Gleb Shulpyakov

Moscow! a fireproof box
of my heavenly recompense—
a polished hog went missing
in the weeds of the barren square.

Capital lions stride through
Roman ruins on the Manezh,
high-rise cranes carry transoms
of hotel "Moscow" into the sky.

You put on a rubber raincoat
and never touch the ground.
I was an unskillful storyteller:
palms in brick dust.

Sew me up, like a military
package in some lining—Moscow!
and race into the sky, like prisoners
from half a century ago, clouds.

translated from the Russian by Christopher Mattison

Read the original in Russian

Gleb Shulpyakov is a poet, prose writer, and essayist. He was born in Moscow, graduated with a degree in journalism from Moscow State University, and currently lives in Moscow, where he serves as chief-editor of Novaya Yunost (New Youth), a literary magazine.  He is a translator of Ted Hughes, Robert Hass, and W. H. Auden's poetry into Russian. Shulpyakov's books of travel essays, Persona Grappa and Uncle's Dream, were published in Russia in 2002 and 2005.  He is also the author of the guide Cognac, and novels The Book of Sinan (2005), Tsynami (2008), and Fez (2010).  His first full-length book of poetry, The Flick, was published in Russia in 2001, the same year he was awarded a Triumph Prize for his poetry. His most recent collection of poetry is Acorn (2007).

Christopher Mattison graduated with an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Iowa and is currently a senior editor at the Chinese University Press in Hong Kong.  His translations and original work have appeared in such journals as 6x6, Jacket, Kenyon Review, The Poker, Modern Poetry in Translation, St. Petersburg Review, Two Lines, and Ars Interpres. His books of translation include Dmitri Aleksandrovich Prigov's 50 Drops of Blood in an Absorbent Medium (Ugly Duckling Presse) and the forthcoming Eccentric Circles: Selected Prose of Venedikt Erofeev (Twisted Spoon Press).