Again, the milieu is enraged,
but the food’s taste’s unchanged,
and water’s keen to spew its wrath
without leaving the mouth.

Isn’t there something we could do
in spite of such sad trends,
by joining ranks without ado
with our like-minded friends?

It can be anything at all
our friends and we could do,
join ranks, lock arms and walk awol,
hobo abreast of hobo.

The cage door shuts no matter what,
there’s no more “no,” nor “yes.”
Truthless, the world ends in the twat
of its big universe.

So, what’s the moral? Must we pass,
submissive biomass,
like herds regurgitating grass,
silent into the past

as powerlines stretch in long strands
toward a nowhere night
and overhead a band of clouds
floats perilously bright?

Translated from the Russian by Philip Nikolayev


Yuli Gugolev is a poet, translator, and television personality born in 1964 in Moscow; TV-host of the foodie-program “Moscow in Your Plate” at the TV-channel Moscow 24, he is the author of four books of poetry: Polnoe: Sobranie sochineniy (Complete: Collected Works; Moscow: OGI, 2000); Komandirovochnye predpisaniya (Official Instructions; Moscow: Novoe izdatelstvo, 2006), which won the Moscow Score prize for 2007; Estestvenniy otbor (Natural selection; Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie,2010; Miy drugoi (Us is the other one), Novoe izdatelstvo, 2019). In 2008, Gugolev was one of three poets invited to give a series of bilingual readings around the United States sponsored by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation in conjunction with the release of Contemporary Russian Poetry: An Anthology from Dalkey Archive Press, (2008).Yuli Gugolev’s poems were also translated and published in Crossing Centuries, Talisman House Publishers, 2000. He has translated poems by Alice Fulton, Tony Hoagland, and A.E. Stallings (Modern American Poetry, an Anthology, Moscow: OGI, 2007),by Tom Paulin (Peashes and Diesel, Six Irish Poets. B.S.G.-PRESS, 2000); and by Patrick Kavanah (Irish Literature in Russian Translation, issue 1, Dublin: Trinity College, 2012).


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