Larissa's Blog

Happy Bloomsday! Father of a Ghost (Stephen Dedalus on Hamlet)

James Joyce b. February 2
Hamnet Shakespeare baptized February 2

Father of a ghost, but from the charnel dead!
Truepenny called, but bid his one son read
A woeful bedtime tale. So list: if Hamnet were
A suicide (the rest, what is the rest?); if Shakespeare were
Behorned by Ann (and her way hath will, clear)
And asked the poor young Hamnet now to kill the ‘dulterous peer,
(Perhaps to pour the poison in the porches of his ear?)
Cert, he would read just like a crab, ass backward and in fear:
Hamlet (his twin), ou le Distrait, une Pièce de Père Shakespeare;
Ophelia-like, rosemary clad, made mad with that despair.
Or … if the canon ‘gainst self-slaughter held fast,
Would he be murdered with all murdered at last?
And, scarred by family the most,
Who would rise to be his ghost?

From #specialcharacters by Larissa Shmailo, available from Amazon and Unlikely Books.

Donald Trump (sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”)

Trump doesn’t like most Muslims,
Or women, ‘cause “they bleed”; Calls Warren “Pocahontas.” (Next, will he say “half-breed?”)
He bullies rivals for his crowds; His insults are fourth grade. He tells them, “I will build a wall" Apparently, without aid.
He bellows out his speeches,With hate a cardinal part.Abortion may be legal Until his change of heart. He“doesn’t know” re: Klan support; It seems a crying shame To give someone who's so confused unsettling press and fame.
Trump says he has done nothing That God needs to forgive. Then live and let live, Donald Trump, And go with God to live.

In memoriam Steven Charles Werner 5/3/55 - 3/26/85

Death at Sea

The heart, someone wrote once,Couldn’t walk a straight line,Couldn’t pass the drunk test if it tried.
Some men play the odds; their heads count cardsBut their hearts play inside straights.They can’t bluff, ever,Show their hand, most times,And always give the pot away.
Steven died at seaHolding the dead man’s hand, aces up.A poker-faced corpse surfaces on the water:I seeThe orange safety vestInflated around his neckMocking God and meNow, now, now, now, now---Too late.
I held his wake in Vegas,Sat Shiva in casinosWhere there were no windows, no daytime, no peace.I put him in a casket,A greedy one-armed banditIt still asks me for coinsFor its insatiable slot.
I hate the beachThe deadsea beachThe sunblocked snorkeled oily beachThe scuba lungsThe deadgrass skirtsThe blind bikinied sunglass beach
I hate the seaThe soulless seaThe sentient, malevolent swampy seaIt don’t care if you liveIt won’t cry if you dieIt boasts like YawehIt spits in your eyeThe seaThe stupid sea.
But I love the albatross That took Steven’s soul,And I love the lighthouse and the shore,And I love all sailors, both sober and drunk,That won’t kill a bird no matter what,And I love the salt and I love the storm,And I loved Steven, beyond most doubt,
And if I knew thenWhat I know nowCould I have walked on waterAnd pulled him out?

The F Word

Proud to be included in Sarah Waddell's documentary on contemporary feminism, The F Word. Fact: If female entrepreneurs were funded at the same level men are, 6,000,000 jobs would be created.


I. Je suis une femme de lettres et je gagne ma vie.

All ways a feather: bed your bugs as they bud
Welling roses these sweltering days
Rose roaches blooming by books, near pillows
Blooming by Bloomsday, busting out by June
Busting on Broadway, busting the busts…
Hey, this is…my bra!
(Like swallowing feathers, you know,
dirty feathers.)
And this is December and over there, Christmas
We call April Easter cause she makes them march.

Welling roses in Wellington Rolls
Rose roaches blooming by books, near pillows
Rolls with butter, rolls with jam
Roll her over, let’s go hot damn
Sweltering days as rose roaches bloom
Swilling slaves in rose roaches’ room

Bloom, concrete blossoms!
Bloom, Broadway bottoms!
Bloom! Picks his nose
Bloom! As he grows. . . .

Bed your bugs as they bud, as they breed─what a breed!
Ill-bred, no bread
Dirty cunt’s puking
Just giving me head. . . .

All ways are fettered
Fellated and fucked
For ever and all
But mostly for us

II. Foret sans oiseaux

All ways are feathered.
For rest a bed,
For the rest, a bed . . . .
Hey, this is. . . .I know; I’ve had them for years.
I’ve had it. Have you? Been had?
Have you a forest? Have you a bed?
Have you a haven?
(Forests of feathers: naked birds shrieking
Bony birds swooping
Burning birds screaming
Descending like hell)
Blooming rose roaches all buds destroyed
Bony birds bleeding, beating, breaking, bled. . .
For rest, a bed, for rest. . .
Fine-feathered slaughter by books, near pillows
Rose roaches breed,
Bleed swiftly and die.

III. On commence par ệtre dupe, on finit par ệtre fripon.
─George Sand

Always the feathers: hi, I’m Molly Bloom;
Blow by my bathroom . . . .
By the window a frozen bird, frozen for weeks,
A weak bird, a dead duck, a gone goose,
A pigeon petered out. . . .

But I’m Molly Bloom, you’ve had me, you know:
Birds are just chirping snakes.
But I’m Molly Bloom, I’m a mammal,
I have mammaries, see: This is a bust!
I don’t touch dead birds.

This is December, and over there’s Christmas
And Easter will rise to any occasion
For ever and all
For Peter and Paul. . . .
But I’m Molly Bloom, I’m a pagan, you fuck!
(A man? Where?)

A feather bed for me, a haven for rest,
Pillows for the head, and books for the rest
I need the rest: this is short, where’s the rest?

All ways are fetid
Fellated and fucked
No bird’s no damn good
Until it’s been plucked.
A man? Amen. This is Easter.
Rest that piece.

A Sop for Cerberus

He needed me. Alone at the gates of Hell, He looked at me, his six rheumy eyes Fixing me imploringly. So I fed him meat And with a leap, he jumped onto my back: The animal musk and the weight of him, The great paws, the salivating jaw, The hot muzzle and demon-bloody wounds, Startling. But I found I could carry him, And brought him home to keep:The dead do not play; the dead do not speak.

At the Top of My Lungs

1. At the top of my lungs I scream at you all,Babies, I am your mother!Love me! Let me in!Excited by my love, I shriek and bang at your door:I love you, let me in!
What?You don’t want to?Then I will slash my wrists,And from my wrists will come ants and tired shopkeepers,All the things you ever imagined or dreamed,Bits of glass and fearWill pour from these important veins:You’ll see how much I love you then.
2. A proposition:If, every dayI deliberately did things to hurt you,Would you still love me?
3. Babies, my children,I sit on your doorstep and scream,How I love my children,How I long to love them!Like a scorpion I would carry you on my back,My stinger poised, ready to kill;Oh, how my babies would love me then!
Babies, I would bite off my hands for you,Like an albatross or a whale, I would swallow you wholeAnd keep you safe in my stomach;I love you that much;Surely that’s worth something.
4. At the top of my lungs I scream at you all,I am bigger and better than anything you will ever know,Than anything you will ever be.Love me.Love me now.
5. Babies, let’s not argue:I will always win.Let me in.

The No-Net World CD - poetry with music

The No-Net Worldby Larissa Shmailo Download $9.99   Poems Share Time Download 1. The No-Net World (4:38) 4:38 $0.99 2. In Paran (2:15) 2:15 $0.99 3. Williamsburg Poem (2:07) 2:07 $0.99 4. Madwoman (5:38) 5:38 $0.99 5. For Six Months with You (0:53) 0:53 $0.99 6. Johnny I Love You Don't Die (2:48) 2:48 $0.99 7. Jamas Volvere (0:56) 0:56 $0.99 8. Lager NYC (2.22) 2:22 $0.99 9. Quantum Love (0:58) 0:58 $0.99 10. Death at Sea (2:20) 2:20 $0.99 11. California (1:08) 1:08 $0.99 12. Shore (1:43) 1:43 $0.99 13. Ladybug (0:47) 0:47 $0.99 14. Hunts Point Counterpoint (2:06) 2:06 $0.99 15. I Loved You Once (Pushkin) (0:50) 0:50 $0.99 16. Already One (Mayakovsky) (1:13) 1:13 $0.99 17. How My Family Survived the Camps (4:54) 4:54 $0.99 18. New Life (0:56) 0:56 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files. ABOUT THIS ALBUM
Album NotesFrom "Shmailo's expert understanding of the close relationship between poetry and drama, music and language, and the primal human need to just hear a really, really good story make The No-Net World a truly unique contribution to twenty-first century American poetry, and a CD worth listening to frequently and carefully."

From LITKICKS.COM: "The No-Net World is a solid collection of Shmailo's intensity, heart and wit.... The No-Net World takes you on one woman's tour of the globe, combining stark reality with lush hope. I recommend that you go along for the ride."

From BOOG CITY: "Larissa Shmailo ...really knows how to write, how to read, how to present her poetry.. .Shmailo's album is thoughtful, entertaining, and bears repeated listens."

From POETIX.COM:"'How My Family Survived the Camps,' [IS] the strongest, the most important poem here. . . The key poem on the CD, it gives by far the best realization of her running theme, that how we react to what happens to us is as important as the events themselves."

From NEW CENTURY: "If this isn't a Urban AntiFolk poet who is? Some of these posers just make like they've got street cred but this woman has walked on the wildside and now she lives to tell us about it."

About Larissa Shmailo
Larissa has been published in About Poetry, Rattapallax,, Lungfull! and many other publications and anthologies. Her poetry CD, The No-Net World, has been called the #1 spoken word CD of 2006. Larissa has received “Critic’s Picks” notices for her readings and radio appearances from the New York Times, Village Voice, and Time Out magazine and is active in the New York City poetry community as curator of the Sliding Scale Poetry series.

Larissa translated the Russian Futurist opera Victory over the Sun which was performed at the first Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and internationally; a DVD of the original English-language production is part of the collection of several museums, including the Hirsshorn and the New York Museum of Modern Art. She recently contributed translations to the anthology New Russian Poets forthcoming from the Dalkey Archive Press in 2007-2008 (under auspices of the National Endowment of the Arts).

(The rest--darling, just ask me...: ) LS)

A note from Larissa:
Thanks for visiting, reading, listening,and buying. Please keep in touch.

to write a review
Evan Myquest
All you can say after The No-Net World is More!
The No-Net World is like a one woman show right in your livingroom. All you can say after listening is More!
Eric Yost
One of the best spoken word CDs of the past ten years!
Powerful, timely, beautiful, fearless, incisive, and superhot! Larissa Shmailo reads like a skilled performance poet, writes like an angel, and delivers insights--from the erotic to the political--that would burn most poets if they dared touch them.
Chocolate Waters
Emotionally riveting
Both intellectually stimulating and emotionally riveting - this CD is a joy, a celebration of life. You must have the No-Net world in your collection. Get one before they're all gone!
Robert Dunn
A brilliant and serious dissectiion of a lunatic world ...
In a world apparently hell-bent on destroying itself through avarice and hatred, there are still veins of love and compassion to be tapped. This is where Larissa Shmailo comes in. Her poetry CD, The No-Net World (produced by SongCrew Records) brilliantly puts humanity on notice—battling personal economic disaster, crises of the heart, even a trip back in time to her family’s incarceration in a Nazi concentration camp—all dramatically rend

Buy The No-Net World

Spring Vow

We will love like dogwood.
Kiss like cranes.
Die like moths.
I promise.

My First Hurricane

Like a dead leafLifted from the scorched summer earthNow wet and almost greenLike a dead leafCarried by a thundercloudAnd brought to water by wind:
I am here in the eye of the stormDizzy, motionless,Suspended in the humid airWaiting.
Trees tremble.I breathe slowly.I have known tempests, squalls, and gentle rain.You are my first hurricane.


Get up, schweinerei, my father says, waking us late. And at dinner, my dyadya, talking drunk and loud, says that he and my dedushka guarded railroads in the war. For the Germans. The railroads are old,
but this country is new: not the Soviet Union, I ask?, not wanting to know. Barely breathing: the world, hard, atrocious, and cruel, falls into place. And Babushka? Babushka worked at the railroad, too.
(I feel her hard hands braiding my hair, the stern lips mouthing: zhid). I remember my mother, seeking salvation at her grave, saying (but lying): “I once opened a gate.” The world falls into place. What was on those rails? Who?
And what did their guards do? Somehow I knew, I always knew. Tonight, I hear my mother’s reedy voice simper, singing, Nach jeden Dezember ihr kommt ein Mai. Her home of gemutlichkeit, comfort without joy Her love for the German tongue; how often she said “There were good
Germans, too.” As Ukrainians, save the martyred few, they were gvardia, collaborators, too. Did they have a choice? Starvation in the kolkhoz, bodies lying, dying in the streets, and only the Germans, said my mother, 
protested Stalin’s rape and collectivization of the Ukraine. How much victim? How much volunteer?  Did my mama, my papa, my dyadya,my baba, my dyedushka commit atrocities in the war?
In Kalinivka, the mass graves; my family was there. In Prymsl, deported Jews; my family was there. In the Harz Mountains, Northhausen and Dora-Mittelbau; my family was there. What other families? Who survived,
and why? (There was no crematorium in Dora, my mother lied.) In the face of starvation, of death, of Stalin’s camps, tell me, you, well-fed and safe, judging me and mine: is there complicity when there is no choice? (Was there choice?)
The stories, the lacunae, the lies. Now I know why I always felt like a Jew. O, Adonai, why? Why these origins for me, why no orisons for me? The dead are dead, but not within me, my holocaust today, forever my bread.
This poem appeared in The Common Online.