(translated from the Russian by Rebecca Bella)

 

 

 

DAMAGED FILES

 

for Andrus Ventslova

 

 

1.

Unpeopled streets, squares, parks, by the arched tautness transformed into a liquid-crystal idyll: virtual topography crumples, goes up into the air, and fractures in the lethargy of the sky.

 

2.

The visitors resemble a broken fractal in the mobile geometrical labyrinth; their figures cut from the chiaroscuro of the canvases they came to gaze upon.

 

3.

As if the tectonic forces of the earth, like a pangolin, came up to the surface, revealing the surrealistic visage of Petersburg, toppling into the ravine of the mirror.

 

4.

In panoramas the city spreads its limits, gobbling the surrounding space and extending into the cavity, like a lens, a dream-vision, and there, in the lower right corner, for an instant, the shade of de Chirico hovers.

 

5.

Multiocular architecture in the stroboscope of the visionary, whose blades snap shut behind your back with the narrow crackle of a Chinese fan, rattling a Venetian crystal in its folds.

 

6.

A work-zone on industrial land, frozen tautology, tied to the throat of the landscape by the carelessness of a miner who tests the rails with his fingernail.

 

 

7.

The urbanist ideal: Ockam’s razor slashed across the cheek of the majestic plazas.

 

8.

The centrifuge of the sun, dandylioning the thermoelectric plant, cultivating, in its hothouse, sudden shade.

 

9.

Lightning-yataghan, lightning-muezzin; the vocal cords of a short circuit, stealing on its belly towards the minarets on Petrogradsky Bank, beyond the edge of the pupil.

 

10.

City-Aleph, hanging on the lashes of the gothic needles of roofs, Brandmauers, bridges; a lepidoptera fossil in the crystalline lens of the damaged, like a file, alphabet.

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

 

I am killed by the power of the image.

Maternal.

A cup of coffee or a string quartet.

MTV.

Media-strikes on the World Trade Center.

As simple as mooing:

A fractalled Wahabbi dreams

of the inscription of the Word.

 

 

 

 

***

 

NEWSREEL: A. Illarionov on the Ratings of the Russian Federation

 

 

“In the quality of its premier governmental institutions, contemporary Russia is at the bottom of the world list.  In its degree of political rights and civil liberties, our country occupies the 158-159th place out of 187 countries, between Pakistan, Swaziland and Togo.  As regards the freedom of the press we are in the 147th place out of 179, level with Iraq, Venezuela and Chad.  Measured by its degree of corruption, Russia takes the 123rd place out of 158, next to Gambia, Afghanistan and Rwanda.  According to the degree of protection of personal rights, Russia is in the 89th place out of 110 countries, next to Mozambique, Nigeria, and Guatemala.  In the quality of its court system, it is in the 170th place out of 199, in the company of Burundi, Ethiopia, Swaziland and Pakistan.  In the effectiveness of its bureaucratic departments Russia is in the 155th place out of 203, with neighbors Niger, Saudi Arabia, Cameroon, Pakistan.  A violent model of government legalizes violence in society.  According to the number of deaths per 1000 citizens, Russia takes the seventh place out of 112 countries, between Ecuador and Guatemala, a little below South Africa, and a little above Mexico.  Overall, according to the level of physical safety of its citizens, our country is in the 175th place out of 185 countries, in the same group with Zimbabwe, Sudan, Haiti, Nepal.”  In depth: http://www.kommersant.ru/doc.html?docId=755085

 

When, in plain language, the dry language of numbers, they tell you,

that according to the degree

of political freedom and civil rights,

Russia is in the 158-159th place—somewhere between Pakistan and Togo—

what do you feel, as a person

of the epoch of centralized Moscow conceptualism,

of futures and marketing in this sovereign democracy?

Do you take offense?—for the sake of the state

or the magnificent, powerful Russian language, the language

of Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov?

Oh yes, for no one is unaware of how Pushkin

in his letter to Chaadaev wrote

(and we go over this poem in school)

about the wreckage of autocracy.  One can recall

other highly artistic works of his, for example,

the ode “Freedom,” or the last chapter of Eugene Onegin,

yes, there’s plenty where the Sun of Russian Poetry unequivocally speaks out

on the subject of political freedom and civil rights.

Lermontov, also, in the purest Russian language, said farewell

to the land of slaves and masters and set out

on active duty to the Caucuses.  From his stanzas

on the death of Pushkin, drenched in bitterness and fury—you remember,

of course you remember—the clenching of heart and fists, as though

the words were written yesterday.

And Tolstoy, excommunicated from the Orthodox Church, Tolstoy, smashing

each and every mask of the ruling ideology,

Tolstoy—the mirror of the Russian Revolution of 1905?

And Dostoevsky’s axe, drawn into near-earth orbit, the axe

from Brother’s Karamazov, which, in freezing weather, girls gave to their boyfriends to kiss?

And Chekhov, Chekhov with his gallery of dear, depoliticized intelligentsia,

longing for the charmed life,

confused, discouraged,

trudging along, or going out of their minds?

You, signing up for a tour to Togo or Tunis, Pakistan or Thailand,

reading in the guidebook about the quality of life or personal freedoms in the developed

capitalist countries and countries of the third world,

taking offense, for the sake of the state,

which gave the world Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, did you ever

ask yourself, what are their heroes doing?

What are the country doctors and the teachers who live on pitiful wages doing?

What are the convicts on Sakhalin Island doing?

What are the students in the brothels doing?

What are the ones who work for the students in the brothels doing?

What are the well-bred officers in the “Three Sisters” doing?

Pretty soon they will all be sent to the front, to the imperialist

war, where they will die nobly for the tsar and the fatherland, in other words,

for the product market, the colonies, and other geopolitical and financial interests,

and where they will no doubt need

their irreproachable,

magnificent, powerful, noble—though in part, quite common—

Russian language, and also that dry language of numbers.

 

02.04.07

 

 

***



the ill-fated attempts

unfinished projects

 

horticulture     German

woodworking

 

zionism    antizionism

efforts at marriage

 

<writers are spouting stinking rubbish>

 

to observe   to ascertain  to remember

to speak   to take part

 

the inability to think

<death>

 

calm death

 

horticulture  German

woodworking

 

ill-fated attempts

efforts at marriage

 

no not death

but the unending torture

 

of dying

  a  f  k  a>

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