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from the November/December 2003 issue


oh clearly

with gathered force

everywhere it shows itself:

skyglow of the year

like features of the land:


from everywhere: any: fire: for incandescence! -

and this is no shout!

but wide

all-illuminating long-lasting:

through something scaly

moistly rustling:

long: over all-heads: as if split open: ever widening:

higher: with ending-fire! with spirit of fire! -

that it should be super-over-marked:

higher than possibilities of sound:

"the land!" -

as - through collarbones! - through faces:

not even as the image of meaning and sound - rather as the space of idea-despair! -

brightly - as if a fire-drawing:

with madness-blood: from the bowels of the race!


The poems here date from the extremely fruitful first decade of his activity as a Russian poet. They were written in Moscow, where he was employed in the Mayakovsky museum to organize exhibitions of the Russian avant-garde artists of the early years of the twentieth century. At this time, he was part of a Moscow "underground" of poets, musicians and artists, all living in poverty and supporting one another in their attempts to create an independent art. None of these poems appeared in print in the Soviet Union until the late 1980s.

-Peter France

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