Yulia Fridman’s “A Plate That Looks Like a Hat”. Translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya

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Yulia Fridman’s “A Plate That Looks Like a Hat”. Translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya
Illustration by Lucy Milko
Yulia Fridman's "A Plate That Looks Like a Hat". Translated by Anna Krushelnitskaya

* * *

I don’t need or want a plate that looks like a hat,
Or any shoes looking like heads of horses,
Or these button mushrooms torn off this coat, or that
Angry lady who calls me a klutz and curses.

I don’t like and I don’t feel like getting dressed.
I cannot tell a nightshirt from all of the rest.
Yes, I can go shopping and lose my keys on the way,
But what is the purpose of that exercise anyway?

Dear listeners, tomorrow, no later, all of you
Will wake up in a Universe perfectly new,
Where Pinocchio dreams of becoming a real log, against all odds;
Where an astronaut is served as the breakfast of gods.

That’s because, dear listeners, for a long time and a day
We threw up in our mouths when we looked at your ugly faces.
That’s because you’ve been asking for it, time and again,
With your love of the same old words, actions and places.

When inter-star draft, to soundless prayerful sobbing,
Rips and tears the curtains of atmospheric lace,
Like a love leaf, the door to each house will begin throbbing
And the lock will explode, a particulate fountain in space.

June 9, 2020

~ ~ ~

Мне не нужна тарелка, похожая на шляпу,
Ботинки, как лошадиные головы,
И сморчки этих пуговиц с куртки оборваны,
И сердитая леди ругает меня растяпой.

Я не хочу одеваться, я не могу отличить
Ночную рубашку от всего остального,
Можно пойти в магазин, по пути потерять ключи,
Но к чему это делать снова и снова?

Дорогие радиослушатели, не позднее, чем завтра
Вы проснетесь в совершенно новой Вселенной,
Где Буратино мечтает стать настоящим поленом
И на завтрак богам подают астронавта,

Потому что долго, дорогие радиослушатели,
Нам сводило скулы при взгляде на ваши рожи,
Потому что вы давно этого заслуживаете
За привычку говорить и делать одно и то же,

И межзвездный сквозняк под неслышные всхлипы молитв
Оборвет занавески атмосферного шелка,
Двери каждой квартиры дрогнут, как лист любви,
И фонтаном частиц разлетится в пространство защелка.

7 июня 2020

About the Author:

Yulia Fridman
Yulia Fridman
Moscow, Russia

Yulia Fridman, b. 1970, is a researcher at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow. Her poetry and prose appear in various online journals. Her published translations into Russian, done jointly with Dmitri Manin, include several works of Dr. Seuss and a memoir of a prominent French mathematician Alexandre Grothendieck.

About the Translator:

Anna Krushelnitskaya
Anna Krushelnitskaya
Ann Arbor, MI. USA

Anna Krushelnitskaya (b.1975) lives in Ann Arbor, MI. Anna’s original texts and translations appear in Russian and in English in various print and online publications. She has authored two collections of poems in English. Anna’s most voluminous work is the 700-page bilingual interview collection Cold War Casual/ Простая холодная война (2019).

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Yulia Fridman/ Юлия Фридман
Bookshelf
by Victor Enyutin

A book of poems in Russian by Victor Enyutin (San Francisco, 1983). Victor  Enyutin is a Russian writer, poet, and sociologist who emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union in 1975.

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

This collection of personal essays by a bi-national Russian/U.S. author offers glimpses into many things Soviet and post-Soviet: the sacred, the profane, the mundane, the little-discussed and the often-overlooked. What was a Soviet school dance like? Did communists go to church? Did communists listen to Donna Summer? If you want to find out, read on!

by Anna Krushelnitskaya

“Cold War Casual” is a collection of transcribed oral testimony and interviews translated from Russian into English and from English into Russian that delve into the effect of the events and the government propaganda of the Cold War era on regular citizens of countries on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

by Julia Wiener

Julia Wiener was born in the USSR a few years before the Second World War; her youth was spent during the “Thaw” period, and her maturity coincided with the years of “Soviet stagnation”, which, in her case, ended with her emigration to Israel in the early 1970s. Her wartime childhood, her Komsomol-student youth, her subsequent disillusionment, her meetings with well-known writers (Andrei Platonov, Victor Nekrasov, etc.) are described in a humorous style and colorful detail. Julia brings to life colorful characters – from her Moscow communal apartment neighbors to a hippie London lord, or an Arab family, headed by a devotee of classical Russian literature. No less diverse are the landscapes against which the events unfold: the steppes of Kazakhstan, the Garden of Gethsemane, New York, Amsterdam, London.

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Julia Wiener’s novels focus on those moments when illusory human existence collapses in the face of true life, be it spiritual purity, love, old age, or death.

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A collection of poems in Russian. Published by Khudozhestvennaya literatura. Moscow, 1990.

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