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This piece is about 5 printed pages long. It is copyright © Stanislav Lvovsky and Peter Golub and Jacket magazine 2008. See our [»»] Copyright notice. The Internet address of this page is http://jacketmagazine.com/36/rus-lvovsky-trb-golub.shtml
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Peter Listens, Paul Speaks
so I’m driving — he tells me — as always to Damask and suddenly
I feel that something’s not right, I turn around
to see if someone might be signaling, maybe the cops, who knows
so I look and feel something is definitely going on, there are blooming flowers
which is impossible, these plants don’t bloom, especially through road tar
on the autobahn, in the median, and the suddenly, simultaneously from all around
everyone starts honking, their windows down, guys screaming:
what the hell’s your problem you skull-fucked degenerate!
and I understand that in five more minutes they are going to tear him apart
so I turn on my hazards — he continues — squeeze up to the median, and get out
and realize, no: I can’t, I’ll be late, customs guys always give me a hard time
and here he is, mother fucker, arms to the sky, I think, I think
of all the times and places, didn’t even bother to wipe the drool off his mouth, idiot
just don’t say anything, I think, please, not now not here
well — he goes on — the situation was clear, he turns around and faces me
what? he says, what do you want, what’re you gonna do? have you not died outside
you understand, now that you’ve seen me, you’re going to be judged
and I didn’t want to, didn’t want to bring the gavel out, shake off
the powdered wig, I just wanted to make the scarlet, white as snow
why do you need signs, what the hell for!? I wish you were a greek
then you know — he says — you probably read about it: I went blind, didn’t eat for three days
until Hananiah, a tiny spider, put his sixth paw on my brow, I recovered
healed a man, revived a chamois,
instead of Simon Niger I was the one who heckled the Cypriotes
well — he sighs — would it have been so hard to leave him there, on the road
I wouldn’t have hung on the cross, awaiting the ninth day
wouldn’t have descended in a wicker basket, wouldn’t have become a temptation for others
there — he says — look, he’s called the jurors
how he coughs after drinking his fill of the morning fire
how for the last time we embrace at the door
“the floor boards once...”
the floor boards once where here mice their house
from here they stared out the open doorway
watched how the darkness bloated how the air was sick.
out of the heavy clay out of sharp grass
the neighboring night children slowly touched
lamb heart morning chalk.
the prints they left on one another
house by the sea warm winter not a local one
yesterday’s speech of the reichschancellor
seeped through the mailbox
down onto the floor in ink.
and in the large mirror she turned and waited.
sometimes cried tried on skirts jewelry
lingerie ribbons whatever was around
he still didn’t come.
and called as if he were far away sent packages
the voles upon meeting in the grass gossiped
more and more that he would never come. marika rёkk
sang every evening the same song.
she would walk out into the tide. all traces
that he left upon her remained
because in the house by the sea nothing vanishes.
there, near the water, at the edge she is still waiting
there in the mouse nest in the dark squeaks and rustles
she watches in the mirror there she does not age nor sleep.
through the short waves snow falls marika rёkk is singing
what as if the son had measured them using a wooden ruler from the school
the pigeon weighed on his scales he carried to the father
and the father lost one in the grass and to this day
his large hands fumble in the dark but do not find him.
So, yeah I gave god god’s, but what am I supposed to give to caesar?
— Sergei Magid
the nineteenth hour moscow time
girl with huge eyes
a bittern or some other
large bird in the subway
throws herself onto her lover’s
neck he turns away
the end of the work day
worn out deodorant
an old woman
at the diaphanous entrance
of the mall at
help, with whatever you can
a crumpled ten
she puts it away so quickly
that I’ll change
children children with torn nails
blind spots in the morning paper.
dead children run onto the earth
scorched white by the morning sun.
the birth of a nation
(don’t be afraid — he says — it’s not really real.
Come on dad — comes the answer — I’m not a bit afraid)
snow fall they are almost at the zenith,
birds circle over mount Moriah
darkness descends in flakes heating the eyelids
one of them lays over macerated firewood
the second twists the lid off the canister
takes out a rusty
gott mit uns spins it between his fingers
tries it for taste before
four in the morning moscow time.
in a dry voice the bittern wheezes
far up north near the swamps.
a southern, summer tanned rush
ravenously drinks the warm
blood of Yishaq.
there’s not one city on the map quite yet
not one referred in the reports.
the childless Sara cadges god for money
he presents a coin on his warm palm
so that she has time to touch it before he pulls it away.
the bittern wails a slaughtered shrill.
and in the landscape’s folds the old hag hides her coin.
here is your night, citizens of the late hour.
alone the rush sounds a dry dark sea
at the foothills they exchange remarks, the first bell
splits the spine into its individual disks
it sings the magpie calls
all of the airfields are within hands reach
ascend into the sky
by seven steps descend
at Telman’s monument
a tightened wrist
with such a loss of heart
as if only Moscow
were behind him
girl in the subway
a small tired bittern
and her lover
a good accountant
in a lousy bank
mother, free medication, sister
a manager of education
in three years suddenly
discovers, she’s near her time
with a proud stomach
she says fuck the job
the child is more important
says the old
I’ll work it off
it’s clear what to give to god
but what about this caesar?
the u.s. federal reserve
raises its interest rate
again as if in silk
we’ll be adorned in debt
enough with him
all this is nothing
raised up from the dead
earned in seven years
like a small fish
you are listening to open Moscow
radio of the free world
Stanislav Lvovsky (b. 1972 Moscow) graduated from Moscow State University with a degree in chemistry, and now works in advertising. He is one of the founders of the literary group Vavilon, and is the laureate of the Moscovsky Schet Prize (2003). He is a regular contributor to Vozdukh, and helps edit the online journal TextOnly.