The Two-Headed Man and the Paper Life
was once a two-headed man. He sat at an office desk and wrote down
somebody's fate. Employees went to and fro carrying folders full of
everyday-ness. Peeping in, a little girl shuddered with convulsions,
and shrieked, 'What's this HORRIBLE THING doing here?'
The girl was taken away and treated
for hallucinations; guards were stationed at the doors.
This tale is told merely for the
edification of those who enjoy peeping through the key-holes of their
Centre of the Universe
The red comb of that pheasant is the centre of the
universe. The pheasant moves and sometimes even flies, and the centre
of the universe shifts about with him. Why this particular pheasant,
you ask, and why his comb? But the One Who Knows The Answers has
already shrugged his shoulders, the movement causing his grey comb to
shake at the same time.
Careful with Kites
flying a kite in the long-suffering heavens, you never know what you
may catch. If it's a dead bird or a piece of aircraft metal, no
problem. But supposing a snag gets caught, or, God forbid, the moon?
Our daring kite-flier will then find himself in direct and prolonged
connection with the skies.
And it isn't so far the case that, should he
finally decide to release the kite, it won't give chase to him.
James Bond retired and settled in the Soviet Union
– for whose break-up he was responsible. His pension was delivered to
him by pigeon-post from Yorkshire. On Tuesdays, the former 007
attended party members' meetings, and made recordings with a
tape-recorder embedded in a cigarette. The meetings ended with the
singing of theInternationale but
James Bond, on principle, murmured through his grey moustaches, 'God
Save the Queen'. 'Here's our comrade from the developing republics
singing out of tune,' said the nimble old men, in their Pioneer ties,
patting Bond lovingly on his cast-iron shoulders.
At first, the Montagues and Capulets were friends.
But then there arose a disagreement concerning the style of their hats.
When aesthetics are involved, mountains of dead bodies will follow
difficult to be on friendly terms with your friends. All could be well,
were it not for their nice habit of working with scissors.
'More tea?' my friend asks kindly, trimming my
left ear. 'Some vodka perhaps?' the other friend adds, simultaneously
cutting off my surplus chin.
Crawling away, completely bandaged, I take to my
bed at an unknown enemy's place, and when people approach me I make a
hideous animal face, so as not to tempt them to sudden friendship.
alarm-clock bomb rings up like an uninvited guest and offers you an
experience of ravaged Nirvana. There's nothing you can do except sing
it the pointless song, 'May there always be me.' Sometimes the
alarm-clock looms up first, quietly ticking in the doorway. It's better
that you hear it.
from the Russian by Carol Rumens
published in Blind Spots by Carol Rumens, Seren, 2008; Friendship
till Death first published in ''The Liberal'', April/May 2007, England)