Original Russian text by Kirill Medvedev

Every day on the way to school, I saw
A BIG RUBBER COCK;
this isn’t the best
beginning to a poem
I can’t do anything with my memory,
I can’t drag a big plastic cock out of my head
and switch it,
for instance, with a Christmas tree;
Every day on the way to school, I saw
a big rubber cock —
then everything was possible —
we loved rubber cock at every kiosk
you could by them as a gift — and bosom
buddies,
buddy-buddy, like the Americans say,
sometimes gave each other rubber dicks —
coincidentally —
simultaneously,
and then it wasn’t funny,
it was natural,
like the bail of immortality,
a symbol of personal happiness and continuity,
endless continuity,
the authorities
still couldn’t remember,
they couldn’t remember still.
what to do with rubber cocks,
they hadn’t yet concretized them
in determinate places,
they were just sold as souvenirs,
they just produced them here,
they produced them in America,
but they didn’t know their value,
no one knew their value,
no one knew the value of anything —
everyone lived like poets — but poetic fate
smelled like glue, resin
(resin in English is resin, rubber — that’s
artificial resin,
but there’s also rOsin — hard resin, rosin
almost like a rose —
what a coincidence! — rubber rose amber resin
rosin
smelling of glue
forever welded together
everything seen said and survived
and every dying nerve buzzes
and a glass of wine drunk eight years ago
can become long and tense
with nausea —
the imagination works —
as if a play were performed,
alcohol drinks itself —
the bottles come loose.
and cigarettes smoke themselves up
and bottles fall over
like screwing up your eyes —
tension grows,
the authorities have rats,
and still how many times
do we say of our
innocent and so gentle,
sometimes cruel, but genuinely beloved
homeland:

IT’S A FUCKED COUNTRY.

Summer 2004