Twenty-first Century Russian Poetry


Andrei Sen-Senkov


Translated by Matvei Yankelevich

Northern Features of the Text

the snow breaks a white hammer 
against the window which was appointed to be 
the square head of a nail  

you know 
not a single carpenter 
will write 
about it that way - of the two,
  	only the one that was more transparent went unscathed 

Pink Immortality

my older friend five-year-old Pavlik 
taught me to stomp on worms in the rain 
for not having faces  

though sometimes it seemed that they had them - 
baby faces  

these were rare and they were released
they were real lucky 
i think they're still living 
those pink almost-people

Vivaldi at the Dead Racecourse

at the beginning the times of year seem no different  

and then comes winter 
to warm up  
you get into the ripped-open belly of a dead horse  
between the loops of the intestines 
a sticky non-lollipop summer sets in 

Biological Suburban Moscow Striptease

the young snake gets ready to shed its skin for the first time shameful degrading difficult to 
understand for what they say sometimes its necessary its so nice all watch mouth full of saliva of 
poison now she's about to jerk the snap open no can't make herself do it her clothes will be 
ripped off by force she'll shrink even skinnier and crawl away into her little burrow she won't die 
there give birth to something disgusting the kind that in these cases are born to those like us 

A Match from the Girl Factory

(a poor imitation of a film by kaurismäki)

she wants to burn up for good so that her hair would stop being gross white not at all finnish so 
that as the russian write in their books "the eyelashes fell and were subtly warmed by moist 
spoons in tasty boiled eyes" so that artificial breathing would be performed on her in vain by a 
good-looking doctor everything will end differently in the body of the match the poisoned fibers 
will be dislocated by the damp wooden rain

Rodchenko. Smell of Sulphur.


a man jumps off the horizontal bars 
his hands are bent  

already turning away from the photograph 
you realize no, they're not bent 
they're cut off at the elbow 
by the human scissors of the inwardly-perspiring komsomol*


the fire ladder lifts to the sky  

into autumn 
into the gray belly 
where one can feel the fruit with your hands 
it doesn't want to come here a second time  


road work  

They say "Eat dirt! Eat dirt!" to the excavator, the fat non-living little girl. Fat ones aren't liked, 
they are laughed at cruelly. She buries herself even deeper to slim down, into the underground 
aerobics of sullied lard.  


Lilya Brik screaming something  

venereal magnificence 
acquires the right to ceaseless movement in spurts  


the dilated pupils of a pioneer girl  

she dreams of growing up 
and becoming a zoo technician 
she doesn't know that there she'll see an amphibian 
beginning its transformation back into a fish 
into a red scaly sweet necktie 
that was tied for her in the night 
by the handsome group leader Seryozha Rybakov*   


the kremlin. first-of-may parade.  

the red tibetan ceremony 
of exorcising evil spirits 
from the disposable mausoleum  

the annual moscow seizure 
of monotheism losing consciousness 

* Komsomol -Young Communist League
*Seryozha - short for Sergey
*Rybakov - This surname is derived from ryba, meaning "fish".