Poetry by Friedrich Chernyshev



the guy across from me
has a leather jacket two chains on his pants
a Santa hat
the chains on his pants reminded me that
there is a pocket between these two chains
there are designer jeans, skinny jeans, and bell-bottoms
and then these — period pants

p.p. — a special type of pants
there is a pocket on the side of each knee
they are designed for only one reason
if you go to work in a phone
and stop injecting testosterone
for a little while
then in the right pocket of your p.p. you will have
and in the left pocket you will have plastic baggies for
the used ones

every means of hygiene migrates
from right to left
and lives in the little trash pocket
all the way to the Obolon’ metro stop
all of my supplies just over my knees

p.p. are a special type of camouflage
so that the cleaning ladies from the men’s restroom
don’t discern your secret



what we have in common/left
when I come across a photograph of the third reich
I send it to you

if it’s about Bratislava or bdsm then I send it to Zhenka
when it’s about you then I remember how you and Masha fucked

when I read Masha’s fortune, I think that it’s about you

sometimes I go on Lyoshka’s page
I keep wanting to write to him, homophobe,
who it turns out he slept with

sometimes I go to a different Lyoshka’s page
but I don’t write anything
although we all know him

in our city there was (is?) a place
where different diameters of pipe
make up a patterned wall

we all know where it is



mama I’ll never find anybody this way
they all wear the brands boy and obey
they cuff their jeans
walk around in these fucking new balance tennis shoes
with these fucking bags across their shoulders
they listen to this untz-untz and call it
electronic music

I have also heard electronic music
ambient dark wave dark electro
and it’s just untz-untz mama

mama I scoured the internet
to find out what this style is called
hipster streetwear hype, I don’t know
none of it has a name
I don’t know what it’s called I don’t even know
what to call all these people who
just aren’t my type mama

mama a boy named Benjamin lives in England
he has dreads grindr and ripped pants
he’s never washed them
he doesn’t have an iphone mama imagine
and he likes to paint his nails like me
we walked around Amsterdam together
mama I am ready to surrender to him and wrap his dreads
around my neck
and never again see
these assholes from the Kiev metro



women from the age of 15 to 45
are more likely to experience violence at home
at the hands of a loved one or on the street
than they are to get cancer or get in a car accident
more women die from sex than from war
or rather that which they call sex
a dick shoots more often than a gun
a dick is more dangerous than a drunk behind the wheel
or a broken stoplight
you cannot replace it with a toy
like a village boy with a machine gun
(to replace it with a toy is either embarrassing or expensive
or not embarrassing but expensive
or both simultaneously)
those two clearly didn’t have enough weapons
so they went to rob a sex shop
so as not to mess up the statistics of their competition with war
and when we hold hands
and are no longer killing each other
then they will kill us because
we are disarming them


Friedrich Chernyshev

Friedrich Chernyshev (b. 1989) studied at the Donetsk Medical University in Ukraine and currently lives in Kiev. He is an LGBTQI activist and coordinates the transgender program for Insight, a Ukrainian LGBT community organization. His translations from German and Ukrainian have been appearing since 2013 in TextOnly, Air (Vozdukh), and elsewhere. His own poems were first published in the gender issue of ’Nother Man – Nother Woman (Yshsho Odin — Yshsho Odna) of Almaty, Kazakhstan. You can find his work on textonly.ru, litkarta.ru, and polutona.ru, and you can read (in Russian) about his coming out on upogau.org.

David Louden

David Louden received his B.A. in Russian from the University of Oklahoma in May 2019. He will begin his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2020. He plans to continue studying translation and LGBTQIA+ Russia and Eastern Europe in graduate school.

Copyright (c) Friedrich Chernyshev. English translation copyright (c) David Louden, 2019.