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Gila Loran

Tr. Peter Golub



     the quiet dusk of night...

In a hunchbacked city by the last streetlight
Anchors are sold in a smith’s shop
An auburn haired girl, a jade —
In a crisp red skirt.
And we, the three of us, surreptitiously rummage here
Pointlessly wearing out our soles,
And at times the cadets
Equably smoking, give it to us.

We’re destined to die — it would be good to raise a Grenadian emirate,
So Europe, the old whore, would finally die,
So that across the stitching on her ribs
A fire burned and all the trains languorously melted
So that the cider would go bad by morning,
And long nosed burghers hid in the attics
And honored professors pissed themselves in their offices
While the black Madonna smirked.

We ourselves would never dream to do it, which is why this is all there is,
We’d be happy to be happily left to dirty our home shores,
Suck on the pipe, and put on cockroach races,
In the warm kitchen, apple pie with cinnamon...
But Auntie sees all things — about the thaler in heel,
About the boy, the taste of his grassy tongue,
About the camphoric horror at the sight of the squashed bug...
It’s not our fate to not be seen by her.

...Visit our family for the last — figure out, the price of things.
In the evening, in the tavern near the castle, order a pie with a brick.
For the last time accidentally brush a shoulder
Against the worn out jacket on the auburn sailor.
Descend the stairs to the bathroom — jump inside the cistern
And by the pipes, by the pipes, wherever the water goes.

Then they’ll probably say well hell!
They went to take a shit and didn’t come back.


you know think I’ll take these three guys
one is a nephew, my sister’s alcoholic son
the other — a neighbor girl, accidentally turned into a boy
the third — my second hubby’s bastard,
from his redheaded dairymaid.

and send them to help the arab-infidels
with their ancient kingdom-land
raise it from the ashes
so that it may lay waste
upon this godforsaken europe, spiteful hag with puckered lips
burn it down with a ferocious flame
and cover it with salt.

(when I was a little girl I lived in a village
with all my soul fell for this guy
was in love for a long time, sweet and strong
and you know what happened then? turns out he’s a statue standing
in the middle of that skull fucked europe
and he’ll never love me
because he’s got no heart because he’s made of stone.
never loved another in my life
had three husbands each one a duller sack of hammers.)

and for aide I’ll send them all the numinous powers
earthly and chthonic
say what you will, but I’m a learned witch
my portents are worth a chicken per word
for a single glance I can fetch a cow
for a potion, a whole chicken factory.

and my lads will go
stomp their heels, do a little shit kicking
and’ll do everything they’re supposed to
they know, my snot-nosed sentinels:
you do a favor for Auntie
and Auntie won’t forget you.

in the meantime, while mommy god ain’t got a crooked eye on me
I’ll stay put and do a little fortune telling
pinch the feet off a blue toad
quietly pray to the vegetable patch with the white soil
just gotta keep me wits about me
while waiting for their thundering victory.


Beauty and health
Yogurt on the nightstand
A happy wife in a modern kitchen
A little drunk husband at her side
An orphling growing near by
In dirty snow with mittens on rubber strings
A sullen Mutter
A meretricious Vater
Flee this place, pensive pretty boy, harry potter
To the end and down the worn out escalator
No more dreary mornings or
                            bloody sunsets
You won’t be dour or joyful, neither hopeless nor spry.


Horses graze behind the white monastery
Goat in the churchyard
A gypsy walks circles round the kremlin wall
Past the field
Near the embankment, corncrakes wander
Among the boulders

The approaching boy
Has headphones from his player
Sometimes a glint under the street light
Is an earring.

I’m waiting for you at five by the blue building
You’ve either climbed out the window
Or you’re sleeping
Let’s go to the tent
Suck some old chocolate
Just don’t let the blacks know

The dark ones wander the walls of the beheaded churches
Gnawing on communal wafers
Drinking bathtub vodka
Quietly waddle like geese
Climb into the wagon
Roll back home

Yesterday I lied to Aunt Anna  
Like a man
And by morning a second prick had grown between my legs
What is to be done
Maybe we can be friends?

Braid each other beards with frozen fingers
Follow the streets of the dark city
Peek into low windows
How they sigh
And moan behind them
But no matter how much those ladies squirm on their starched sheet
The remaining thing will be, flat plate, the Fin lake.

Lived-breathed Boris Semenich Leites
A Vereian businessman
Instead of earlocks has dry calamari
Shaped like ampersands.
He lives on that very street
At the dead end at the end of the world
Where houses stand alive
And between them hang cold clouds
White spit slowly slides on the side of the elevator
Socks on the line across the dead night
Boris Semenich is still alone
Where did she go, that tiny hussy Rivka?

My ears have gone into exile —
Drown your dulcet voice in a tall neck
In which contorted alley did you forget your love
Don’t you see my crying face
In the 16th floor under the blue wind

It is already autumn threaded a lot of days on my sharp hump
And here a leaf falls from Ksenya Konstantinovna

*       *       *

Hmmm...why not piss into one of the pots at the office
And offer someone a drink
O, let them call me a bitch
Or how was it with Joseph
Sell me into Egyptian slavery
Right away to Marsa Alam and Hurghada

Gila Loran

Gila Loran

Gila Loran (b. 1978 Moscow) has a philology degree from the Russian State University of the Humanities. She worked as a publisher. She was short-listed for the Debut Prize (2001), and has published two books of poetry, the most recent being The Cow Ate The First Word (2008).

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