Saturday, November 29, 2014

Text of War, for C.K. Williams, in the current Levure littéraire


For C.K. Williams

Reading the prose of young media scribes, absorbed, as they are,
with sex and money, and the need for status, even among orgiasts,
I pause. How they claw, struggling for cabs, cars with bars, and the
nod from Cerberus at the door of the club, as if from him,
his acceptance, could come entrée to it all, the whole nine circles of desire.

But Buddha was right, and it makes for lousy verse, the cascade to the fallen
from fulfilled. The rituals are old, and the same rachitic claw
reaches over us all. And so, torn, we tear, primordial as the air.

We live in parts. The rich ones know. Their eyes caress metals,
held tightly to the chest, played closely to the vest, thrown stingily
among the just-good-folks. You won’t find the address of an arms factory anywhere.
We don’t know. An igniter built in Chappaqua, a pull-pin glazed in Maine,
in Idaho a shell. We need arms, military muscle, American dough.
Watch it blow.

Skeleton, skeleton, step on a crack,
live grenade payback, Jack Iraq.
Shrapnel tears run moist and red.
There, there, there, there (he was six)
there, there, there, there (she has no hand)
there, there, there (his spine is torn)
there, there, there (her head is gone).

A small time to be alive. A very small time to be alive, short enough
to pretend we’ve done no harm. Thanatos is a blind-man’s bluff,
an ignoramus with a stake, a what-were-we-thinking?, a mistake.

How did we not know there was really no other? How could we, eyes
and legs, mouths and heart, all the same, damn it, same, how could
we see anything else but we? No fires or fall, just beloved all?

Maybe as the last breath—will we know it as last?— as the last breath
goes, we—will we know any we?—we might feel another’s dying breath
that we might know someone else’s as we know our own death.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Four poems in Levure Littéraire: To the Thanatos Within Me

Delighted to have four poems in Levure Littéraire. Thanks to Helene Cardona for including me! Here's one of them. Link to all four at


I embrace you, dear shadow,
my revelatory friend,
dear suicidal impulse; today
I dream of the parapets above
A la Vielle Russie, and
of splattering near the Plaza
where Woody Allen wooed young girls,
leaving a bit of me
on the Strand Bookstand,
near the park and the seals —
but this is too vibrant and real.

Better to find myself alone
in a porcelain tub
with chamomile bath oil
(as if I needed to be calm;
there is eternity for that),
listening to Verdi’s Requiem,
holding a razor,
or better still, to poison myself
with small scored rose pills,
avoiding arsenic and the Bovary traps
of indigestion, detection;
best with caplets, red carafes of wine,
or Guinness brew —
(who wouldn’t want to quaff a few?)

What catharsis there is
in the dive, the gesture, the infinite jest,
the slash, the brush (its own fire),
the dance with death?
Ah, this: as I flirt, you draw near,
chingon to my chingada
bite my ear, stop my breath—
who else could do that?

Dear friend of ferment,
who unearths the worms
that enrich this blissful human soil,
promising the end of eternal roil:
Te quiero, my Mescal, my absinthe,
my blue cyanosing corps, my Mayakovsky, my you. . .

Was this a mistake? Is it too late . . . ?
You bite my ear, take up my rear, whisper:

Friday, November 21, 2014

My poem, "Phylum," published in The Common

Was delighted to receive copies of The Common yesterday with my poem "Phylum" in them! This poem has footnotes and it was laid out perfectly. AND I received a check for my work! Thanks to John Hennessy, poetry editor, and to everyone at this superb poetry journal!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cervena Barva Press announces Victory Over the Sun translated by Larissa Shmailo

Cervena Barva Press announces "Victory Over the Sun"
The First Futurist Opera by Aleksei Kruchenykh
Translated by Larissa Shmailo; edited and with an introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky

"Victory over the Sun, one of the most important events in Russian Futurism and in the avant-garde in general, is not well recognized in the West. Now in a new edition of Larissa Shmailo's brilliant translation of the text, with a lively introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky, readers can appreciate the significance and innovativeness of the 1913 play. Using Shmailo's translation and Malevich's pathbreaking stage designs, the play was reconstructed and staged in 1980 to great acclaim and remains a signal accomplishment in the history of the avant-garde."
—Gerald Janecek, Author of Zaum: The Transrational Poetry of Russian Futurism (UCSD, 1996) and Sight and Sound Entwined (Berghahn Books, 2000)

"Velimir Khlebnikov, literally, missed the train on co-penning this one, contributing only a poem to Kruchenykh's libretto. Staged alongside Mayakovsky's Vladimir Mayakovsky, A Tragedy, the 1913 original production of Victory is remembered primarily for Kazimir Malevich's costumes, lighting, and set design, instigations for the Suprematism and Constructivism still to come in 1915 and 1919, respectively…. Nothing is more fitting for this centennial of "Russian Futurianism" than a celebration of Kruchenykh's great contribution to poetry, his Zaum, and not just for its verbal play – the inventive neologizing and the épater-le-bourgeois utopianism – but for the underappreciated antilyricism of his verse, as well. In communicating to us his musicality in English, Larissa Shmailo has done a remarkable job in conferring on Kruchenykh his true due as a poet." —Alex Cigale, Translations Editor of MadHat Lit

"A century ago, Aleksei Kruchenykh was the way out writer's most way out writer. If publishing today, he still would be."
—Richard Kostelanetz, Author of A Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes (Routledge, 1993)
#Victory over the Sun
$16.00 | ISBN: 978-0-692-30231-6 | 56 Pages

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Text of Tarkovsky translation of "June 25, 1939" with Russian

June 25, 1939
Arseny Tarkovsky
Tr. L. Shmailo

It's frightening to die, and such a shame to leave
This captivating riffraff that enchants me,
The stuff so dear to poets, so very lovely,
I never celebrated; it somehow wasn't to be.
I loved to come back home at the break of dawn
And shift my things around in half an hour.
I loved the white windowsill, and also the flower,
The carved faceted glass, and also the water,
And the heavens, greenish-azure in their color—
And that I was a poet and a wicked man.
And when every June came with my birthday again
I'd idolize that holiday, bustling
With verses by friends and congratulations from women,
With crystal laughter, and gay glasses clinking
And the lock of that hair, unique, individual
And that kiss, so entirely inevitable.
But now at home it’s all set up differently;
It's June and I no longer have that homesickness.
In this way, life is teaching me patience,
And turbid, my blood now is stirring this birthday,
And a secret anxiety is tormenting me—
What have I done with my great destiny,
Oh my God, what have I done with me!

25 июня 1939 года
Арсений Тарковский
И страшно умереть, и жаль оставить
Всю шушеру пленительную эту,
Всю чепуху, столь милую поэту,
Которую не удалось прославить
Я так любил домой прийти к рассвету,
И в полчаса все вещи переставить,
Еще любил я белый подоконник,
Цветок и воду, и стакан граненый,
И небосвод голубизны зеленой,
И то, что я — поэт и беззаконник.
А если был июнь и день рожденья
Боготворил я праздник суетливый,
Стихи друзей и женщин поздравленья,
Хрустальный смех и звон стекла счастливый,
И завиток волос неповторимый,
И этот поцелуй неотвратимый
. Расставлено все в доме по-другому,
Июнь пришел, я не томлюсь по дому,
В котором жизнь меня терпенью учит
И кровь моя мутится в день рожденья,
И тайная меня тревога мучит,—
Что сделал я с высокою судьбою,
О боже мой, что сделал я с собою!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New translation of Arseny Tarkovsky and poems by Alexander Skidan up at TRUCK

I have a spanking brand new translation of "June 25, 1939" by Arseny Tarkovsky and several poems by Alexander Skidan translated by me and the author up at Halvard Johnson's TRUCK today. Thanks to "driver," poet and translator Anny Ballardini, for including me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Blazevox is PUBLISHING MY NOVEL, PATIENT WOMEN!!! Stunned with happiness for an hour and now dancing around the house! THANK YOU to the brilliant Geoffrey Gatza for publishing my first collection of poetry, In Paran, and now this novel, which takes place in the Woodstock and punk rock and early AIDS eras, culminating in the heyday of the 12 Step programs in the 90s (meet my protagonist Nora, and her sponsor, the transgender Chrisis St. Lawrence). God, it's been a pretty good day, week, month, life!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Patient Women a Subito Press Contest Semifinalist

Thanks to Subito Press of the University of Colorado Boulder for naming my novel, Patient Women, as a semifinalist in their prose contest. (Hint: this does mean that Patient Women still needs a publisher, friends; ideas?)

Friday, November 07, 2014

Cover of my translation of Victory over the Sun by Aleksei Kruchenykh from ‪Červená Barva Press

Advanced in the Guggenheim Fellowship Competition!

The Guggenheim Fellowship Competition has requested work samples from me. I am sending my books ‪#‎special‬ characters (Unlikely Books), In Paran (Blazevox), and A Cure for Suicide (Červená Barva Press). I am honored and would like to thank my publishers

My translation of A. Kruchenykh's Victory over the Sun now available from Červená Barva Press

I am thrilled to announce the publication of my translation of Aleksei Kruchenykh's libretto of the first Russian Futurist opera, Victory over the Sun (1913). Published by Gloria Mindock's Červená Barva Press, this edition has a brilliant introduction by Eugene Ostashevsky. This publication would not have been possible without the help of Alexander Cigale. who, with scholars Gerald Janacek and Richard Kostelanetz, have provided wonderful blurbs for the book. Cover art is from Kazimir Malevich's set designs for the original production. Thanks to everyone who has made this publication possible, and to the Garage Museum of Moscow for using this translation for their reconstruction of the opera!

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