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This piece is about 2 printed pages long. It is copyright © Gennady Kanevsky and Matvei Yankelevich and Jacket magazine 2008. See our [»»] Copyright notice. The Internet address of this page is http://jacketmagazine.com/36/rus-kanevsky-trb-yankelevich.shtml
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the disquieting light of spring falling from the sky
undefoot: embroidery, the cross, smooth, soft
maybe death comes to each one of us
like a parent at school picking up their child
it stands on the rails where the trolley line bows
and calls the winds together from all sides
my classmates wave and run close behind
sparrows clamoring amidst the crows
to ask for more time outside would be useless
the puddle the ice cream the flu and all that
orals the day after next then final exams
a burning bush right there in the middle of the desk
some get wine in their glasses but i get none
while the trolley rings out from over yonder
who are they talking about in that window
behind the curtain with its edges torn
we’ve run aground, he says, we’ve run aground.
our life is in morse, rotten lies — our poems.
do me a favor, he says, don’t think it a burden,
pass on the message: it was all in her name.
take a few of my medals at least to give her
wrap them up in some newsprint or pravda,
after all she’s just a kid, a brat, a sparrow,
it’s just evil tongues saying whatever.
give a knock up top, he says, give a knock,
the mechanic’s closer to god, he’s on the wagon.
we’ve hit bottom, he says, we’ve hit bottom,
i didn’t get to tell her something important.
don’t shout, keep it together, save your breath.
you’re younger — you’ll get out alive i bet.
tell her about our window of summer,
tell her how our foghorn was loud and clear.
only steppe all about, only plains, he says, all about
the way is far and the oxygen’s running out,
in that steppe so remote, he says, in that steppe so remote...
either he’s raving or whispering the notes.
Trans. Matvei Yankelevich
Translation(s) originally commissioned by CEC Artslink on the occasion of the author’s visit to the US as a participant in their Open World program.
Gennady Kanevsky (b. 1965 Moscow) graduated from the Moscow Institute of Electronics. His texts have been published in Znamya, Oktyabr, and Novy Bereg. In 2007 he teamed up with Anna Russ and together they won the summer Moscow Slam Competition. He is the author of three books including What if It Were (2006).