Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cover of my novel, Patient Women!

I'm excited to share the cover of my novel, Patient Women, coming from Blazevox in April 2015. The cover image is Giampietrino's The Repentant Mary Magdalene and cover design is by Geoffrey Gatza.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


On the perfect roof, near a perfect ledge,
A small terra firma with a narrow edge,
No temporizing with last-minute balance,
No handhold, no foothold, no anchor, no ballast.
And once committed, once into the air,
No hovering, no kiting, no waiting there.
The polygonal street and the shining dark cars
Attacked at meters per second squared.
Once over, soon over: a thing done just once:
Like fireworks and New Years’ bells, fast and intense,
Quite finite, soon finished, thought long, slow begun,
And forgotten by others like the old year now done.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Star by Joseph Brodsky translated by Larissa Shmailo

In a cold time, in a place accustomed more
To scorching heat, than cold, to the flatness of plain,
than to hills: A child was born in a cave to save the world.
And it stormed, as only the winter’s desert storms rain.

Everything seemed huge to him: his mother’s breast,
the yellow steam of the camels’ breath. And from afar,
Their gifts carried here, the Magi, Balthazar, Melchior, Caspar.
He was all of him just a dot. And that dot was a star.

Attentively and fixedly, through the sparse clouds
Upon the recumbent child in the manger, through the night’s haze
From the depths of the universe, from its end and bound,
A star watched over the cave. And that was the Father’s gaze.

Monday, December 22, 2014

THE GYM (after "The Raven")

Once upon a Monday morning, while I sat, sedentary, scorning
Every form of exercise now known to womankind,
Suddenly I felt a calling, urgent, there could be no stalling
Of the fierce injunction that electrified my mind;
What strange new thought, bizarre, now entered in my mind:
“Go workout, girl --- pump and grind!”

Wait, I thought, this is function of an over-spicy luncheon
Eaten yesterday in haste, with sugar too refined;
Or my exes’s telepathic, typically, quite psychopathic,
Notions of the female form, the anorexic kind
(Never was that gentleman forgiving or too kind).
Once again, though: “Pump and grind!”

“Look,” I argued, “fads for fitness, come and go, as you may witness
And the body’s basically a receptacle for the mind;
Aging robs us of our vigor, so all this athletic rigor
Comes to naught in death which is to musculature blind;
Vanitas, o vanitas; best sit here and unwind.”
Said the gym’s voice: “Pump and grind.”

“This idea is overhasty; here,” I cried, “I have some tasty
Brioche and napoleons and Brie cheese and red wine;
This will kill this ludicrous impulse, and this nonsense thoroughly repulse,
No more thought of sweat and aches, I’ll eat, drink, and be fine;
I’ll just pour myself a drink, and sit here and unwind.”
Said my muscles, “Pump and grind.”

Now I lift a dozen barbells like a child with brand new marbles;
Watching all the fitness shows, new ab routines I find;
Every day I lunge, crunch, and squat, look with horror at my thigh fat
Just like every lost physique caught up in workout grind.
Sweat and sneakers and a trainer, I am humankind;
Actually, I look quite cute, now that I pump and grind.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Poems in The Enchanting Verses Literary Review

Delighted that my poems "In Paran" and "Love's Comely Behind" have been accepted by the Enchanting Verses Literary Review. Thanks to guest editor Marc Vincenz for this splendid pub!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Victory in Harvard University Library!

Am delighted that Harvard University is ordering a copy of my translation of the first Futurist opera, Victory over the Sun by Aleksei Kruchenych, for its library! Now available from Cervena Barva Press: order a copy for your library today!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Please join me for a reading and talk in Brooklyn

Friends, please join Anna Halberstadt and me at the Ryder Library tomorrow for a poetry reading and talk. This series is curated by Liana Alaverdova.

Thursday, December 11
Larissa Shmailo and Anna Halberstadt
Ryder Library
5902 23rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11204
6:00 pm

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Text of PHYLUM

This poem appears in the current issue of The Common.


Came a homeless man, without a foot,
dressed up in a new canvas sack,
tied up with a belt in the usual style,
and an Alfalfa tower of hair (all in soot)
with lint in the vertical layers.

He was walking down Fifth
and he put down his bags
by the church of St. Thomas Divine,
and he stopped and he stood
and he stooped from the stairs,
and recited the following prayer:

I’m a mollusk, he said, no, not always purblind,
with a very small heart and a brain,
with a siphon to breathe and some jelly to float
and a useful, for swimming fast, foot.
I used to have teeth but do not any more.
There are 10 to the 5 types of me, (2)
and our shells and our cores are about the same shape,
though our shells are what you’d want to see.(3)
I lay millions of eggs; they swim freely, unseen,
and then sink all alone in the sea. (4)

1. From Gr. phylon, “race, stock,” related to phyle, “tribe, clan,” and phylein, “bring forth”
2. There are nearly one hundred thousand known types of mollusks, including snails, slugs, clams and other bivalves, squids, and octopi. The colossal squid, at up to 33 feet long, is one of the largest invertebrates.
3. At this point in the story, two investment bankers from the crowd rushed to Cartier to buy the homeless mollusk a diamond hair pick; some bystanders from the Sorbonne rubbed organic avocado lotion on his foot; and a girl in a dress from Henri Bendel arm-wrestled a punky paralegal to see who would take him home.
4. This happened, or will.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Cardiac (Ghazal)

My heart is sick and foul, a chest of anguished cries.
My heart attack explodes, arrest of anguished cries.

Clinicians think I’m Job; they jab and prod my veins.
Pathology calls for a test of anguished cries.

They check my pulse and beats with meters stupidly.
My naked heart unrobes, undressed of anguished cries.

A sphygnomameter can’t sound my misery;
I blame my rose divine, caressed of anguished cries.

Larissa’s rose is sick and is consuming me;
Cardiomyopathy, my fest of anguished cries.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Four poems in New Mirage Journal; text of "Copy Cat" (explicit and graphic)

I have four poems in the current issue of New Mirage Journal; here's the link to all four: The text of "Copy Cat" (explicit and graphic, as violence against women is) follows. Still not asking for it.

Copy Cat

you know, the last time I worked like a working girl
Satan he comes to my house
I mean visits he’s one of those boys who
can’t come unless he kills someone
he strips
takes his clothing off
takes the uniform
the badge the boots the trooper uniform off
his little Hitler mustache is all he’s got on
and I say sipping scotch — oh my there look at your wee wee
Satan say honey don’t be talking baby talk
what you see here is my prick
and I say not so kindly I’m a little drunk I say:
Satan baby
officer mine
I hate to inform you
hesitate to inform you
wouldn’t dare to inform on you
but Satan
I’ve seen plenty of pricks
miles of cock
rollpoles of penises
and Satan
what you got there
is a wee wee

a hot dog (not)
a mean love muscle (I don’t think so)
a throbbing cock?
well no
not until you get me in your arms and pin me down
beat my face
slam the bottle up my cunt
fuck my ass until it bleeds
then yer a brick house
when you see blood yer pretty hot

and I say
call the police
but yer already there

since I’m going to die
come on baby
let’s have a date
we can talk some more
I know you love to talk and stalk
look watch:
watch me through my window
I know you’re there
little man
I see you
and I don’t care
you don’t exist
you’re just a wannabe in a uniform
I stand naked in the window
mocking you every night
you dream of dismembering me
you want to push my face
my laughing mocking face
so far down into the ground
you can’t see anything
no eyes no laughing mouth
just the back of my pretty head
like a pumpkin
ready to smash you want to
push me down into the ground make me eat gravel make me eat dirt make me eat my laughing mocking words saying no no
not you
everybody else
anybody else
but not you
you want to
shut my big laughing mouth
throw me to the ground dance on my back till it breaks till it bleeds
you want to wipe
the smile and the lipstick off my face
put blood where the red paint is
like it like that

my butt is yours just for just one night
as long as you’re holding that shiny knife

oh baby
I call the police and there you are
cop cop copy cat
but you can’t dance and you can’t come and you can’t even move your gun
unless you see the fear and scum
do you kill young boys
cause you can’t get it up
do you kill young girls cause you can’t get enough

georgy porgy pudding and pie
kiss the girls
kiss the girls
kiss the girls
kiss the girls
kiss the girls
kiss the girls
kiss the girls
kiss the girls

can’t come unless they run can’t come until they run can’t come until they run
until they twist and shout
how many will you have to kill to
shut my laughing mocking mouth
red with lipstick
wet with
other men’s come
how many will you have to kill
to make me want you
notice you
remember you’re alive?
how much attention do you want how much attention do you need you ain’t never gonna get my undying undying undying attention

that’s the way you like it
no longer even
screaming moving
only the twitching of my dying limbs only that warm soft blood like the animals you killed when you were small mama said they were going to God and you just helped and now you see the inside of me I’m losing blood I’m fast asleep so peaceful now you feel the love I feel for you we’re finally one I’m going soon and we are one how much how much how much love

and now finally I understand and darling
I’ll never laugh at you again mock you point to your tiny itsy bitsy penis
your tiny little boy penis and laugh saying
ain’t never gonna be no man
I’m your mama
and baby I know
watch me little boy I’ll undress for you pull you over
let you
come to mama
be with mama
come watch mama
little boy
but yer
too little
too little
I go
with the men
just watch
and I’ll laugh and my lovers and everyone else
will laugh at you
and how you will love me
till the day I day
especially on the day I die

come on push my face down into the ground you’ll be my dad
and I’ll
your mom
and this time
really know you’re there.

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