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Daria Sukhovei

Tr. Peter Golub



silent are acacia bushes
to themselves radio stations sing
all the spiderworts are blooming


and about those spiderworts
people say they are quite noxious
enervate you by the truckload

and I don’t have that kind of energy
not even a glass of it
not a glass of something for a bit of it
I’ve got about a tea spoon which lasts an hour
when a day’s worth is required

and if you mix over an hour
in the general complexity
mix beat lick
amortization will considerably exceed
the general scheme


bah there’s really not a spiderwort left
not one
they desiccated when I was in school

though in reality it’s not like that

they desiccated when I went to school
through the places under snow

unfinished undeveloped houses



h?llow spaces



and the fields are left only on this small page

because the world of real things and objects

was thought up by us

way back before the invention of paper

let alone the computer
with the virtual page of the screen

now something
appears in the center

things are easier than before

move the text to the left field like this
move it to right like that

but the right way
I don’t know

Phrase about the Lamplighter

When the wind picks up and things begin to move apart
The lamp is lit by the meticulous unnamed
The grey lamplighter, though grey,
With a full beard

Lamp light, the quiet canal
Reflects his beard, grief
Kathrine’s canal, it seems to me, the sky
Reflects in him, the house as well

Stars in the sky, and in the windows kerosene
He passes in the street alone
Regardless of the weather in the yard
Or moon, in which the silver stays —

Work — in light, means in September
He leaves his furlough close to dawn
Evening; come morning there he is again  
Extinguishing the flame; it doesn’t wait — the dawn

The cool compote stands on the kitchen table
His closet, in which he and his wife
Warmly sat all night, the gas light as before
Looked in the window through the night

Apples trochal like the face
The face of the lamplighter like the lamps’ face
The canal’s curve like the moon’s face
And also like his wife’s

Who on the embankment of this canal
Tossed apples in the compote through the night

Naive Poems as the Result of this Year’s April

The street cleaner has “Enjoy Coca-Cola”
Written on his back
Before the spring has come with its black Sundays
With dandruff in the hair and nails

Someone called me during the paschal night
I assumed because they were drunk
To hear while drinking
anisette with tea that they have captured ntv[1]

Then the summer came
The cat named Vasya sang a crooked song
His face like that of a Leningrad alcoholic
The back of the street cleaner steams with sweat

Dust, all city dust the same
In future capitals, in past and present ones
You have the whole paradigm in the paschal night

Drains into mayday
Anashevich with the last name Yakovlev is in the city of the tender thief
Shoo out the dope fiends open up the doors

This move is borrowed from meretricious poetry
Though in essence all poetry is rather meretricious  
Especially the use of form
A singular fate in poetry  

She is not Stern  


we covered the construction with a square piece of plastic
a continuous clear piece

no books are seen no dresses
no goods and chattels no odds and ends
sorrowful tr-
ash square windows and shoulders


I feed my daughter with milk
from the mother living downtown
with crust round
her nose
from the spring dust

we did not like it


each day sustaining myself
with leningrad ice-cream
from petro-ice
trying to draw spring in
but I was wrong

it required a less primitive optics
something from a camera shop
that could zoom in and out

as a last resort maybe I could use an observer
pilot spinning something in the window
h a l f s e e n


sun appears for the first hour
tractor driving strait at us
and a gapping jaw unrolls
heading straight for the tomorrow
at the May-Day workers’ rally
crusading along with the armored car

the black street sweeper is sweeping
a narrow courtyard, dog barks
the sky looks into the well shaped courtyard
the large house looks into the river
the entrance smells of hemp
and passes by  

when the dog begins to bark
and the black airplane is rising
with a grey wind in its sleeve
wind remembers the wind knows
hugs the shoulders
teaches drowsiness the eyes

the black airplane is flying
waving a black cloud
wind and dust are blowing blowing
right into the flame it blows
in the agitated hollow
so that when it falls

apart they will build us a fine statue
near the road along the river
place a bottle next to it
near the road along the river
with the statue in place
near the road along the river

papers scattered
plastic bags
dog shit
and all sorts of round debris
tires from the nearest station

best beer
miscellaneous remains
rusty      large     arcane      thing
a sick cat lying and dying

the mythologist will be transferred
into phones and speaker
who is more a pillow for me
he then is less than a mattress
I will cover you my dear

with a crystalline dark air
phantasmagoric and surreal


[1] When Vladimir Putin came to power the television station NTV became one of his first targets for censorship, and in 2001 the television station was closed down by force.

Daria Sukhovei

Daria Sukhovei

Darya Sukhovei (b. 1977, St. Petersburg) studied contemporary poetry at St. Petersburg University. She is an active critic and poet, and a regular contributor to the New Literary Observer and Vozdukh. She has published three books of poems, including A Catalogue of Incidental Entries (2001).

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