Vadim Zhuk. You, Residing in an Ivory Tower. Translated by Dmitri Manin

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Vadim Zhuk. You, Residing in an Ivory Tower. Translated by Dmitri Manin

You, residing in an ivory tower

Head in the clouds, nursing your pride,

You, who can’t tell yesterday from tomorrow,

Know this: you’re a warring side.

You, binge-buying sugar and matches

To take the lean year in stride –

Eyeless corpses are staring at you.

You are a warring side.

You, who fell silent, who mutters,

“Not my fault,” “I can’t turn the tide,”

Wolves will get you through closed shutters,

For you are a warring side.

You may give zero fucks with your bottomless

Blasted bottle, but you can’t hide.

Your own demons won’t let you rest:

You’re also a warring side.

You whose poems subtly glow,

You’re wide open and in for a ride.

You’re from here. Not beyond or above. And so,

You are a warring side.
March 20, 2022
* * *

Ты, живущий в высокой башне

Сделанной из бивней белого слона,

Не отличающий сегодняшний и вчерашний,

Знай – ты воюющая сторона.

Ты, скупающий банки и крупы,

Чтоб завтра семья не была голодна.

На тебя безглазые смотрят трупы.

Ты – воюющая сторона.

Ты умолкнувший, ты молчащий,

Ты ,шепчущий «Не моя вина».

И на тебя найдутся волчищи в чаще,

Ибо ты – воюющая сторона.

Ты со своим ненасытным стаканом,

Всё посылающий на и на.

Тебя разбудят твои тараканы:

Ты тоже воюющая сторона.

Ты – со своими строками горячими,

У тебя открыты и грудь и спина.

Ты здешний. Не вне и не над. И значит,

Ты воюющая сторона.
20 марта 2022

About the Author:

1. жук 1183225
Vadim Zhuk
Moscow, Russia

Vadim Zhuk, a major contemporary poet writing in Russian, was born in Leningrad in 1947. Vadim graduated from the theatrical faculty of LGITMiK. Upon graduation, he earned his living as an actor in theaters of Siberia, in addition to working other jobs. He has authored ten books of poetry. In addition to writing poetry, he writes for the theater.

About the Translator:

manin_2021 (1)
Dmitri Manin
California, USA

Dmitri Manin is a physicist, programmer, and translator of poetry. His translations from English and French into Russian have appeared in several book collections. His latest work is a complete translation of Ted Hughes’ “Crow” (Jaromír Hladík Press, 2020) and Allen Ginsberg’s “The Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems” (Podpisnie Izdaniya, 2021). Dmitri’s Russian-to-English translations have been published in journals (Cardinal Points, Delos, The Café Review, Metamorphoses, etc) and in Maria Stepanova’s “The Voice Over” (CUP, 2021). In 2017, his translation of Stepanova’s poem won the Compass Award competition. “Columns,” his new book of translations of Nikolai Zabolotsky’s poems, was published by Arc Publications in 2023 (

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