Ксения Щербино : Ksenia Shcherbino

In ДВОЕТОЧИЕ: 32 on 10.06.2019 at 20:20


Most people wouldn’t envy my job. most people would rather not know it, so I got used to never giving out my business card. I don’t rent office space, I don’t run ads in print press. After all, when my services are needed, people find me on their own. And when my job is done, they’d rather forget they ever contacted me. It used to annoy me — now I am more than happy to please.

I check the pulse and close the eyes — the man lying in front of me is definitely dead. I slit his throat open and take his unsaid words out.

Some people rob the dead for money and clothes. Some do it for fame, ideas, quotations and copyright. I don’t need anything from the dead — I set them free. I release them from the last thing that ties them to the earth, and it is neither possession nor emotion. I take the words that they carried with them and never let them go — words that inhabited them as parasites and poisoned them minute by minute. Words that warmed them up while their hearts were beating — and words that were still burning now that they lay cold. It amused me once to think that if I don’t extract them, these words will be buried alive together with the host body and die at some point. Could it be considered a murder- killing words whose existence was wasted?

Unsaid words are beautiful — before they are exposed to oxygen, that is. They say, exposure to oxygen causes some foods to spoil. Always a question of an unbalanced give and take. Deterioration is caused by the light absorbed; as it only penetrates the outer layer, it is there where the transformation takes place — discoloration, deformation and change of texture. Same is true for sounds — extracted, they are deformed, shrunk and might be better left unheard. Not unseen though. I find them extremely beautiful, like star jewelry. Or to bring down the bathos, just sparkly stones.

With time I got used to seeing their light through the stretched skin of human throat — their throbbing and breathing. They remind me of jelly fish, the way they change their colour. Or squid. They say, squid communicates with its skin. Chuan-Chin Chiao, a neuroscientist at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, tried to crack the squid code in 2016. The idea is simple, each part of the body has its own patterns, almost like an alphabet, repeated in a mosaic or a stutter. What a waste, if you’re trying to decipher a code, and the subject of your research is a stutterer?

So I take those patterned words and shut them out in a jar. And then wait for the family of the deceased to contact me.

Some of them come to me to seek for family secrets. Literally looking for heirlooms — as if those sparkling stones would speak about such trivial matters as money. Some come because they want to make sure they were loved. Some — very few — come because they really care.

They all knock nervously at the window, speak in strained, rather high-pitched voices, and stand on the threshold as i stretch out my arm to get the necessary jar out. Usually I do not stay with them to listen -I go out of the room and let them hear it alone — words that their deceased ones neither dared nor cared to say out aloud. After they are strung in the air — once, just once — those words turn into dust.

I don’t stay to listen — I don’t need it. Most likely, I can guess the content of those speeches. When I get back to the room, there’s rarely anyone crying there.

But the majority doesn’t come to listen to those words. They come to offer me a price to bury those words forever — secrets that belong to the dead should go with the dead. I do as they please — provided they hand me the cheque first, and I like the sum there — I go with them to the funeral, and leave the jar there.No particular harm done — after all, that’s the way it is supposed to be.

But sometimes, especially after I had a bad dream, I scratch my throat to let my own unsaid words out — afraid that noone will ever hear me out.


Бузвери живут в круглых и колючих, сплетенных из проволоки и конского волоса, бузвересферах.
Конский волос явно лишний. Бузвери не любят конский волос.
Первого бузверя звали бу. Бу звали и второго бузверя.
Статус бузверя в обществе определяет количество шипов.
Бузвери умеют сворачиваться в бузвересферу и бузверить ее.
Бузвересфера тоже шипастая.
Бузвери умеют давать лапки и вилять хвостиками. В такт колыбельной.
У каждого бузверя есть своя колыбельная. Все колыбельные одинаковые.
Бузвери любят бузвериться.
Еще есть архибузвери. Архибузвери добрее.
Когда бузвери учатся жить и бузвериться, они отгрызают друг у друга лапки. Лапки отрастают в произвольном месте и порядке.
Все, что находится рядом с бузверями, бузверится со страшной силой. Бузвери ничего не могут с этим поделать.
«Бу» на бузверином языке обозначает все, что угодно. «Буаф» означает дружелюбное приветствие, «давай дружить», «давай подеремся» и «просто буаф».
Рядом со мной сейчас находятся 16 бузверей.
Бузвери невидимы для всех, кроме тех, кому они позволяют себя увидеть.
Бузвери никогда не умирают. Д.Г.Лоуренс никогда не смог бы написать эссе на смерть бузверя.
Бузвери непохожи на людей. Людей они воспринимают, как мы — щенят. Маленькими и смешными.
Люди тоже воспринимают бузверей маленькими и смешными. И еще — большими и грозными.
Ближайшие родственники бузверей — буль-доги, буль-терьеры и дикобразы. Но это очень далекие родственники. Не каждый бузверь признает свое родство с ними.
Бузвери никого не бузверят просто так. Но «просто так» с точки зрения бузверя — весьма непредсказуемое понятие.
Если бы Юнг знал о существовании бузверей, он бы непременно задумался на тему того, как они занимаются любовью в холодную ночь. Если бы Фрейд знал о существовании бузверей, он бы поехал на них смотреть. Бузвери до сих пор не знают о существовании Юнга и Фрейда.
Все бузвери разного цвета. Каждый бузверь коричнев.


I had an interesting conversation with a boozver right now. The little ones have overturned a bowl of cooked rice and boozvered every single rice grain around the kitchen. Having caught one of them in flagrante delicto, I asked him ruefully, whether they don’t love me at all if they keep boozvering every single thing in my life.
‘You’re the one unloving boo’, he signed.
‘Why? Don’t I play with you? Don’t I find you new friends? Don’t I communicate your wishes to the world?’
‘As soon as you start asking questions, the magic starts failing, boo. So you’re the one who doesn’t care enough’.

There are big boozvers and there are small boozvers. There are touring boozvers who get invitations from all over the world to participate in all sorts of fairs, TV productions and SGI effects films. They enjoy quite a social life, those touring ones, and have established a strong presence in the international film markets. They perform all sorts of gravitation-defying tricks and all sorts of reality-defying monsters; but in the end they die and are not even credited.
We all know that boozvers do not die, but little ones are prohibited to watch horror films unless they forget about it and believe one of their relatives is really dead. Boozvers are too stubborn, that is what helps them to defy reality; so you don’t want two types of reality to clash in their heads.

Smaller ones usually stay at home and lend me a helping hand – or half a dozen hands – in the domestic toll by overrunning garbage bins and establishing a rule of chaos in the wardrobe.
They hide the book I need now in the foundation of a pile of books and collapse the whole construction with a tremendous roar when I finally spot it.
They invite moths for eat-all-you-can parties in my carefully packed boxes with winter wool and cashmere, and arrange roll-and-tear tournaments on my summer chiffons.
They scare the hell out of my pets and friends, and after ruining my party come wagging their tails and beaming with joy and affection: haven’t we done the right thing? Could it be true that you needed someone else to keep you company?
Whenever you put something away, they bring it back.
Whenever you are looking for something, they explain they have been playing hide-and-seek with it, and it inevitably got lost, broken and can’t be fixed.
After all, they can’t help it: everything around them becomes a boozvering reality. And boozvers are not lying, actually, they never lie, these are the most honest creatures in the world. It is the reality that keeps defying boozvers and fooling around. Of course it is: boozvers never lie.

Today in the most pathetic attempt to clean every inch of my life I found a newborn boozvering sphere clinging desperately to the very left corner. It should be said that newborn boozvering spheres demand most careful attention – so fragile and soft their thorns are. Moreover, while boozvers are invisible unless they opt for being seen, boozvering spheres on this early stage of development are easily spotted and completely defenceless.
I was furious. All my attempts at cleaning my house properly end with this sort of discoveries. It seems like all boozvers shiver at the very idea of leading a disciplined life, so they put every effort into not letting me have one.
But this boozvering sphere was quiet and sad and fragile, and I felt uneasy.

*Boozvers and strangers
Boozvers are kind to strangers. If you’re a familiar face, they barely notice you. But that’s the cruelty of life, isn’t it? they dote on you only when you remain distant. You can always brush off their indifference by turning it into care: think of it as a prerequisite of their long spikes. They just don’t want you to get hurt, that’s why they want you to keep your distance.

There was a legend widely known among the boozvers that if a person gets pricked by a boozver’s thorn, it will fall asleep for 1,000 years to be awaken only by a boozver’s kiss. But no one has ever seen a boozver kiss. They are rumoured to be such bad kissers.
So, the world has it, boozvers are kind to strangers.

*Boozvers and princesses
One of the boozvers asked me cautiously,
‘A princess needs to prick her finger to fall asleep. But you’re one of us, so you need to prick your finger to wake up. You can cuddle a chestnut shell, if it helps…’

If the whole world is matter and antimatter, then there are also boozvers and antiboozvers

Boozvers are hot, because whatever goes out (read: thorns) heats up — and antiboozvers are cold, because whatever is kept inside is frozen over time. It is still uncertain whether a boozver cooled turns into an antiboozver, or whether cooling down is perceived as punishment. But it is widely believed that ‘unboo-noument’ is utterly impossible.
Antiboozvers still say ‘boo’, enjoy lullabies, put their paws out and wag their bottoms (it is yet to be proven whether an antiboozver is in possession of a tail or claws).
Antiboozvers’ thorns are all sucked inside: it looks smooth and tempting to touch, but must be pretty painful for the antiboozver.
This explains why antiboozvers are antisocial loners
Despite this intrinsic difference boozvers and antiboozvers have the same mass.
Boozvers and antiboozvers are actually identical but for the fact that they carry the opposite charge and spin
It remains questionable whether antiboozvers are kinder than boozvers
The existence of arch-antiboozvers is rumoured but not scientifically acceptable.
This explains why arch-antiboozvers are probably the kindest of them all.
Sea urchins and armadillos are universally believed to be related to antiboozvers
Antiboozvers don’t fight. But they are definitely armoured.

One of the little boozvers approached me today.
‘Are stars of our kin?’
‘You always draw them as spiky spheres, so they look like boozvering spheres… are they of our kin?’
I didn’t know what to say, but the dreamy look in the eyes of the little one told me he was dreaming about giant boozvering spheres humming their weird lullabies deep in the outer space to baby boozvers growing thorns inside.
‘Well, maybe they are….’
‘Then are black holes arch-boozvers?’
‘…. ?’
‘I want to travel out there to the stars to meet them. Are they much, much bigger than me?’
Taken into account that boozvers have no definite dimensions and change their size to their liking, how can you compare two things of indefinite size?

*achievements of the boozvers:
They taught the world that as long as you fight, it’s alright: it proves your boozvering spirit. As long as you don’t fight, it’s alright, too: it proves your boozvering spirit as you refuse to follow the rules.
* achievements of the boozvers-2:
they invented and introduced a letter «boo» into all alphabets of the world. It explains all spelling and grammar difficulties.

*Boozvers and fashion:
Boozvering spheres have recently become an item of fashion. Boozvers are impressed. Of course, it’s somehow binding (and you can’t bind a boozver, can you?) — but if you can get spikes by binding, it feels like a very boozvering technique indeed.
Also there’s a booo shibori — arashi shibori — pole-wrapping shibori. The cloth is wrapped on a diagonal around a pole. Then the cloth is very tightly bound by wrapping thread up and down the pole. Next, the cloth is scrunched on the pole. The result is a pleated cloth with a design on a diagonal. ‘Arashi’ is the Japanese word for storm. The patterns are always on a diagonal in arashi shibori which suggest the driving rain of a heavy storm.
Now boozvers are considering to invade fashion (still a question whether John Galliano is not a boozver in disguise though)

*Boozvers and science:
Today boozvers found out about the existence of protoherzinas — and the discussion is led in two opposite directions: whether boozvers have evolved from the first predator, or whether there was a protoboozver who left no fossil evidence of his existence. The latter triggers a further question of whether boozvering spheres can be fossilised and whether boozvers appeared during the Cambrian explosure or earlier.
I’m happy that protoherzinas are extinct — who knows how many of them would have been hurt during these debates who are reminiscent of today’s boozvering Parliament session!

*Dinos and roses
This morning, being almost late for work, I decided to change water for my roses bouquet. Boozvers burst with applause — what a bright boozvering idea! It is a truth universally acknowledged among all sensible people that no one comes on time, and that dealing with spikey flowers is far more interesting than heading to the office.
Anyway, as I had three bunches of white and yellow roses, for the next thirty minutes or so I was sitting there, taking the stems out of the vase, clearing dead leaves and thorns, and putting them aside. The worst discovery made during this most useful and timely activity was that thorns die first. While most of the roses still had their flowers intact, and leaves half in decay, the thorns disappeared completely.
It seems that while I was at work the boozvers continued their war with the roses. Upon my arrival (tadaima—) they announced that my fluorescent dino is definitely affected by the ominous rose presence. Moreover, they suggested that roses were actually the reason why dinosaurs are extinct. If they kill even thorns, then definitely dinos had no chance?

*Boozvers and stars
Boozvers do believe that stars are little growing boozvering spheres. that’s why they are desperate stargazers.

*Boozvers and psychology
One of the boozvers today: ‘In your post-Freudian and post-boozverian state…’
I wonder what deviation they are willing to discover in me?
*Boozvers and studying
‘What do you think is noted here, on the margins of this wonderful passage about the spiritual connotations of the self-haunted spider in Christina Rossetti?’
‘Video lions’.
‘Nineteenth century, commentary on the Bible — what sort of video lions can you spot there?’
‘Soft and furry. And very angry.’

…Studying with boozvers around.

*About the futility of cooing and compliments.
‘Is this boozver a boo-eauty or a booo-urlesque?’ (cooingly, trying to please, it is always better to keep your boozvers happy)
‘He’s a gurupur’
I’m not sure what exactly it is, but it is definitely somehow related to boozvers.

*about Japanese culture
One of the youngsters (the last generation of boozvers born not long ago) kept asking me today, are daruma dolls related to boozvers? Or to boozvering spheres? Happy boo-na-baa-ta, ta-na-boo-ta and tanabata!
A proof of the link between boozvers and samurai according to the boozvers lies in their helmets (all pictures were boorzverred around from the internet, so boozvers are boozvering copyright)

*about chestnuts
A whole bunch of fake boozvers! Don’t believe them, we know the trick — when they grow up, they will be all shiney and browney, and not a single thorn!

*about robots
Today boozvers encountered robots for the first time. It was a funny sight to watch, this spikey uproar on one side, and the steely roundness of form, on the other. The boozvers tensed their paw and stretched their claw, all in vain. The robots were old, and tired. They came here to die. The boozvers do not die, so they took it as an offence.

*About boozvers and flowers
There was a boozver who pretended he was a beautiful flower. He sat there all alone and refused to move. He wasn’t tempted to roar, nor he was eager to claw or scratch or snatch or any of the thrilling boozvering activities. He even managed to grow out imaginary petals. Unfortunately, they looked like spikes – that’s the only form of beauty boozvers recognize. So his imaginary petals looked like spikes – and everyone thought it was a boozver.

*About the importance of proper boozver naming
Whenever glass goes all fogged up, I start writing down boozvers’ names on it, in a mock version of a dark ritual of demon invocations. Boozvers are watching me in mocking curiosity. We all know that the first boozver was called Boo. And the second boozver was called Boo. And the third… So it is quite easy to invoke a boozver. But they demand that I call each one separately, differently and by his proper way. Such a boozvering paradox.

*A star is born!
Recently it’s been getting more and more tiresome and bad and scary and tangled… so I guess a new boozver is going to be born soon. what do you think?

* About shisa/ komainu in Japan:
Boozvers were wondering whether this currently unknown species of Japanese mythology can be taken as a distant boozver relative

* About fashion:
Somehow boozver-alikes seem to be everywhere: just found this pretty relative in a fashion article… When they say, «shop the look» — do they mean they know where to buy those cute green thorns?

* The boozver or the thorn casualty dilemma:
Which came first, the boozver or the thorn? To ancient philosophers, the question about the first boozver or thorn also evoked the questions of how life and the universe in general began. It can be expanded into a multiple set of questions: what is a thorn, the philosophical impact of suffering, thorns vs spikes and so on. Many a boozver lost a paw or a thorn trying to defend his point of view, but the truth is still hidden from us.
To accept that there was a boozver without thorns is nonsensical, but was there ever a thorn without a boozver?

*About Scotland
Scotland wants to be independent, — of course, what can be expected from a country that has a boozver flower as its symbol? Boozvers are considering to claim their right over Scotland, and for this noble goal they are almost eager to recognise thistle as a natural plant boozvering sphere….
After all, ‘prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the plant against herbivorous animals’ — it definitely sounds like a relative.

How can I hug a creature that is almost like a chestnut shell in its appearance? Does it mean boozvers are not meant to be hugged?

A boozver found a new boozvering sphere. And tried to steal it, of course.
‘Well, it’s not exactly a boozvering sphere, it lacks spikes. But if hatched properly…..Will you help me?’

Have you ever tried hatching boozvering spheres in your life?


1. На каких языках вы пишете?

На русском и английском.

2. Является ли один из них выученным или вы владеете и тем, и другим с детства?

Английский – с 5 лет.

3. Когда и при каких обстоятельствах вы начали писать на каждом из них?

С самого детства. Первое стихотворение на русском – в 3 года, на английском – в 5 лет. Впрочем, мне было все равно, что и как рифмовать – кажется, я сочиняла истории на целом букете выдуманных языков все детство, и удивлялась, что никто не может их понять. Иногда я до сих пор пишу на выдуманных языках – и все еще удивляюсь, что их никто не понимает.

4. Что побудило вас писать на втором (третьем, четвертом…) языке?

Сама история у меня появляется уже на каком-то языке. Мне кажется, она больше привязана к языку, чем к моей фантазии, а я только ловлю ее за хвостик.

5. Как происходит выбор языка в каждом конкретном случае?

Неосознанно. Может быть, поэтому у меня никогда не получалось переводить истории…

6. Отличается ли процесс письма на разных языках? Чувствуете ли вы себя другим человеком\поэтом, при переходе с языка на язык?

Нет, вовсе нет. Мне кажется, что я не меняюсь. Хотя мой физический голос меняется – на английском он выше, звонче, легче.

7. Случается ли вам испытывать нехватку какого-то слова\понятия, существующего в том языке, на котором вы в данный момент не пишете?

Нет, но бывает, что в принципе не хватает слова или понятия, и тогда я его выдумываю.

8. Меняется ли ваше отношение к какому-то явлению\понятию\предмету в зависимости от языка на котором вы о нем думаете\пишете?

Нет, но оно может поменяться в зависимости от истории, которую я пишу. Мне кажется, истории диктуют себя сами – и они далеко не всегда совпадают с тем, что думаю лично я. Я могу и не соглашаться внутренне с ними.

9. Переводите ли вы сами себя с языка на язык? Если нет, то почему?

Нет. Мне кажется, для каждого языка есть свой текст и своя идея. Те истории, которые пишутся на английском, не приходят мне в голову на русском.

10. Совмещаете ли вы разные языки в одном тексте?

Да, потому что слова живут особой жизнью и иногда – вне языка (языков), в запределье звука, который ведет историю. Слова складываются в мелодию, не учитывая национальных различий. Впрочем, я понимаю, что для кого-то такая мелодия звучит фальшиво.

11. Есть ли авторы, чей опыт двуязычия вдохновляет вас?

Нет. Есть авторы, которые вдохновляют меня, вне зависимости от языка, на котором они пишут. А иногда именно звучание перевода (или предполагаемое, или даже ошибочное звучание перевода) вдохновляет больше, чем исходный текст.

12. В какой степени культурное наследие каждого из ваших языков влияет на ваше письмо?

Не знаю – влияет ли? В таком случае, японское культурное наследие (я выросла в семье, которая была очень увлечена Японией) и китайское культурное наследие тоже прослеживается в моих текстах. Мне кажется, что бы мы ни писали, это всегда палимпсест, шелковый хаос наших впечатлений, из которого мы пытаемся выбраться при помощи истории, которую мы пишем.

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