Saturday, October 1, 2011

Alexander Vvedensky


Alexander Vvedensky
translated from the Russian by Alex Cigale


to understand it once and for all
one must live life as in reverse
and to take walks in the forest
while tearing out your hair whole

and when you get to know the fire
of the light bulb or of the oven
say to it why are you shining
you the fire are candle’s master

what’s your meaning is it nothing
where’s the kettle where the cabinet
the demons whirl around like flies
circling above a piece of pie

and these spirits flash their eyes
hands and legs and horns and smiles

around the trees juicy beasts howl
the light bulbs twisting in their sleep
the silent children blow their horns
old women cry atop the evergreens

and the universal deity
stands in the celestial cemetery
and the ideal horse saunters
until finally the forest enters

and so we stare terrified by it
thinking that it is a mist only
the forest roars its hands raised
worries mostly about boredom

it whispers weakly i’m a phantom
perhaps I’ll exist later sometime

all around stand peaks and meadows
bearing phobias on a platter
people animals mountain women
dance and celebrate the feast day

the music is ringing out brightly
and the tribal folk are playing
shepherds and shepherdesses barking
on the tables the shuttles spinning

and in the shuttles now and then
visible are the wreaths of minutes

here there is a general mirth
this I told you from the start
it is the precipice's birth
or the marriage of these cliffs

it is we who have seen the feast
we will sit down on the piping bench
by the pathway spinning like the earth
hands thundering with tambourines

there will be sky and will be battle
or we will become ourselves

the cups are tramping on mustaches
flowers are sprouting on the clocks
and our thoughts are taking flight
among the plants grown entwined

our thoughts and our rowboats
our sacred gods and our aunties
our souls and our solid earth
our cups and in the cups death

yet however we still insisted
there is no meaning in such rain
salt of the earth we ask for a sign
the sign plays upon the waters

the wise old hills are tossing
all those feasting into rivers
in the rivers shot glasses blooming
in rivers is the birthplace of night

our thoughts like those of corpses
we have shown the sky the grain
sea and time and dream are one
so we say dropping to the bottom

having grabbed with us the instruments
our souls our feet and healing powders
and having set up the monuments
shedding light on the chamber pots

we're on the floor of the deep sea
we are the town hall of the drowned
arguing with the number fifteen
we will race and we will burn up

but however the years were passing
passing were the fog and nonsense
who had fallen to the sea's bottom
like a board from the ship's timbers
became sad and full of longing
knocking together wisdom teeth
sit on top of the colorless seaweed
hang to dry out laundered muscles

we are blinking like the moonlight
when the waves tremble aglimmer
who was it that said the sea's bottom
and my foot are one and the same

generally all here are dissatisfied
in silence they walk out of the waters
while behind them hum the waves
putting their shoulders to the wheel

the ships were galloping up and down
the horses racing in the fields
there was firing and there was keening
sleep and death are in the clouds

all the drowned have left the water
and are trudging toward the sunset
saddling up the yolk and harness
who was poor and who was wealthy

as I said I saw this right off
anyway the end is nearing
they are bringing us a large vase
a flower and a little sleigh bell

it's a vase and it is graceful
it's the candle and it's the snow
it is salt and it's the mousetrap
for rejoicing and for basking

greetings to god the universal
here I stand a little sleazy
free-will memory and oar
carried off glory be to the sky



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