|Elena Fanailova [pic by Valerij Ledenev]|
from Elena Fanailova’s The Russian Version, tr. Genya Turovskaya & Stephanie Sandler, Ugly Duckling, 2009:
I want to live like a snail, wrapped in gauze,
To preserve this decrepit body,
Like a Christmas tree ornament
Nestled in a case of beaded glass,
Life would lay off me,
Stop quivering in the tiers of fiery air.
I want to sleep in that soft velvet case,
Like some forgotten trinket from the theater,
A tiny bead or a lost glove.
I will talk to you at night,
Shining on the telephone in my dreams.
I have grown cunning, quiet. I love to keep silent,
And to guard the thin-walled, fragile things
I save in cigarette papers.
Pyromania, pyrotechnics, flash.
The fire that turns all things to ash.
Better this way: it’s you with nothing to hold on to,
Only you (in a taxicab, in darkness), only you.
Quick, like poison running through water, distorting out of tenderness
The undefined features of a face.
O, don’t wait in the thicket above my soul or behind my back,
Order up some oblivion, some sleepwalking paradise.
I’ll launch a little ship and send gold fish through my veins
In search of sweet daydreams, of wind-up heavens, of the seven seas.
Like it or not, my heart will stay in one piece.
Vodka shines its dry light like a gypsy.
How blinding it all is: the winter solstice,
These unimaginable, inhuman words,
This other fate, the triumph of verse.
A Woman’s Jataka [excerpt]
For Aleksandr Anashevich,
author of a text with this title
Yoko Ono wrote in her diary:
His i.d. cards are in my glove compartment
A hand fixed on the trigger
My finger paused in that round space
Together we’ll still sing some karaoke
Let it be and similar immortal verses
A Double will resound in his head
The nations attack one another in war
I will become his hangover syndrome, his drugstore,
In a word, I must see that man
She is a lady, a beauty and a yellow ape,
A goddess without flaw.
A performance artist and a young pioneer,
Like Kulik today,
They always close the little door behind him.
He’s famed for that.
John Lennon draws obscene little pictures
On the back pages of sheet music,
Giving no thought to battle,
To a factory set up as a co-op,
He doesn’t read Foreign Lit,
Or Woman in the Dunes.
He gets laid in his socks,
He’s Mozart, he’s a child of nature
He’s an arrogant plebe, a mangy stud,
A young sparrow, a matchless playboy,
An unknown hero, a real cowboy,
He hasn’t a clue, who will serve him next
Afterwards, quiet descends
After the heavy spiked port-wine.
His wife is a white fish,
A fool with a belly that’s been cut open