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Larissa Shmailo recently has been published in About: Poetry, Big Bridge,, Idiolexicon, Babel, Ginosko and several other publications. Her new poetry CD, The No-Net World, has received excellent reviews. She has translated the Russian Futurist opera Victory over the Sun  (a DVD of the original English-language production is part of the collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art). She has also contributed translations to the anthology New Russian Poets forthcoming from the Dalkey Archive Press.







I have waited for him.  For want of a loom, I smashed furniture, slashed beds,

He is nuts: five AA meetings and heís ready to breed, hollering waiting, a poor

My pa is dead: I got the sperm and the house housekeeper, his assessor and judge. 

letís go. Hereís some perfume and a novel for scolding his journeys. Here in my

ya gal: My fatherís dead; I watched termagant arms I ask him: why canít he leave these

these five months ass he died Trojans alone? I know he never wanted to go.

ripped the diapers off his as at the end. Loneliness gone, something of

Thatís death for you and creation comes after hospitals, sirens, and

I love you very much. one-eyed worms. Of the shards, cobbled,

dirty, we will build a tree as best we can for a bed.



Variation on a theme by Joseph Brodsky et. al.


Imagine that the war is over, that peace has reigned,

That you can look at your face in the mirror again.

That magpies, not bombs, whistle down upon your head

That outside the city, homes are not destroyed-instead

A baroque burst of laurels, palms, magnolia, pine;

Instead of red gun fire a white hot Venus shines.

That warís cast-iron swamp is gone, covered, and then

The boredom is over: Life has to start again.


Imagine that the epoch ends in an idyll. The speech that came

In monologues sings dialogues now. And the flame,

That consumed others better than you, greedily, like logs;

In you it saw little use or warmth, and, like the dogs,

Thatís why you were spared, why shrapnel only scraped your fear.

Imagine that the more honest the voice, the less it has tears.

And when any Polyphemus asks you who it is that speaks.

ďSay, Who, me? No oneĒ like Odysseus the Greek.





1. At the top of my lungs I scream at you all,

Babies, I am your mother!

Love me! Let me in!

Excited by my love, I shriek and bang at your door:

I love you, let me in!



You donít want to?

Then I will slash my wrists,

And from my wrists will come ants and tired shopkeepers,

All the things you ever imagined or dreamed,

Bits of glass and fear

Will pour from these important veins:

Youíll see how much I love you then.


2. A proposition:

If, every day

I deliberately did things to hurt you,

Would you still love me?


3. Babies, my children,

I sit on your doorstep and scream,

How I love my children,

How I long to love them!

Like a scorpion I would carry you on my back,

My stinger poised, ready to kill;

Oh, how my babies would love me then!


Babies, I would bite off my hands for you,

Like an albatross or a whale, I would swallow you whole

And keep you safe in my stomach;

I love you that much;

Surely thatís worth something.


4. At the top of my lungs I scream at you all,

I am bigger and better than anything you will ever know,

Than anything you will ever be.

Love me.

Love me now.


5. Babies, letís not argue:

I will always win.

Let me in.





Tenebrous manhole undone slowly cu(n)t

We donít see the same shadows.  they stopped

To them, we are just hole in time broke undone

Chimera, cinema. lightly umbrage neck

Unreal as another striated hole

personís life, cut bone singes done

in bastard heard puddle broke

amber ramble am I I am

my high highlight light

reeling shove over dark

ends. Fin. fish

nuage  cut.





my tongue is bruised

my nude is creaky

like a cabbage I sit and wait for you

I stutter like an old gun:

take me


the fast love of my hair.


your beady little eyes transfix me

like rats at the foot of my bed

your limp pendant wrists still hang on my door

you snicker, get a grip.


your skin is a labyrinth

I follow like a duct

I follow the duct of your eyes like a skein

to the comminatory bull

eyes forward, now toward, where I leap for the horns

wonít you come in, he sighs.


you own too big a piece of me

your eyes say spare some change and I

donít want to

the march of dimes is over and I

take and give no quarter and Iíve

already cut my hair.


skin is just sausage we call home.

skin is just sausage we call home.









copyright © Larissa Shmailo