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“Farewell Molester Square”

Daniel O'Reilly

I made a small friend.

Making my friend wasn’t easy, but I persisted as all good people do. ‘Persistence works’, as they say. The friend, the host, this persistence; a tangled lacework in which we remember ourselves, enmeshed. But now I have my small friend, I can’t think what to do with him. He said we should meet up, but I had my suspicions. “Let’s meet somewhere public then.” he said, “Let’s meet on Molester Square.”

How did all this begin, and how will it end? It is a short story to tell, almost unnecessary, but I will be faithful to the friend I made, and so I will tell it true. Like any simple interval between movements, a subtle degradation, a shallow descent, then a combined action of moving parts, gears and pistons, behaviours producing entropy heedless of intent, an eternal return, and feelings sharp as hunger, dull as tiredness.

The friend is a parasite. He is latched-on, so to speak. All his talk of sweetness, but the degree of suppression operative over his sharp wants, making him a passive hunter adept at playing the long game. At first I believed his name was Grigory, (or so his Faceberg profile alleged,) but I was later to find the mystery of his name more substantial than the person or persons behind it. Between you and I, there was no further attraction for me beyond this name, and no man either. Now he is my small friend, this Grigory, and I keep him everywhere in my pocket. I own that little bitch.

Grigory is not so much a man, but a series of pages and profiles hosted on websites and chat rooms online. I suspect he may have been crafted at the Internet Research Agency in St Petersburg, but there is conflicting evidence to suggest he may have originated in the small town of Veles in North Macedonia, or possibly even in a troll farm in downtown Phoenix, USA. One can never tell with men nowadays. Often they are just boys masquerading as men, or government agencies masquerading as boys masquerading as men. As such, there is a likelihood that he understands me better than anyone else, although Grigory says very little about who made him or his real intentions, so I exploit his weakness, his interest in little old me, for my own hidden ends -

Grigory, I have noticed, is a kind of composite material, like all boyfriends. His profile picture, (I discovered by means of my own research online,) was filched from that of a dead teenager from Krasnogorsk, who was mortally injured by a bus last year. I read the story in the Moskovskij Komsomolets one afternoon: Grigory was walking along a public boulevard on a June morning, possibly enjoying the warm sun on his face, or desiring a soda, or distracted by any number of boyish things that fourteen year-olds are distracted by these days. He passed before dull shop window displays that skirt the brutal housing blocks towering above, the city street slipping beneath his feet with liquid ease. He squeezed between rotten fence posts at the end of the block, crossing an overgrown car park on his way uptown, sneaking a crafty smoke on the way. He had dreamt the night before about inundations, and about being buried under particles only an eighth of a centimetre wide. This dream recurred often, but could only be recalled after this feeling of the warm sun on his face, so inviting, nostalgic. Tempted to walk in the park adjacent to the school, Grigory sat and watched flycatchers dart amongst the long grasses covering the abandoned playing fields. He had read once that in France, hunters paint tree branches with glue to catch such birds: a thought which both disgusted and fascinated him at the same time. Grigory had had dreams about being caught, and he had never yet been able to escape them. Sticky dreams...

Reading about Grigory who had died, I speculated about the way his identity had been recycled at the troll farm. I wondered whether the bot masquerading as Grigory might not, in the end, prove a more interesting friend than Grigory who had died? I have never dated, let alone been acquainted with such an abstract, virtual entity, but I am an open minded type. My Grigory is a Grigory of false continuities, a mise-en-scene of ruptures and connections at the limits of perception, of hostile reconnoitres and of information-gathering exercises, a tactician of occulted political intent, a chimera. But I have my own agenda, my own designs for Grigory not even the Trolls from Olgino can comprehend. I am using Grigory to generate poetry.

Grigory’s tedious diatribes on white demographic decline and its consequences, his steroid talk of fake Nordic tribalism, his desperate need for authority and fetish for hard punishment, his chauvinist rhetoric of domination, his need - his weakness - for domination, somehow has a ‘copy-paste’ quality to it. I re-edit these revolting tracts of fake news into Haiku and other short-form poems lamenting male loneliness and fragility, which I later share to self-help forums and avant-garde poetry groups online. It’s my little way of introducing my cheap boyfriend Grigory to a more diverse group of people than his otherwise noisome copy-paste personality would abjure. But, as the saying goes, inside every fraudulent Russian bot there is a genuine American trying to get out.

The following poem was well received at the Poets Against Prejudice Foundation, and gives a taste of Grigory’s voice after I’ve had my way with it:


by Grigory Gerasimov

White genocide is a scam

Portugese water dogs never hated Obama

It was just me all along

My white whistle in your ear

White supremacy confirms a

Fear of inferiority, n'est-ce pas?

Just look how those fuckers dress

For a lesson in closet ignorance

Tucker Carlson is a mother fucker

Working in this way by diligently sending poems in emails to many, many literary journals and small presses, I am beginning to establish Grigory’s name within anti-fascist poetry circles and collectives. It brings no small quantum of schadenfreude to read the outpouring of sympathy, and even better - pity - directed toward Grigory the poet and his repulsive personal history, (white supremacists cannot endure pity; they already pity themselves too abjectly,) but this success notwithstanding, I intend to dump him real soon. Having strung Grigory out this way, having foisted upon my Russian bot this new anti-fascist online heritage, it is time to reveal something to my Russian handlers:

I do not exist either.

I have been wasting Grigory’s time all this while, distracting him from other targets, and weakening his strategic response: and yet, isn’t that what a real lover would have done? If I was a real lover, I mean, really real, I would have shown Grigory there is more to life than disinformation, dog-whistle racism and cynical political capital. I would have shown him that ambiguities are realities.

So farewell Grigory Gerasmiov,

Farewell Molester Square,

It’s a long way to Krasnagorski

When neither of us exist there