black pharmacopoeia / Fragments and Voices From the Green Notebook of G.R. and Georgiy / Kiev’s Answer: / boy

Frantisek Kupka, The Beginning of Life, c.1900. Courtesy WikiArt.

The Beginning of Life by Frantisek Kupka, 1900

black pharmacopoeia

who entered into the map of their moods
your childhood disgust,
the slippery palms of a river bed?

the medium trembles when we
appear in it

hello, I’m a beast,
a soundless beast
upon catching sight of me
empty nets of nature
flow downstream

on this earth
it’s no one’s business,
what we’ve said to each other.

invent me a car—“black pharmacopeia”
in the depths of sleep, in the adult pharma gloom,
where there’s sleepwalker-sounds, bodies-rattlings.
the car burns in the desert.
but you don’t have a lens. you don’t see.

invent me a body, taut, like the string of a bow,
instead of un-walkable mountains of fat,
and loose lumps of feelings,
imagine me a body,
abashed, like the glance of an aperture

hello, beast-ne’er-do-well, beast-pain,
melancholy’s beast, beast-psychosis,
dearest, you carry the end of time
on tail’s tip, your eyes
burn red
in the darkness of the adult pharma,
your palms, slippery as the auditoriums of a river bed, carry
the kernels of transformation


Fragments and voices from the green notebook of G.R. and Georgiy

Today the body consists of self-organizing “assemblages” and virtual surfaces (the specifics of which depend on the nature of its connection to its milieu). There is an erosion occurring between a body and environment, yours and a stranger’s, one body and many.

Due to this, the body is no longer represented in science and medicine by organs, skeleton, or fluids, but by complex “assemblages” such as: hormones, the immune system, neurotransmitters, microflora etc. What does it mean then to be in your own body? To be a body? To be in a body, in which it feels good to be?

the old world with its crumbling brown seats of Soviet buses, with its silhouette of a horse against an autumn field – found in a computer graphic; my body is in it, and the transfigured gaze of the melancholic embracing the damp ground of an empty lot, his chest – in “reality”, and his men against a cratered wall, knives in hand.

Queer-writing does not aim to obtain identity and subjectivity within language, within literature, or of expressing the specific experience of “non-normative” corporeality; instead it emphasizes the processual aspect of a given corporeality, the fluidity of identity, the complexity of interacting bodies, languages, affects and environments. Subjectivity becomes spectral, slippery, plasma. Queer-processes of reasoning, cognition, action and writing are oriented towards what speculative materialism refers to as a “twisted access to reality.” At the same time, we cannot reduce everything only to dynamics of the surface, of emergence; we must define a queer-materiality. Grab hold of this strangeness. Animals, cars, viruses, boxes, webs and nets, dis-embodied, strange, deadly and vital, imagining and imagined by each other, sniffing and licking, intaking and expelling, muddying the waters and writing nonsense.

repetition protects the pattern
once again tears of the forms flow down your face
your stomach is tired and collapses in your sleep
into a vivarium
your new body lies there quietly on the green earth
a bus slowly drives along it, carrying blokes from foreign lands

Georgiy’s dream (Georgiy’s birth out of himself):

Last night closer to morning I had a dream it’s as if I’m running away from someone between gray metallic garages the passageways between them narrow and whimsically morphing from one into another I have to squeeze between them I have no fear but there is a feeling of strange peril to be moving in a different way all of a sudden it becomes clear that the garages and the squeezing between them are cunts vaginas that is to say I am running squeezing through old hard gray metallic vaginas shifting from one into another and there’s no way I can be born as georgiy
out of myself.

The already solidifying puddle of blood in front of the store, as if it burst there, self-saturating – suddenly, red on solid, two bent staircases cut across the street in a strange way, hand-made from some kind of logs, a no-entry sign with a red and white ribbon, overturned and apparently no longer fulfilling any of its longstanding prohibitive functions, a pancake of ice between the even streams of the sidewalk, two flower shop women at their lonely kiosk repeat after each other: “flowers and flowers – are flowers, flowers – are flowers” a momentary celebration of an encapsulated, pure tautology; inscribed on the other side – in a different tangent of this tautology: is the parallelepiped of the Übermensch’s grave, summoned by the day from the scattering habitats of letters, four marked objects – just so, something was returning home late last night along several streaming streets, and a sudden clarity dawns, one where you realize that you are moving through this precinct, hearing your own footsteps alone and clear, as if catching up with themselves and merging incompatible temporalities into a Petersburg moment, in which the matter of stone moves faster than the sky.

there is something that you cannot see:
in us
blindness is allocated differently from sight,
forming a bundle of things on the bank of a dried up stream,
over the dead Aral and wood rot;
new life, new form – lacking the signs
they tear apart the road with their movement and drive desire
into a movement without a majority


Kiev’s Answer:

“Rymbu G.V. Sector 64640 city Dniprodzerzhynsk
dismissed to the reserve as of November 24, 1986
within the verified orders of the commander, outposting to the Chernobyl liquidation zone not listed”

- why are you so uptight when I stroke you,
despite the fact that you are on these pills,
why are you silent, as if holding your tongue in your teeth?

- because father sits inside me and moves his elbows from within,
he sees you, sees what is happening, but from the other side
of my belly, he is so small! and day after day hoists
small bags of flour, every month he fills out small salary forms,
but he doesn’t go home after work
doesn’t talk,
this is the problem - he just carries them senselessly back and forth …

he writes: i was in this zone I did something there,
which you, leftists, don’t do, in your ranks,
you don’t sing for us like the lăutari1 sing,
crooked legs stamping their joy into the ground

“Soon the bags will become altogether large,” dad thinks, sitting down on the abandoned railway,
he lights a smoke and takes out a bag of sweets from his pocket …


At night when I can’t sleep
I think roughly, as before: paradise is a mountain of free produce
and years of merry flatulence over disbanded committees,
production turned head over tail,
comfortable clothes without hype, normal weather, beer, wine,
and new bodily configurations, already without cunts, without dicks,
walking on their own on the planets of other galaxies;

these are sectors of doubt and uncertainty, sprouting into new social movements;
this is a fire without petrol; this is when skins, severed from the animals, return,
transport them back to the world of the living…

these are queer angels in empty city sewers,
playing on iron partitions.

this is a time without messages…

1 Traditional Romanian singers



what are you fucked by when you stare
in my direction as if in the direction of death
when your back caves in
like the back of a boy

the boy past my shoulder trembles besides me
while I sleep

they are all in your stomach

your tired eyelid
opens halfway in my
and compresses the brown road into vision crushing it
beats fire into your thin legs
and rustles a gray german camera
inside my pupil how
will he awaken
when the movement from your back leads
towards death

having taken that which no longer even lifts our eyelids
we would keep it within bodies that are washed before burning
when we went so crazy that the lymph couldn’t free itself from the crowd
closeness clinging like dirt

here’s a red movement
while you sleep
while I sleep
it occurs

staring at you
I want you the way an animal drowns
as my shroud sleeps between my legs
I ’d curl up at the feet with you
like an animal

the skin around your eyes is tired of time
impotence has dried out your lips
due to this world’s power
you don’t have a body

these roots you don’t have, I’d tear out
and plant within my slow memory
in this manner we’d fuck
I’d fuck right through you
I’d open your ass

these words are hidden

when you sleep I look at how the skin around your eyes
is tired how your breath moves towards time
how your back bends towards

you wake up and you say we need to laugh more
and I think how the lautari trample the earth into the earth
with wide feet         to fuck death
I want your tongue like a shovel
to mindlessly dig in my desert and fall
into sick water

in this country
in this spot where we live
there’s not enough salty
squirt water

Translated from the Russian by Alex Karsavin and Nataliya.

GALINA RYMBU is a poetess, critic, queer feminist, and freelance journalist. She was born in 1990 in the city of Omsk (Siberia, Russia) and currently lives in Lviv, Ukraine. She curated the Arkady Dragomoshchenko Prize (2015–present), and the exhibition House of Voices: At the Margins of Language (2014–15), which addressed the death of small languages in Russia. She is the Editor of F-Writing, a Russian online magazine dedicated to modern feminist literature and theory. In 2018, together with Ukrainian poet Yanis Sinayko, she founded the nomadic institute State of the Earth. In 2019 she participated in the 50th International Poetry Festival in Rotterdam, dedicated to the theme of the future. She has published 6 books: Moving Space of the Revolution (Argo-risk, 2014), White Bread (After Hours LTD, 2016, translator - Jonathan Brooks Platt) Time of the Earth (kntxt, 2018), Kosmiskais prospekts (Ozolnieki: Literature Without Borders, 2018), Life in Space (New Literary Review, 2018), Tijd van de aarde (Uitgeverij Perdu, 2019, translator — Pierrot Boulogne). She has published her poems in journals that include the New Literary Review, Air, Translit, N+1, Arc Poetry, The White Review, Berlin Quarterly, Music&Literature, Provins , Punctum, Helikopter , Círculo de poesía, Z9, Asymptote, Powder Keg etc. Her poetry has appeared in English, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Latvian, Sweden, Ukrainian, Greek, Polish translation. In 2017 she won the prize of the Literature Without Border festival (Latvia).