Larissa's Blog

LETTER TO LERMONTOV



You are distant, alone, and far on the horizon, obscured, almost nurtured, by the ocean's fog.Seeking and searching, you are always a stranger:What did leaving me, losing me, cost?
I would swim with one foot on the sand of the dry land;I would wait for you, never explore.But you are the waves, and the wind and its whistle,and the storm you embrace far from shore.
My few timid ships all cling to the shorelinetoo frightened to leave what they know.You laugh and command them: There is another shore;the second appears when the first is gone.
So sing, my dear love, of the wide morning's gold sky,and the call of the azure strand,and the gull and the salt and the mast that pitches,and the lure of a foreign land.
I will be your welcome, your country forever; I'll receive, then release you (adieu).I will be your native and nurturing homelandand wait to be called home by you.

Nonlinear


As brave as a deciduous tree in winter,
with only its trembling to give, I live.Leaves, ordinary, thin, brown, die;dying, enrich the earth; I?
For the cruciform tree, a resurrection,seasons, promise, a rebirth. There are no coincidences, there is a plan, the hope of seedlings, again, again, again.
Not for me. For me, the responsibilitiesof chaos. For me, the uncertainties of matter,the randomness, the ecodisasters,the blasted, dying trees, the impartialitiesof space,of place.
(They now find patterns in nonlinear matter,clinging to fractals,still hoping to escaperandom, null spaceand soonerodingplace.)
Even Heisenberg was certainthat matter would not die, but become,if need be, E: the Einsteinian assurance.But dying is no big deal: Only cockroaches live forever. And matter, as we know it, must disappear.
The ultimate change,called end, is embossed upon your genes.And determined to live at all cost, what freedom, what real,if evanescent, truthis lost?



HE CALLED ME "FAT"



He called me “fat,” and I cringed, not at the insult, as such (not much a one)but at the verbal dull, the paucity ofadjective, the pervading mental lull, the flap of his limp and flaccid gums, the lack of hearty fun. Fat? Why fat, I cried? Surely, round would move things up a pitch or two,and gargantuan would do, and corpulent construe the adipose goo at hand. Why fat, oh, fatuous man? Call me beefy, blimp, or bulging; term me bovine, bull, or burly; name me chunky,roly-poly ,or inflated as your nog. O, linguini, limp and little! Your linguistic torpor bores, ignores the 25,000 words that Joyce and Shakespeare forged, and do not hoard (but your words, overall, are snores). As I eat my s’mores,let's resume: I am thickset, paunchy, heavy as the synapses in you; I am wider than a canyon and the broad primordial stew. Fat?Fat, you fraud? I am Queen of unburnt calorie, the rarest elephantine; the Mobyest ofsentient beasts, the diet doctor’s bawd.My stockiness drives diet stock, my pudge the script of pills; I am larger than Niagaraand the Roman seven hills. Dormant doormat,there are spas of verdant bliss for me, but no school for fools like you. You are but a speck of rotten lard, a granule of mere sand; I am high andvast and infinite, dimensionally great and grand.

TO THE THANATOS WITHIN ME



I embrace you, dear shadow,my revelatory friend,dear suicidal impulse; todayI dream of the parapets aboveA la Vielle Russie, andof splattering near the Plazawhere Woody Allen wooed young girls,leaving a bit of meon the Strand Bookstand,near the park and the seals —but this is too vibrant and real.
Better to find myself alonein a porcelain tubwith chamomile bath oil(as if I needed to be calm;here is eternity for that),listening to Verdi’s Requiem, holding a razor,or better still, to poison myselfwith small scored rose pills,avoiding arsenic and the Bovary trapsof indigestion, detection;best with caplets, red carafes of wine,or Guinness brew —(who wouldn’t want to quaff a few?)
What catharsis there isin the dive, the gesture, the infinite jest,the slash, the brush (its own fire),the dance with death?Ah, this:as I flirt, you draw near,chingon to my chingadabite my ear, stop my breath—who else could do that?
Dear friend of ferment,who unearths the wormsthat enrich this blissful human soil,promising the end of eternal roil: Te quiero, my Mescal, my absinthe,my blue cyanosing corps, my Mayakovsky, my you. . .
Was this a mistake? Is it too late . . . ?You bite my ear, take up my rear, whisper:Yes.

Excerpt from PATIENT WOMEN



One of the themes of PATIENT WOMEN is prostitution, physical and spiritual. Here is a brief excerpt from Chapter 5, "The Mudd Club."
“Around here, there’s no such thing as premature ejaculation. Believe me.”“With the young ones you just have to do it again.”“You can suck them off.”“I’d rather fuck.”“The less time they’re inside me the better. The way some of them hold you is frightening.”“Sam sweats.”“He doesn’t like me.”“He talks too much.”“I’d rather listen to them talk than touch them.”Nora downs her drink. “As long as they don’t ask to see me on the outside, I don’t care. Or try to hold my hand.”
PATIENT WOMEN on Amazon More about PATIENT WOMEN  

My Trick Wants to Go to Plato's


My trick wants to go to Plato's.
We go to the old Ansonia Baths where a thousand gay men fucked  a thousand times a night for years. Now it is Plato's Retreat; no single men are allowed without a date. I sign a document attesting that I am not a prostitute; my whore name is Nora, after Ibsen; I add Nader, going green for Ralph, and strip.  I scarf down a bagel, hard and cold, at the buffet, look in the angled light at the rich naked people  some still shyly wearing their towels and dive: I go into the mattress room.  
A daisy chain has formed, a length of copulating people,  each one on the left servicing the right, up and down. The trick is suddenly timid and urges me to start: He will watch. There is cunnilingus to the middle-aged blonde then a line of men; they find me and move in, one by one, young, old, some good looking, most average at best. We fuck. And fuck. And fuck again.  Suddenly comes a man hirsute, pressing, he disgusts me. I push him away and he pushes back hardbut on the chain beside me, a languid man, turns to him and says, Sir, the lady said no, and miraculously, the ape disappears. I feel a moment of gratitude,  extinguished by the semen of the next man. 
I work every day. After three tricks, I wait for my pimp at midnight at the door of Studio 54; he falls out of a cab in sneakers and tie, carrying his poetry notebooks  and a book by Roland Barthes. Steve Rubell himself lets us in. I follow the pimp to the floor and we dance; he dances well. He is like the bottles of cheap amyl nitrate he carries for sex, dizzying, sickening, my freebase, my cocaine.  
The manager for my house, Friends with Style, is a small misshapened man with an ugly face; He tells me he went to Yale.I work the phones and the tricks come in. First the Hassid, and this shiksa was his practice. Harry Abram's son brings me a book of Magritte.Sarah and I do a three way with a red-haired man who says he knows Reggie Jackson; of course we are impressed. 
Later in the day, when it is quiet and I am alone, a cop comes in;  I freeze; I know he is insane. He says are you going to be nice to me, girl? He puts my hand on his crotch and I feel the metal of his gun and he grins and says, Baby, if you are going to flirt with death  you are going to get a date
A man rescues me from the life. In Cuernavaca  I climb the volcanoes every day and heal.   Unable to understand human kindness I leave him and go back to New York. 
Two years pass, I am in trouble again. I need 200 bucks, the house where I worked is a sex club now. Drunk off my ass, I do a man and his wife in the bathtub then a pair of rutting men . Standing by the fireplace, I see a a girl there, blond pale underage; I see she has cut herself up and down her slender arms and I, the fucking role model, beg her to go home  and she only laughs bitterly.  A thug from the Ray's Pizza next door  sees us talking and tells me, mix it up, get back to work and I become angry, enraged, I go beserk: I turn on him:  I am going to tear this punk's balls off with my hands if he touches this little girl. And I get into his flat punk face and say: WHAT THE FUCK MORE DO YOU WANT? and then I black out. 
When I come to a big Irishman is throwing me down two flights of stairs. I land on the concrete on 76th and Third, stone cold sober now; I feel no pain.I call the police and they come; the old one is coarse; the young one tells me that he has gone to college and read books. They will not bust the house. I curse them for ball-less wimps. They say Go home, miss, go home, and I end up in Bellevue, old Bellevue, locked ward where four orderlies, four, have to hold me down to shoot Thorazine up my butt,  and I am put in four-point restraint. 
My new shrink, hired by my sister, comes in on a Sunday from Connecticut. He brings me a carton of Benson and Hedges cigarettes and says, “These are like gold in here." They are.  
Bellevue, Bellevue, where the nurses' crazy laughter rings high through the night, where boriquenas pequenas cry mamí, mamí da me un peso. I think they say beso. Soon, the DTs start and I shake uncontrollably. A homeless man, thin, dirty, tall, puts his veteran's jacket round my shoulders, and disappears, a Quixote to my Aldonza in this wretched place.  
Patient Women by Larissa Shmailo on Amazon More about Patient Women

 

560 Brooke Avenue, South Bronx



 560 Brooke Avenue 1
The walls, barbed wire, barbed, next to a drive-by window of Burger King: Dios, is this your way? Electric doors, opened one at a time, they make a sound, it maddens. All the time the boys do time, all the time they say, “Lunacy, this is crazy, crazy mad.” It is. “Nigga, nigga,” one boy prays, farts as the fat guard twists his hand: He tries to laugh, he cries instead, porque? Scared, so scared, his scarred voice cracks, 15. “Nigga, ay, I here 4 murder,” he lies. O child, perhaps so. My Jesus of the got-nailed, my Angel of the why, & what could you have done yet, & why are you here, porque, my God, & donde vamos, u & I?
 1.      A maximum security juvenile detention facility in the South Bronx

Coverage for PATIENT WOMEN in OSM, the global citizen's network


L. Shmailo’s Patient Women Explores Mental Illness, Prostitution in NYC New Book Explores Mental Illness, Alcohol, Drug and Sex Addiction, and Prostitution in 1970s New York 

Lifelong New Yorker Larissa Shmailo presents the novel Patient Women (BlazeVOX [books], 2015). Patient Women focuses on the tragedies, misadventures, and growth of one Nora Nader, born of Queens and darling of the New York disco scene. As the Era of Rock unravels, we follow Nora through her experiences as a runaway, low-dollar and high-class prostitute, party girl, and working stiff, into her story of self-awareness and addiction recovery as she “finds herself capable of both physical and spiritual ascent.” (K.R. Copeland, Midwest Book Review).
At twelve years old, Nora leaves her Holocaust-survivor parents and explores the worst that New York has to offer. From there, we follow her through mental hospitals, alcoholism, and the accidental drowning of her husband on their honeymoon. We meet her fellow prostitutes and travel with them as they attempt to move to other careers. We bear witness to Nora’s tepid experiences in psychotherapy and her extraordinary relationship with her transgender AA sponsor. We go with her as she returns to Queens to learn about her parents’ ordeal in the camps and also recovers her own suppressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Through Nora, we track the spiral of history, and how individual New Yorkers experience the underside of the 1970s—both its horrors and the redemption that could be found there.

Patient Women reveals its author’s background as an accomplished poet and translator, and has been praised for balancing divergent literary styles while remaining an accessible page-turner. Second-generation Holocaust survivors, recovering addicts, and those experiencing mental illness will recognize their own stories in Patient Women, and find an insightful, well-written mirror that allows them to explore and articulate both their struggles and their triumphs.
Patient Women is a useful tool for individuals and groups studying the disco era and the AIDS crisis of New York in the 1970s and 80s. With its frank and thorough analysis of bipolar disorder and mental illness, psychiatric hospitalization, addiction, recovery, and incestual child abuse, it is of interest to therapists, therapy groups, and reading groups with an interest in recovery issues.
Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, editor, and critic living in New York. Her translations from Russian include the iconic avant-garde opera Victory over the Sun. Ms. Shmailo is available for booking at (212) 712-9865.
More information can be found at www.LarissaShmailo.com, including the Electronic Press Kit for Ms. Shmailo and Patient Women (with high-resolution photos) at www.larissashmailo.com/…/larissa_shmailo_electronic_press_k…. Patient Women is available for purchase through Amazon, and at on-line and physical bookstores.

A press release by Jonathan Penton
jonathan@unlikelystories.org, (337) 207-8713
Contact Larissa Shmailo
larissa@larissashmailo.com, (212) 712-9865

Official press release for PATIENT WOMEN

Friends, here is the official press release for PATIENT WOMEN, If you know anyone who would like to review, please share.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Novel Explores Drug and Sex Addiction and Recovery in 1970s New York
Contact: Jonathan Penton
jonathan@unlikelystories.org, (337) 207-8713
or
Larissa Shmailo
larissa@larissashmailo.com, (212) 712-9865
Lifelong New Yorker Larissa Shmailo presents the novel Patient Women (BlazeVOX [books], 2015). Patient Women focuses on the tragedies, misadventures, and growth of one Nora Nader, born of Queens and darling of the New York disco scene. As the Era of Rock unravels, we follow Nora through her experiences as a runaway, low-dollar and high-class prostitute, party girl, and working stiff, into her story of self-awareness and addiction recovery as she “finds herself capable of both physical and spiritual ascent.” (K.R. Copeland, Midwest Book Review).
At twelve years old, Nora leaves her Holocaust-survivor parents and explores the worst that New York has to offer. From there, we follow her through mental hospitals, alcoholism, and the accidental drowning of her husband on their honeymoon. We meet her fellow prostitutes and travel with them as they attempt to move to other careers. We bear witness to Nora’s tepid experiences in psychotherapy and her extraordinary relationship with her transgender AA sponsor. We go with her as she returns to Queens to learn about her parents’ ordeal in the camps and also recovers her own suppressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. Through Nora, we track the spiral of history, and how individual New Yorkers experience the underside of the 1970s—both its horrors and the redemption that could be found there.
Patient Women reveals its author’s background as an accomplished poet and translator, and has been praised for balancing divergent literary styles while remaining an accessible page-turner. Second-generation Holocaust survivors, recovering addicts, and those experiencing mental illness will recognize their own stories in Patient Women, and find an insightful, well-written mirror that allows them to explore and articulate both their struggles and their triumphs.
Patient Women is a useful tool for individuals and groups studying the disco era and the AIDS crisis of New York in the 1970s and 80s. With its frank and thorough analysis of bipolar disorder and mental illness, psychiatric hospitalization, addiction, recovery, and incestual child abuse, it is of interest to therapists, therapy groups, and reading groups with an interest in recovery issues.
Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, editor, and critic living in New York. Her translations from Russian include the iconic avant-garde opera Victory over the Sun. Ms. Shmailo is available for booking at (212) 712-9865.
More information can be found at www.LarissaShmailo.com, including the Electronic Press Kit for Ms. Shmailo and Patient Women (with high-resolution photos) at www.larissashmailo.com/…/larissa_shmailo_electronic_press_k…. Patient Women is available for purchase through Amazon, and at on-line and physical bookstores.
# # #

Text of my poems in Plume

Two Poems |
Larissa ShmailoYOUR PROBABILITY AMPLITUDE

I glance and
a boson blinks
into view.

A strong force
beckons

even as
a weak force
radios decay.

The gravity
of the situation

the magnetism

I observe and
my attention

turns particles into power
tracks into trails
whims into waves.



A fragment from The Llatease of Homey, from a recently discovered Mycenaean text.
. . . Cythera of the white and widening arse who stalked
strong Lactid on the Bluvian Isles; ah, strong-latted Lactid,
of the swaying sword whose droop in battle was legend
from the Bluvias to the Effluvias to the damp and puddly
Lluvias; a legend, god-written, and of Elera smitten (to whit,
her Attic tits), clad of Hephaestus’s mittens.
Ah, Bluvias, where the gold and green and pink and silver
and ivory and indigo and carmine and slightly beige-ish-off-
mauve-ish fishes fall to the net and the bent, spent trident
of Poseidon, who, green-maned, sea-stained, and a tad
weight-gained, also wore Hephaestus’s mittens as he
made love to Cythera, who looked a bit like Elera,
except fatter in the arse.
Unlike Myrcon the Dorkan, unmittened and unbitten,
on the shores of Elephantinople, where the nasty biting
ponies play in spent, bent Poseiden’s spray . . .
(Here the fragment of The Ilatease ends.)

New Year's Resolution

To suspend judgment and criticism of myself and others; to be kind to my writing.
If I can do that, I will have accomplished a lot in 2016!
Happy New Year, you guys!

Come out of the darkness about depression this holiday


Over

On the perfect roof, near a perfect ledge,
A small terra firma with a narrow edge,
No temporizing with last-minute balance,
No handhold, no foothold, no anchor, no ballast.
And once committed, once into the air,
No hovering, no kiting, no waiting there.
The polygonal street and the shining dark cars
Attacked at meters per second squared.
Once over, soon over: a thing done just once:
Like fireworks and New Years’ bells, fast and intense,
Quite finite, soon finished, thought long, slow begun,
And forgotten by others like the old year now done.

Thanks for a great literary 2015!

What a fantastic year 2015 has been! I want to thank everyone who helped me perform and publish and learn my craft this year. First, thank you Geoffrey Gatza and BlazeVOX [books] for publishing my novel, Patient Women, and to Meredith Sue Willis and Kimberly Rae Lorenz-Copeland for their thoughtful, insightful reviews, and to all my peeps in the Patient Women Facebook group for your enthusiastic readership.
I presented at two panels at AWP 2015, with poetry from the Eastern European Daughters of Baba Yaga and, moving in very erudite company indeed, on a translation panel with Matvei Yankelevich, Phil Metres, and Alexander Cigale. Speaking of translation, my rendering of Victory over the
Sun was performed in a high tech staging at Boston University under the auspices of director Anna Winestein and the Ballets Russes Initiative. It was also performed in part here in New York at the Cornelia Street Cafe with a brilliant performance by Bowery Bob Holman as the Time Traveler.
And then, to blow the roof off, there was the Unlikely Saints Poetry Tour of South Louisiana! OMG, New Orleans, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, I love you! Thanks to impressario Jonathan Penton and friends for life Alexandra Johnson and Wendy Taylor Carlisle.
I got my own Wikipedia page thjs year! I was proud to have work in the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and to be interviewed on Pennsound and to have my critical article on Philip Nikolayev's immured sonnets, an invented form, translated into Italian for the international translation journal Grafias. And, thanks to Jonathan Penton again, I got a brand new website: www.larissashmailo.com
Best of all, I studied meter and poetry with Annie Ridley Crane Finch -if only all teachers were like this guiding, inspiring woman! So proud to be presenting with Annie, Timothy Steele, Dean Kostos, and Amanda Johnson at AWP 16 next year.
Friends, thank you for making this possible. I kiss you all and wish you a very happy New Year indeed.

Christmas Star by Joseph Brodsky

Christmas Star by Joseph BrodskyTr. L. Shmailo In a cold time, in a place accustomed moreTo scorching heat, than cold, to the flatness of plain,than to hills: A child was born in a cave to save the world.And it stormed, as only the winter’s desert storms rain. Everything seemed huge to him: his mother’s breast,The yellow steam of the camels’ breath. And from afar,Their gifts carried here, the Magi, Balthazar, Melchior, Caspar.He was all of him just a dot. And that dot was a star. Attentively and fixedly, through the sparse cloudsUpon the recumbent child in the manger, through the night’s hazeFrom the depths of the universe, from its end and bound,A star watched over the cave. And that was the Father’s gaze.

Free track DEATH AT SEA from THE NO-NET WORLD CD

"Death at Sea" and other tracks from my CDs THE NO-NET WORLD and EXORCISM are now available FREE on YouTube. Tracks are also available from Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Deezer, Muze, and most digital distribution outlets. Enjoy!

Death at Sea (2:20)Provided to YouTube by CDBaby Death at Sea (2:20) · Larissa Shmailo The No-Net World ℗ 2006 Larissa Shmailo Released on: 2006-01-01 

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