Andrey Voznesensky: Nostalgia for the Present-Real

I don't know about the others,
But I for one feel the most strict
nostalgia, not for the past but
nostalgia for the present moment.

As though a penitent seeking God,
but access is only to the ferryman—
just so I am pleading for access.

As though I've created something odd,
or perhaps not even I—but others.
I'll collapse in the meadow and sense
a nostalgia for the living grass.

No one will separate you and I.
But when I embrace you in my arms,
I embrace you with such longing,
as though I will be deprived.

The doors of my tool shed flung wide
open into the garden won't redeem 
my isolation. I long not for great art;
I am deprived of air for the present.

When I hear the selfish tirades
of a fallen, misguided comrade,
I seek not a likeness but the original,
and pine for him, for the real.

All's formed of plastic, even the pilgrim's
tattered rags. I'm bored of living in
a sketched draft. You and I will not exist
in the future but the little country church....

And when the idiotic mafia laughs
I tell them straight in their face:
"You were idiots—in the past.
In the present, understanding grows."

Black water splashing from the faucet.
Orange water, stale, splashes also,
Rusty water sprouts from the spout.
Wait long enough—the real comes out.

What's past is past. All for the best.
But when I taste, like mystery,
nostalgia for the real-present,
what eventuates, I can't catch it.

Translated from the Russian by Alex Cigale and Dana Golin


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