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

Testing, Part #1 (Fragment #30)

The desk was a scuffed, sordid blue. I love such things, you know. They’re better at telling you the story of an institution than all those dull, fat conduct books, and they’re more entertaining. For example, right here someone had ably depicted the birth process of star-nosed moles. I sniggered. Considering their knowledge of such ‘niceties’, perhaps it was a future Darwin Medalist. Although… yuck! I reached for a pen.

Twenty two, dolt! Twenty two, not nineteen! I hate giving a lick and a promise! It’s better not to do at all than to do something sloppily.

I was nearly finished coloring the corrected snout when I heard a semi-cough right above me. Yipes! I raised my eyes slowly, and saw the sheen of a badge: ‘Mr. Turdman’. I snickered.

“Follow me, young lady.”

I got up from the desk and dragged myself after the badge wearer’s podge.

Some lanky guy stood near the door and droned like a jammed record: “Please put your cellphones, tablets, and other gadgets into the basket. Please don’t use any electronic devices during the test.”

I shrugged my shoulders and fished my old celly in its scratched maroon sheath out of my pocket. I put it into the plastic basket, right on top of the shiny, posh smartphones. It looked pretty funny, as if a behemoth had decided to join the dance of the little swans.

“Hey, are you dozing off, bimbo? Stop holding up the line!”

His derisive tone brought me back to reality. “I may suck, but you swallow,” I thought reflexively. I stepped into the study amphitheater.

Question 1a. Compose a limerick using the following rhymes: town, nightgown, lock, o’clock.

I scratched my nape and looked helplessly about. Some dweeb with huge glasses to my left seemed like a promising prospect. This dork obviously knows what the hell a limerick is. I whispered, “Psst! You! Hey, you!”

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

GUEST POST // Interlude by Gordon Flanders

I didn’t smoke weed, and I didn’t drink, but under the fluorescent lights of Canal Street Station I feel like a thing that slithers. Somehow my fingernails got dirty. I was walking with the girl who I was formerly obsessed with, and I was telling her what I thought was a very interesting story. What I know was an interesting story, in fact, from her gasps every time we hit a pivotal point. And then, in the middle, we ran into some old friends of hers she hadn’t seen in a while. She’s from here and she’s popular, so this happens a lot. There were eight of them. Normally I would just smile and shake everyone’s hand and all that, but I just couldn’t give a fuck about these people and how they knew each other and anything like that, so I stood off to the side and waited for her to ask for her bag so she could go with them. I enjoyed the breeze and I checked my phone. Finally she called me over and her friends were like wtf why are you just standing over there! Meanwhile she had just asked minutes ago why I never do what I want. So that was the thing I wanted, to not talk to these people. I was really fine with her leaving with them, very convenient escape for me, but I did not want to meet them all for no reason. But I did anyway because what kind of asshole would I have to be to hand her her bag and say goodbye and nothing else. So I shook hands with every single one of them. There were people she didn’t even know and I shook hands with them, too. One guy said now repeat our names back to us. I said, I value you guys as people but I don’t have a memory like that. Everyone thought that was funny. You had to be there. So now I look awesome. From weirdo to awesome in sixty seconds. After five excruciating minutes where everyone tried to pretend that we could have an inclusive conversation, they ask what’s up next. I hand my friend her bag and say goodbye, shaking hands with enthusiasm and warmth and real kindness in my eyes. Eight people I will never see again, now they all have a piece of my soul. The train just won’t seem to arrive.

by GORDON FLANDERS
© All rights reserved 2017

Christ Pisses His Life Away (Chapter Three)

1 If any of this ever gets written down then I hope they get their facts straight.

2 How long have I been hanging here for? 3 Damn, it’s hot. And my bladder’s on fire. I’m in agony and I can’t scratch myself. 4 When the legionnaires offered to put me up for the night, I didn’t think they quite meant like this. 5 It’s small wonder that I hate wedding banquets now!

6 Bottomless throats. Sateless stomachs. I had no chance. 7 Who could meet that kind of demand? No one, that’s who. 8 None of them could have cared less for the happiness of newly marrieds. All they wanted was a holiday in Cana to brown the brow, and round after round of my patented Holy Spirit to fill their swollen bellies. 9 Self righteous, narcissistic guzzlers of dwindling decorum. Every last one of them!

10 I guess it’s my own fault really. 11 Maybe I shouldn’t have pressed my apostles to water down the whizz, but by god was my tallywacker beat! It was ready to gasp its last, you could say. 12 How many baths did I manage to fill? Who knows? 13 All I do know is my bladder’s as pulverised as a palm frond after a locust convention.

14 And Judas… What the hell, Judas?! What were you thinking? 15 You know you can’t hold your liquor, so why did you drink the merchandise? 16 ‘But whosoever drinketh of the water that I willst giveth unto him shallst never thirst!’ you declared. And you declared it to the whole damn gathering! 17 ‘But the water that I willst giveth unto him willst becometh in him a well of water springing up to eternal life!’ 18 And then you pissed all over the High Priests. Marvellous. Just marvellous. 19 I can’t take you anywhere. I should have left you out the back to calculate our profit margin.

20 And that’s the problem, isn’t it, Mr Iscariot? You play well with numbers, but not with other human beings. 21 Yes, reading ledgers is an important skill, but so is being able to read facial expressions, you sot! Could you not see how livid they were? Utterly hopeless!

22 And why, oh why, did I let you spread those rumours about my so-called ‘miracles’? 23 ‘This will drum up more business,’ you said. ‘More clientele means more tongues at the tap,’ you said. 24 So you had me walking on water, feeding multitudes with a fish finger and two breadsticks, raising people from the dead, and erecting underwater bridges for molluscs fleeing Jewish persecution. 25 Lie upon lie upon lie upon… well, that last one was just plain weird.

26 Dying is not fun. 27 I think I’m dying. Am I dying? Is this what that feels like? 28 I know how to pass water but I’ve not experienced passing from life before, so I can’t definitively say. I don’t think I want to. 29 Still, I keep passing out, so I’m disconcertingly aware of my own mortality. That cannot augur well for my immediate future. 30 Death. Can’t say I’d recommend it.

31 The pain is shocking in its unrelenting intensity. My entire body’s a buzzing mess. 32 How can there possibly be this much blood? I can’t breathe. 33 The tirade I’ve composed in my head escapes as a truncated wheeze. ‘Thanks for nothing,’ is literally all I can muster. 34 Yes, God, thanks for nothing. Just sit there like you always do, and do nothing.

35 First, my carpentry business folds. 36 Then I discover that I can piss wine. 37 Then some opportunistic, money-grubbing ‘followers’ come along and exploit me for all they can get. 38 This involves a clever marketing campaign that promises the public magic shenanigans and quaff-worthy wazz while they’re being entertained. 39 I become said public’s darling. 39 Judas then goes and defiles some elite, paying customers with his own subpar wee while they’re drinking my diluted wee, 40 and then flees with the rest of the apostates at the first sign of trouble. 41 That’s when said public breaks up with me, and the High Priests begin baying for blood instead of my formerly one hundred percent honeyed liquid. 42 What next? Oh, that’s right. Death. Praise Elohim. 43 I’m of a mind to come back and haunt the bastards.

44 I rue the day my pecker piddled on Peter. Sorry. Simon.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Christ Pisses His Life Away (Chapter Two)

1 How is it that I can heal, but not make them shut up…

2 ‘Peter! Look! He’s waking!’

3 ‘My name isn’t Peter. Why do you keep calling me Peter? I’m Simon!’

4 ‘No, dude. I’m Simon. You’re Peter.’

5 ‘No, I’m jolly not!’

6 ‘Hey, man. Chill! 7 We can’t both be called Simon. Otherwise we’d be Simon and Simon. 8 How would that work?’

9 ‘Then why don’t you change your name? Pick something else you like.’

10 ‘I like Simon!’

11 Oh, great. I think I may have come to in a storm water drain. It’s not the most dignified way to greet a new day. 12 I stir, the muck and piss swirling around me, it adding shame to the pounding behind my eyes. 13 Ugh! I feel like carpenters have set up shop in my forehead, 14 and my mouth feels like a donkey’s arse.

15 I murmur, ‘Shut up, will you? You both are bleating like old nanny goats!’ 16 They look at me, shocked, but I don’t care. 17 ‘You do realise it’s possible for people to share the same name, don’t you?’

18 The second Simon looks at the first Simon with the expression of a goat that’s been goosed mid chew.

19 ‘Hm. I suppose so,’ says the second Simon grudgingly.

20 ‘Yeah…’ allows the first Simon. ‘Check out Judas and Judas. I guess they cohabit just fine.’

21 ‘I’m Jude, you dingbats. JUDE. It’s not the same thing at all!’

22 ‘I thought you were called Thaddaeus.’

23 ‘Shut up, Iscariot.’

24 Oh my god! Why do they go on like this all the time? It’s like they can’t help themselves. Maddening! 25 Did I really hire this bunch of simpletons? I must have been drunk! 26 Oh, that’s right. I was drunk…

27 ‘Don’t tell me to freaking shut up, you great protruding camel toe!’

28 ‘I think you need some knuckle bread! Shall I give it to you?’

29 ‘I freaking dare you to give it to me!’

30 Oh, isn’t this just fabulous. 31 They look like they’re almost ready to fight. Always with the fighting! 32 At least I know what can be done to soothe them. I sigh. I get to my feet. I unzip my pants.

33 ‘Elohim be praised!’ gasps Bartholomew. He’s always gasping over stuff. He’s a gasp whore. He’ll gasp over clipped toenails if you give him half a chance. 34 ‘Jesus is about to make more wine! Thank you, O Master!’

35 ‘Yes! Share with us your Holy Spirit!’ chimes Philip.

36 These self-titled ‘apostles’ crowd around me, hands cupped and reaching. All twenty-four of them! 37 God, did they double overnight? It’s getting weird around here.

38 ‘Hey, you know what?’ says Matthew, a considered look on his face. ‘We should market this. People would lap it up!’

39 How like a tax collector. Always trying to monetise everything.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017