POETRYINMOTION1

Good afternoon.  My fellow countrymen, members of the impotent press, and assorted farm cattle abandoned at this press conference:

I have something important to tell y’all, and I’m pretty nervous, so I’m just gonna say this, because I love you guys, just as I love everyone obeying my laws.

To admit who we really are can be challenging, especially at the risk of criticism (or worse, the threat of violence) from those who ignorantly refuse to accept us.  Despite a divisive climate in today’s news media – prone to slander and vitriolic prejudice – I can no longer sit idly in silence and pretend to look the other way.  With the help of trusted family and friends, I’ve gained the courage to today publicly and proudly tell the world who I really am.  I am at long last happy to say it loud: I am Vladimir Putin.

ShirtlessHorseback

I first knew I was Putin around the age of twelve.  Perhaps subconsciously I knew it even earlier.  I remember going after school to our local playground, off Baskov Lane in Leningrad.  I can recall the other children running around, slapping each other’s backsides during a game of tag.  On my arrival I blew a whistle and demanded that they all form a line at the bottom of the swirly-slide, where I engaged each of them in invasive interrogations, one-by-one, for the next several hours.  This was all false confidence.  I knew that in their eyes, being Putin made me an outsider.

This sense of inadequacy led to a notorious series of shameless publicity stunts.  Like singing a Fats Domino song to Kevin Costner.  And repeatedly riding a horse shirtless.  And being thrown by a child. And leading a flock of migrating cranes from a motorized hang-glider.  And pretending to have found rare ancient artifacts while scuba diving in the Black Sea.  And shooting tigers and bears with tranquilizer darts so that I could hug them. And hiring Boyz II Men to encourage Russians to procreate.  Then hiring Steven Seagal as my spokesman for physical fitness.  These are the acts of a Putin at odds with himself, unable to hear the faint meows of the Putin within.

I didn’t ask to be Putin.  It’s not like you wake up one day and choose to be Putin.  I firmly believe that I was born Putin, just as I was born to produce instructional judo videos.  And being born Putin has worked out pretty darned fabulously, if you ask me.  I have a terrific wife who I see only during photo ops.  A bank account containing somewhere between $500,000 and $70 billion, depending on who you ask.  And today: the opportunity to host the Winter Olympics in my favorite vacation villa, even though said town has virtually no snow, and a climate akin to San Francisco’s.  We’re here, we’re Putin, get used to it.  And if you can’t get used to it, get used to being assassinated in your apartment.

Teatime

People said I was crazy to sell four billion dollars worth of weapons to Venezuela.  But are those whiners bellyaching when they check out our new four billion dollar dry ice machine, so big it can engulf an entire city? All the best prog rock bands get cool fog.  If it’s good enough for Rush, it’s good enough for Russia.

Now that this burden of shame has been lifted, I can go back to doing what I do best: imprisoning infidels.  A dictatorship doesn’t run itself, and being Putin means taking guff aplenty.  Twelve scantily clad undergrads get together to produce a suggestive calendar for my pleasure, and suddenly I’m the creep?  It’s called charisma, folks.

Last month, while testing out luge tracks with Edward Snowden, I realized something.  I’m a lover, not a fighter.  Specifically, I’m a lover of “traditional sex”, and a fighter merely of the “nontraditional” stuff.  Thus I equate homosexuality with pedophilia, and hereby pledge to shoot any and all furries with tranquilizer darts.  My aim is to outlaw “the purposeful and uncontrolled distribution of information that can harm the spiritual or physical health of a minor, including forming the erroneous impression of the social equality of traditional and nontraditional marital relations.”  Let me be blunt: when your spiritual health is low, you’re going to be a lousy bobsledder.  The Jamaicans in Cool Runnings excelled for one reason, and one reason only.  They weren’t gay.  And even if they were, they kept it to themselves, so that John Candy was never the wiser.

Milk

Now that I’ve come out as Putin, I ask for your support, and the right to privacy.  Heavily monitored privacy, in which I am watched by surveillance teams at all times, so as to never do anything which might embarrass my country.  I believe it was either Christopher Isherwood or Boris Yeltsin who wrote, “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.”  Each night of these Olympics, beneath the camcorder’s gentle hum, I exhale a gentle sigh of relief.  Putin pride is no laughing matter, but after a day’s work, I still manage to curl up with a sedated Grizzly and have a few giggles.  You can’t go around taking yourself too seriously.  Especially if you’re the ideal living model of manhood.

Now let’s get out there and win some shiny necklaces.

CraneFlight

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