пускай с моею мордою
   печатных книжек нет,
  вот эта подпись гордая
есть мой автопортрет



рукописи не горят!.. ...в интернете ...   

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January 3.

You can whip anyone. Just find out your strong point.

I, for one, have by far outdone great Michelangelo. You bet, I have!

The guy was well over fifty when in one of his verses likened his teeth to the piano's keys.

I am considerably (at the moment) younger than him at so reverend age, but one of my incisors is dangling even now all over the mouth like a harness bell.

<!-- Naturally, for such a passage the electricity has to be on. So it is since half-past-five p.m.-->

But in the morning it was so cold in the Renderers' that I had not the nerve to take my coat off.

The paper's big cheeses sallied out to the Printing House.
The last issue had not been released because—among other reasons—of the workforce dissatisfaction with their wages.

Who could have imagined we would live to witness such issues being settled by negotiations?

Historically, the Editorial leaders' idle walk to the Printing House more forcibly signals the Soviet Empire's end than its subjects cutting each other throats while the Soviet Army troops just keep ticking over.

Alya, a typist, came to the Renderers' to hold forth on her usual topic: why us?

Today, she prayed to tell her why on earth one has to suffer horrors of a nationalistic war without even knowing their own nationality.
Her progenitor grandpa was a foundling of undiscovered origin.

At that moment, Rita, the Secretary, entered the room and picking up the cue declared that nationality is a toy for fools, and all sage men choose to become shoemakers.

Even if somewhat obscure in the conclusion, her statement, on the whole, did sound profound, I can tell you.

Another Rita, of indistinct position among the staff, but of homely-abundant proportions, joined our half-frozen company and, while her nickname stepped out for a minute, dropped her finger-ring on the floor.

Was it a test of my gallantry or some esoteric sign for the enlightened?

One hour of verbal 'amour de quatrein' in that ice-cold fridge of a room.

I was delivered from my mixing service by Arcadic's return from the Printing House to announce a layoff till Monday.

After lunch—to avoid staying in the cold house—we took the kids and their sledge and went out. Sahtik, in a newly knitted white hat, looked a teenager.

The street was turned into a merrymaking hillside.

Joyous yells from turbulent strings of kids bob-sleighing in helter-skelter past Twin Bakeries between the sparse posts of their too shy parents.

After an hour of that Bruegel-wise winter frolicking, all were shooed off by a succession of missile blasts.

They sounded rather strange, as if exploding beyond the town, though not too far. Sahtik took the kids to Underground.


Now, I am alone.

Icy roads and domesticated noise of machine-guns outdoors.

Half-past-nine p.m. is a bit too early but `
Good night to all.

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