<< back from the ussr << cover

Feature: Back From the USSR
Genya Turovskaya

In Order To Speak Honestly

In order to speak honestly, I use the word moon.
Then clouds. Then eclipse. Am I the cause of an eclipsed moon,
or is it a burning fever that clouds the mind? I mean,
for example, that someone

is taking a walk. The walking sun, if you will, great
and violent, through the park. Walking through fire
in the park there is a slight noise, a whistling
of leaves and sticks. It produces a wheezy buzzing

in the ears. The ears are walking through fire with their
tongues hanging out, scraping roughly against the warm grass.
There is the unmistakable feeling that someone
is taking a walk, precisely in the middle of the afternoon,

to the moon, and the body of this person,
this pedestrian, is only an intuition, a luminous indeterminacy,
like clouds, or an eclipse. It’s not like you can sniff it
or kiss it or take off its shoes. But I’m patient. I’m in

no hurry. I can wait. I’ve known from the beginning
that the beginning of a great event is small.


Dog Music

The architects build dogs out of music.
I don’t want to be separate.
I want to be contained
          in a sentence.
                       A million dogs bark out
their separate music.
I don’t want to be the architect
                        of separateness.
I want to be the conductor
of a dog orchestra.
                      A million sentences
couldn’t say it, what the dogs say
                in dig music. I want to separate
the sentence from its architect
             and build a dog.


Crib Sheet


That now I don't know what I might have known
as crucial, again inconstant

Fashion a world
as we are

simple that way, made simple
by perfect gratitude

This hour confined
to pleasure

Extravagance leans closer, leaves

The world
you will encounter

is an accident within it its own
completion, so now with awe

the words insisted
it is the work that matters



That now I can’t know what I had known then:
not furtive, but plain

as the eye can see the world
revolving in a door

I have seen the door close on different rooms
Nobody knows my heart

can suspend life, idling in the lull
between weather predictions, arctic blasts

No, there was room enough
for pause, as one would

before a door
to open or close it.


Had I known what I couldn’t know
When asked the difference

between a window and a door, I thought:
no difference

I could step out of either
rectangle stepping into the round

o of the world
as news, breaking, arrives



Genya TurovskayaGenya Turovskaya is a poet, literary translator, and practicing psychotherapist. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine and grew up in New York City. She is the author of several chapbooks: New Year’s Day (Octopus Books), Calendar (UDP), and The Tides (Octopus Books). Another chapbook, Dear Jenny is forthcoming from Supermachine. Her poetry and translations of contemporary Russian poets have appeared in Chicago Review, Conjunctions, Aufgabe, A Public Space, Octopus, jubilat, Supermachine, Gulf Coast, and other publications. Her translation of Aleksandr Skidan’s Red Shifting was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2008. She is also the co-translator of Elena Fanailova's The Russian Version, which won the University of Rochester's Three Percent Prize for Best Translated Book of Poetry in 2010. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.


to top

spacer   spacer