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Evgenii Proshchin (Egor Kirsanov)

Tr. Sibelan Forrester


but in the theater that burned up
homeless vagrants sometimes live
squeal on each other
with wooden noses
like the last of the Maori tribe
in their unusual emptiness

and the voice of the Lorelei swims
down from the high charred gallery


and the fire that burns in me
it isn’t me
it’s someone else
walking in me with a lantern
searching in me for a person

he runs across refugees and soldiers
they point in various directions
they say,
“What’re ya doin’ here
no one’s been livin’ here for ages”
they light up from the lantern
they go on their way

and the one who’s looking for a person in me
also goes walking on


some are already done they live with their backs
with a nape’s tear and a bullet under their nails
they’re dumb they stand behind me
whispering with their right-side hands

and we sing them with Thy voice
that night will pass that memory won’t return
and blood will out in a strange fatherland
and the lion lie down and the vine awaken


you aren’t the first
who vanished in these waters
a boy with knees and clouds
the combed-out scales of vacation
and perhaps
there wasn’t any boy

a good book just turned up
and you turned into three dots...
a centipede
you mix up your legs
like words
you sit in one place
read about africa

and perhaps
someone’s breathing down your neck
how to prepare with your tongue and lips
the tastiest dish
little transparent trochee offal
a toxic fishy
you can’t use to poisson yourself


painful fragile answers
in a sack you carry with the current
in the negotiation sentry box
brief honks
and space for the imagination
maria dead maria
to me your indigo lips
to you the folding calendar
to interrupt me fortunately
bit by little bit


salman oh salman
gluing the sky with saliva
creeping into empty bony verses
perishing at the raw-wood post
we trample you with slippers
and chew your acid
and the six-legged angel
unlocks the door for you
into the endless anthill


I don’t have my scow
here’s the triumph of the dirigibles
someone’s kissing on the sparrow hills
this loneliness let
the angel of mechanics will exalt you

you stagger with him over the clouds
through the midday sky

or you can still pick gooseberries
wash them in flowing water
submerge your hands
you aren’t doing anything at all
you yawn breakfast dawn
you’re just walking with your legs in the pond
you go down to the reptiles and cities

until the body cast out on the shore
starts singing
it opens its mouth
says hello
gets ready to sail puts on the light
as it walks in place of speech
moreover instead of a cause
it speaks
and no one listens


well why are you still crying
as mama takes you through the train station
holds you by the southern hand
and the south stands behind you
all red in seashells
and waves its northern hand
and I speak to you waving but the end
factory rainy
promises you peace
and a lake in a booklet
don’t think about the rest
don’t know


you have to refuse everything extra
everything is sweet listen behind the door
how it walks about there like an arboreal bird
props up names
unclenches its fingers

as if you fell asleep in the woods
and the grass grew through you
sits on your chest
looks under your shirt
little twigs little hairs
everything so simple

and I show you in another direction
over there they’re laughing
riding on bicycles
ilya jumps like a bouncing ball
waves his hat
can’t stop it


here in winter it’s impossible
to die
the north brings out calcium
like a dog for a walk
all 22 of my misfortunes
freeze in the corners
trip over the cobwebs
you got thinner and more contemplative
a piece of sky flickers through you
a roof
not us but the doves

another half month
the thaw of the passengers
a streetcar that’s 90 percent water
policemen stride across
the puddles
all 22 of my misfortunes on
the back platform
warm their hands
suspiciously similar
to you


or better yet go read prose
it has a lot more weight machines
and layouts of the field
it’s all somehow more peaceful
than putting together a verbal portrait
on the remnants of the teeth
in the soft-palate and fore-tongue ones
on the far side of the thunder front
to the wildly howling signal bells

Evgenii Proshchin

Evgenii Proshchin

Evgeny Proshin (b. 1976 Kovrov) has a degree in philology from Nizhny Novgorod University, where he currently teaches. His poetry has appeared in many journals including Vozdukh, Novy Bereg, and Volga. He is a curator of Russian poetry, and was awarded the LiteratuRRentgen Prize (2006) for his work with poetry festivals outside of Moscow. His book of poems, Twenty-Two Unfortunate Events was published in 2007.

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