Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry


Vita Korneva

        Translated by Alex Cigale and Dana Golin


                                    to D. P.


Each of us struggles so for our happiness
in the depressive fog of autumn of 2010
scratching out poems on the evening sky with a piece of
charred plastic - for me - there's nothing - better to do

We stumble on and gobble up the city
in chunks and slices - with our eyes
the throat remembers the cry of revenants
we're kissing under the clock's keep

In the innards of my metallic blood
I am leaving you guilty red-handed
all went by the book, and I - renewed
want to know how I am - I'm just fine


We're deaf - our red eyes mirror our souls
the rigid steel of the backbone
in horror of all that we settled upon
blood guts bitch

We in Tagil - poured poison in the kefir
before going to sleep dunked biscuits in vodka
and forgot not a step or gesture
of this type one speaks in passing or not at all

We're country bumpkins - bellies doughy-soft
can't muster strength enough to die or live
beauty so bitter it aches in the mouth
God's wondering why he didn't end our misery


i have to earn a skin
so i may live in it in discomfort
among the furs of trees
almost there
i have to earn a skin

it's sufficient to earn it only just once
so that wrenching my back drenched and red
i wriggle my way into it as into a sweater
donning a disguise a sweater



This evening it sunk in
time to quit smoking
Got lost in the city
familiar since childhood
Skin wind-burned raw
head shaved bald
And the sky is slit
with slung wires

I'm thinking to myself
what's there to do
Cast a vote at the polls
Go back to school
Anything just as long
as the snow melts

Then all shall be well

I am not a faggot
And you aren't faggots
and this is what matters most

The switchboard inoperable
I'm forced to scream
into the wall of snow
and bang on it
To be sure you don't switch the line
and this winter is the last time I see you