Transitions №5

Author: Gena Gruz

Translated by Anton Yakovlev



                                                To JB

I stood on a corner and stared at a billboard
The way the Miserly Knight stares into his chest.
I stared at the sky. And the sky was higher than the Almighty.
The weight of kisses on Margarita’s wrist.
The time of Satan. The time of the wedding night.
The time of callous blackness.



Out where the cattails sleep
Where the cuckoo sings
Throwing her speckled egg
Into the woven nest
What I said
Was exactly what I wished for
A lullaby languishes
The clock cuckoo warbles on the wall



Flooding everything with thicker and thicker red
Death mixed with aimless life is as ludicrous
As a pompous funeral ceremony
A freewheeling song of distant likenesses
Somewhere the pines are talking to each other
The mass goes on
The wood crackles in the furnace
Old women in coarse fur coats
And red-nosed men are waiting for vodka and ham
To commemorate the departed illustrious weed



I hear them talk about me
as though they’re sorting grain on a tablecloth
roosters crow on a fence
local dudes play dominoes
old women on the porch nibble on sunflower seeds
a pioneer in ripped pantyhose
let the blacksmith fuck her the other day
the yard smells like herring
dogs have had it with fighting
forgetting to drive strangers from the yard
they chase their own tails



The butcher sold the cattle brains. In bulk.
“Reduce the slaughter of calves in society.”
The working man, accustomed to idleness,
freshened up his face, nostrils inside out.
At the meatpacking plant
they quietly squeeze you for money. Meat grinder.
KFC student-discounted wings resold at premium price.
Blue soviet wings. Feathered friends.



a vegetarian academic
jerks off his sperm into a test tube
advances science by seed-mile steps
trades his food stamps for meat
the tsar of science shits his salary away
a razorblade in the morning before his wife
during the day the scientist
dabbling in laboratory projects
shakes off live specimens onto the floor
a tribe of future fiery regiments
.  .  .  .  .