Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry


Alexander Ulanov


Translated by Alex Cigale

	Your bones are made of glass and the fish butt their heads against it. The ancient air 
inside them turns yellow. The untouched night is followed by coarse daybreak. Forsaken apples 
and desiccated shoe heels pursue you and your sky is ten to seven.
	All you are capable of-walking down to the river. It would be a source of pleasure to 
fall asleep in an unfamiliar house, to accept that the day is upon you. But all the days of your life 
are cyclical, and lime is in your dreams and the wind of pages, as it is above your tit-mice.
	If you know everything -say my name.
	A collected volume of snow is in your hands.

* * *

	How can one possibly "grow accustomed without regret;" regrets accompany every habit 
- a bad one, that you will not be able to quit it - a good one, because it is too common - and the 
neutral - because it is a habit. This is entirely familiar to ancient animals, to the Megatheria 
and Brontotheria, to Cafeteria and Bijouteria, and to the Infanteria.... And the gardener may be entirely 
ignorant of this - for he cannot possibly keep an eye on everything; he can either be an arborist or a florist, 
or a bushist - a rosist, a streamist.
	It is unwise to build a home by an underground spring, because the water emerges to the 
surface to converse with itself. It is unwise to construct a home by a spring, because the water 
there is restless - the walls will strive to coincide in tempo with its leaping. And what if the 
water decides to become steam? It's not as though a steamship is going to come and get it.
	In the morning, a dragonfly clutches onto a twig, all covered in drops of dew - along its 
tail and on its wings - when the water begins to evaporate, it will carry the dragonfly off along 
with itself. She will fly and observe. It is necessary to look closely into an interesting text; it is 
barely noticeable. The snail's path over a stone, the snowdrop's over a field of snow. Some 
butterflies, however, are lip-readers and others actually read lips, either scarlet or pale.
	Because not everything is dust in the wind, and it is possible to thread a needle, though it 
is still too early to build an igloo.

Translated by Michelle Murphy

Snow, dust, money and dark windows. I go to them frequently, silent. I shouldn't talk. Steel 
snakes, aluminum butterflies on branches. Our time is known. It can't be dealt from a void when 
even the void is unresolved. My days are gridlocked. It's always midnight in Petropavlovsk-on-
Kamchatka, its composure, weary. I thought people could go their separate ways to figure things 
out but didn't consider the consequences for me. I still believe it's right but I should be quiet. 
Futile Egypt, futile Crete, futile chocolate and wool. I don't exist, there's only doubt, a pulse on 
your telephone in the morning.A vacuum absorbs all the voices, giving back nothing in return. 
The days continue. A bus,cake crumbs,a Christmas tree's shadow, sketchy memory, waiting, 
scrutiny, sleep, light.

Translated by Gerald J.Janecek

                                                         V. P.

Look through the poplar into the cask of night
from fish-scale sleep to callous walls.
An honest piece of the substance of things,
a tinge of ants and swallows.

Where words attach themselves to branches,
the eye freezes on the letters of a break
as a fresh shadow on the angles of an answer,
as ancient darkness on the saddle of thunder.

Calling no one in vain,
birds are flying through each other.
You exist by as much as you see,
slowly rising from the bottom of your eyes.