Transitions №4

Author: Dinara Rasuleva



look at yourself in the mirror
he said
just die already
you’re ugly
you suck
you should die
with skinny legs like this you aren’t worth a buck
with a belly
and a double chin like this
just die
you’re not someone that would be missed
you cannot cook
your belly is too ugly to look
at or for you to wear crop-tops
you’re a flop
your skin is sagging
you’re old and you are lagging
behind – not twenty or twenty-five
but twenty-six
you’ve missed
you chance (by twenty years):
chopin wrote his first polonaise at six
dostoyevsky debuted at 24
dumas at 23
sagan did her girly thing at nineteen
and vitukhnovskaya wrote better poetry at thirteen
than you at thirty-one
you’re sweaty and wrinkled
did you look at yourself in the mirror
you’re fat and old
pasternak wrote
doctor zhivago at twenty-four
mozart wrote his first harpsichord concerto at FOUR
burgess created a clockwork orange
in a couple of weeks while dying of brain cancer
why do you have so many
bones they are prickly
tell me quicklywhy do you have so little
you’re taking up my air
you’re short of brain
you could’ve been taller
your waist could’ve been smaller
just die
there are wrinkles around your eyes
that reflect fear and pain
and lies
blackheads on your nose dumb head on your shoulders
face covered in acne
and trembling knees
you’re such a pain
let me remind you that chopin
wrote his first polonaise at six.
you won’t be missed.
(Translated by Alexandra Golikova)


All we wanted was health

all we wanted was health
to leave our mothers’ wombs healthy and
our life
without dying at a crosswalk
in an airplane seat
in a bus seat
without being murdered by a drunk stranger
by a drunk non-stranger
by a drunk husband
by a sober husband
without terminal illnesses
without irradiation and loss of hair
without dying slowly
without dying suddenly
we wanted to live
because we were released to be living
to be healthy
we didn’t want hunger
we didn’t want to die of infections
of poor sanitation
of thirst for lack of drinking water
didn’t want to die of hunger
didn’t want to die of infection after genital mutilation
or be murdered for honor by
our own brother
our own father
our own loved one
triggers of honor killings:
refusal of an arranged marriage
seeking a divorce
allegations and rumors about a family member
victims of rape
all we wanted was health
and fairness
to live
our life
without dying of blood loss
of torture underground by the FSB
without dying in war
without dying at home dangling from a noose
or in prison dangling from a noose
or handcuffed to a radiator
or in a hospital bed
or surrounded by our family
without dying
before our children do
before our parents do
we wanted to live because we were conceived and born
to live
to be healthy
to say words
to write words
to fall in love
to fall out of love
to have someone fall out of love with us
to realize there is no love
to summarize how there is no love
we’re afraid to die
we’re afraid to live
in order to love
to fall out of love
to realize
to summarize
to hear
to observe
to protect and not to serve
to have and to hold
to have an eye and to behold
to breath
and to see
to sleep furiously

methods of killing include:
throat slashing
lethal acid attacks
(Translated by Alexandra Golikova)


Poem white woman’s feet

I’m standing on coals
On the charred feet
On the charred corners of your feet
On the charred stumps of toes
On street corners
And I don’t know where to turn
As if I’m twelve again
And there is no internet
No phone,
Jesus (ufalla), it’s so hot as if it was already summer
Heat penetrates into sneakers through the asphalt, into me through the fear of getting fat — gorge,
And I’m standing as if not in sneakers, but on coals,
I’ve been walking on coals since then
I have in me 170 centimeters, 45 kilograms of weight,
Topographic cretinism (that is, agnos’ia), lack of GPS,
I have a friend, we live somewhere in the middle of Russia,
Not far from Moscow — eight hundred kilometers and a night by train
On the upper side bed of the compartment,
It is not so easy to find our city on the map inside doughy Russia.
But if you find the mouth of the Volga, then it is there in the middle,
And from the upper side bed of the compartment, the onion breathing hangs down something sour, heaviness of a sweaty body
I saw your shameless leg in the cut of the jeans, I saw you wanted it
Yourself, a female. You are an animal, not a woman.
Bring your dirty body here.
The train is swinging its rhythm chug chug chug chug while you just can’t stand it.
You have half a briquette of ice cream hidden behind the minced meat at home in the freezer,
Walrus stickers in the drawer
An unfinished letter for Masha, a shard of glass of a beautiful blue color,
Lack of understanding of life, GPS, internet.
But half a briquette.
Think about it
Think about it
Think about it
You stand on coals in the street
And you are already over thirty, but as if twelve,
And the coals are the same. Only the streets are not so lively
Not so bright
No surprises in the freezer, no gifts for yourself in the drawer,
Boring necessary unimportant things
And charred but white
Legs of a white woman.
When I was four
I denied my girlishness
Mom was not worried, you never know what kind of games,
You never know, mom, what games are in the head of the boy Vadya.

And where did she get this name if she didn’t go to kindergarten,
and spoke only Tatar until the age of six?
Knew the names of all ten cousins:
Rashid abyi, Renat abyi, Radif abyi, Roshad abyi, Rishad abyi, Rifad abyi,
Radaf abyi, Reshaf abyi, Rifash abyi, Isfandariat.
But I am a boy Vadik, I did not fit into this ancestral line,
Relatives half-listened, laughing in Tatar, embarrassed, moved.
Their polite eyes touched awkwardly
My six-year-old white feet speckled with red
From nettles and mosquito bites,
Shamelessly ugly sticking out of pajama pants
In Tatar, they were embarrassedly touched.
It’s strange that all my uncles were men
All my brothers were men
My father and grandfather were men
And they laughed at me.
I stand on the coals, on the charred feet
At the corner of the corners
Lost in the meanings of the poems, books I read,
and I rip out the past,
tearing out my native language
uprooting my roots with pain
female domestic role,
tatar kyzy bakes the ochpochmak triangles 
with the last bit of strength
to keep it, to wear it at least sometimes,
At least in the bottom drawer of at least a desk,
Kyzym kyzym you were a normal akylly kyz,
Let it be menstruating Ellat, but our own, and not this dirty Ishtar, allasaklasyn,
she, you know, is not ours, not ours. Not this Freya, astagafirullah, not Kali.
And in Tatar, they timidly scolded, as expected, so that her eyes would not see
Red after a night on a lower side bed of the compartment
On the way to Kazan.
Everything will be forgotten, kyzym, but the coals
the coals will stay with you.
(translated by Vika Kravtsova)



Naberezhnye Chelny became the first city where people began to eat people.
Kazan, St. Petersburg and other capitals joined only a couple of years later,
When cannibalism started gaining popularity all over the country.

It all started with small eateries and individual items on the menu, along with the poultry, fish and beef:
Later, specialty restaurants began to open, featuring exclusively human meat.

In the restaurant «Ogre/ogress», each meal was accompanied by a brief biography and
inks to facebook, instagram, and other social media of the eaten specimen.
Right from the menu bar you could scroll through photos and posts, choosing a person that corresponds to your political and environmental views.

Vegans were in higher value, since they did not have possible impurities.
Less popular were the athletes because they were quite sinewy and chewy.
The below age ten stood as a separate item with prices almost twice as high.

Later, cafes and restaurants of narrow specialization began to open:
«Wine and the Liberal», «Veganmuncher», «The Virgin grill», «National Socialism for dinner», «Slavs for a buck,» «Punk is dead — and served fresh.»

Studies have shown that most of the time visitors chose dishes from humans who looked most like themselves, but there were also those who preferred to gorge on their old school teachers or ex-partners.

New types of restaurants opened, where visitors could choose a live dish and even talk with them prior to consumption.
In Perm, the first institution opened, where you could first have a dinner with a person, and then have them for dinner.

Soon cannibalism was recognized illegal, so there sprouted underground live restaurants and human food trafficking. According to the Global Slavery Index, where Russia was seventh in the world by total number of human slaves in 2016, it reached the first position by 2026.

Gradually there upraised movements against cannibalism, a society protecting the rights of those being eaten and strict animal-eaters, conducting a yearly «Hunger Parade», proclaiming “not being eaten” a human right.
There were also their opponents, the leaders of the movement «Pure Meat» held a two-month action of abstinence from any meat other than human.

This gave rise to a terrible androfagobia, society divided into
1) those who argued that everyone has the right to choose to be eaten;
2) those who asserted that androphagy (as by then the term “cannibalism” was deemed as a rhetoric of hatred) leads to misanthropy, as they also equates it to genocide.

Androphagophobes also divided into
1) those who advocated the legalization of consommation of living humans, being confident that this will reduce food traffic.
2) those who were sure that legalization would entail even more slavery, and a complete ban on any androphagy was necessary.

But there was also the upside: people became somehow kinder and more open, and almost stopped eating other animals altogether.
(translated by Masha Terentieva)


About time to smile at homeless people

bike gears snatching a pantleg into their grip,
i don’t fall because i’m audacious like america,
because i’m as agile as youtube aerobics,
it’s just a shame about the pants, just a shame the pants ripped.

they offered me twice the work with no raise, and i took it
because i’m like russia — despairing, submissive,
because i’m as devil-may-care as great britain
and my tatar veins flow with suffering and pain,

every morning, i leak out and freeze, everything hurts,
even a suffering medieval serf would be shocked,
but I have to wake and walk and live life, ghostly as slovenia,
even food wouldn’t ease this anemia.

yesterday, i went out to eat, and the people on the street asked me something inaudible,
i don’t smile at them because i’m rapacious like russia,
and you’d think after so long we’d all understand,
but i know some people who still love the motherland.

and i love her too, i had the volga there,
my cat’s scattered ashes, and they say there’s no better tvorog anywhere.
home is where the tvorog is, they say
but i don’t eat tvorog, so i’m down to stay away.
(translated by Hilah Kohen)