Anfisa Osinnik

(Russia, *1957)
Five poems in translation by Johannes Beilharz

Amok II
Bio note



Renoir liked to enlarge women's eyes,
giving roundness to cheeks and lips.
Renoir liked to play with women's hair.
Excellent painter and magnificent hatter,
every hat in his pictures shouts:
I'm the spirit of nature!
When he mixed crimson, cobalt and cinnabar on his pallet,
the oil in the paint turned solar,
the sun took unceremonious walks on his canvases
without noticing the frame.
The day he died
was gray, gray, gray,
or maybe it wasn't,
or maybe he died at night.
But I think that his spirit,
looking at his own portrait
in the frame of the coffin, thought:
Here's my worst picture.
                                   Then the spirit fled,
                                   surely towards the sun,
                                   surely to step on women's hats,
                                   surely to portray angels
                                   with enlarged eyes,
                                   with round cheeks
                                   and fleshy lips.
                                   Of course the angels
                                   wear hats now;
                                   the angels like
                                   natural beauty turned spiritual.


Amok II

A Malay with a face of withered leaves
appeared in my dream.
Piercing my heart with a spear,
he said:
                                "This is amok."
Midnight is impenetrable.
I am midnight.
The stars
               are my wounds,
the moon is my throat ...
Give me, Malay,
                       the medicine
to heal my wounds
and silence the moon's
painful lament.
No medicine,
                   said the Malay,
will cure amok.
How do you heal wounds
when they are stars?
How can you silence the voice
when the moon is your throat?
I know all that, old fellow,
                              don't tell me ...
The solo of the moon in my throat,
in the dark star anise,
the bird
composes a chant
for me:



My hemispherical world,
between complexes of filth
and queen.
And your right-handed world,
and your global
oedipal mind ...




With Eve's putrefaction,
with Eve's depravity
Eve's apple becomes
the sapphire-colored
hermaphrodite flower,
the impossible
flower ...



Blasphemous, schematic, chafed, metallic, petroliferous,
striking me with its square elbows in my awkwardness,
with the gears of the soul and the skin of dusty rubber,
world of scrap metal, of ragpickers and remains of rusted words,
humming machines
                                  and rancid belches
from newspapers,
world of exact profiles
                           and faces
                                           of packers of

                          with your greyish crowds without
you work a lot, sweating machine oil.

I am your noumenon
                                 but     with the forearm
I erase the number,
all the way to the drawn suburbs of childhood, escaping by the
footpath, without stepping on the avenue,
                                    so that the adult asphyxias
cannot kill
that insignificant little ball I do not know because it lives in my soul:




              for the sun.



I say bird
You say song
I say sea
You say anchor
I say road
you interrupt me: road home.
Your body is surface,
surface without secrets, without tides
my body is secret,
shipwreck to all your ships
you say bird
I say bullet
You say sea
I tear down the word with the wave.
You say road.
The sea has no roads.


Anfisa Osinnik was born in Siberia, Russia, and studied at the Maxim Gorki Institute  for Literature in Moscow. She has been living in Rancho Viejo, Veracruz (Mexico) for fourteen years. Her first poetry collection in Spanish, Dialectos del Fuego, will be published in Mexico in 2003.   


English translation 2003 by Johannes Beilharz. Published by kind permission of Anfisa Osinnik and Miguel Andrade Huerta.

International Poetry | Forum | Index | Contact