Transitions №7

Author: Gala Pushkarenko

Translated by Dmitry Manin


                                                          To Bernard Requichot
                                                          and Roland Barthes


A hollow scale a cut a line a curve a sign
A brushstroke a layer
The path of subtraction/the path of overlay

Behind a painting
there’s a wall of time
(i.e. you often encounter it, but don’t love it)
(i.e. you pass by, sense it, but can’t move it)
Behind a movie
there’s distancing in parallel
(i.e. a mirror, but the hate is calm and clear)
(there’s tension, plenty of it, but it’s too iron-clad and

(Behind writing)
(who finds it may get sick or throw up)

Two ways to overcome space
Stopped space – a place, house, city, even country
Moving space – speech over body : -ness without a stem only a trace

You flew in for a day and we lie naked
The disarmed space barely breathes
Having stopped the house, a very quick tongue : a wall of time without a house,
or even without a country moves rises enormous
Having stopped the body, speech: the entry point of each drop
As if only a name remained of a place
Separate, powerless, meaningless
<Paul Celan. Poems. Prose. Letters>
<Arkady Dragomoschenko. Tautology>

For the first time, the I wants neither object nor language
What will happen if the inmate survives
has stepped over
Holds in his hands a passport, a face, a book, wind, breadcrumbs, but
doesn’t hold onto them
Slaps fingerprints everywhere

Electric icon

Need to keep something from plunging somewhere

To kill the sensualism of the depicted object
you need to get rid of poetry as such
You can’t eat and also vomit out
<The Thing> by Joseph Kosuth

A poet’s hand is amputated
Devoid of all morphological attributes
a metaphor is displaced
And the body is situated entirely within itself
, denoting only the thing without a pause

Internality (not intimacy) is the cause of motion

And poetry as a discarded, yet blazing object
By perverting we’ll transcend the boundary of its function

That which rejected functionality
trying to reproduce another thing
that is present in the thing

In a readymade, the object is real
In conceptual art it is eccentric
Named so precisely that it doesn’t require reality

Why am I nothing
Why am I war-nothing

Day is or is not
Speech is or is not
Time is, but the future

And this is what’s peculiar (a feeling): we are all in the future now
It is common (vision and language): contagious, but in solitude
And it’s being cut

A grid of forms

We have split apart

One says I’m a rock a repeat running but I’m a touch which means
I’m in fact alive
And I touch him who stands by the window or has left
I love him but don’t want

The second water says I don’t exist
Even if I do I don’t
I feel your breath and speech around my body
I long to say but I hate my right to
I’ll be watching as you create a new language
I’ll be a very partial critique of language

Speak up, penultimate piece

No internal organs, no muscles, only vibrations
of pain and pleasure
Your ultimate avant-garde

When you fall
my words will have been here
(you’ll be old and I’ll be young)
The operator and the reader can’t insert themselves into a conceptual composition
: just as language users can’t insert themselves into a dictionary
Suddenly all critique comes crashing down
because it can’t thematize anything any longer
, or poetize, or expound

Welcome to the society without artists
To the society of humiliated poets

Why does each note, in order to make a fugue,
have to connect to the next one
Sound layers overlap
Music is endowed with space
, which listens intently to itself

A fish is a key
A landscape is a wall
Does art have a limit

Initially we were one – in the absence and via the absence;
we imagined that we had content without form
, without losing my nullity,
, in the infinite absence of desire,
I took shelter in my own heart to hate the heart

I.e. an absolute quotation changes the context
Changes itself; gets changed
And so on in a circle…

I’ve learned the weakness of instants, the power of the lasting
I know times beyond centuries
, I know centuries beyond the lasting and the instant, more powerful than millenia
I know inner heavens and islands in the soul
I knew everything there was to know
I’d seen everything there was to see
I was Penelope, for I did night and day what she had done only in the night…

I was everything but myself
I was with everyone but

I adored the flow of water, the flow of days
, the night of times…
But a thing can be adored only once

Theater relies on <quotation> more than anything else
Every new production of <Hamlet> that closes vision
can see itself and can’t see that the transfer loves itself

With her finger at her lips, she resembled a deep thinker
But did she think

In the beginning I let myself be, for I didn’t know what it meant to be
Imagine that you have no words to describe
what it means to wake up naked on the morning grass
Imagine that Ukraine enveloped in fire looks at you
, nor does it know how to tell about

But what has become of art and what for, if
we can’t comprehend the meaning of words anymore
At the end of life it’s a rusty knife, long since sharpened last time, and a window
They reflect off each other

The image thinks : am I needed here or not; what am I even doing here

On the hardwood floor a crack and a needle

A book. In him, a poem that was able to understand you
No, no, it didn’t crumble, but but but
It’s as if the author_ine were made to kneel on peas in the corner

A metaphor thinks : I can’t think anymore
I don’t want to be in the lead anymore
It looks out of place like something medieval

And I’m not any kind of a psycho
If I’m having a dream
In which I kick the government in the balls

What I want is not rhyme, but
What I want is repeating myself

There is nothing
There is nothing
Any word could be here no
Any word could be here no
I can sway in place
I can shimmer in place

Here’s the path along which we came home
It is white
I don’t understand : is the white ahead or behind
Andrey bely (the white) the apostle rublev,

how I’d beat the f@ck out of the trinity’s iconography

Holy man Oleg A. likes to say: there’s no death
Man Sergey S. likes to say : dope is evil
Beloved poet Elena F. speaks not, shouts not, whispers not —
she receives extreme unction: glory to (country name) !!!

Oleg, Sergey, Elena, I love you
I have a dream: we stand naked on the snow, back pressed to back
And shimmer

Critic says: inertia writes war-nothing
Author_ine : I can see your shore and yourself beyond it

They sit on the pier dangling their feet
They’re not bored — they’re eternal

Critic whispers: when they break down the door, will poetry
break the window, kiss you on the mouth or strike first so it doesn’t piss its pants?
Author_ine: when they break down Jerusalem, the state with a broken lip
created by god on 14.05.1948,
will read your texts and decide what you are

Nothing will change in our lives —
we’ll just learn which one of the three of us is the atheist

(in the process of) I noticed that the unfinished text is more precise

Critic whispers: when they break down the door, poetry
Will do what
Author_ine: when they break down Jerusalem, the state
Will do what

His attraction is stronger
He is ready and wants to be penetrated by a phallos
I.e., for the first time he’s something Else, distinct from himself:
for the first time, distance and unlove

I noticed that the unfinished text hates more

Critic says: inertia writes war-nothing
Aithor_ine: I can see your shore and yourself beyond it

What does what

A slack organically psychotically requires not victory, but
capitulation; war violates us less than nothing does
War-nothing is equiponderous to language-nothing
And we sit as if inside {the USSR, but worse, for we’ve been outside for a second and remembered the sky}

and we think, though we don’t know what that is
and we speak, though we don’t know what that is and how
and we grope for a word, though we don’t know why

The world discovered memory as a threat of war-nothing

That is, I lived in summer when flowers had no names
Then in the fall, when flowers were called tangential-beauty-nothing
Now I live in winter when it has no name again
That is, it is called tautology-war-nothing

(and she is the lover’s speech)

To sit down before a mirror
and look at war-nothing, rather than be war-nothing

And the sun hurtles through the universe
And the earth rotates around the sun
And the moon rotates around the earth
And we rotate within each other

To be a sexless being is to be written
It is to be whole
It is to write language-nothing

And though it has died, what does what
And though it is living, what does what

And though she’s died,
the rests in music have been placed incorrectly in all times
And though she lives, the music is wrong

And she blended death and sex
And masturbated in a public restroom by the crematorium
And took a taxi home
And snow was her home

And at home she ate soup from a white bowl
And read Mandelstam
And IT by Inger Christensen
And walked naked among them
And walked naked before her husband and children

After which she wrote her texts over Herta Müller’s texts
in the book <the pale gentlemen with their espresso cups>
After which she gazed at the tattoo
on the inside of her arm
<I’d rather lure rosemary to our place>

A postcard of erasure

What does it mean to be a poet_ine, if
you don’t know the meaning of your emptiness

Dreaming of:
having at any cost to write the anthem of war-nothing
And the only <way to manage it is via the access to almond petals>

(<silence for the flowers the shape of black>)

Why do we need nouns, if there is
That which opens in the morning and closes in the evening
That which appears beautiful
That which occurs after the white is gone
The conversion of nouns into verbs
destroys the place
Constant motion makes the scale larger
Holds time in its mouth
They don’t language-nothing I do breaking-the-writer’s-hand, but
I hold time in my mouth
and enter you like that which closes in the evening

A postcard of erasure

To recall your call from Kyiv yesterday :
why don’t Russian languages want to live, but rather want
the world to be so burdened with poetry that

Do I have time to observe to grasp onto the
actions of my thought,
onto my thinking thought,
onto the thinking-over of the thinking thought?

Poetry is the monitoring of noise reduction
Music demands answers

A postcard of erasure

Why does eternity doze off in a corner, when
I envelope all history in a holistic outlook, while history
watches as war-nothing is conjoined with the bodies of all those who exist;
hears the realization dawning on language-nothing: it’s not me conjoining words, but
words conjoining within me

A postcard of erasure

It’s not about how to ravage the city and kill the mayor
(I’ve seen it)
, but how we all walked home after that

… and when the raped boy passed out
, we weren’t resurrected – we arrived

A postcard of erasure

Nothing’s left but hair on my head
It flew in the air
It lived
Like utter silence
I re-tuned the piano, now it’s perfect,
just like all others

While residing more in today’s love than in the external one,
I’m looking for: the stasis of art: the stasis of poetry:
a building unevenly cracked open and equal
, to the holy virgin’s grass and cobwebs embracing it

<a willow’s curve is leaning over my absence>

A postcard of erasure

Things throw themselves out of themselves
Between a thing and the assignment of names a battle forms, a struggle
Blood lives in this pocket, God and unlove
That is, we are hair’s breadth away from the devaluation of everything
, of all poetry

In the end, not a single word can escape violence
I salute you, key point inside
whose origin is in another time

Acquiesce – that’s the word that was looking for me, but
I don’t want it (but
work work work this chord; this scale)

Play <eternity does not exist>

A postcard of erasure

And an irreparable violation happens,
of which it’s not possible to speak anymore without lying
I salute you, inarticulate philosophy
I salute you, poetry’s irony’s pathos
I salute you, feelings that will never become meanings
(whether my thought exists)

How many other words are we being shown while only one is being uttered
How many words do you feel while uttering one

A postcard of erasure

The white is a figurative form of space
(not an outlook into space, but the spectacle of the space itself)

Content is that in which form moves
Content is immutable, but not dead
(that is, during a war, war-nothing is equal to us)
(in order to withstand: the content should move within us like a tightrope walker)

Life burns between con-tent and form
That is, it exists only when you’re not watching

A postcard of erasure

The 40th day after death weighs as much as snow in April
On the 39th day they blow up its tower of Babel
(to part with oneself)
In this crack of an impenetrable non-forgiveness: a farewell

Sleep, poet

No, I don’t know how to

You do (everybody does)
What’s your favorite color


Lie down into the blue: be the blue color

(just remember : just remember)


St. Petersburg in twilight is weightless
Equal to the Russian language
(and none of this hurts, as if you were marked up for transplantation surgery)
(not yet touched, but taken account of)
Water sees no point in living, but lives
Postmodern enumeration can see the point, but does not live
My reflection in water is cut up into nothing (it is midnight blue)
and May 9th

Time sees place as a page torn out as material for found poetry

A reverse image (I don’t so much understand as feel)
doesn’t expand space, doesn’t press out, doesn’t breath, but
squeezes out of itself language-nothing —
the messenger is standing, flowing already neck-deep in this earth, as in water —
drinks it, eats it —

                        and non-death repeats as
                              a children’s drawing 
                              <snow in late April>
                              (crude, imprecise)

a broken image (a cento; quick-and-dirty stitching)
an ruslanguage’s attempt to escape from under History as if from time
: to stand on the bridge watching river ice breaking up, feeling the power and the powerlessness.
, remembering Mirabeau and Seine with lateral vision

                          <at the instant when fact and word are superimposed
                          an exhaustive definition of an object is completed,
                          which, however, must not be straightforward, but
                          is forced to incorporate irony, “wittiness”,
                          lateral paradoxical associations>

Some fainthearted thingy does what
: extends and extends
We are so subtly absent than
an absolute freedom melds with repetitions
of pauses, break-ups, caesurae

to end a Poem not even silence is necessary

A postcard of erasure

Imagine that there’s no violence whatsoever in the world
Only art
Only words
Only text

And the tongue arriveth to Kyiv
Conjoining this text with Kyiv is an attempt (to see)
to erase the eraser
(transcendency as a record of absence)

That’s the life of rock gardens and provinces of a former empire:
territories of language breakup: of open speech:
when the world, continuous without gaps — a guest — and nondeath

repeats like a panic midday



Appendix 1. For Danila Davydov

A postcard of erasure

I can hear the cocoon shifting inside the butterfly
When asked what language war-nothing speaks
she give us this day responded:

In spring — there was manifestedness; documentary poetry
In summer — a sudden breakthrough into accentual-syllabic verse
(apparently, there was a hunger for connections)
In autumn — the barbarity of the irony of pathos
In winter — a self-negating concept

That is, the issue is in motion

For a moment, time stopped
In this moment we died
The next moment we revived
All four seasons took off almost simultaneously
<almost> breaking down

The stream of consciousness as absolute undressing
Courant de conscience i.e. auto(self)matic writing
Unsublated dichotomy (ellipsis)
Poetry woke up as Critique of language

Long live Vvedensky

She says it was an impossible question
She wrote a collection of 40 prefaces to
nonexistent made-up books of poetry
Too lazy to write the books themselves: they were implied

There’s so much time that the superposition of empty zero poetics
unravels into the realization: space is mar(s)ked up as
water and light inhaled and exhaled
(water and ice)

Appendix #2

Sometimes we exchange letters with our daughters

Dear mommy and daddy,
according the the ROSSTAT data, 14,838,893 people
were born in Russia from 1995 to 2005

(that’s 10% of the total or 20% of the employable population)

Your contemporaries,
almost very good russophones
persist in asking us (and you) NOT TO BE
We have no future, but we have present
We don’t like wasting words, but we want to know and act

(and we do what we can)

And by the night: we’ll be murdering, raping, erasing your language
Just as it does unto us

Putting on our banners Vassily Borodin, Sophia Kamill, Varvara Nedeoglo
Counterfeiting your language,
speaking the dialect you understand —

To think in paradoxes inside a trip means to cast the pain off
What’s that you said? Speak through the wind
I’m saying: To think in paradoxes inside a trip means to cast the pain off

One bnshng one’s own inversion out of the dream what for?

Milling cutter
Disappearance of a poem

Purified water, time and place to tread on, to dissolve in

Appendix #3. O: the older sister, M: the middle sister, Y: the younger sister

O: <Three Sisters> is astonishing, but
completely useless speech
M: Incredible:
The highest cruelty Chekhov was capable of proved to be insufficient
Y: But the rhythm (the use of pauses)
is still very much like us

Each of us will be given a breakup: one breakup attempt
I’ll go first

Breakup number 1

Speech flows out of water
Speech flows out of snow
Speech flows out of falling

There’s no poetry here: flat history on the eve of war (photostatic image)
Vrubel paints forest showing through a person
To be a character of a play in the forest: that’s from a Tsvetaeva’s letter

The action happens in the presence (on the background) of military officers
Between this line and the previous one, three or four days passed
I’m failing at breakup: it keeps dodging:

like my father; like my mother; like my father’s death; like the death of a poet;
Dmitry Kuzmin on Vassily Kondratiev: <Fits tightly> I don’t know
I don’t know Perhaps Establish me like renovation scaffolding
by the facade of something st-isaac’s-like i.e. that which sketches over

Breakup number 2

M: I long for unhurried conversations. Walks. Rhythm.
(it’s like trying to cut bread with the other, blunt side of the knife)
A whole lot of unmitigated reading. Reading over reading.

Pushing through. Goldstein’s Farewell to Narcissus,
Hezy Leskly’s poetic finger.
Not so much reading as falling. I don’t know. Perhaps. I don’t know.

I’m not sure anymore that this is distance.
I’m not sure anymore that this is death.
In the movie Banshees of Iinisherin the protagonist cuts his fingers off,

because he doesn’t want to make friends anymore. I don’t know.
Perhaps. By the way, they made up.
In it, they are on an island and a civil war is going on.

And nothing else happens between them.

Breakup number 3

Y: It’s as if distance grew a circulatory system all over it.
On every branch sits a bud that unfurls speech.
If you touch it, the unfurled animal will be reflected

On the plot of the branching city story. Nothing and that’s good.
Impossibility is a part of language.
Arkady translated Lin translated Arkady.

Me: pause. With this nothing we speak Ukraine. To create new language
from the point where your language is taken out of the world. They couldn’t
change anything, but they could write:

The dismembered sequence of events.
I am a question. I am the negation of a question.
The path of the sky to the earth.

The untimeliness of poetry falling apart into prose
: grass, lumps, debris, concrete,
exploding in philosophy’s hands —


It’s nice here in the text. Nobody’s here.
What’s good to understand is. Text is not, but you are.
Thanks for the nonattempts at breakup and the subtraction of reading.

Appendix #4.

<… never in history
the human soul has been so left to its own devices,
cut off from tradition and religion, and set, not before God
(she is torn away from him), but before the Unknown.

It is the situation of an absolute freedom,
identical to a likewise absolute unfreedom>.

Nonsensicality breaks in as impunity.
The snow thinks within you as an equal and a -librium.
I.e. the residuality (pieces of nothing) have already been here.
I.e. I: a recollection
speaking the language of pre-disappearance.
I.e. redundancy: you: an inverse text:
separating the body from surprise:
speaking from war-nothing, but ahead-after-it.

Appendix #5.

The breakup number 1 dreams of :

the world as text —

people walked down the street with the last text
selected by each one lighting up on their backs

Technological revolution
transmitting the infinity of text’s death as clothes that
allow a peek of the body’s speed
(speed of history, speed of death) by
closing the city