I had a college professor who wrote an entire book of poetry devoted to Hitler's facial hair. For my novel Apophenia, which I'm currently editing, I wrote a character based on that professor, whom I named named Gibbons. His poetry, all of which centers on Stalin's mustache, serves to chronicle the personal changes of the protagonist. These poems are ridiculous, but I find myself rereading them and pondering their meaning. I've shared a few of them before, but here they are, collected together.
Stalin’s Mustache: An Affirmation
It wasn’t unexpected, you furry wet leech, that your sexy shimmering shaking would lead to something of an affair, which, now don’t get me wrong, brotha (reduced to the vernacular, yet again), I enjoyed as much as a man/boy/woman/transvestite could, especially when considering the rather fecal circumstances that you are undoubtedly loath to remember, seeing how you shat spanked cummed your way through the interview, filthy hobo that you are, you dirty girl/boy/baby, you ridiculous fat swine, you smelly flea-bitten poopy-eared Commie, you hairy twat, you stinky taint, you delicate beautiful busty whore, I really, really, really, really want to forget/preserve/consume/digest you, but alas, the Dictator prevents it, he is always getting in the way of our bristly porcine love, and I like to think that some day, you and I shall walk together, man and mustache, hand in hand, foot in mouth, genitals joined in whiskery abandon.
Stalin’s Mustache: A Statement of Purpose
What trenches we swam through, you and I, brothers of the crimson cloth, mercilessly slicing throat to throat, all across the battlefields of Europe, each body we killed a drink, a drop, a stone cast upon a rippling lake. The Germans fell with every shot of your rifle, I a passenger, a mere sheathe for your knife, your bullets, your canteen. The Commissaire threatens us with death if we turn back; I could never dream of turning back, having transformed into the veritable death machine I am today. What the man of steel says you perform; what I do is reflected in the gleam of a blade, plunged into a million throats, slicing through Aryans, Jews, political prisoners, clergymen, and any who would oppose those bristly lips, those dark, course hairs that stick in my heart like the thorns of a rose.
Stalin’s Mustache: A Dénouement
Witches tits, that’s what you want. You Want It All, you sniveling coward, you disgrace to your lineage of fat, disease men who shit their britches any time the shit hits the proverbial fan. Your ancestors were bastards; not one of them had a respectable upbringing, and in this day and age, that can’t be ignored, no siree. We eat champs for breakfast—yes, it’s true, just ask anyone—and those who get in the way get curb stomped. Take your polluted bloodlines and go crawling back to the mutts that spawned you. It is likely that you hatched from an egg like a reptile; it is even more likely that your mother tried to devour you, she being a monster, you being a monster’s spawn. Not even a magnificent growth as such that which resides on your upper lip can save you, for you are no man of steel, nor are you a human being. I want the thing that grows on your face, for it speaks to me in heathen tongues, and though I do not know how to answer, I know that whatever I do, you will be there, blocking our love, blocking the very salvation that might make you human. This is your last chance to feel. This is your last chance.
Stalin’s Mustache: A Compromising of Values
How easy it is, by the light of day, to see the errors which we have made in our lives, little pink fragments of brain matter littering the ground where we have walked, lazily, as we always do, to the supermarket, leaving pieces of ourselves behind, sad, mad artifacts for our successors to find and ignore, they being consumed with their own heavy guilt. They tried and failed; we tried and failed. The thing is, no one has ever succeeded at anything. There are various degrees of failure, is what I am saying to you, my mustache. You think you are pristine; you think you are the holy gift of god to man, but I must say, if you are so perfect, why do you look like the sort of thing a middle-aged man would grow? You are someone’s compromise. You are someone partial surrender. You will never be anything more than I make you.
Stalin's Mustache: Renaissance
It is the end of days. The mirror before me is a splintered world reflecting the decaying flesh of a ghoul. Bombs burst outside, fire falling from a mud-grey sky. I look at my hands: they are covered in butcher's blood as though I have just slit the throat of an ox. The glass cracks beneath my feet. Rats scurry in the walls, eager for the promised meat of a thousand murdered souls. They have grown fat off of us; they are familiars, witches' pets, tiny, swarming wolves. All of my teeth are chipped; when I bite down, I taste iron. In my hands is a razor, a crude, worn tool of men who would defy their being. Shaggy thing on my face, you are as precious as any limb or genitalia. You are the heart of me; the pulsating beat which keeps my feet on the earth and the air in my lungs. As they shout and scream, I know I must save you from this. I sever you from my face, mustache. Your bristles will not haunt me. In your death, I will be renewed. Forgive me.