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Has Life On Mars Been Staring Us In The Face?

Ilia Kitup (2018)

3

Because he’s got no true vocation

Sasha’s problems never vary.

Martian professors very rarely

post answers to the right equation.

 

4

Grandma Moscow’s well equipped,

her cupboards stuffed with vinegar stocks.

And Martians, when they walk into shops,

always put on their neutron slippers.

 

8

Cows devour fields right down to the soil,

then shepherds drive them off to new pastures.

They call down buckets and troughs, the Martians,

fight regional rivals with bathing utensils.

 

11

Directors of our smelting plants

had hoped to meet their daily norms.

A sunny day up there? No chance.

Mars Met’s expecting force-ten storms.

 

17

Corporal Parachute knows how to land,

all his jumps have been just fine.

On Mars though, sherry and port are banned:

they think there’s truth in fortified wine.

 

18

Comrade Snout had only to sign

and they’d put five men up against a wall.

Stroke statistics continue to fall

on Mars for those who cough up on time.

 

22

However much parsley you chop and chuck

on top, it sparkles, your tomato soup.

The slang for Mars CFOs as a group

literally signifies “muttonfuck”.

 

25

All of my telescopes are out of order:

it’s time I gave each lens a good wipe.

There’s a savoury fudge the Martians describe

as runny enough that it drains like water.

 

26

As the Sultan sent his ships to seize

a Moscow banlieue by the maritime route,

Martian cobblers invented a boot

that stretchfits tentacles of any size.

 

31

The smoothness of the lake transmutes

into a swell where a mallard swam.

On the north of Mars, the smartest roots

flower in hours, expecting a tram.

 

33

As dusk thickens across the Earth –

do you copy that,

across Earth? –

and warns us that the night

will be impenetrable,

at the same time on Mars

dusk thickens

and by analogy

warns us that the night

will be impenetrable.

 

 

Translated by Alistair Noon

 

From: Ilia Kitup: Has Life On Mars Been Staring Us In The Face? Thirty-Three Parallels in Our Planets’ Temperaments. Propeller Verlag. Berlin, 2018.

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