Lately I’ve been doing a lot of research on the short short story form. Yesterday I googled the Russian absurdist writer Daniil Kharms because I was intrigued by a prose poem called “Incidents” I happened upon in Thaisa Frank’s excellent Finding Your Writer’s Voice:
Once Orlov ate too many ground peas and died. Krylov found out about it and died too. Spirindov up and died all by himself. Spirindov’s wife fell off the cupboard and also died. Spirindov’s children drowned in the pond. Grandma Spirindov took to drink and hit the road. Mikhailov stopped combing his hair and caught a skin disease. Kruglov drew a picture of a lady with a whip in her hand and lost his mind. Perekhrestove was sent four hundred rubles by telegram and put on such airs that they fired him at his office.
Good people, but they don’t know how to take themselves in hand.
Google led me to this Danish personal site that features links to a number of Kharms’s stories. It also features a guide to useful phrases in various languages. For example, some helpful French expressions:
A pot of rabbit-noses in cream, please.
Une casserole de museau de lapin Ã la crÃ¨me, s’il vous plaÃ®t.
I am not a saboteur disguised as a camembert. I am a real cheese, lieutenant. Honestly.
Je ne suis pas un saboteur en dÃ©guisÃ©ment de camembert. Je suis un vÃ©ritable fromage, Lieutenant. Je vous le jure.
Unfortunately I cannot come and eat poodle guts on Friday. I’m attending a revolution.
Je ne puis malheureusement pas venir Ã votre dÃ®ner d’intestins de caniche ce vendredi. Je participe Ã une rÃ©volution.