Thursday, November 13, 2014

Larissa Shmailo

June 25, 1939

It's frightening to die, and such a shame to leave
This captivating riffraff that enchants me;

The stuff so dear to poets, so very lovely,

I never celebrated; it somehow wasn't to be.
I loved to come back home at the break of dawn
And shift my things around in half an hour.
I loved the white windowsill, and also the flower,
The carved faceted glass, and also the water,
And the heavens, greenish-azure in their color—
And that I was a poet and a wicked man.
And when every June came with my birthday again
I'd idolize that holiday, bustling

With verses by friends and congratulations from women,
With crystal laughter, and gay glasses clinking

And the lock of that hair, unique, individual
And that kiss, so entirely inevitable.
But now at home it’s all set up differently;
It's June and I no longer have that homesickness.
In this way, life is teaching me patience,
And turbid, my blood now is stirring this birthday,
And a secret anxiety is tormenting me—

What have I done with my great destiny,

Oh my God, what have I done with me!

Arseny Tarkovsky
© Translation by Larissa Shmailo

* * *

it's like a rain wall
or a wall of news

when you crumble like chalk
as if the world lurched
and it could still be saved
only in this way


but the world is precisely this wall of news
into which your chalk is embedded

* * *

speech stones flow around the dictionary of nothing

you have seven of them in your sinus
mouth, nine

aporia accompanies lyusis
<unleashing decision>

when you decide to untie
the node of life


* * *

the grammarian distributes the semes
a fraction of seeds
sacrificial miniscule

a name is a gravestone

and shiva's wool is dipped in a boiling column
of dancing flames

but the heart
heart in vain

© Alexandr Skidan 
Translated by Larissa Shmailo and the author


1 comment:

  1. Larissa Shmailo forwarded the following bio:

    Larissa Shmailo is the editor-in-chief of the forthcoming anthology Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry, poetry editor for MadHat Annual, and founder of The Feminist Poets in Low-Cut Blouses. She translated Victory over the Sun for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's landmark restaging of the multimedia opera; her translation of the libretto was recently used by the Garage Museum of Moscow for its reconstruction of the opera and is now available in print with an introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky from Červená Barva Press (2014), Larissa also has been a translator on the Bible in Russia for the Eugene A. Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of American Bible Society.

    Larissa's newest collection of poetry is #specialcharacters (Unlikely Books 2014). Her other books of poetry are In Paran (BlazeVOX [books] 2009), the chapbook, A Cure for Suicide (Červená Barva Press 2006), and the e-book, Fib Sequence (Argotist Ebooks 2011); her poetry CDs are The No-Net World (SongCrew 2006) and Exorcism (SongCrew 2009), for which she received the New Century Best Spoken Word Album award. Her novel, Patient Women, is forthcoming from BlazeVOX [books].Larissa blogs at