One Fat Man by Daniil Kharms

One fat man invented a way to lose weight. And he lost it. The ladies began pestering him, trying to pry out his secret. But the thin man replied that it becomes men to lose weight, whereas it does not become women at all; that ladies, on the contrary, ought to be plump. And he was absolutely right.

by Даниил Иванович Хармс [Danill Kharms] (Mid-1930s)

Translated by Eugene Ostashevsky

To The Lady Unwilling To Renounce Consumption Of Meat From Cherkassy by Nokolai Oleinikov

Madam, avoid beef.

It brings your stomach wall to grief.

It lays its seal onto your intestine.

Eating it will make you squeal from strife internecine.

 

Not so with rabbits. Their caloric play

Recalls a sunny summer day.

 

– by Nokolai Oleinikov (1932)

– Translated by Eugene Ostashevsky

If… by John Rice

If ships sailed on the motorway

And potato crisps were blue,

If football boots were made of silk

And a lamp-post wore a shoe;

If motorbikes ran upwards

And milk floats really floated;

It beds were full of boulders

And peas were sugar-coated;

If flies wore army jackets

And eggs laid little chickens;

If spacemen had a panther each

And insects studied Dickens;

If babies’ prams were motorised

And you listened to your conscience,

If life was always back to front

You wouldn’t be reading this nonscience!

 

– by John Rice

The Bongaloo by Spike Milligan

‘What is a Bongaloo, Daddy?’

‘A Bongaloo, Son,’ said I,

‘Is a tall bag of cheese

Plus a Chinaman’s knees

And the leg of a nanny goat’s eye’.

‘How strange is a Bongaloo, Daddy?’

‘As strange as strange,’ I replied.

‘When the sun’s in the West

It appears in a vest

Sailing out with the noonday tide.’

‘What shape is a Bongaloo, Daddy?’

‘The shape, my Son, I’ll explain:

It’s tall round the nose

Which continually grows

In the general direction of Spain’.

‘Are you sure there’s a Bongaloo, Daddy?’

‘Am I sure, my Son?’ said I.

‘Why, I’ve seen it not quite

On a dark sunny night

Do you think that I’d tell you a lie?’

by Spike Milligan

Ladies and Jellybeans by Anon

Ladies and jellybeans,

Reptiles and crocodiles,

I stand before you

And sit behind you

To tell you something

I know nothing about.

There will be a meeting tomorrow night

Right after breakfast

To decide which colour

To whitewash the church.

There is no admission;

Just pay at the door.

There will be plenty of seats,

So sit on the floor.

 

– by Anon

Today I Wrote Nothing Like Daniil Kharms

16. Today I wrote nothing. Doesn’t matter.

Daniil Kharms,The Blue Notebook, 9 January, 1937

23. To have only intelligence and talent is too little. One must also have energy, real interest, clarity of thought and a sense of obligation.

25. Enough of laziness and doing nothing! Open this notebook every day and write down half a page at the very least. If you have nothing to write down, then at least, following Gogol’s advice, write down that today there’s nothing to write. Always write with attention and look on writing as  a holiday.

Daniil Kharms,The Blue Notebook, 11 April, 1937


So I didn’t update for a few days due to my cat dying and issues at work. Over the next few days hopefully I will be able to knock out a few reviews of some DVDs I watched recently. Now I made the effort to type something it should hopefully come back into motion again.

Daniil Kharms  (Russian Дании́л Ива́нович Хармс; 30 December [O.S. 17 December] 1905 – 2 February 1942) was an early Soviet-era surrealist and absurdist poet, writer and dramatist..He came to be known for his children’s literature. Not too much of his work is available in English, or at least it doesn’t feel like it is as so much of it was composed of notebooks, letters, etc which were passed around as he was deemed to be in direct conflict with the state approved and enforced Realism movement in the arts. Kharms was arrested on suspicion of treason in the summer of 1941. He was imprisoned in the psychiatric ward at Leningrad Prison No. 1. and died in his cell in February 1942—most likely, from starvation, as the Nazi blockade of Leningrad had already begun.

If you are at all interested in Russian literature or Absurdist/Surrealist writing I would recommend hunting out some of his works as, despite their fragmented style, they are amusing and an insight into the repressed counter-culture of Stalinist Russia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniil_Kharms