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Vadim Kalinin

Tr. Peter Golub


She was like a sister
And in the evening I often

Let her play with a silver
Crow feather

And making an equable face
Biting the inside of my cheek

I let her pass the end of it
Across my lips

And in that moment I decided to forget
All the prevarication born in my darkness

And thought that I’d from then on live
Like a slow blue mole

Like a giant scary pink hamster
Extraordinarily good...

Sit around and sculpt a bordeaux pot
While smoking a crooked elderberry pipe...

The sea-buckthorn gleam flowed
Tinting the grass

Across an empty unimaginable white trail
On the deliquescent noise of high grass...

But the rye ripened dark
Impossible to gather

A knife crawled into my fist
Made of crow’s silver

And the aged house fell behind my back
And the pink thunder

With ash gossamer fresh ice
Closed its eyes

The mouse withdrew into the lemon pond
Caprice glowed in the wells

The walls thought you were sleeping
And even turned pellucid...

A thin static seemed to come from all around
Black dragonfly

Adrift through orange pines
A hundred times repeating

His eyes...the landscape grew
Into a strident turn

And everything vanished and softly
I took the feather back


Tea cools inside the donkey’s house
The refrigerator stands up the wall clock stops
As if by chance
In paradise they saw it
The cat cannot help but stare
Where just a while ago
No one had run over the twiggy
Netting of the rug
A river runs through the donkey’s house
Turned upside down under
The table silk flows
Hurrying across the ceiling
Strange troops take a march
Into the donkey’s house
And drown an inch
From the prostrate hand
No one among such swamps
Has found a path
The cat has frozen upside down
A big eared bat
A shadow grows behind the window
And stares without a face
Into the empty donkey house
From the wither to the sacrum


Well, the bacchanal has ended
I am wondering if you’ll stay
An overwhelming junk heap
Sleeps in my skull

Everyone has stiffened and forgotten everything
Like the first line of a poem
Blue rats
Float in onyx seizures

You’ll stay, I can tell
I’ll lie on my back feel
The golden flock of rats
Knocking from inside

Like a tea spoon in a cup
From the kettle to the mouth
Thin white fingers
Typewriter footfall

I no longer look but still can see
Though it’s not truth nor like a dream
In the frightening trembling slush
A small piece percolates

Through the windows through the morning
Through the opalescent sky
Nacre knocks against the windows
With the nacre of the claws

Let go of the reins my darling
Or are you sincerely mad?
Come on Vadik, it’s just raining
And the rain is a good thing


How awfully long ago I was born
So long that sometimes I even see
Dark green water
Laughing passing over me

Look into my motion
Into the slow long pool
You know that all of this is going to kill you
You know that we’ll always be together

A tiny metal lumberjack
Scintillating in the orange dew
A shining sickle in his hand
Walking into oncoming traffic

The vegetables knew how to speak,
But said nothing even when lying on the table...
Open the slow doors
And be sick with a deciduous shiver

How awfully long ago I was born
So long that sometimes I even see
Dark green water
Laughing passing over me

Junk Mail

David Burliuk said...
           — V. Mayakovsky

Buy the puppy!
Look at the paws, ears, warm, devoted...
Buy the puppy, or else I’m gonna eat him!

He bit me on the leg
So I knocked out his teeth
Brought them home and none were poisonous

When they are few I die of loneliness
When they are gone I starve to death
I love money

What can be sweeter
Than to feel yourself
Capable of buying her chocolate

You sir are meticulous and wise
Madam, you are sweet and full
But tell me, what have I to do with it?

You have to hide and watch
Leave all your hope and read keep reading
The people are toward me at times it is so odd

It is my birthday? I’ve lost my head?
This is my house? I’m here without authorization?
And it’s soon winter? Winter!

This means that I am going to wake up
Climb on the roof and begin to draw letters
Strange, that anyone is capable of such a thing

Let’s die in proper fashion
Let’s die this very minute
We’ll die and go to sleep

I like to breath and watch the water
I like big tender meat
I like matrons whores and adolescents

Too many things remind you of drugs
But sperm and weed
Still don’t smell like that

You say you’ve tried everything
It’s funny for me, for I’m left
Behind the bounds of your experience

Lying in the bathtub I look at my hands
And my revulsion is more real
Than these wriggling artifacts

Today, professionals
Are usually underpaid
Especially professional slackers
The monkey saw the work and ran away frightened
And the human was left  
Which of these is wiser?

Standing in front of the pharmacy
Crumpling a piece of paper into a ball
I remember a dream about a ship

An onion and a vodka bottle
Quiet, woman
A person has viscera inside

This one in the mirror, he is, the one that’s I
Fine, good, we are agreed
So what am I to do now, drink without stopping?

In order to explain
Much brains aren’t needed
Just try and find something to explain

Drink coffee and accept tenderness
Listen to Coltrane in the bathtub
When they could walk in, slit your throat...

Yesterday I was in pain. But today it seems to be better
And you woke up today with a headache
What else is there to say?

And I’ll lose this
And I’ll lose this as well
And that I lost some time ago

Crossing the street
In a precarious spot
I want to live

I raise a matchbox
The cigarette rustles
I am an intrepid person after all

A bird tears apart its chest
You grow mad
We hibernate

The face of a crow deprived of its beak
Looks not unlike that of a rabbit
Maybe it’s a miracle?

Vadim Kalinin

Vadim Kalinin

Vadim Kalinin (b. 1973, Moscow) is one of the founders of literary group Vavilon. He has helped design many of the books published by Argo-Risk (the press associated with the Vavilon group), and in 2004 his own book of poems Bye was published. His novel, A Kilo of Explosive and a Car of Cocaine (2002) was translated into Italian.

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