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Andrei Sen-Senkov

Tr. Matvei Yankelevich

Northern Features of the Text

the snow breaks a white hammer
against the window
which was appointed to be
the square head of a nail

you know
not a single carpenter
will write
about it that way — of the two,
             only the one that was more transparent went unscathed

Pink Immortality

my older friend five-year-old Pavlik
taught me to stomp on worms in the rain
for not having faces

though sometimes it seemed that they had them  —
baby faces

these were rare and they were released

they were real lucky
i think they’re still living
those pink almost-people

Vivaldi at the Dead Racecourse

at the beginning the times of year seem no different

and then comes winter
to warm up
you get into the ripped-open belly of a dead horse

between the loops of the intestines
a sticky non-lollipop summer sets in

Biological Suburban Moscow Striptease

the young snake gets ready to shed its skin for the first time shameful degrading difficult to understand for what they say sometimes its necessary its so nice all watch mouth full of saliva of poison now she’s about to jerk the snap open no can’t make herself do it her clothes will be ripped off by force she’ll shrink even skinnier and crawl away into her little burrow she won’t die there give birth to something disgusting the kind that in these cases are born to those like us

A Match From the Girl Factory
(A Poor Imitation of a Film by Kaurismäki)

she wants to burn up for good so that her hair would stop being gross white not at all finnish so that as the russian write in their books “the eyelashes fell and were subtly warmed by moist spoons in tasty boiled eyes” so that artificial breathing would be performed on her in vain by a good-looking doctor everything will end differently in the body of the match the poisoned fibers will be dislocated by the damp wooden rain

Future Weddings, This is You

narrow silver ring
resembles a pencil-gray circle
around an ad in the personals
where someone’s fingers are
always squeamishly searching
in another the white
muscles of a bride

An Illegal Death in the Lilliputian Theatre

the old stagehand
the only one in the troupe of regular height
dies amongst the scenery after the curtain falls

snow white and the seven dwarves
cry as if
they’re afraid to ask the question
"in our little hell will this big man feel as much pain for as long?"

Motherhood Sans Dreams

the bird-woman
the one that lives
in the house of hanging clocks
broke, wheezes without end
i want children, i want chicks, i won’t give them up, i’m good, i’m
an unreal coo-coo

Rodchenko. Smell of Sulphur

a man jumps off the horizontal bars
his hands are bent

already turning away from the photograph
you realize
no, they’re not bent
they’re cut off at the elbow
by the human scissors of the inwardly-perspiring komsomol*

the fire ladder lifts to the sky

into autumn
into the gray belly
where one can feel the fruit with your hands
it doesn’t want to come here a second time

road work

They say “Eat dirt! Eat dirt!” to the excavator, the fat non-living little girl. Fat ones aren’t liked, they are laughed at cruelly. She buries herself even deeper to slim down, into the underground aerobics of sullied lard.

Lilya Brik screaming something

venereal magnificence
acquires the right to ceaseless movement in spurts

the dilated pupils of a pioneer girl

she dreams of growing up
and becoming a zoo technician
she doesn’t know that there she’ll see an amphibian
beginning its transformation back into a fish
into a red scaly sweet necktie
that was tied for her in the night
by the handsome group leader Seryozha Rybakov*

… .
the kremlin. first-of-may parade.

the red tibetan ceremony
of exorcising evil spirits
from the disposable mausoleum

the annual moscow seizure
of monotheism losing consciousness

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.

Andrei Sen-Senkov

Andrei Sen-Senkov

Andrei Sen-Senkov is a Tajikistan born poet living in Moscow where he works primarily as a doctor. He holds a degree in medicine from Yaroslavl State Medical Academy. Sen-Senkov is the author of six books of poetry and prose, including Dancing with a Taller Woman, and The Small Hole Resistance. In 1998 he won the Turgenev Festival Prize for short prose. His poetry has been short-listed for the Andrey Bely Prize and Moskovsky Schet Prize. He has published in many journals including Jacket, and was anthologized in Crossing Centuries (Talisman House 2000).

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