CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
Two Episodes from God May Be All Around
Alexander Vvedensky
translated by Eugene Ostashevsky


Episode One

VENUS, sitting in her broken-down bedroom and trimming her last nails:
When one rapscallion didn’t come on to me,
I felt the years come onto me.
He was mustachioed and graceful
and, as a dream is, he was tall.
There was some kind of weather happening,
monsoon, sirocco, or mistral.
          A dead gentleman runs in.
I think I have become eroded,
I was as beautiful as a rodent,
but now I feel outmoded.
Yes, I was beauty itself but now
my belly has distended down,
my belly button rubs the hairy zone.
How noisome my carcass has become.
Bristle disfigures it, and pimples.
I sniff the air with my nostrils.
It’s horrible to be alone.
A dead gentleman runs in.
Now my thoughts’ quorum           
increasingly tends towards decorum.                       
Why should a couple of lepers have
their clothes off when carousing,
love each other on trunks, on trunks,
men and women in trousers.                                   
Lordie, something will happen, something will happen.
A dead gentleman runs in.
I’ll take a beeswax candle
and run teach at the river, where
dark is the sole sail
and fire plays among the hair.
            A dead gentleman runs in.

FOMINE
Save me Venus,
this is the other world.           

VENUS
What are you saying dear soul?

FOMINE
Hope, Sophia, Charity, and Faith
once gave me advice.

VENUS
Why do you need advice. Here’s a breast.           
Lie down. Rest.

FOMINE
Sneeze Venus.

Venus sneezes.

FOMINE
So this isn’t the other world.

VENUS
Let’s, let’s lie down on the mattress,                                   
and be each other’s heart’s witness.

FOMINE
But I am headless.           
I might look like a Cossack
but my tongue’s missing.

VENUS, disappointed:
Oh what a mess,           
And that other thing you also lack,                                   
I suppose.           

FOMINE
Do you mind if we don’t talk about it. It bothers me. Impotent-shimpotent. Who cares. That’s not why I died, to have to do everything all over again.           

VENUS
Okay, okay, go to sleep.

FOMINE
But what will happen when I awaken?

VENUS
Nothing will happen. Everything will stay the same.

FOMINE
But will I at least see the other world?

VENUS
Go to hell.

Fomine sleeps. VENUS washes and sings:

I love boys
that have eleven fingertoys
and I don’t want to die.

And so I’m gonna live like a beast. Watch me moo.           

The goddess Venus moos
but God in heaven is mute.
He does not hear her lowing.
Silence stays everywhere unflowing.

FOMINE, waking up:
What is this, a cowshed or something. I better get out of here.

                        Lower the gangplank, hey you on board!
                        I’m going to look for the ways of the Lord.

VENUS
I wish somebody’d pull down your knickers and snip off what you ain’t got. Run along, run along.

A dead gentleman runs in.









Episode Two

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
Please please,
come in.
I snow sit crumble.                                   
My uncle, my progenitor
left to see the pencil.

FOMINE
Can it be. You are alone. You are heaven.           

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
As you can see I’m here alone
graceful on the table like halva,           
I love you all the way down,           
get a revolver.           

FOMINE
You approve of me. That is superlative. Here is how happy I am.

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
Sergey, Ivan and Mitya and Vladislav,           
embrace me tighter in coils of love.           
I don’t know why I’m afraid, I’m elegant,
but everything around me is so terrible,
kiss my cheeks.

FOMINE
Rather your slipper. Rather your slipper. I do not deserve any better. Idol. Goddess. Goddess. Idol.

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
You joshin’ me, am I so godly. I got a nose like a doorbell and my eyes are slits. I’m jus’ a regular fool.

FOMINE
Oh please, for a man in love like myself everything seems better than it actually is.

To me your splendid panties have the looks
of wings,
whereas your speeches are like the books
of the best-selling novelist Anatole France.
I am in love with you.

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
My golden Fomine. My watering can.

Fomine kisses and takes her. She yields to him of course. It is possible that one more person comes into being.

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
Oops I think we just made a wee mess.

FOMINE
Only dogs and cats can make a wee mess. But we’re people.

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
I would like to have a go at it again. 

FOMINE
So what. How I love you. I’m kind of bored.

SOPHIA MIKHAILOVNA
My angel. My paladin. You are departing. When are we gonna see each other.

FOMINE
I’ll be back some time.

Weeping, they embraced.

Fomine went outside, and Sophia Mikhailovna came up to the window to watch him. Fomine went out into the street and began to make water. Sophia Mikhailovna blushed at the sight and said happily, Just like a birdie, just like a baby.

 

—1931