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Lev Rubinstein

Tr. Philip Metres




Time Passes

1.
May I?

2.
You may.

3.
Is there something?

4.
There is.

5.
The date?

6.
Any date.

7.
Name?

8.
Not necessary.

9.
Is there a problem?

10.
Yes, it still remains.

11.
The time?

12.
Passes.

13.
What passes?

14.
The time.

15.
Time passes.

16.
The sea was choppy.

17.
The moon shone.

18.
The cat cried.

19.
The north was lit up.

20.
Time passes.

21.
The child gets tired.

22.
The ball bounces off.

23.
The mind begins to rattle.

24.
Time passes.

25.
To remember, not dream.

26.
A passerby washes his hands.

27.
The spring grew weak.

28.
The situation changes.

29.
The shoelace lies.

30.
The sick one gets better.

31.
Everything disappears somewhere.

32.
The dead don’t know what’s going on.

33.
The benefits don’t yield any lessons.

34.
Something nonetheless remains.

35.
Time passes.

36.
Any scumbag can point out something.

37.
The whole first floor is empty.

38.
A ghost can’t sing.

39.
The pillow smells like fish.

40.
From the beard begins the shiver.

41.
The duck walks up and looks.

42.
Time passes.

43.
Something happens that is to hard to understand.

44.
A stream makes us happy.

45.
Bad weather doesn’t increase hopes.

46.
I’m trying to forget.

47.
Time passes.

48.
Attention!

49.
Time passes.

50.
Attention!

51.
There he is! There, see him?

52.
Now look at him carefully. Have you looked? Good...

53.
Do you hear how he breathes? Hear it? He’s agitated.

54.
Now listen to what he’s saying? Do you understand? Good...

55.
Hey, where is he?

56.
Ah-hah! There he is! He was running.

57.
He stopped.

58.
He’s looking around in all directions.

59.
Began to run again.

60.
Turned the corner.

61.
Returned.

62.
There. He stopped.

63.
He’s thinking, thinking.

64.
Oh — he’s running back. Well, go.

65.
Time passes.

66.
What has no aspirations to anything?

67.
Water has no aspirations to anything.

68.
What doesn’t strive upward?

69.
Water doesn’t strive upward.

70.
What is subject to reconsideration?

71.
Literally everything.

72.
Absolutely everything?

73.
Almost everything.

74.
What is being done?

75.
The mechanism is spontaneously exploring emerging and self-destructing communications.

76.
What is there?

77.
There the so-called “living zones of language” show signs of decay, while what had been sung to death long ago sprouted with sudden sticky leaves.

78.
At certain times, what will we hear?

79.
At times we’ll hear: “hey, come ’ere!”

80.
What are we thinking?

81.
We’re thinking: “Stop. Is it possible they’re calling us where there’s freedom and peace?”

82.
What’s indivisible?

83.
Our portion is indivisible.

84.
What is heavy?

85.
Our burden is heavy.

86.
What do you get when you put them together?

87.
Together it goes: “Our portion is indivisible. Our burden is heavy.”

88.
What else?

89.
The one who dreams will be angelic beauty.

90.
What else?

91.
On the empty page lies a droplet of dew.

92.
And then?

93.
And then somewhat unexpectedly, it grew quiet, subsided, even the crying stopped. But no one made up their mind to look for him. And toward late night, he disappeared somewhere. We searched for him, but couldn’t find him.

94.
And then?

95.
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96.
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97.
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98.
What? Is that it?

99.
Why is that it?

100.
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101.
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Lev Rubinstein graduated from the Moscow State Pedagogy Institute, and remained at the institute as a librarian. In the 1970s and 80s Rubinstein was an integral part of the Conceptualism movement, which helped reinvent the way Russian poets look at language. Much of his poetry uses the library index card as its main form. In the 1990s the Conceptualists were probably the most vibrant poetic movement left over from the Soviet Union, and many of the young poets in this anthology can be seen as the successors of Conceptualism. Today, Rubinstein works as a columnist for various papers and magazines. He is the recipient of the Andrei Bely Prize (1999). He has many books, including two bilingual editions: Here I am: Performance Poem (Northwestern University Press) and Catalogue of Comedic Novelties (Ugly Duckling Presse).

 
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