‘Abecedary of Despair’ by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

Abecedary of Despair

A:
.                                      architecture
.                       of your face
.         traps of the eyelashes
.                                    arches of the brows
.               breath, advances of the lips
.                       and apathy of the eyes

B:
.                     absolute nonsense
.not on the subject
.         Byronic buffoonery
.        to wade beyond the faded tower
.            white bulls for the poor
.                    fables, deliriums

C:
.                             precious blazes are dying
.                     pigeon circus escaped
.                          innocent laughter or cry
.              Philistines, Cretans, long way away
.      nests of lethargic snakes under foot
.          cyclone, and screeches of loons

D:
.                                      drowsiness, afternoon rest
.                              in a dense oak-grove
.                    if managed to make a vow
.                                      done! point a pole
.                   over the olden Mirgorod
.                                      don’t lag behind, go!

E:
.                daily indolence
.  bunch of dried valerians
.           nightly whisper in thorny bushes
.                    the curse of text
.                       troubled flight of sea terns
.   cruel good fortune

F:

.             nicotine traces on the finger, yellow frame
.of a ring, two wrinkles across forehead
.             locking the door, wait for – tails or heads
.                              a word born from silence
.                           tears, blames, fear of loss, silence again
.                                      lost and found jail

G:
.               a desire to get alive
.                      stings, gills and jowls
.   somebody’s strange body
.           in wondrous gentle yours
.              veins of disgrace on yellowish skin
.             the same – grief and mildness

H:
.                                                                           shrivelled idol
.                             sour beer, tainted vodka, sheer spirits
.distant grey clouds, blizzards and pouring showers
.                                        rivers overgrown with duckweed
.       cubical town disappearing beyond the hill
.                  forgotten arrears, new debts of the day

I:
.                           passionate kiss through shut eyes
.                 magical lying dreams
.                                   in a moment between husky and wolf
.on the deck of sea liner
.                     in a chaise lounge of the days
. sailing by the labyrinth of the lazy ice bliss

J:
.             innocent strangers in jungles, again as one and for all
.started to clamber by the majestic ladder
.                                               of Jack the Ripper
.                      Mars in tears of jalouse, Venus constantly jabbers of
.                      the invisible project
.                                           jam jar tomorrow

K:
.sadness of the empty skulls
.           stately flesh trunks, a peat bog is on fire
.                    a strong cocktail for the road
.              on the vast market square, under the green monument
.                                   sparkling epithets
.          just don’t look back!

L:
.                                          islands of small celebrations
.             surrounded by cold ocean
.                                   of dull waiting
.                       of Marco Polo, Columbus
.                                        at least Vasco da Gama
.       by the midday trembling of waves

M:
.silence of a mobile, SMS, Skype, comments and mails
.              up growth of mirages during the plague
.                 prize for dumbness, columnist’s dream
.           on the road to Moscow, a prayed highway
.                    hobos, tramps and freaks
.                            be calm, look better before and leap, keep silence

N:
. the waves of strong wings
.                 over the dozen seas
.   curvature of the continents
.               touch of the gentle hands
.  waving good bye, moon blindness
.          promising to return

O:
.        Saturday silver is brought
.                           to each comer. a quick sense is composed
.              snow is drifting on candles
.        the neighbours are gossiping, then go to sleep
.                   you dreams for their dreams through the wall
.                     remaining yourself

P:
.aerial burial mound, peace
.                          full of pearls
.                 from the top to the bottom
.                              earsplitting consonances in the morning
.  of the ducks lined up in the sloping lines
.          falling into the plate of the sun

Q:
.     it is true that in the acquisition of English metaphysics
.  evident by a number of quotes
.                           in their exquisite philosophical speculations
.      in chilling answers to questions
.                            of the uniqueness of human beings
.                              there is quite a violence for the spirit of poetry

R:
.           an instruction to the healing rite is lost. a patient
.stands face to face with the blind priest
.                                                he capers, calling for
.                     a dark bird, the lady of rain
.        a goal is achieved with the sunrise
.                                                  light variations are possible

S:
.                                       suitcase filled with black-wood
.         with ivory, opals, pearls, precious nonsense, dried grass
.     with the colonial wonders
. in the hands of a magician, shopkeeper, a salesman
.              wandering to the east and the south
.              he will be back with six months

T:
.later, enjoying hot chocolate, fresh bread
.                                    just not a Madeleine! decided to walk
.astride. no one in the chalets. last season is finished. new season
.      is not open yet. terrible thought
.                      may be too hasty decision
.            the journey’s completed

U:
.in the next time would be no next time. the present
.        still possible, but a tatter watch for completely
.                      new stuff
.          women are put on by the habit to birth
.        forbidding mourning valediction. Forbidding
.                             touch forgiveness

V:
.gold fishes swim through the salted waves
.            rust eats iron behind the closed valve
.                        azure pours onto the canvas
.                                             blackbirds have flown until
.     the autumn. the language of iced river of nonsense
.                              white lies for the convicts, breakage of bonds

W:
.        September. borrowed memories, feeling a pain
.it’s just a headache. a waste. to breath,
.           to scream, to howl, blocking the memory
.               fretted trees’ worlds underneath
.       drunken summer, while the profile of sailing ship
.       disappears. a runaway thought

X:
.                      soufflé of oxymorons, existential bodies
.                moved by an exemplary evacuation from the height
.a poet in front of the next word
. composes epitaph to rex. not a word
.                                         expanding out
.              giving up the noxious feelings

Y:
.    miniature of an elephant, a yellow camel or another beast
.   paint so worn there is no way to say for sure which one
.       an animal carries the kingly lovers. its moves provide
.      further pleasure for the royal couple
.   an observer on the boundary line
.                      a face is hidden by the veil. the hands are white

Z:
.       again distinguishing you. a bizarre look
.repeating over the glass, summarising
.                                      each day, hazardous poison
.                                                  vocalised copy
.                        an unmelodious terzetto. a drop of eternal
.                                      life. recognised myself at last

-Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya

‘АБЕЦЕДАРИЙ ОТЧАЯНИЯ’ by Татьяна Бонч-Осмоловская was originally published in НОВОЕ ЛИТЕРАТУРНОЕ ОБОЗРЕНИЕ, (New Literary Review), a print journal with online republication of most of the texts. ‘АБЕЦЕДАРИЙ ОТЧАЯНИЯ’ was originally written in Russian and translated into English by Tatiana. ‘АБЕЦЕДАРИЙ ОТЧАЯНИЯ’ was published in the on-line version of НЛО: http://magazines.russ.ru/nlo/2011/110/bo1.html. ‘АБЕЦЕДАРИЙ ОТЧАЯНИЯ’ (‘Abecedary of Despair’) by Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya has been published in issue 21 of Rochford Street Review in both Russian and English with Tatiana’s permission.

Read the original in Russian: ‘АБЕЦЕДАРИЙ ОТЧАЯНИЯ’ by Татьяна Бонч-Осмоловская
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Tatiana Bonch-Osmolovskaya
is an artist, writer and translator with a background in natural science. Tatiana was born in Simferopol in Crimea. Tatiana studied physics in Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, received a Candidate of philology degree from Moscow State Humanitarian University, and a PhD degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in the area of contemporary Russian experimental poetry. She is a member of the Union of Russian Writers and Russian PEN Centre. Tatiana is the author of ten books of prose, poetry and translations, including Introduction into the literature of formal restrictions (Samara: Bakhrakh-M, 2009, in Russian), Idti legko (New York: Stosvet Press, 2011, in Russian), and Istoki istiny (Moscow: Art-Haus Media, 2015, in Russian). She co-edited the anthology Freedom of restriction in Russian. Her poetry written in English has been published in Can I tell you a secret?, Across the Russian Wor(l)d, Bridges Anthologies, London Grip, The Disappearing, Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, and The POEM. Tatiana awards include the Symmetry Festival (Budapest, 2003), International Burlyuk Mark (2009), Booknik’s short story contest (Moscow, 2009), Okno literary journal (2010), Nora Gal literary translation contest (short list, 2015), Novyi Mir literary contest for Osip Mandelstam anniversary (2015), and Russian Prize contest (long list, 2015). Tatiana has participated in 30 art exhibitions in Russia, Europe, USA, and Australia, including personal exhibitions in Russia and Australia. She is interested in the representation of strict mathematical forms in arts; in ordered and chaotic structures; in writing and creating art objects on formal language and literary restrictions. Tatiana is also a researcher and an organiser of cultural projects.

 

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About Zalehah Turner

Zalehah Turner is an Associate Editor at Rochford Street Review and regularly contributes articles on poetry, art, film and new media. She also reviews for the Culture section of UTS magazine, Vertigo. She is a Sydney based poet, writer and critic currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her poems have appeared on the ticker wall in Federation Square, Melbourne as part of the Overload Poetry Festivals 2008 and 2009, exhibited at Mark and Remark at 107 Projects in May 2013, displayed in Adelaide and Canberra through the Australian Poetry Café Poets’ program and electronically published in conjunction with Writing Laboratory and Sotto.