Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Andriy Bondar

Just don’t push me away

behind my wall lives a modern belarusian sculptor
every day he drinks half a bottle of vodka
and still does not look like an alcoholic
andriy – his name is andriy too –
is a very spiritual person no joke
what jokes can there be if you have to drink half a bottle of vodka daily
and not to be an alcoholic at the same time
what jokes can there be?

he goes to bed very early and wakes up very early and thus
our communication is limited to three evening hours
but this is fully sufficient
to open up souls to each other
and why should we be ashamed of our souls?
what do we have to open to each other
if not our souls?

any other conversation with him turns into a mockery
sometimes it seems to me that compared to him I look
incurably soulless
I am simply a soullessness champion
compared to him

he is simple too simple in his daily life
far simpler than I
than any of my acquaintances
he goes to his studio in the morning leaving behind
the smell of simple eggs fried in simple lard
it is a joy for me to wake up and sense this simple smell
of the modern belarusian sculptor andriy

he is even talented in some otherworldly way
“grab a power tool and pound away” he jokes and laughs at his own joke
he works far more than I – from eight to five
and then comes home and drinks
and wonders why I don’t drink and starts opening to me
his soul
and then goes to sleep
just simply goes to sleep with an open soul

every night I’m scared of his sleepy screams
I think this is his open soul screaming
when in its sleep it overcomes the resistance of the material
pours wax into forms tones the bronze creates the patina

sometimes I start fantasizing
that he is my husband and I’m his wife
we sleep in separate rooms because
he is afraid of scaring me with his open soul

every night I wait for him to come back from the studio
all exhausted and then open his bottle of vodka
and I will give him something tasty to eat
say mashed potatoes with milk and butter

and we’ll make hot tea for ourselves
and he will again start opening his soul to me
grumble at modern art and ask for forgiveness for
disturbing me

and I always want to calm him down and I start
calming him down no what are you saying
don’t even think this don’t even think
lean on me don’t push away just don’t push me away

JUST DON'T PUSH ME AWAY

Close

Just don’t push me away

behind my wall lives a modern belarusian sculptor
every day he drinks half a bottle of vodka
and still does not look like an alcoholic
andriy – his name is andriy too –
is a very spiritual person no joke
what jokes can there be if you have to drink half a bottle of vodka daily
and not to be an alcoholic at the same time
what jokes can there be?

he goes to bed very early and wakes up very early and thus
our communication is limited to three evening hours
but this is fully sufficient
to open up souls to each other
and why should we be ashamed of our souls?
what do we have to open to each other
if not our souls?

any other conversation with him turns into a mockery
sometimes it seems to me that compared to him I look
incurably soulless
I am simply a soullessness champion
compared to him

he is simple too simple in his daily life
far simpler than I
than any of my acquaintances
he goes to his studio in the morning leaving behind
the smell of simple eggs fried in simple lard
it is a joy for me to wake up and sense this simple smell
of the modern belarusian sculptor andriy

he is even talented in some otherworldly way
“grab a power tool and pound away” he jokes and laughs at his own joke
he works far more than I – from eight to five
and then comes home and drinks
and wonders why I don’t drink and starts opening to me
his soul
and then goes to sleep
just simply goes to sleep with an open soul

every night I’m scared of his sleepy screams
I think this is his open soul screaming
when in its sleep it overcomes the resistance of the material
pours wax into forms tones the bronze creates the patina

sometimes I start fantasizing
that he is my husband and I’m his wife
we sleep in separate rooms because
he is afraid of scaring me with his open soul

every night I wait for him to come back from the studio
all exhausted and then open his bottle of vodka
and I will give him something tasty to eat
say mashed potatoes with milk and butter

and we’ll make hot tea for ourselves
and he will again start opening his soul to me
grumble at modern art and ask for forgiveness for
disturbing me

and I always want to calm him down and I start
calming him down no what are you saying
don’t even think this don’t even think
lean on me don’t push away just don’t push me away

Just don’t push me away

behind my wall lives a modern belarusian sculptor
every day he drinks half a bottle of vodka
and still does not look like an alcoholic
andriy – his name is andriy too –
is a very spiritual person no joke
what jokes can there be if you have to drink half a bottle of vodka daily
and not to be an alcoholic at the same time
what jokes can there be?

he goes to bed very early and wakes up very early and thus
our communication is limited to three evening hours
but this is fully sufficient
to open up souls to each other
and why should we be ashamed of our souls?
what do we have to open to each other
if not our souls?

any other conversation with him turns into a mockery
sometimes it seems to me that compared to him I look
incurably soulless
I am simply a soullessness champion
compared to him

he is simple too simple in his daily life
far simpler than I
than any of my acquaintances
he goes to his studio in the morning leaving behind
the smell of simple eggs fried in simple lard
it is a joy for me to wake up and sense this simple smell
of the modern belarusian sculptor andriy

he is even talented in some otherworldly way
“grab a power tool and pound away” he jokes and laughs at his own joke
he works far more than I – from eight to five
and then comes home and drinks
and wonders why I don’t drink and starts opening to me
his soul
and then goes to sleep
just simply goes to sleep with an open soul

every night I’m scared of his sleepy screams
I think this is his open soul screaming
when in its sleep it overcomes the resistance of the material
pours wax into forms tones the bronze creates the patina

sometimes I start fantasizing
that he is my husband and I’m his wife
we sleep in separate rooms because
he is afraid of scaring me with his open soul

every night I wait for him to come back from the studio
all exhausted and then open his bottle of vodka
and I will give him something tasty to eat
say mashed potatoes with milk and butter

and we’ll make hot tea for ourselves
and he will again start opening his soul to me
grumble at modern art and ask for forgiveness for
disturbing me

and I always want to calm him down and I start
calming him down no what are you saying
don’t even think this don’t even think
lean on me don’t push away just don’t push me away
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
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