat down before the world, all-inclusively