Galina Rymbu

translated from the Russian by Jonathan Brooks Platt

 

life in space

 
 

*


life in limited space, making all space unreliable; beneath a cupola of trash, quick movements in search of white food; an overturned grocery truck, rain, mud flows that knock you off your feet; battered symbols on a shop sign about what’s been saved: what described, encircled the situation even before words, between absence and appearance – ligaments of grey time

 

*


something like knowledge sculptures with a face, transformed by an inner explosion; barrels of water at the station, in the dwindling state of things, under video surveillance; signs trade from stone to stone but no longer in the mind: the mind that leans, freed of signs, against a warm animal; the round light of a gradual body, a morning of touch in the throng of forms, when the camera in the drops of the face encloses the cut-up place

 

*


consciousness traced deep into the state of things, into a wall of sedge hovering over an industrial lake; explication puts the building at the district’s edge, calling the elevator of the body down into the mineshaft of thought; the depth of insufficient space, holding onto the curtain; the interface and lost time on strike, an industrial skull raised over the building, exposed floorboards; she’s still talking on the phone and getting the girl’s things together, he is obscured—closer to the wall

 

*


you can’t reduce everything to simple surface dynamics, the dynamics of becoming: when she transitions to her and from her to him, “all change requires some unexpressed surplus or residue, some non-relational component that allows objects to enter new relations”; in the republic of grey light, terrorism, in the rituals of the shopping mall, in a Nike track suit, in medicine and technologies; melting borders between the body and the environment, when you look back at yourself in her

 

*


dead money, real ale, and like before, the factory hums with no one there, embracing space, while people flow inside the idols of cameras, understood without space; cupolas deprived of the life of plants and the trumpets of nocturnal flowers, cut down somewhere outside the city; the 18-wheelers on strike along the highway and the green smoke that wafts from them; the sign of a destroyed factory and the creak and scream of a night farm; leaning on one of the trucks, men in hospital masks watch her body fall; when she took her by the shoulders in the white grass, she was still “him”, but she was moving toward me as “her”, and corridors of face-cameras came together above us

 

*


again movement is hammered into the earth and the worker-ruler drinks his old drink in the depths of a glacier; the black sun of the mountain sinks into the box of a seizure; you feel the remains of grass hugging your face; cold cameras in the face-drops, watching him become her in other depths, become the throng, the organic night substance of transition under the unpopulated sign of a knife; in open space, cutting into borders, illuminated by the cold flashes of small animal couplings, she observes him become her, and the desert of reaction overpowers his sleeping body



*


between absence and appearance the ligaments of grey time; what happened later – a lovers’ book made of plasma; a tanker raised above the water and a computer of thrashing fish; let these two go on talking above the heterotopia of exploded structures, while she\he is lying in the room, reflecting the law, and others unload bodies into the earth and stones beyond the city limits; this is a book, and you aren’t looking in the right place, in its direction, its plasma and moisture, crossing the desert of the sign with arrested thought, seeing them, her, become onto the dwindling surface, into the flaming interval   

 

*


they were invited, so they came, not completely sure of the existence of the people who ran the place, raising interchanges of animals and personal effects above the hidden colony, they went on, skirting past a forest of confused structures; she was touching a book where they stopped, still him, while he was walking with them, still their instrument, the hunger of migration in anticipation of place, the room that will reach them at some point, lying in the dwindling space with uncharged, old-fashioned cell phones, dusted with the light of nocturnal insects, gypsy fire; to become her, become this strange machine, not located in the space of the nation – or, so he thought, resting in some ditch outside hamburg, covering the camera in the drops of his face with his hands, protecting it from handfuls of flying earth – to become moist, with the flame of migration

 

*


seeing the tanker rise above the water he understands: it’s time to transition to her along this corridor, illuminated by the cotton light of small animal couplings, where people in military and civilian dress are sleep-walking; where a long discussion on the need for borders is taking place; people in military and civilian dress, not yet fully awake

 

*


something like knowledge sculptures with a hard face, transformed by an explosion; barrels of water at the station of the state of things, under video surveillance; signs trade from stone to stone: the mind freed of signs leans against a warm animal; this is a mother’s book or a tanker without a sign, raised above the water by the flatlands of the state; how many were inside you when she read it, when he said, “only communism brings words into motion and makes the body simple; you’re in your fear walking toward him and you expose the tanker of your face”

 

*


a device of fire and messages inside plant fibers; a blind bull dragged along a blue plane by flows of light, and you, riding in a confession machine above them, returned across one more interval to the empty lathe; but is there anything of ours there? what became possible in arrested thought

 

*


as if you’ve become (as she, as he) a needle, became this morning, piercing your sense of things; again, everything turns into a stitch: that you’re my mother or a book, immersed together in the sand of the face; camera drops collected by others of us, from our experience, thin shadows, organizing fire and clay, they bring you touch through an impossible moment, the sign missed in the real book

 
 

*


an imagined field, and a body lost on the borders of interrupted thought, becomes a map of the frozen surface of your breath; D. sinks his hands into a dog, still warm, and reaches a conclusion about thought, but the hum of new distributions casts him out and into their shared state; they meddle inside D. and raise the dog up, washing it with time, leaving it beyond sense, general sleep, reflected in the survived mind’s core; meanwhile, there, in the depths of the property owner’s sense of things, D. can do nothing, and a shudder rolls across his body, drawing up the map of his travels without end; the travels’ end is the dog’s appearance, to move as its stomach

 

*


the inside is weakly distributed; they decide to seize control of everyday sound and cover the glacier, become voice and glacier in simultaneous space, defeated by the warmth of the state of things; which after a second touch moves the glacier of mind toward the place without a sign, leaving it there; they made buildings out of trash, out of new labor forces, to have the option to stay here, but the hum of clarity was stronger than the limited space of voice and glacier, abandoned by dwindling thought; now the camera hugs the face and the rain itself pronounces “rain”, but differently; will it be like this for a long time, you asked, sinking your red fingers into the earth; while we lightly touch


 

*


living spaces, separated from the wild flows of air; the throng of the room, prepared in advance for a single sex, cannot withstand place; the wood fire of sense, pressing your body to the wall: how are you looking at it, closed up in the room of a distributed moment; the black dust of eyes, fragments of a mountain, suddenly gathering together into the mountain of the state of things, when the desert of reaction overpowers his sleeping body; sped-up sound, sending a molding of music to the guts of a calm piece of the earth; the acid of books gathered for the Byzantine divisions


 

*


moving from method to placement of what is excluded under the trash-cupola, in the shade of your stomach, abandoned by the fire of sense, they’re only an interval, seized by a detached moment of face, that is, camera sunk in the face; what was named before is idle, and in idleness it holds back the glacier of poor meaning

 

*


if we can still call this a sense of things, then they could stay here, among other forms; hidden by memory or loaded with highway interchanges of the future that removes the state of things layer by layer from dead tissue and unleashes regenerative processes right in the earth; the ones above have countless new receptors for what’s happening in the earth, in the twisted up roots, when her face approached, that is, the camera inscribed in the drops of her face, to accept us as neighboring transformations; what sees and what speaks are positioned in such a way that the meeting became possible

 

*


to be the state of things, the throng in the mirror of the Aral Sea floor; earthly, red, revolving around themselves, they move, raising up the sand like a second sky, regenerating their tissues; but the well of this desert was poisoned by a new radiance, while those who survived migrated; a thousand-year-old computer made from the skeletons of fish; oil flowing in thin streams from the mouth reading this message


 

*


we arrived here through two screens, as if it were true that you touched us, and we no longer need to think about machines, desire as machines; clay closes the horizon and sensation is pierced by the dry trumpets of plants; become two, we become no one, we lie from all directions, pressing into the earth, while the tanker raised above the water makes the sea hard; what was hidden in the time after movement becomes the first disturbance in the body’s room, prepared for a single sex; it rises, casting the stones of new animals into the deepening space; if you want a piece of the earth, speak it with yourself; the space for two or more is already burned up, so only one returns to life, just like before, using the lot of each to get rare water


 

*


directed movement and movement deprived of a state; mineshafts of memory where black skin glistens, the whites of children’s eyes move; the drive’s memory bursts before downloading into the general sense of things; particulars, sunk in conversation with their own reflections, travel roads of the grey sign, moving the dilapidated screen; thick dust comes from all directions as someone carves a feeling of the general out of the throng of forms, pounding a new station for the migrants into space, then leaving his sad hammer to cool in the valley of interchanges; those walking, their state, raise tankers above the water, making the camera in the face drops weep, reminding us of what adjoins the dwindling form – the gaze, rain at the foot of the mountain, steps of fire in the depth of sense, an overturned truck with groceries, rain pronouncing “rain”, she in him, the red rectangles of fish, beings in military and civilian dress; public speech is organized according to how one drills the hidden surface, upon which every stone knows its state, but you don’t

 

*


what does he feel, moving along the same route every day, what does she see without leaving the room of sense; time has passed since bodies, alienated from the forms they have produced, glowed with seizures, cleaving apart the arms of those moving under the sun’s influence; glacier and animal flow together in the fire of the state of things; things crowd one another, forming likenesses from language on that piece of the earth where something happened after you

 

 
 

Galina Rymbu was born in 1990 in the city of Omsk, Russia, and currently lives in Lviv, Ukraine. She is the author of the books Передвижное пространство переворота (Moving Space of the Revolution, 2014), Время земли (Time of the Earth, 2018), and Жизнь в пространстве (Life in Space, 2018). Her books in translation include White Bread (into English by Jonathan Brooks Platt, 2016), Kosmiskais prospekts (into Latvian by Einārs Pelšs, Arvis Viguls, and Dainis Deigelis, 2018), and Tijd van de aarde (into Dutch by Pieter Boulogne, 2019).

Jonathan Brooks Platt is an associate professor at the Higher School of Economics National Research University in St. Petersburg, Russia. He writes on topics including Stalin-era culture, representations of reading in Russian Romanticism, and the actionist tradition in Russian contemporary art. His monograph, Greetings, Pushkin!: Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard, appeared in 2017 through University of Pittsburgh Press and, in Russian translation, the European University in St. Petersburg Press. He is a widely-published translator of new Russian Left poetry, and he has collaborated on projects with a number of contemporary Russian artists. His current project, The Last Avant-Garde, examines the history of late/post-Soviet art in the context of the neoliberal revolution.