Transitions №3

Author: Stanislav Belsky

Translated by Anton Yakovlev

* * *

Sometimes I dance in the dark kitchen
with a soft pencil
and a piece of paper in hand.
Even if
no poem comes,
this dance brings
a special feeling of
time’s dense ineffability,
a feeling usually intensified by
two mystical animals
on the windowsill:
a mad rabbit
I call Pierre
and his dead ringer,
a box in the shape of a bird.
(The dance may go on
until someone turns on the shower
or bangs the elevator door.)

* * *

This house
is full of rooms
and all kinds of stuff:
I’ve seen
saddled horses,
dusty old cars,
a whole gallery
of Vera Kholodnaya’s photographic portraits,
and some piss-drunk
but still functional
Tsarskoe Selo loafers.
I even tried to speak with Goethe
but he slammed the door on me
at hearing my broken German.
There’s only one room
I can never reach:
the one in which you sit
looking at the widening
autumn road
lulling to sleep someone else’s child.

* * *

she wields sharp words
pristine scalpels
there is a sense of centrifugal acceleration
except the doors open
the wrong way
meanwhile, in the lobby
a steadfast chthonic creature waits
a chamber-eyed mix of a mole and an ogre
feeling hushed
asking to cut out once and for all
this sharp
white thing
that doesn’t fit in
whichever way you try

* * *

having reached the line, you’ve reached nothing
signal posts are strained
the sea paints a baby
the evening trembles like an alcoholic samurai

the dim blade of the news
can’t find a suitable sheath
and cuts the sleepy eyelids
of vertigo’s lower ranks

you manage to say, “here, in the morning”
as nocturnal things sway
and someone transports
the imaginary root of consistency
seasoned with snow

* * *

an angel was assigned to the last star
to wipe it down with a rag
dipped in kerosene
and to the side, upperclassmen
ignoring everyone’s advice
were already glassblowing the sun
the bacchanalia was beginning
but Bacchus hadn’t shown up


two workers
a man and a woman
raised up into the sky on a steel boom
are screwing bulbs
into a string of lights
on the eve of a holiday

a heavy rain begins