Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Maria Stepanova

The women\'s changing room at "Planet Fitness"

There’s nothing shared, besides the warmth and wool,
Identic keys and the nine openings,
Filled with what? with damp, delight, and shit;
Covered with the mouth; closed up with sleep.
Clotted: blood, tears, children and sulfur.
Surrounding: the essence or a stranger’s flesh.
With my own nine I drop by and sit down
To strip. Stood to be a bit. And I set off to float.

Rosy and yellow, plump as infants,
Bare – naked – in a towel down to the ears –
The flocks of maiden-eaters slice through the floor.
Each goes into the shower, languidly drooping its trunk.
It needs, like types of wine and breeds of partridges,
Either a classifica-, or just curiosi-:
There the collarbone layers; there the shoulderblade sails.
Each lift of the sole must be logged in the register.

Soon there’ll be no more such. Soon they’ll find a second shift.
Here they’ll stretch velvet across, there they’ll rebuild a stage,
For the collocation of bone, skin and black plaits
The guests will marvel, not hiding their tears.

Benefit for the young-handsome
Or the ugly-good
Plays in the kindergarten:
Touches your plum,
Communes in the pear,
Collects water in its mouth:
Incoherent, whittled winter will inherit,
And the animal of reason won’t recognize its brother.

This watery column can turn to ice,
Reason to infection and the air to gas,
Lovey-Doveys in a close-ranked wall
Will start to march through the sheds.
And the door that used to open onto the swimming gob,
Will open to littleness, like a zipper on the hip.
And we’ll step out of slippers, crowns and watches,
Out of our complaced rags, nails and voices.

And once they’ve torn off the lock, a crowd of souls will pour
into our nostrils, mouths and ears
like a steampuff from a teapot.

But, like in forest school, the excess of creams,
Mouths and hair, muscles and underarms keep rustling.
Shame and the autotan, just like a vixen’s lair, (autotan)
Regard the body’s surface through the lenses of pores.
But, like in a cattle car where, cramped and with profanity,
The quadrants of steam and the long wail wander,
Untrespassing, the sky becomes a brother.
And someone in the shower room sings.

In Pioneer camps, in the indigo shorts of July,
First dipping, then lifting the flag,
The first I, brow-knitted, like a bullet,
Takes the initial step.
And squinting the landscape, as a fist crumples paper,
I gaze at him almost like the skies. And I’ll lie down,
Like that ball lightning, on the fields –
With one turn of the wheel.

Vrouwenkleedkamer van de club \'Planeet Fitness\'

Buiten warmte en vacht hebben we weinig dingen
Gemeen: de sleutels, een negental openingen,
Vollopend met, ja waarmee? vocht, zoetigheid, stront;
Gesloten door slaap; geproefd door een mond.
Brouwen doen ze: bloed, tranen, nageslacht, zwavel.
Omvatten doen ze: het wezen of andermans vlees.
Ik die met mijn eigen negen hier binnenwandel,
Me te ontkleden zit. Te zijn sta. Te zwemmen pleeg.

Net uit de kluiten gewassen baby’s, roze en geel,
Moedernaakt – poedelnaakt – handdoek tot aan hun keel,
Rijzen de maagdenstammen bij bosjes weer op en gaan
Door naar de douche, draaien loom aan de kraan.

Net als bij wijn en gevogelte zijn er soorten en maten,
Anatoom of voyeur, noteer die afwij - verschei -
Schouderbladen als zeilen, sleutelbenen als platen,
Voetwreef voor voetwreef, toe, zet ze maar op een rij.

Straks is het anders. Zeg maar dag tegen zulke vrouwen.
Men gaat de boel herstofferen en het toneel verbouwen.
Er worden nieuwe sets van huid en vlechten aangevoerd,
Straks kijkt een gast zijn ogen uit, tot tranen toe geroerd.

Elke vaste-onvaste,
Een schattie, een schunnie
Mag van kinderen smullen.
Pruimen om te betasten,
Peren als een communie,
Vocht om zijn mond te vullen.
De winter zal het erven, een bondloos ornament,
Geen van de dierenhersenen die nog een broer herkent.

Deze waterstraal wordt een ijzelpaal,
Het verstand verstomt en de lucht wordt vuur,
En die duifjeswijfjes stampen massaal
In gesloten rijen van schuur naar schuur.
En de deur naar de zwemclub gaat in een flits
Op een kier, gedeeltelijk, als een rits,
En we treden uit sloffen, uurwerken, klemmen,
Overlappende lappen, nagels, stemmen.

En bij de openingen, als stoom die plots ontsnapt,
Gaan zielen zich verdringen,
De luiken ingetrapt.

Maar het lijkt wel een bosschool: het ruist nog, dat vele vlees,
Crèmes, lippen, vullingen, spieren, oksel en pees,
Spray tan en gêne, in elke porie verscholen,
Spieden de vlaktes af, net vossen in holen.
Maar als in een veewagon vol gestamp en stampij,
Waar het vierkant walmt en aanhoudend loeit,
Is je broer de hemel van overtredingen vrij,
Zingt een stem waar het douchewater vloeit.

Blauwe onderbroek, zomerkamp, maand julij.
Nu eens met vlag en wimpel, dan stram en schrap,
Zet, zo stuurs als een kogel, het ik van mij
Zijn eerste stap.
En het plaatje verfrommelend in mijn vuist,
Kijk ik toe, haast hemel zijnde. En kom
Op het landschap af als een vuurbal, – juist,
De knop gaat in één keer om.

Женская раздевалка клуба "Планета Фитнес"

Общего ничего, кроме тепла и шерсти,
Одинаких ключей и девяти отверстий,
Наполняемых чем? влагой, сластью, говном;
Накрываемых ртом; закрываемых сном.
Выпекающих: кровь, слезы, детей и серу.
Окружающих: суть или чужую плоть.
О девяти своих я захожу и села
Снять. Постояла быть. И направляюсь плыть.

Розовы и желты, крупные как младенцы,
Голышом – нагишом – по уши в полотенце –
Стайки деводерев пересекают пол.
Каждое входит в душ, томно склоняя ствол.
Нужно, как виды вин и сорта куропаток,
То ли классифици, то ли полюбопы:
Вот пластины ключиц; вот паруса лопаток.
Нужно занесть в реестр каждый подъем стопы.

Скоро таких не станет. Скоро доставят смену.
Здесь перетянут бархат, там перестроят сцену,
На сочетанье кости, кожи и черных кос
Будут дивиться гости, не пряча слез.

Впрок молодой-красивый
Или дурной-хороший
В детском саду играет:
Трогает твою сливу,
Причащается груше,
Воду ртом собирает:
Безсвязная, резная наследует зима,
И брата не узнает животное ума.

Этот столб водяной может стать ледяной,
Разум заразой и воздух газом,
Голубки-Любки сомкнутою стеной
Замаршируют по лабазам.
И дверь, что открывалась на плавательный куб,
Откроется на малость, как зиппер на боку.
И выступим из тапок, коронок и часов,
Из соположных тряпок, ногтей и голосов.

И в ноздри, рты и уши, как с чайника дымок,
Толпой повалят души,
Сорвавшие замок.

Но, как в школе лесной, все же шумит излишек
Кремов, уст и волос, мышц и подмышек.
Автозагар и стыд, словно лисицы нор,
На поверхность тела глядят в окуляры пор.
Но, как в скотском вагоне, где в тесноте и матом,
Бродят квадраты пара и долгий вой,
Непреступное, небо становится братом.
И кто-то поет в душевой.

В пионерлагерях, в синих трусах июля,
То упираясь, то поднимая флаг,
Первое я, насупленное, как пуля,
Делает первый шаг.
И хмуря пейзаж, как мнут в кулаке бумагу,
Почти небесами гляжу на него. И лягу,
Как та шаровая молния, на поля –
В один оборот руля.
Close

The women\'s changing room at "Planet Fitness"

There’s nothing shared, besides the warmth and wool,
Identic keys and the nine openings,
Filled with what? with damp, delight, and shit;
Covered with the mouth; closed up with sleep.
Clotted: blood, tears, children and sulfur.
Surrounding: the essence or a stranger’s flesh.
With my own nine I drop by and sit down
To strip. Stood to be a bit. And I set off to float.

Rosy and yellow, plump as infants,
Bare – naked – in a towel down to the ears –
The flocks of maiden-eaters slice through the floor.
Each goes into the shower, languidly drooping its trunk.
It needs, like types of wine and breeds of partridges,
Either a classifica-, or just curiosi-:
There the collarbone layers; there the shoulderblade sails.
Each lift of the sole must be logged in the register.

Soon there’ll be no more such. Soon they’ll find a second shift.
Here they’ll stretch velvet across, there they’ll rebuild a stage,
For the collocation of bone, skin and black plaits
The guests will marvel, not hiding their tears.

Benefit for the young-handsome
Or the ugly-good
Plays in the kindergarten:
Touches your plum,
Communes in the pear,
Collects water in its mouth:
Incoherent, whittled winter will inherit,
And the animal of reason won’t recognize its brother.

This watery column can turn to ice,
Reason to infection and the air to gas,
Lovey-Doveys in a close-ranked wall
Will start to march through the sheds.
And the door that used to open onto the swimming gob,
Will open to littleness, like a zipper on the hip.
And we’ll step out of slippers, crowns and watches,
Out of our complaced rags, nails and voices.

And once they’ve torn off the lock, a crowd of souls will pour
into our nostrils, mouths and ears
like a steampuff from a teapot.

But, like in forest school, the excess of creams,
Mouths and hair, muscles and underarms keep rustling.
Shame and the autotan, just like a vixen’s lair, (autotan)
Regard the body’s surface through the lenses of pores.
But, like in a cattle car where, cramped and with profanity,
The quadrants of steam and the long wail wander,
Untrespassing, the sky becomes a brother.
And someone in the shower room sings.

In Pioneer camps, in the indigo shorts of July,
First dipping, then lifting the flag,
The first I, brow-knitted, like a bullet,
Takes the initial step.
And squinting the landscape, as a fist crumples paper,
I gaze at him almost like the skies. And I’ll lie down,
Like that ball lightning, on the fields –
With one turn of the wheel.

The women\'s changing room at "Planet Fitness"

There’s nothing shared, besides the warmth and wool,
Identic keys and the nine openings,
Filled with what? with damp, delight, and shit;
Covered with the mouth; closed up with sleep.
Clotted: blood, tears, children and sulfur.
Surrounding: the essence or a stranger’s flesh.
With my own nine I drop by and sit down
To strip. Stood to be a bit. And I set off to float.

Rosy and yellow, plump as infants,
Bare – naked – in a towel down to the ears –
The flocks of maiden-eaters slice through the floor.
Each goes into the shower, languidly drooping its trunk.
It needs, like types of wine and breeds of partridges,
Either a classifica-, or just curiosi-:
There the collarbone layers; there the shoulderblade sails.
Each lift of the sole must be logged in the register.

Soon there’ll be no more such. Soon they’ll find a second shift.
Here they’ll stretch velvet across, there they’ll rebuild a stage,
For the collocation of bone, skin and black plaits
The guests will marvel, not hiding their tears.

Benefit for the young-handsome
Or the ugly-good
Plays in the kindergarten:
Touches your plum,
Communes in the pear,
Collects water in its mouth:
Incoherent, whittled winter will inherit,
And the animal of reason won’t recognize its brother.

This watery column can turn to ice,
Reason to infection and the air to gas,
Lovey-Doveys in a close-ranked wall
Will start to march through the sheds.
And the door that used to open onto the swimming gob,
Will open to littleness, like a zipper on the hip.
And we’ll step out of slippers, crowns and watches,
Out of our complaced rags, nails and voices.

And once they’ve torn off the lock, a crowd of souls will pour
into our nostrils, mouths and ears
like a steampuff from a teapot.

But, like in forest school, the excess of creams,
Mouths and hair, muscles and underarms keep rustling.
Shame and the autotan, just like a vixen’s lair, (autotan)
Regard the body’s surface through the lenses of pores.
But, like in a cattle car where, cramped and with profanity,
The quadrants of steam and the long wail wander,
Untrespassing, the sky becomes a brother.
And someone in the shower room sings.

In Pioneer camps, in the indigo shorts of July,
First dipping, then lifting the flag,
The first I, brow-knitted, like a bullet,
Takes the initial step.
And squinting the landscape, as a fist crumples paper,
I gaze at him almost like the skies. And I’ll lie down,
Like that ball lightning, on the fields –
With one turn of the wheel.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère