Daniil Kharms, Katie Farris, and Ilya Kaminsky

Incidents (Даниил Иванович Хармс)

–translated by Katie Farris and Ilya Kaminsky

One day Orlov had too many mashed peas and died. And Krylov, hearing about this, died too.
But Spridonov died for no reason. And Spridonov’s wife fell off a kitchen cabinet and also died.
And Spridonov’s children drowned in a pond. And Spridonov’s grandmother took to the bottle
and hit the road. And Mikhailov ceased combing his hair and got ill. And Kruglov sketched a
grandma with a whip and went crazy. And Perehvostov received four hundred roubles by wire
and became so uptight that they fired him from work.
  Good people, they are all my good people, these citizens – but they can’t keep their two feet
on the ground.

Однажды Орлов объелся толченым горохом и умер. А Крылов, узнав об этом, тоже умер.
А Спиридонов умер сам собой. А жена Спиридонова упала с буфета и тоже умерла. А дети
Спиридонова утонули в пруду. А бабушка Спиридонова спилась и пошла по дорогам. А
Михайлов перестал причесываться и заболел паршой. А Круглов нарисовал даму с кнутом
и сошел с ума. А Перехрестов получил телеграфом четыреста рублей и так заважничал, что
его вытолкали со службы.
Хорошие люди не умеют поставить себя на твердую ногу.

Daniil Kharms (1905-42) is one of the co-founders of OBERIU movement, an absurdist avandgarde Russian literary movement. Kharms wrote poems and absurd short stories, often published in underground magazines, after the avant-garde literary societies that Kharms was associated with were banned by the Stalin regime; he starved to death in Stalin prisons. Katie Farris is the author of BOYSGIRLS (Marick Press) and co-translator of If I Were Born in Prague (Argos Books). Her fictions and translations have appeared in VQR, Midamerican Review, The Literary Review, Verse, and other publications. She teaches at the MFA Program in San Diego State University. Ilya Kaminsky is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press) and co-editor of Ecco Book of International Poetry (Harper Collins).
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    Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí