Tuesday, June 20, 2006

this is one of the golden knobs placed by the soviets on the pawnbroker's staircase to impress foreigners.

one old woman forgives another...

this is raskolnikov's apartment, presented sideways for dramatic effect.

at the moment i am at a friend's apartment.
it is old with high ceilings and loud pipes.
i was chosen to be one of the three primary critics at the workshop tomorrow
but i have no idea what i am going to say.
i have met ugly duckling presse people
seem to be interested in my project
today i went to a lecture on the обэриу
matvei yankelevich has translated lots of oberiu's, work primarily kharms and vvedensky

walked around the raskolnikov tour today
took some pictures of seedy urine stained stairways
the stairways
where people pretend the murder happennd or where raskolnikov lived
i thought of you when i was walking around with a bunch of americans in the city of crime and punishment (insert comment)
just then we passed a black bmw that was playing some pop song about the zone...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

ну как их читать читать...

Below is a poem I wrote in tribute of a conversation I had with several Russian poets yesterday in which I posed the following question: "Byron was English?"

and as i walked back from the metro
at 2 am in the morning
i thought of the gas stove
at home i complained
to my cousin
that byron did not serve me well
at the sushi restaurant

forgive me
she said
but byron serves italian

Friday, June 16, 2006


In the coming weeks I will begin posting sample translations of contemporary young Russian poetry, as well as interviews with some of the poets. In the meantime here is a W.S. Merwin broadside about whales.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Like mountains - on this brow
Laurels of praise.
"I can't sing!"
- "You will!" - "Sound
(Put me on a diet
of flour!)
Like milk -
Is gone from my breast.
Empty. Dry.
In full-blown spring?
I feel like a twig."
- "That's an old song!
Drop it, don't blabber!"
"From now on I'd better -
Pound gravel!"
- "All the more reason to sing!"
"Am I a bullfinch,
To sing
Day in and day out?"
- "Even if you can't,
My bird, sing!
Out of spite!"
"What if I can't
put two lines together?"
-"When could - anyone?!" -
"It's torture!" - "Bear it!"
"A mown meadow -
My throat!" "Then wheeze:
That's a sound, too!"
"It's lions' business
Not women's." - "Children's:
Though disembowelled -
Orpheus still sang!"
"So, even in the grave?"
- "Under a headstone, too."
"I can't sing!"
- "Sing about that!"
Medon, 4 June 1928

The above is a poem by Marina Tsvetaeva. She spent some time in the Tarusa, from which I just returned . Tarusa is a village, on the Oka river, about 2 hours south of Moscow. My grandfather's dacha is located in Tarusa, and this is also the place where his parents are buried.

This is my greatgrandfather's tombstone. He was a veterinarian, and I believe he died after catching something from a sheep. (Don't let your imaginations wander too far.) Here he is peacefully enough positioned.

Yellow meadow
summer air
by the river
ladies bare


Back at the cemetery investigating a pile of broken flowers.
Checkout these animal collective tracks.http://blownbythewind.blogspot.com/2006/05/i-just-called-to-say-i-lik_114868413263778032.html

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Birth of a Nation

Only four of the six pictures uploaded.

* * *

it rained hard like it does in the movies
and a boy yelled outside my window about a blue piece of paper
I fell back asleep
someone came into my room and said good-morning
I thought it might be my wife, but I do not have a wife
I turned and dreamt a bit more this time about an ancient city
that had saved itself from extinction
by adopting a set of turtles as its energy policy

I thought it was clever
the parade of giant floating sea turtles passed through the city

green photographs
a closet with some ties

Monday, June 05, 2006


The Strugatsky brothers describe a highly gaurded zone, which was once visited by an alien spacecraft. There are places in the zone that grant wishes. So here I am looking for the right place. Thus far I have only managed to visit the parimeter, but I feel I getting closer.