Alexander Ulanov

The Night Was Born
April 19, 2013 Ulanov Alexander

The Night Was Born


This night was born in an old and dust-filled pantry, and yesterday’s – in the
shadow of a dandelion. But each of them – is a coffee bean consisting of two halves. And
into each, night worms make inroads. Not those prickly, electric ones that chew holes
into the sky during a thunder storm, then slither away into the stars. These are soft and
moist, like the tongue moving along the cheek’s surface. The night contains many holes,
and to be warmed by it, one must fold it over several times in half.

The older an object is, the faster it accelerates. The greater its momentum, the less
time it spends beside us – relative to its whole duration. Old objects barely manage to
notice us. Mountains move incredibly fast – that is why they strive upward, that is why
they are so heavy when they fall on us. And speediest of all is the ocean.

Memory does not return us, it permeates us. The oriole offers us droplets from the
wood. The sleep-infused threads sever slowly. The net is spread over the drying posts.
The smell of seaweed. I acquiesce to being transported – thus one enters the moving
carriage. The magpie clutches its own echo. To exist alongside duration and the axis of
movement, gathering gifts. A tangled fringe.



Эта ночь родилась в старом пыльном чулане, а вчерашняя – в тени одуванчика. Но
каждая из них – кофейное зерно из двух половин. И в каждой проделывают ходы ночные
черви. Это не те колючие электрические, которые проедают небо во время грозы, а потом
уползают в звезды. Эти мягкие и влажные, как язык, движущийся по щеке. В ночи много
дырок, и, чтобы согреться, ее нужно сложить в несколько раз.

Чем вещь старее, тем быстрее она движется. Тем больше ее разбег, тем меньше ее
время рядом с нами – относительно всего ее времени. Старые вещи едва успевают
заметить нас. Горы движутся очень быстро – потому так увлекают вверх, потому так
тяжелы, падая на нас. А быстрее всего движется океан.

Память не возвращает, а наполняет. Иволга приносит древесную каплю. Медленно
рвутся сонные нити. Сеть растянута на шестах. Запах водорослей. Я соглашаюсь быть
несомым – так входят в вагон. Сорока цепляется за свое эхо. Быть возле дления, собирая
дары. Путаная бахрома.




Translator: Alex Cigale‘s poems have appeared in Colorado, Green Mountains, North American, Tampa, and The Literary reviews, and online in Asymptote, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney’s. His translations from the Russian can be found in Ancora Imparo, Cimarron Review, Literary Imagination, Modern Poetry in Translation, PEN America, Brooklyn Rail In Translation, and Washington Square Review.  A larger selection of his translations of Alexander Ulanov is in the current issue of The Manhattan Review.  He is currently Assistant Professor at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Alexander Ulanov lives in Samara and works at Samara State Aerospace University. His books of poetry are Wind Direction (1990), Dry Light (1993), Waves and Ladders (1997), Displacements + (2007), Methods of Seeing (2012), and the book of prose Between We (2006). He has written more than 350 articles and book reviews about contemporary literature. He received the Andrey Bely prize for his criticism (2009) and was short-listed in the prose category in 2007, the same year he was a CEC ArtsLink Fellow at the IWP in Iowa. He is also himself a translator, of contemporary American poets, Dylan Thomas, and Paul Valery. Alex Cigale’s other translations of Ulanov’s prose poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Fourteen Hills, The Manhattan Review, Plume, Southeast Review, Talisman, and Washington Square Review.