I’m screaming

lying alone

in this settlement



everything empty only emptiness

sex – is a desert




coming home from work

desiring on the shopfloor

or in the machine

or at some other labour of language

feel it: there’s nothing there only

a desert



coming home from work

I’m writing a letter to the first boy

why’d you deceive me, you know there’s nothing there



only a desert



I’m in the desert alone

and desire fades

laying sex bare like vision

like trembling

on the horizon is the body of a dry old man

this is my sex

this is my future



hundreds of animals will come and hump me

a tiger’s sperm leaps toward the clouds

monkeys lick my clitoris

but none of them will say:

‘sex is a desert’



in the garden of atavisms

lifting my skirt, leaning on the barbed-wire fence

barely discerning the face

in the wilds of bloody tears

I, weeping, will say: ‘look at what we were struggling for,

marching naked past parliaments,

penetrating with phalluses the offices of government.

no, there’s nothing there,

sex is a desert’



I love you

and your dead sex

still moves me

but when I love you

I feel: only a desert



the smooth temple of marriage bathed in wine gone bad

the raw looks of new lovers

the embraces of boys, covered with feces, tears

girls with black scars and bright dildos

baring their breasts before the river

of people dying



what were we struggling for?

why all these poems?



the dying camp of peoples in the depths of the analyst

you die with them, too, analyst,

saying: ‘Desert’

because there is no hidden pleasure in the desert



only sand

only heat

masturbation and solitude



only womanhood

only the desert



crowds of furious men, turning in their zinc coffins

crowds of men fondling, flying on a varnished bomb

the industry of depravity in space stations, the science of art in the bathhouse

all for nothing, procreation is only part of the desert



Kathy, Kathy, wanking off death,

I can’t see your face, there’s no dialogue, no strength to tell you how things stand

for you, you’re not here, Kathy, the body has no identity in the bitter printed word



the rod in a thrown open bible,

student marches little puddles of blood in a dark toilet,

where my farewell lament

addressed faded out

to the dead students and their movement




with knives stuck in the hips

with the tender kisses of events

I want to say: here is the event

sex, sex is dead, it’s leaving us

in the heat of sex, in the atavism of desire



on the tip of lilies unzipped in shuffled tarot cards

we lay in solitude

to count the money we got

for sex, for pain, for death,

to count the bites and bruises from dead lovers



armies of little neomorts,

storming the beds of our mothers and our children

with a shaved crotch, almost blind



I lie alone

in this settlement



the dead cock that protrudes from every philosophy

Alain Badiou fucking theories, numbers,

a weeping member, the cock of greasy philosophy

what are you good for, if you could only save us



in the depth of short orgasms, waiting: where is the network of pleasure?

on the seashore in a billboard I don’t fucking care I’ll stay

with my beloved with biceps and seagulls, with a silk dress and a rose in my hair

if only I don’t have to see this



how in the desert they eat my body

sex-objects, workers and liars,

and writers with open skulls,

retromodernists, writing shrill messages,

I want to say that my pus pain and blood

are not your pus pain and blood

I request that you do not confuse these aesthetics, these worms, these beds



little stars of little doctors

little empty illnesses

knife wounds inside the rendezvous

feeding feeding feeding

at the edge of love

rome rome rome with a price tag with a shrill libido



o, who could

guess these

are caravans of slaves coming to meet us?



like a feminist sad sticking out of a camel’s ass

confusing all the arts without desire without aim you left us

you burned down a pair of sex shops you’re crying in the autumn park with a bottle of cheap wine in your hand

because it’s all for nothing because sex is a desert



because you can’t say no



even if women piss on all the cathedrals

and men fuck themselves with a machine gun



there will be death there will be sex there will be poetry



there will be roses enflamed



there will be cocaine in paper wrappers and breakfasts



in the barn in bed



thin nets with a baby



rubbers with toys



you, my love,



texts with confessions



I am masturbating






sand in our bodies,



age, wind,



cleansing, hallucinations,



and you, you, you,



my love, who lies:



‘youth, fury, knowledge’



the contemplating anus

the furious anus minimalism of forms

for Russians who are still being flogged

and who are happy because they were born dead

and what else are the dead to do, there is time and it will hurt



but there is also a lyrical line:

I’m screaming

lying alone in this settlement

you borrow money from your comrades to get here

but there’s no road that will take you

fuck her and him, fuck others, but you won’t find your way to this settlement

talk to me through the wind through time but you’re not there

fuck me and you’re not here in this settlement

I’m lying alone

screaming: ‘sex is a desert’



the pluralism of opinions, contemplating: this is war,

crowds of people standing in front of the screen, where I say to you:

‘sex is war’,

but stay there alone and you will feel: sex is a desert



we fell dead

into the body of the enemy

of the lonely, at the edge, in the village



we grew up

into industry

into no one



So huge, this desert is so huge



This poem was selected for inclusion in the January 2016 Translation Issue by Daniel Medin, a contributing editor of The White Review. He is Associate Director for the Center for Writers and Translators at the American University of Paris, and an editor for The Cahiers Series and Music & Literature.


was born in 1990 in the city of Omsk (Siberia, Russia) and currently lives in St. Petersburg. She has published poems in the Russian Journals The New Literary Observer, Air, Sho, and in the Translit series. Her essays on cinema, literature, and sexuality have appeared on the internet portals Séance, Colta, and Milk and Honey. She is the author of the recently published collection Moving Space of the Revolution.

Joan Brooks is a writer and translator based in Pittsburgh, PA. Their interests include autoethnography, queer-communism, and the russophone world. They have translated a broad range of contemporary russophone authors, particularly leftist and queer-feminist poets, publishing in a variety of print and online journals and on their translation blog: They are also the author of Greetings, Pushkin!: Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard (Pittsburgh UP, 2016) and numerous scholarly articles.



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