BUT IS IT POETRY? // lethal bloom

a lunger on a hospital sheet
embraces the last spring
bursts into blossom with scarlet poppies
with every coughing fit

1265542358_ornament

TONY: Hm. I wonder…

TATI: Good luck with such a tedious task. I’m going to the sex shop before it closes. Do you need anything?

TONY: Yes, I do. While you’re there, would you purchase me an answer that will scrub away the question mark that lingers above your poem ‘lethal bloom’?

TATI: I appreciate your sense of humour, Tony. Will you die from curiosity during the next hour?

TONY: I’m not a cat, so… no.

TATI: Then I’ll be back soon. You’ll have a chance to prepare some genuinely interesting questions. Not like the last time.

TONY: How long must a poem be to be considered a legitimate poem?

TATI: You men are too preoccupied with sizes. How long must a penis be to be considered a legitimate penis?

TONY: Says the woman who’s going to a sex shop.

TATI: According to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s shortest poem is one letter long. It’s by Aram Saroyan, and comprises a four-legged version of the letter ‘m’.

TONY: Damn. They’ll accept anything these days, won’t they?

TATI: Yes. You’re unbelievably quick-witted today. What happened?

TONY: What can I say? I’ve had my cornflakes. Anyway, back to your poem…

TATI: Back to my poem.

TONY: Yes. Were you worried that it might be considered a little on the short side?

TATI: No!

TONY: Okay then. I must say I do admire how you’ve managed to pack so much meaning into so few lines of poetry. That takes real skill.

TATI: Thank you. Again, do you need anything from the sex shop? There’s a big clearance sale on. Buy two, get one free. You can have the free one.

TONY: As long as it’s not a dildo then I don’t mind. You know, we haven’t even discussed the poem’s themes yet. I’m beginning to get the feeling you don’t want to talk about it.

TATI: What? You said you’re not a cat, and I can’t wait forever! And by the way, I will choose whatever I want for you, so beggars can’t be choosers!

TONY: This won’t take too long. I promise. All I want to know is what your poem’s about.

TATI: Life. Death. Spring.

TONY: Wow. You really unveiled the mystery there.

TATI: Tony, I’m late. I need to buy stockings and an eye patch!

TONY: I can’t imagine you in stockings. But you with an eye patch… now that would be way cool!

TATI: So, I may go after all?

TONY: Sigh. Fine. Go. Far be it from me to delay you on your all important quest!

Tati rushes out the door, slamming it behind her. She rushes back in mere moments later.

TONY: Did you forget something?

TATI: Yes, you idiot! I forgot to check my watch! The sex shop is closed already, so there is no point me going now!

TONY: Hey, that only happened because you wasted time not answering a simple question!

TATI: Sigh. Ask your questions. Anyway, there’s no fun at a hospital without stockings and an eye patch.

TONY: At a hosp—OH! I get it! You wanna indulge in a little Tarantino cosplay, yes?

TATI: No cosplays, silly Tony! Just some volunteering in the tuberculosis department.

TONY: Erm. Okay. It’s probably best if you don’t tell me about your perverted extracurricular activities.

TATI: Germane to the matter, I believe you had dozens of questions about my poem.

TONY: Oh, no no no! I’m done with that. I have no more questions. Besides, I’m tired. I think I’ll just rest here for a bit.

Tati finally seems to be lost for words. Tony plonks himself down on the sofa, his arms folded behind his head. Tati shrugs to herself, lights a cigarette, and plonks herself beside him.

TONY: Those will kill you, you know.

TATI: I know.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

TATI’S TRANSLATIONS // ‘O’ Zone by Sudeep Sen

Well… I should admit I’m a pretty adventurous and curious person. But, hell, how can I miss another cool opportunity to get my feet wet?

That’s why I often lure Tony into different ventures like associated editing of a magazine or illustrating a collection of bizarre poems. And Tony, like a real noble knight, puts a shining armour on, and bravely fights for the honour of his restless, beautiful lady. He’s sweating over crazy drawings and going through the nine circles of hell of proofreading. Poor, poor Tony! But this time I let Tony take a short rest. I went into another crusade solo.

I met Sudeep Sen during Tony’s and my collaboration with The Wagon Magazine’, thanks to Krishna Prasad, the chief editor. A review of Sudeep’s book, ‘Erotext’, was featured in the current issue. I should admit, I’ve never heard of Sudeep before, but I was completely blown away by his writings. And, when I received an (unexpected) proposal to try translating this book… well, I think you know my answer. Of course, I said ‘yes’ and ran with drawn sword to conquer a new peak.

Dear Readers, today I take the courage to present myself in a new role: that of translator. Sudeep has kindly allowed me to show my first translations along with parts of his book on Unbolt Me. Thank you, Sudeep! I don’t know what this will result in, but I sincerely enjoyed the process and did my best. Word of honour!

TATI: Tony! Hey, Tony! Wake up! Stop drooling over your comic books…

TONY: What? Again? I’ve only just started to relax… and what about your translation?

TATI: That’s enough translation for now! I have another excellent idea! Let’s go!

The spray of scented chill pierces my lungs first, then comes the slow desperate heaving, the grinding spasm splaying, trying to centrifuge stubborn coves of mucous — whose greenish-yellow viscosity remains more deceptive than quicksand’s subtle death trap.

My face — confined in the transparency of plastic, frosted glass and thin air — regains for a moment the normalcy of breathing. It is a brief magical world. The oxygen in my blood is in short supply. I feel each and every electron’s charge, spurring my senses.

Dizzy in aerosol hope, I try to free myself of the medicated mask, but the frozen rain that batters my face reminds me of the tentativeness of living. As I survive on borrowed air, I’m grateful to the equation of science, its man-made safety, its curious balance that adds that precious molecule to create the sanctity of ‘O3’ — the holy Brahmanical triad — and the triumph of its peculiar numeric subscript.

My breathing is temporarily back now — electrolysed, perfectly pitched and nebulized — as narrow transparent tubes feed dreams into my wide opaque palate.

The sun’s edges are dark, so are my heart’s. No amount of air will light them up.

Сначала мои легкие пронзает ароматная ледяная струйка. Потом начинается медленная, тяжелая качка. Ритмичные волны судорог поднимаются, пытаясь затопить непокорную склизкую бухту, хрупкий зелено-желтый берег которой таит в себе большую опасность, чем смертельная ловушка зыбучих песков.

Я начинаю погружение. Мое лицо заковано в маску из прозрачного пластика, матового стекла и разреженного воздуха. На мгновение мое дыхание возвращается, и я вижу мир вокруг себя. Мир, волшебный и мимолетный, как картинка в калейдоскопе. В моей крови дефицит кислорода. Я ощущаю движение каждого электрона внутри, их микроскопические разряды бьют по моим органам чувств, словно молнии.

Опьяненный кислородом и надеждой, я пытаюсь освободиться от маски, но ледяные иглы дождя, жалящие лицо, напоминают мне о хрупкости бытия. Я – жалкий банкрот, мой воздух взят взаймы у научного уравнения. Мертвая формула, дарящая жизнь, странный баланс которой уравновешен лишней молекулой. Драгоценной молекулой, венчающей священный союз «О3», небесную триаду браминов, триумф этого особенного числового индекса.

Мое дыхание постепенно возвращается ко мне. Наэлектризованное, идеально ровное, глубокое, оно течет по узким прозрачным трубкам прямо в бескрайнее черное небо.

Солнце медленно погружается во тьму, и мое сердце тоже. Я знаю, что рассвет не наступит никогда.

 

Poem by SUDEEP SEN
Translation by TETIANA ALEKSINA

© All rights reserved 2017

the Sacred disease

My blood is white. My milk is red.
My succus leavens an altar-bread.
I’m a mother of senseless gods
and eminently qualified bawds.

I’m gloss on the prudish icon.
I’m your crumpled mummified axon.
Stand on your knees! Shut off your cord!
Feel every twitch of your moribund lord!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2015