Bela Shayevich, Ainsley Morse

From Kholin 66

ISSUE 76 | BAD JOBS | JUN 2017

She died in the barracks at age 47—

No kids.
She was a men’s bathroom attendant.

Why did she live?

* * *

They met at the Taganka stop.
He spent the night at her apartment.

He’s a funeral bureau accountant
She’s a nurse in the birthing department.

* * *

One guy says I’m a genius

I say

That’s definitely true

Others say
I’m a hack
And I agree with that

A third says

I killed a guy
Indeed, I nod
Everything people say about you

Is the truth
From nothing

* * *

You may think

This shining Object
Is a washing


I’m not what I seem

I’m a poet
The only
Man on Venus

My parents
Are loudspeakers

My buddies
Are light switches

My best friend
Is a blender

* * *

Igor Kholin (1920-1999) began writing poems in the early 1950s and became a fairly big fish in the very small pond of unofficial literature. His renown grew in step with the gradual collapse of the Soviet Union, but for him it was too little, too late — he’d mostly moved on to trading in antiques.

Kholin 66 presents a selection of analytical, aphoristic entries from Kholin’s 1966 diary, as well as a few poems written during the same time (the ones given here include some of the earlier 1950s “barracks poems”).

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