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The Betrayal of Zorro

December 6th, 2017

The Betrayal of Zorro

By Yelena Tylkina

At the end of February of 1989, all my relatives, who were known to Russian government authorities at that time, signed release forms for my mother and me to leave Mother Russia. Another Jew wanted to go home to Israel, leaving behind second degree frost bite, the awful stench of pickled herring, colic in the digestive tract from indigestion, and an asshole already burning with irritation from being wiped all too many times with newspapers brimming with propaganda.

�And don�t forget to send us Israeli goods at least every two months, or we will put a curse on you!�

All of our beloved relatives gave us the �green light� to be first pioneers in my family history that had the guts to escape into the jaws of �Capitalistic Semitism�. That is, everyone except my father, who was a mystery person, a secret, an enigma, a phantom - even to my mother.

I was called to the local precinct for interrogation in connection with the absence of my father�s signature on the release form granting permission to leave the country. I appeared at the local police precinct at a certain hour with my birth certificate listing only my mother�s last name, first name, nationality, etc. The father�s side of the birth certificate had just one, but very large, letter through whole page, resembling the twenty-sixth letter of the English alphabet: Z - which meant �non applicable information� - the person was unknown at the time. A bit like �missing in action�, perhaps alive, perhaps�who knows? And, of course, the second original birth certificate was held at the precinct.

You see, a fatherless child had to be reduced to a criminal status because that child was conceived in contravention to government regulations, Protocol such and such, Penal Code Section such and such, and so on.

I didn�t know my father, nor did I care about gaining the affection of a person who was just a sperm donor. Throughout my life, the government didn�t care enough to locate my father when I desperately needed financial support but now, one month before my departure, his presence and his opinion suddenly became important. �What a fucking mess!� I thought. After almost a year of painstaking preparation, everything could just collapse into disaster with one, single wrong word. To describe the nightmarish journey through the government bureaucratic machine which willingly sabotaged the immigration of my unwanted people required a novel the size of Tolstoy�s � War and Peace� along with a sequel.

From the small town of my birth, Orsha, I had to travel to the capital of my prefecture, Vitebsk (one hour by bus in each direction), then to the capital of my republic, Minsk (four hours by train), and then to the capital of the country, Moscow (up to eight hours by train), some times staying over night in Moscow at � Byelorussia Station� (Belorusky Vokzal). Merely to get a couple of hours of sleep in a chair without the police bothering me about my papers and the purpose behind my travel, and an occasional �hotdog� from the fast food stand was a real treat. We had to sell everything to afford the necessity of traveling to secure every scrap of bureaucratic paper. My house and possessions were gone. If the authorities forced us to stay, Mother and I would become homeless.

The government usually began its interrogation even before any words were exchanged. The protocol�s first step in breaking a �suspect� with minimum effort was to invite the person down to the local precinct for a �talk� without indicating the reason and then let the suspect wait for a lengthy time in a dark, depressing room, furnished with greenish-black, aluminum and plastic furniture, dingy from years of being touched by sweaty, oily fingers. And this was merely the suspect�s introduction, a glimpse, so to speak, into his, or her, gloomy future.

I sat in the waiting room, sweating, and boiling with anger over the fact that I didn�t have a clue why I was summoned to the precinct. The waiting room was an alcove in a long, windowless pipe of a corridor. The ugly, stupid, greenish- gray paint on walls in municipal buildings had a very depressing impact on my nervous system and my already fragile state of mind.

�What is this, the color of spoiled mustard, or vomit? � I asked myself.

My stomach became swollen from silent hysteria. I couldn�t decide whether to fart or to belch to release the insane pressure that was building rapidly inside of me. Fearfully, I looked around, but with the hope of some sign from above on what to do because, sometimes, an accident occurs during sudden and forceful farting.

I passed the slinkiest, most deceptive, silent fart in my personal farting history.
�A-a-ah! What an innocent and free pleasure of life��

I began to philosophize and immediately regretted it. The agony of enduring the fetid air was unbearable and no way to escape the torture. The sign �entrance� over the door of the �interrogation� room started blinking with an orange light, like the Fuhrer Bunker, I thought. Should I go in, or ready myself emotionally first? Was it my imagination, or did the orange entrance light start to nervously blink faster? But, I couldn�t take the stench any longer.

�I am going in!� I said to myself.

I stood up, pulled down my jacket, improved the shine of my boots by rubbing each of them against the back part of my jeans as if were dancing one of our local folk dances, while wagging my arms in a circular motion in the hope of moving the poisonous cloud of rotten air away from me. Then, with a tingling sensation in my spinal column, I opened the mystery door.


After the dark bunker-like waiting room, the bright morning light, amplified by the reflection of the sparkling snow, flooded into the room from the large window and slashed my skull in half. It was an assault on my senses and I felt my brain explode out of my head. In the desperate attempt to save some of its remains, I squeezed and patted my head with my hands, while tapping my boots on the floor.

� What is that, some kind of Jew dance?� I heard a woman�s voice ask.

Other voices behind the biting light were having a good time, giggling and babbling. Desperately, I tried to focus my vision, but could see only the silhouettes of three people. I put my hand over my eyebrows to break the intensity of the light.

�Good morning.� I greeted the faceless people and stretched my lips in to a longest smile I could give under the circumstances.

�How are you all today, citizens?� I asked.

After the usual greetings, coughing, sneezing and scratching, as the curtain came up on the theatrical production of the government�s play, I acclimated to the environment of the �interrogation� room. The office�s size was usual; about five by five square meters with an enormous window opposite the entrance door and the same bare, hideously colored walls as of the rest of the building. A jury of three civilians, two men and a woman sat at the front desk; which was placed in the middle of the room. Another desk was perpendicular to the front desk, but placed on pedestal a foot and a half high.

The Colonel, resplendent in his glorious uniform and gray camel hair overcoat, with gilded, shiny buttons, and square gray and red hat, was presiding from his cushy seat. Everyone in the office had overcoats and hats on because, I assumed, there was either not enough money to pay for heating fuel, or the final decision about my case had been made already and I was there merely to hear the verdict. No one offered me a seat (there were no other seats in the room to offer) and I decided not to complicate matters by asking for one. Nor did I really need one. After all, I was twenty-three years old with a strong bone structure that I inherited from my mother�s side of the family - countless generations of blacksmiths. Besides, standing gave me an imaginary power over the citizens at the front desk since I towered over them in my winter boots.

�You think maybe a tall Jew, a former captain of the local volleyball team is, perhaps, intimidating, eh?� I asked myself in amusement.

�Move away from the desk!� Barked the female citizen and waved her hand in the direction of the entrance door as she held a pen in her other hand and tapped it nervously on the top of the desk. I obeyed, took a step backward, and leaned against the door.

I could now clearly see the whole picture in minute detail. At the front desk, sat two purple-faced winos that were there solely for the bottle of vodka that awaited them as payment for their services to the state. In this theatrical production they were mere extras that, at that moment, could only think about the lovely burning sensation of the magic liquid that would transport them temporarily from their doomed reality. The Purple Faces were typical factory workers, wearing smelly and disheveled clothes, with food stains and dirty collars. Both of them had facial skin conditions that indicated severe destruction of their livers. The deformation process of their internal organs, in combination with awful working conditions at the factory, had constructed volcanic craters, empty riverbanks and oil wells on the surface of their skin: a map of the industrial progress of Soviet Union.

�Just lovely, two Soviet Worker Poster Boys� I thought.

The Purple Faces couldn�t care less, one way or another, about my case, or about anything at all. They were bored and had severe hangover headaches. For them, this meeting was as much of a torture as it was to me. In the middle, however, sitting between two winos, was a petite, middle-aged woman with a nose that seemed as if it had already been cut from her face, exposing the large, dark holes of her nostrils. From years of winter wind caresses (perhaps, the only caresses she ever got), all she had left was a lipless, wet scar of a mouth. That woman was the chosen junkyard dog, the mad bitch of the tribunal. She was there to bait this Jew.

� You don�t look like a Jew!� she noted. The unleashed dog had begun the chase.

I glanced at her for a second, and then stared at the Colonel. With a tall, massive body and face shinny from a fresh, morning shave, the Colonel grinned back at me with only the crow- feet wrinkles surrounding his bug eyes. His withered, bluish eyes had orange, hair- thin veins in the shape of a spider�s web over his pupils, giving the impression that one was talking to a human fly. I winced and answered,

�I am not in a position to respond to this question, citizen, because I don�t have any expertise in this particular area.�

I struggled for a moment against the desire to touch my round nose, but caught myself in time, and moved my hand from my nose to my forehead and scratched it.

The Colonel didn�t even blink, kept silent and immobile. The junkyard dog then ordered me to give her my birth certificate and my passport for inspection. Naturally, I obeyed. I took one step forward, put the requested item front of her, took one step back and leaned against the door. She looked at the certificate and the passport, and then whispered something to the Purple Faces. Finally, I saw some expression on their frozen mashed potato faces. The three of them had apparently agreed on something. Should I start to worry? The junkyard dog used her palm to scratch her exhausted, ugly face and barked out:

�Where is your father? What is his name? Where is his location? To leave the country you need his signature on the release. Did you talk to you father about it? What did he say? What did you answer? Did he communicate with your mother?� The rapid machine gun, execution style of questioning was an old technique. I waited for a break to say something. The junkyard dog pointed her arthritic finger with black line under her fingernail at the big letter �Z� in my birth certificate. �How are you going to explain this nonsense? What are you, a bastard or something?�

The jury focused its collective attention on me and I focused on the black line of dirt under the junkyard dog�s fingernails.

Today, she must have been digging for Jewish bones, or any other innocent person, buried in the backyard of the precinct, I thought myself.

It had become so quiet in the �interrogation� room that I could hear a pigeon tip-toeing on a cornice outside the window and from far away, somewhere on the street, I caught the sounds of a frustrated person cursing about his car getting stuck in the snow, then the squeaky, raspy noises of an agitated engine. Braw-w, bra-aw, bra-aw. Eh-e-e-e! Then quiet again. One of the Purple Faces took off his boots. Already, the stuffy air in the room became infused with the sour stench of perspiration and dirty socks. But, I inhaled slowly, dragging the time in order to think about my response.

Mentally, I took a walk through my little town Orsha, which was just a dot on the map of Soviet Union, as many thousands of other similar towns over all Russia, but with one significant difference: Orsha was an important crossroad for the railroad transportation from Baltic Republics, Ukraine and the Black Sea into mainland Russia itself and straight to the capital, Moscow. Napoleon and his army stayed in the town for three days before he launched his attack on Smolensk in 1812. During World War II, 98% of Belarus was destroyed, including my little town. Only one historical place remained intact: the Roman style bridge built in 10 67. The little bridge was build by nobleman named Orsha, who had only one daughter. His daughter fell in love with a commoner, a horseman, without any influential connections of family or fortune. She desperately wanted to marry him. Her father, however, locked her in a room with the condition that, when she changed her mind about the commoner, he would set her free. One-year, one month, one-week and a one-day later, the nobleman Orsha decided to check on his stubborn daughter. In the room of her captivity, he found only a skeleton near the window. The passionate young woman with principles had a torturous, sad ending.

I glanced at the jury again and then looked around the office. I could see, in the corner of the room, behind the Colonel�s desk, my skeleton, covered in layers of a spider webs with dead flies and insects that were hanging on it like chimes. It was clear to me why I was chosen for this �experiment�, instead of my mother. These idiots dared to imagine that I was going to lose my temper because of my age, assault a government appointed �official� and put my ass in jail for who knows how long and maybe never able to leave this country. But, they were out of luck that day.

So, I gazed at the junkyard dog�s dirty fingernail and a big Z under it for a while longer, surprising myself with the realization that the letter Z, even upside down, looks the same, never changing its shape. The answer was right there in front of me all the time and I began my narration:

�My father�s name is Zorro. He was a drifter, a hero with a black, mysterious mask and a ticklish, bushy moustache who passed this way on a dark, sweaty, summer, passionate night�Ah! My poor mother didn�t stand a chance. She was young and inexperienced, around foreish. Zorro, my father, disappeared in the morning mist, leaving behind only his signature, a big Z. Nobody ever heard his real name, nobody ever saw his face...Zorro could only be Zorro. And �Z� is always a Z.�

I smiled and bowed. I would stick to my story no matter what. Besides, who had a better version? The jury looked at me with frightened expressions on their faces, their energy draining rapidly from the intense thinking process. The interrogators froze their brows, looked at each other, and then at the Colonel. The Colonel blinked his bug eyes in return. The accumulation of frustration in all of us had visibly surfaced and the atmosphere in the office became incandescent. The eruption was unavoidable. One, two, three�Baboom�!

�Your mother is a whore! Did you hear me? A whore! A gutter slut, giving it away to everyone in the town for free, fre-e-e�at every corner, at the cemeteries, at the crossroads! Dragging her cunt through the street of our respectable town like it was nothing. Did you hear me? Nothing! Her rotten uterus fell out from venereal disease and she has brought AIDS upon us, the innocent citizens of ��

The mercury level of the junkyard dog�s insanity boiled to a very dangerous point and spun her into frenzy. Diabolically laughing without taking a break to inhale, she jumped on the top of her seat and using herself as a display model began to perform imaginary sexual acts, while tussling her clothes, pulling out her hair and scratching her face. Ha-Ha-Ha!! She was almost climaxing, when I interrupted:

�I agree, citizens! People like her should be kicked out of the country and I feel it is my duty to escort her on this journey, to make sure that she won�t return to our beloved Motherland. Let her spread her diseases elsewhere, upon the Israelis and such. I will keep you posted on all developments by mail.�

The junkyard dog stopped her barking and collapsed in her chair, totally deflated. Her yellowish face sunk into her skull and her two piss hole eyes blinked. The Purple Faces echoed my last words:

� By mail� developments� Israelis�diseases��

�Eno-ough of this ho-orse-radish!� � The Colonel had found his voice finally � a voice that was surprisingly high pitched and unstable like a soprano or a hysterical woman. The Colonel was practically singing: �You, citizen, such and such, surre-ender yo-our birth ce-ertificate and pa-assport. You can�t le-eave the co-ountry with the original do-ocument. Return, tomo-orrow, at 10 o�clock in the morning to exchange it for a co-opy. And remember you are stateless person now. The same principle applies to your mother. That�s it! Get o-out.�

I grabbed my documents from the disoriented junkyard dog and flew out of the interrogation room. Suddenly, the gloomy, dark corridor looked like the loveliest place in the world. I could just kiss those ugly walls painted in the color of gangrenous flesh!

Creative Realism@2005

Postcard From Death

October 8th, 2017

Postcard From Death

Historical truth is not only a collection of dry facts but an intricate infusion of views and impressions of information with all the impossible, controversial and fantastic thrown in.

There was a time in my life when I met Death, and fell in love with him. Death was impressively tall, with a military posture, symmetrical, pale features, soft, full lips, and innocent, baby-blue eyes.
It was a fickle Russian September when the summer warmth rapidly changes into wet, bone-chilling cold. The early frost slipped its icy fingers under my clothes and painfully caressed the sensitive enamel of my front teeth every evening as I stepped from my warm work place into the street and, increasing my pace, pressed my stomach tight against my spine to stop shivering. It was a short walk home, but done in the darkness of a blind man.
My neighborhood, �Red Bank of the River Orsha,� was located between three cemeteries, Jewish, Russian and Polish, on the outskirts of town. The main street, named after Fredrick Engels, never received the official attention it needed. All the streetlights were broken, and the only public phone was mutilated beyond repair. There were no buses that ran through this part of the neither town, nor taxi service to Red Bank after dark, even if one could afford it - and I could not. The private houses, pocked with dingy little windows, were placed far behind fences and stood concealed by neglected, entangled vegetation and shed no light on the desolated country landscape.
On this cloudless night, only the moon was the queen of navigation. I sensed movement in the thick darkness directly ahead of me and heard a gentle voice ask forgiveness for disturbing me, and pleading for guidance. �Excuse me, please, I am completely lost and I had to report to the army base 15 minutes ago. If it�s not too much trouble, please, could you give me directions?�
I focused my vision to try and penetrate the flat space of invisibility and identify the source of the placid voice. The night rippled into a six foot, seven inch, Red Army Major. The moonlight reflected from his polished brass insignia. Someone was lost in my lightless neighborhood. It wasn�t the first time.

So why should I be frightened or surprised now? Plus, the Major didn�t seem at all out of place, but stood comfortably, almost bored, as he calmly received my blabbered and gesticulated directions, which I gave with my back to him. �And then you take a right, and then a left and after you reach the bridge�� As a good-natured person and patriotic citizen, I had to make sure the solder wouldn�t remain lost.
It was the sudden, overwhelming, abstract, sense of a panic, as if something was burning above my head, which forced me to turn to face the Major. I beheld the crazed eyes of the lost soldier glowing with orange flames against the endless satin of the darkness. I disappeared into his stare, falling into the abyss of the avoidable moment. In anticipation of a struggle, my body jerked. I tried to scream, but the sharp edge of terror pricked my throat and no sound reached my lips. The silent roar of horror exploded in my chest.
Violence is like a giant, foul, stale, fart that fills the air with a sulphurous, suffocating, rotten egg odor. The lungs refuse to breathe, the nervous system shuts down, the heart stops its rapid race, and the spirit abandons the body.
Before my twentieth birthday, Death had come for me.
I surrendered easily as my spine cracked under the pressure of the trained-to-kill, iron grip of the Major�s coarse hands. He tossed and twisted me like wet laundry, trying to squeeze some struggle out of me in order to reach the ecstatic intensity of his predatory game. The excitement of the chase and hand-to-hand combat sweetened his pleasure of killing. But I gave him only the remains of the real me: my limp limbs. I had abandoned my body as soon as it landed in a puddle of icy water.
From a distance, my spirit watched the brutal end of its physical existence. How long would it take before someone discovered this insanity? Definitely by morning, when a pair of still sleepy eyes would notice my smudged, dirty, nude body on a pile of slimy, rotten leaves. The person would go through an entire range of emotions: shock, wonder, panic, fear and sorrow. After that, there would be the obligatory police investigation and, of course, the funeral.

The investigation was not important for me to fantasize about, since I was almost certain that no one would ever apprehend my murderer. I skipped all the legal procedures and my thoughts went directly to my funeral. The yellow polyester dress, which I inherited from my cousin Raisa after she purchased it for a special occasion and used for her long-held wish of a wedding, which was now too small after the arrival of her baby, would be my first choice to wear in my coffin.
I hoped people would say nice words at the final farewell. A small town has neither pity, nor mercy. The locals will kill you over and over with spiteful tales of who deserved what, and for transgressions real or imagined. Good girls, bad girls. The reality was that at the end of the burial services, everyone would get awfully drunk with Samogon - 120% proof, home-made potato vodka. People often forget the purpose of the gathering and amuse each other with dancing, laughter and stupid, vulgar jokes. Also, a funeral is a perfect place to settle old disputes. Before nightfall, some will inevitably start a fight and shed some blood. A few might even shed some tears.
�Are you a virgin?� Death�s voice took my spirit by surprise, interrupting the flow of its meditation. My spirit jumped back into my body and I suddenly felt cold.
�Are you a virgin?� Death repeated.
�Yes, I am,� I lied.
Death gave me an unexpected kiss. I responded to it, softly sucking his tongue, caressing his neck, admiring the Major�s stars on his epaulets. Forcefully, I entered into the mysterious territory of someone else�s emotional labyrinth, and became lost in the translucent structure of time. My body became disjointed and weightless and my energy dispersed and scattered into floating confetti of fire that fell on me like hot ashes from a cigarette. Still feeling the Major inside of me, my body spasmed and shook. The bitter taste of silent tears flooded my mouth. I choked, but was too frightened to display my discomfort. So, instead, I moaned.
�You are my girl now,� Death declared.
�Only yours, to the end,� I responded. Sometimes, in the formation of simple words, there is a secret lie.

My consciousness unfolded into a measureless surface of astonishment, coupled with a cheap desire to know what was coming next. Then, merciful Death put me on his wide shoulders and carried me home. I only had to point in the right direction. A few minutes later, I was alone, scratching the front door of my house like a homeless cat. In the struggle, I had lost my keys.
�Let me in please,� I whispered to an empty space. My boneless body wanted to give up, slide down, and melt in to the concrete porch. The cold air was so comforting. I closed my eyes for a minute. First, there was a total stillness of thought and then an eruption of repressed anger as I saw my fist banging on the glass of the front window.
Pow! Pow! Pow! The sound of trembling glass bounced against my chest. My lips folded into a pipe, jaws shifting from ear to ear, mouth turned inside out and a liquid ball of vomit slapped the porch and my shoes. The sour taste of stomach acid bubbled inside my throat, as I coughed out the words, �Ma! Op-en the door! �The do-or! Ma!�
Without turning on the light, my sleepy, cursing mother opened the front door. She turned around immediately and dragged her fungus-infested, stinky slippers back to bed. On the way, she farted loudly, cursed again, and slammed the bedroom door.
My mother�s indifference was formed during War World II. Well informed Jewish families fled from Belarus to the South of the Soviet Union to avoid execution or concentration camps. When my grandfather joined the Byelorussian Front, my grandmother, with her five daughters, aged five to fourteen, went to Uzbekistan with very bleak prospects for the future. A sacrifice had to be made to save family from starvation.
In 1942, my mother, aged twelve, was sold - or better still � �exchanged� by her mother to a munitions factory for a bag of barley, a large jar of lard, and three pieces of soap. Ma was sent to the Siberian border with a forged birth certificate indicating that she was old enough to work twelve hours a day.

Robbed by adults of her winter clothes and food rations, my mother was destined to be a war casualty after just a few months of slavery. She escaped the factory and survived the long journey back to her family in Uzbekistan, to a war refugee settlement near the capital, Tashkent. Her mother died only a few days before her arrival, and her sisters had been given away to different work camps.
I didn�t want her to see me all bruised and disheveled. We all learned young: keep it to yourself. Which is exactly what I did, even with a dislocated shoulder, a swollen ankle, broken fingernails, and hair plastered to my skull by wet mud that dripped on my back like cold kasha. Over a basin of cold water, I washed myself and brushed my sticky hair until my skull began to bleed. I tied towels around my twisted ankle and shoulder, covered myself with a shabby, bacon-smelling coat, oily from years of use, and sat down.
I lit a cigarette and stared into the night. Our kitchen was damp, cold and crowded with the sharp mushroom smell of rapidly spreading mold on cheaply built walls. It was furnished with a thirty-year-old, beaten and chipped refrigerator, bare wood country chairs, and a plastic coffee table. I hated this chicken coop. Desperately, I wanted to cry, but the tears stuck somewhere in the bottom of my eyes. Instead, I smoked till dawn and then slipped into oblivion.
I dreamt that I sat on a park bench reading a book on a clear summer day. A woman appeared and began a conversation. She was worn out, tired-looking, and had short, bleached-blond hair and a wrinkled face. Her age was uncertain, maybe forty, perhaps over sixty. No one could call her attractive, but her watery, turquoise eyes were hypnotizing, provident, and caring. I couldn�t stop staring. She put her chapped lips close to my face. I felt her warm breath on my cheeks as she whispered that she could read the future from facial wrinkles.
She said that I longed for balance and security and that emotionally, I was just a passive and insecure reflection of others. The dark side of my nature would bring me many dramatic experiences. But, I was going to live a very long life of one hundred and twenty seven years and that, sometime in the future, I would laugh at all my sorrows and pain, which would surely be transformed into creative and dynamic expression. Then she said that emotional balance must to be earned.

Confused and frightened over her predictions, I demanded to know whose wrinkles she was reading. She answered that she read her own, but that my future was reflected in her face. �Who the hell are you?� I demanded, losing my temper. �Why, my dear, I thought you would know by now. I am your fate, of course,� she calmly replied. Then, she let me touch her timeless, tired face.
�One day we will go up in flames from your fucking cigarettes!� Mother�s screeching voice rang in my head. �Go-od mo-r-ning!� she screamed in my ear. She snatched one cigarette from my pack, lit it, inhaled with pleasure and added, �Never smoke on an empty stomach. It�s bad for you.�
I excused myself on account of my �terrible menstruation� and went to bed. Luckily, it was Saturday and I had two whole days to recover before going back to work. My salvation lay in taking some date-expired aspirin washed down with mother�s homemade liquor.
Monday came and life went on. That week, a sudden heat wave swept through the town. Indian summer arrived in full splendor. The reflection of sparkling sunshine in the thick brocade of autumn foliage contrasted against the sapphire sky and created a spectacular view. The air was heavy with the perfume of honey, apples, and winter blossom flowers, mixed with bitter smoke from the burning leaves on every front yard. Cats were going crazy from the sudden comforting warmth and serenaded the moon every evening, bringing total frustration to the local residents. People screamed profanities in the night and threw scalding water onto the street in the hope of injuring some cat but, instead, innocent bystanders would get burned, and these situations would escalate into vicious arguments or fistfights.
How to take advantage of the glorious weather was everyone�s concern. As always, there were hurried, last minute preparations for the long, frigid winter. Mother and I worked our small patch of land after my day job and during my precious weekends, though we hardly equaled a pair of man�s hands. So, for many years the husbandless woman and her cub were creative in approaching the difficult task of everyday survival. The field needed plowing after the final collection of roots and vegetables. Renting a horse was not within our budget, but to continue working with just shovels was total insanity. Borrowing a plow in exchange for a portion of our harvest seemed to be the only realistic approach.

I functioned as the horse and mother the plowman. Wrapping leather straps around my waist and shoulders, I pulled the plow while, at her end, mother tried very hard to steer the blade in a straight line. Work was progressing well and it would take us two days to finish the job. My shoulder still hurt from my encounter with Death. I had to stop often to adjust the plow straps. Mother�s patience began to wear thin.
It was then Death suddenly reappeared with a bouquet of flowers. Standing in the middle of the potato field, Death looked so proper, clean, and polished. Did he simply fly over here? He certainly wasn�t lost this time. I could see my reflection in his black army boots. There was no sweat on his forehead, even though it was a very hot day, nor even a speck of soil on his boots, nor dust on the sleeves of his army jacket. Closely shaven and perfumed, Death was irresistible.
Mother was pleased with Death�s looks. �Boys like you should guard the Kremlin!� she told him. Flattery is very tasty bait. Death volunteered to help us. He stripped down to his waist, carefully folded his belongings, and asked for a pair of work shoes. I glanced at Death�s over-sized feet and froze in place stuttering like a retarded child. Mother, on the other hand, always wise about seizing the moment, quickly found a pair of old galoshes my uncle left behind after freezing to death in his yard because his wife was worried about her monthly beating and refused to open the front door. The drunken idiot thought that cigarettes would keep him warm till morning. Instead, he let the severe Russian frost lullaby him into a better world. He fell asleep and became an icicle. His death was a full figured, G-cupped snowwoman.
Meanwhile, my Death, using only a shovel, worked like a film on fast forward. I felt dizzy watching the half nude, sweat-glistened being move around with the power of a portable tractor. All the work was finished in a couple of hours. Mother called our neighbors to display the splendor of our glory. We now had a male friend and protector who loved to work, a Red Army Major, a handyman and a gentleman, who brought us flowers and planned to repair our leaking roof.
Mother set the table with bottles of homemade wine, boiled potatoes, marinated mushrooms and her secret stash of dry sausage. Even faced with this banquet, worms of worry chewed holes in my stomach, as I imagined Death drunk and loose in the Red Bank neighborhood between the three cemeteries.

Ocean-blue-eyed Death was reticent and enigmatic. Respectable neighbors and beloved relatives wanted to please him by guessing his desires. Oh, maybe this, or maybe that. Try, please, a little more of this, a little more of that. After a few shots of mother�s potent liquor creation, everybody wanted to chat with handsome Death, to stroke his hair, to hear his opinion on the war in Afghanistan. While surrounded by the tipsy, doting and affectionate crowd, Death looked straight into my eyes with silent devotion and smiled. I looked at his perfect teeth and felt a winter frost lick my neck and chill my body with a violent desire. I walked with Death, hand in hand, through a grove of apple trees in the total silence.
Desire is blind and the heart a foolish prankster. On piles of golden and burgundy leaves, without exchanging any words, we made love passionately like true lovers, lovers that hungered for love, rolling on the ground, pressing into each other�s sweaty body with fury, reaching deeply into each other�s soul, and into that sacred place where the color of ecstasy infuses itself with the color of pain. Death stretched his hairless body on the ground and offered it to me like a bench. I made myself comfortable on his flat abdomen. While nude, we smoked cigarettes and showed each other ways to make smoke figures.
The level of our intimate connection grew deeper when Death tenderly caressed the black and blue marks on my skin, which, by that time, were hardly visible under my Gypsy-dark suntan, and I told taboo political anecdotes.
When Leonid Brezhnev died, because of his important contribution of twenty years of dictatorship in Russia, he had a choice on how to spend his eternity: Heaven, or Hell. In Heaven everything was clean, light, quiet and peaceful. Brezhnev�s tour of Hell, however, brought some excitement because there Brezhnev saw his former comrade Nikita Khrushchev having wild sex with Marilyn Monroe. Brezhnev settled for Hell, wanting Nikita�s piece of the action. Instead, he was dragged into the Inferno. �Why is Nikita better than me? I am a Soviet hero four times over!� Brezhnev complained. Satan calmly responded that the sexual escapade he had seen in Hell was not Nikita�s reward, but Marilyn Monroe�s punishment!

Death giggled at this sacrilege like a little boy. In the magical glow of the scarlet evening sky, with streaks of gold on the horizon and scattered patches of peacock clouds, accompanied by a chorus of noisy insects and the matrimonial dance of flashing firebugs, Death became my pet.
A box of nails would appear on the front porch, or a truckload of quality wood would be unloaded in the front yard, complete with all the proper papers of ownership. Cans of army food found their way to my home, which added spice to our existence. The boiled potatoes tasted heavenly with fatty chunks of beef from those cans and every evening mother tried to collect every drop of the exquisite taste by dipping a bit of sour, black rye Russian bread into the melted fat, while worrying out loud about how long this luxury would last.
My relationship with Death brought me a higher level of respect from relatives and neighbors. Now, I had an official breadwinner, a provider. People talked about my secure, prosperous future with some degree of envy. Mother mentioned that she finally could see a light in the end of the tunnel. I was asked often how I met the Major. Well, we met on the street and it was love at first sight. What a beautiful story. Yes, indeed.
Then, Death disappeared and, two months later, a postcard arrived from Afghanistan, written in the almost illegible handwriting of a first-grader. Our Major found himself in appropriate circumstances for his skills, where he could polish his particular talents to perfection. A soldier belongs to war, he declared. Civilian life was suffocating and depressing. I had to be strong and patient, since glorious Death would be back one day.
Death�s postcard melted into dark ashes in the fireplace. I stared at the red-hot coals for a long time. Mother mumbled complaints about the fickle nature of men and of life�s disappointments in general. I kept quiet, as always.

Pelican Man

June 28th, 2017

Pelican Man

There was a lonely pelican who had his own island at his disposal . He was quite a large bird with pale pink plumage, ink colored head, turquoise eyes and feet, and an insanly flaming red pouch under his bill. With such lavish looks and a sizeable property any bird should have felt like a King, but not this one.
The pelican was clumsy on land and not very good provider for himself either. He was lucky just with small fish here and there and had a secret dream to catch a very big fish, at least once, in his life time; to satisfy his enormous appetite to the full and beyond and perhaps to meet some pelican-girl. But he did not dare to fly far away from his island, he kept just dreaming and hoping.
Every night, the lonesome pelican's silhouette against buttery oversize moon was as the logo of the island and local creatures gossiped about him constantly: there he goes the dreaming, goofy fool of a bird.
And his dream came true in the most fantastic way possible: the pelican caught a mermaid by her tail. There was insane struggle. But the willful mermaid freed herself from her fish tail and ran away as a human being on her two legs. The pelican swallowed her fish tail and turned into a handsome man.
The Pelican-man had a hard time as a human. He could't adapt to his human hands, and felt clumsy and useless, worse than before. But the mermaid-woman was the apposite and took to her new role very well. Of course, even before, she was a half human after all.
She was a good hunter and excellent with fishing and also collecting fruit and berries; could easily start a fire and cook delicious dishes. She always left food for The Pelican -man but held her-self at a distance. Even though these new humans looked like very close relatives, their past memories were still fresh; they used to be different species. Mermaid -woman loved to sing at night and now there was a different silhouette against the buttery moon and the local creatures had new stories to pass around.
There was a lot of chasing in the jungle between this couple but, in the end, The Pelican-man and The Mermaid- woman became lovers. Maybe because it was unavoidable do to the lack of other chooses.
They loved each other intensely and grew into better human beings, wiser and deeper. From this incredible human connection a pair of wings appeared on The Mermaid �woman. She flew freely over island and beyond. The Pelican-man did not grow wings and felt lonely and clumsy again. His heart wept from fear to be left alone forever. But the former mermaid-woman, now a Flying Lady, took him with her to glide over the island, the vast sea; each time further away mapping fresh grounds of new discoveries.
At once, their life became an open horizon, limited only by imagination.
Yelena Tylkina

Carmen The Untold Story

April 22nd, 2017

Carmen  The Untold Story

By Yelena Tylkina

"He's mine, mine, and mine!" - My mother, Rita, screams as she lunges at me with a table knife. Instinctively, I knew that she is not talking about the last piece of a juicy sausage. I jump away from a table and grab my chair to use it as a shield.
Rita is an eighty years old, 5'2", 170 pounds, woman from a provincial town of Russia. Presently, she lives in Brooklyn, New York, in a comfortable, one bedroom apartment that she has occupied for the last twenty years. At the reunion lunch with her visiting fifty six year old, 5'7", 200 pounds, ex-Soviet Navy officer nephew from St Petersburg, the old girl unleashes her undying desire.
"The officer is mine!" Rita screams with glistening eyes. In the depths of her own mine there is a theme: she is the gypsy dancer, Carmen, fighting for the object of her affection- the young officer. Deep, dark, murderous feelings rush through her veins. The air in the room is moist and heavy with thickening vengeance. The blood pressure pops way beyond healthy limits. It's time to act fast and not lose the momentum. Rita- Carmen gasps for air, displaying her almost bare gums, squeals and waves the table knife: no one is going to cross Rita-Carmen's path. And most especially not her yoga instructor, vegetarian, 5'9", 130 pounds of muscle, bitchy, artsy-schmartsy, daughter, Lena.
"You fat and ugly shame of the family! You have soft skull! Just look at you! Do you think that you better than me?" Rita-Carmen screams.
"Mother, we will talk about fashion later, and you forget to put in your dentures." I could not get connected with the primal drama and tried to steer the theme back to a civilized world. But Rita-Carmen is choking on her feelings, belches and exhales so heavily that green mucus flies all over the guests.
Vladimir Bulatov, the former submariner, smashes his huge, hairy fist at the table. Plates jump and glasses ring as a distant chorus to his baritone.
"My patience is boundless, but words have to be spoken: wild dogs shit on all of you. I didn�t have enough vodka to take such abuse. I came here with clean t-shirt and look at me now. What am I, a napkin? What do you think because I stayed behind and didn't leave Russia, I am a coward? My father, Aleksey Yefimovich Bulatov could finish two liters of vodka straight from a bottle without blinking an eye. I have two sons, I could have had more, but my wife was weak in this department, something wrong with her plumbing". From the pressure of an intellectual exchange, Vladimir belches loudly, and then passes gas.
Beee, froowww!
"This is my primitive past leaving me. Every day is a step closer to the sublime."
In the high fashion of current St. Petersburg table etiquette, he demonstratively lights a match to destroy the foul stench of his farts. Galina Bulatova, 5' tall, 70 pounds, missing front teeth, jumps from her seat to clean up her full-fledged husband with a paper-tower in the desperate attempt to calm him down. He frown his brows:
"Go back to your place. Don't interfere. I am not a baby. Devil�s horns in all of your collective butts! And you, Lena, will finish in a mental institution with your chakras and bullshit of inner beauty and who knows what the hell you are talking about. Normal people only care for (as Vladimir begins to count by raising his fingers): One- what kind of a car you drive; Two- the house you live in and; Thee-personally, I like to discuss new recipes for food. I love meat; barbeques in general. I love to eat well. But your theory about cosmic energy reflecting our inner world is a final stage of mental decomposition. No one could hypnotize me in to this nonsense."
Rita-Carmen's ears selectively pick up only the word "not enough vodka" as the basis for her next move to win over her "sweetheart" and she rushes to her supply of red wine. Several bottles of "cabernet sauvignon" lay hidden in the closet in response to a doctor's prescription for decreasing Rita's cholesterol and high blood pressure instead of popping pills. I had delivered a case full of red wine. The best that Italy and France could offer suddenly appears at the table.
"Grape juice is for kids and women! I am a man! Real man needs manly things like hard liquor, fast cars and quiet woman." Vladimir turns to his wife and stars at her for a moment with dead-shark eyes. Than, he looks at me and says: "You know, Lena, in the eyes of society, a woman who doesn't have children is a worthless."
Rita-Capmen, who is still squishing bottles of wine to her large bosoms, suggests that someone will go out for liquor and, because no one speaks English, Lena is a perfect volunteer. I refuse to go since, in my view, eleven o'clock in the morning is too early for any type of alcoholic beverage and chauvinistic remarks as well. Rita-Carmen explodes with rage:
"I use to have a statuesque figure before I give birth to you, then I put a few extra pounds. And you only knew how to stuff yourself with steamed vegetables and nuts and only cared about your books. I sacrificed my beauty for you and you're ungrateful and nasty. You always were nasty and fat with a skin like a lizard!"
I feel queasy in my stomach from irritation to participate at this annoying family gathering, yet say: "Of course, I can't see myself through your eyes, mother. But thank you for the review."
"Auntie Rita, you were always heavy like a bulldozer and I had a lot of booze yesterday with other goofs of our family at the Brighton Beach. Man, could those guys drink! Like animals! Too bad, Lena, you don't talk with rest of the family anymore. We drowned ourselves in Absolute. We had a great time, great time...So, Auntie, keep quiet since my brain is shaky. Personally, I like skinny women, like my wife- a little thing. You, Lena, are ok, a model type but the high African ass has to go. And speaking of Africans, I worry about taking the subway, because I fear being kidnapped by Africans and I can't understand your Metro system. In Russia, I couldn't get lost in Siberia without a compass. I would just navigate by the stars. But here, there are too many foreigners. So, I think that a taxi is an appropriate choice. How much from your part of Brooklyn to Briton Beach? I am short of money. You know that traveling is expensive these days and..."
But Vladimir couldn't finish.
"Ahhhh!" Rita-Carmen was beside herself.
"Please, Vladimir, Vovochka, stay!- She grabs Vladimir at the waist and hangs on him like a wet blanket.- Please, we didn't see each other for so long... I need to be part of the family, it is her- she points finger at me- who likes to be alone with her voodoo stuff. Take me, take me now!"
Agitated, Vladimir peals himself off his adhesive Auntie. In the hysterical excitement, Galina jumps around and squeals Russian vulgarities. In the rage of her frustration, Rita-Carmen bites Vladimir in the abdomen. His t-shirt hooks on her lonely last two teeth and for a split second, the sound of tearing fabric freezes the struggle and the surroundings. A large hole in the Vladimir t-shirt displays a heavy bush if dark wavy hair. Rita-Carmen spits hair out and shouts:
"You're hairy and stinky as a rural cunt. Who needs you any way? I am a famous dancer Carmen!" She grabs two paper fans and performs her gipsy dance, accompany herself with an aria from "Carmen" by Bizet: Love has wings and it guides me ahead...
Stupefied, Vladimir rushes to the exit door as his wife follows. The door slams behind the guests. Outside, on the street, a car radio blasts the Tina Turner classic: What's Love Got To Do With It? All those emotions...
I assume the meditative yoga position: legs crossed, eyes shut, and palms of my hands together in the praying gesture to keep my equilibrium.
"Oooom. Oooom..."

Event date: 1 April, 2008
Creative Realism@2008

Pearls and Stars

April 20th, 2017

Pearls and Stars

The rose bush cries.
Pink petals of my breath

Molecules in friction:
Explosion, whirlpools, colorful chaos..
On an expended univers
I flout.

A tear of God- the earth,
A city- an open corpse,
A yawning window,
A sofa- bed.

Countless dreams trapped
In pillow -cases.
On waves of satin sheets
A star is born.
Oct., 2008

Art of Yelena Tylkina

April 6th, 2017

Art of Yelena Tylkina



�Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter's soul,� Vincent van Gogh declared. Contemporary Artist Yelena Tylkina's paintings express the powerful emotions from her heart and soul through her visceral compositions and expressive use of color, line, light and opacity. Inviting us on a visual odyssey, she creates fantastical tableaux that mirror the human soul. Captivating the human spirit through the reaches of an artistic imagination, Ms.Tylkina conveys a sense of brilliant emotion and adventure to the dazzled viewer, as her exuberant brushstrokes cascade and morph into visually exciting narratives. Through this surreal blend of the natural and the unreal, the viewer is inspired to look beyond the expected or the mundane in contemporary life.

Transcending time and defining love, lust and ecstasy, Yelena Tylkina's visceral vignettes invite viewers to fully enjoy the main events exploding throughout the foreground. Mixing reality with imagination, Ms.Tylkina's emotional vistas create a sense of intrigue and fantasy which extend beyond the distractions of everyday life, allowing us to contemplate adventurous narratives fueled by our fanciful imaginations. At the heart of her oeuvre is her ability to capture the hidden emotions, unseen attitudes and strong personalities of her subjects. Curvilinear, sensuous amorphous shapes twist and outline human passions and emotions through her poetic visual lexis and offer an atmospheric aesthetic environment.� An alchemic m�lange of magical and fantastical elements are imperceptibly perceived and are emphatically articulated in her oeuvre as she opens sensorial portals to fresh perspectives.

Yelena Tylkina's optical fantasies and vibrant employment of palette reverberate with a visual syntax which contributes to the expressionistic element of her work. Illustrating a passionate blend of themes revealing a complex aesthetic, her intriguing paintings are a testament to human emotion. Dynamic color dominates in her tableaux featuring figures and forms which metamorphose into tangible structures. Electrifying hues sweep through the canvases allowing this gifted artist to metaphorically express emotions and thoughts through a brilliant color palette which imbues the work with a rich, ebullient two-dimensional, textural effect. The explosion of syncopated color provides a dynamic, visual imagery of socio-political revelation and creates an exciting artistic drama on canvas. Her emotional dioramas illustrate the deep heart's core of which we are and inspires us to contemplatively reflect on our inner being.

Applauded for her unique artistic vision, Yelena Tylkina's dramatic tableaux emotionally speak to her audience. The award-winning artist was born in the former Soviet Union and resides in New York. Exhibiting internationally and nationally in group and solo shows throughout Europe and the United States, her artwork is treasured in public and private collections world-wide. Amsterdam Whitney Gallery is proud to showcase the artwork of this contemporary global star.
Amsterdam- Whitney Gallery

Anna Karenina Last Wish

March 29th, 2017

Anna Karenina Last Wish


Anna Karenina rushes toward me through milky clouds of steam from a passenger locomotive from which, only a moment ago, she disembarks and kisses me on both cheeks three times in the Russian manner. The insane noise of Moscows train station is overwhelming and I hear only bits and pieces of Annas enthusiastic greeting and something about her adventures in Paris. I laugh, showing her in sign language that I cant hear a thing, Anna laughs back in understanding and agreement. She looks stunning in her Parisian purple, silk dress with ruffles and lace, powder-pink suede gloves with purple, lilac and coral embroidery of fantastic vegetation. The indigo velvet had designs of bouquets of miniature flowers with black shiny crystals on the hem. A pink veil covered over half of Annas face, the latest in chic fashion of the mid- nineteenth century. The elegant, pale brunette shook my arms like a schoolgirl, and her black currant eyes sparkled with the dew of happiness to be in my company, at home, in Russia.

Engaged in enthusiastic chatter about the shameless French, with their insane habits like parading openly with lovers in society and making love standing up under the trees in parks and alleys, Anna and I wander out from the train station into an open field of countryside. The warm afternoon in early fall inspires us to walk. The air is fresh and aromatic with the perfume of wild grass, and playful rays of sunshine tickle our faces while the horizon seems endless. On the side of the road, the rustle of white birches resembles young virgins whispering their innocent secrets to the wind. The wide, open space of the Russian landscape moves Anna to tears. She buries her face in her palms and leans on my shoulder, seeking attention. I comfort her through a gentle hug and pet her head in return.

I missed Russia, my family, husband, son. What else is there in life? Anna says, wiping her lonesome tear. I twist my face into a fake smile. Since I am a 21st century, bi sexual, intellectual, artistic, Jewish, body- builder mama of a poverty stricken proletarian background, I have mixed emotions about my place on earth, especially, getting stuck in nineteen century Russia. I take Anna under her arm to continue our leisurely walk. Anna expressed her admiration of my eccentric wardrobe: a Western cowboy costume of a floral print over wool herringbone tweed frock coat with horn buttons, a velvet fuchsia vest, jade, black iris jeans, a cotton poets shirt with a ruffled collar, stamped leather, gold heart buckle belt and jeweled and embellished, like an imperial crown, cowboy boots in chocolate calf leather, all crowned with a black cowboy hat. My embellished boots looked ridiculous on a dusty country road, sparkling from the reflecting sun into mini explosions, scaring people around into prayers and curses with three spits over their left shoulder and three crosses over their forehead and chest for heavens protection from a bad omens or the evil eye.

You are creating a spectacle by wearing your jewels in the wrong places. Anna confided to me. Anna was defiantly flirting with the idea to be the talk of the season in society for her brave and adventurous nature. But, if not for her sweet, feminine beauty, I would have died from boredom on the spot.

The cows moos reached our ears and we burst into laughter, warning each other about the dangers that may lie under our feet, and that we had to watch out. The elixir of life - fresh air - made Anna dizzy and she expressed her wish to take a ride home, because women in her position - the chosen class - did not engage in strenuous physical activity and the fresh air could put too much color in her cheeks. God forbid that she might look like a peasant upon her arrival from Paris. Society keeps its stern, watchful eye on every little detail. Since Catherine the Great, a pearl complexion and solemn demeanor was the trademark of the blue blood.

The rutted road was bustling with muddy streams of pilgrims. There were monks dragging their black cassocks on the ground, transferring hay on carts, peasant men wearing oily sheepskin coats in brown or tobacco and bast-fiber shoes, peasant women in wide, earth tone skirts with heads covered in wool kerchiefs, and horsemen in the uniforms of the czarist army hurrying along with their tasks. The only specs of color on the dusty road were the Gypsies, but not one, solitary, person of Annas status with an elegant carriage to give as a ride.

The spoiled society lady begins to show difficulty and capriciously regrets our extravagant idea to wander into the country without supervision. I have a hard time convincing Anna to take a ride in a peasant cart. She probably prefers to ride on my back to her private residence, but not when I am wearing overprized designer boots. This is not the Champs d Elysee promenade full of bored gentlemen seeking entertainment or diversion of any kind, or St. Petersburg with careless hussars throwing their coats on muddy puddles in front of beautiful ladies, to help them cross a street.

Our dispute came to an end by placing Anna and I on a cart full of aromatic, fluffy hay for five kopecks flat. A sly peasant hid his payment under his tongue and vivaciously whipped his horse. Hey, Sivka! Move you rascal! We have Boyars in a hurry! The appaloosa neighed and pulled the cart forward bravely despite the extra weight.

Annas ego was damaged by these simple experiences. She pouted her lips like a baby and refused to talk to me. To me, the peaceful ride through countryside was a treat, so I made myself comfortable on the hay by stretching my body and looking up to the sky at the fantastic formations of clouds changing shape from a rabbit to a dragon, from a dragon to a castle. Suddenly, Anna pushed hard in to my ribs and cried: A museum! Culture in the middle of nowhere!

I rose up from the very comfortable, relaxing position of laying flat on my back to see what all the excitement was about. Approximately thirty yards away from the road was a steel and concrete Cubist architectural wonder with a sign in Gothic script:
Freak Museum.
Exhibit of Collections of Freaky Things.
Admission Free.

Maybe they serve refreshments. Im thirsty. Anna exclaimed and insisted on visiting the museum. I jumped from the cart first and helped delicate Anna to reach the ground safely by giving her my back to use as a ladder.

What a klutz! I said to myself when Anna managed to tear her dress on the edge of the cart.

I cant go like this to a museum, people would laugh at me. Anna was ready to cry again, poking at a hole in her dress, and added. Im ruined! Truly, the sensitivity of the chosen class over superficial thing kills any joy in life. I wanted to slap the spoiled bitch, Anna Karenina, so much that my arms began to ache.

The museum was a rainbow colored labyrinth with some unimpressive graffiti on the walls at the entrance hall, but no art objects inside, whatsoever. Confused groups of people, wearing costumes from every era of our human history, including contemporary chic and very futuristic styles, were wandering inside the museum and asking each other: Wheres the exit? In a while, all the people disappeared. Anna and I were wandering inside the Museum for hours and hours to the echo of our footsteps.

Weary, hungry and scared we saw a door with a sign Live Exhibition. Finally, we could ask someone how to get out of this odd, empty place. To hell with my overpriced boots I thought and kicked the door open.

The room was an amazing construction of a simulated seashore with a pool especially designed to practice surfing. There were lights simulating sunshine and a disco-bar. A few young guys, wearing only shorts, aged from 20 to 25 years old, tall, handsome and athletic, greeted us as if we were best friends. The conversation began and we asked questions and got some surprising answers. There was no way out of this museum. The seven beach boys had been waiting for womens company for three years now.

We were hoping for some bad college girls, but got some nice old ladies who are very classy and fresh indeed! The beach boys were awfully frank.

Yeah, over ten years difference in age could be a big deal but, in this special case, and after such long period of loneliness, grandmas may be the way to go. I commented to myself. Boys, you could call me Friday and Anna, Summer Break. I add laughing.

Life was apparently good here in the Live Exhibition room. The boys had everything they wanted: the latest food, drinks, music, video games, or anything. Of course, we girls could continue to search for an exit and other exhibition rooms, or just settle in and begin enjoying life.

I look around and see Anna already dancing barefoot with two slender Latinos. She was in pink t-shirt with a sparkling slogan Hotel California and white shorts over her deeply suntanned skin that emanated a sublime glow. Her wild hair and the dark purple line around her glossy lips freaks me out.

How did you get the sun tan? I screamed. Anna pointed at the blond boy in neon- orange shorts, who was shaking a tube with self tanning cream. Are you medium skin tone? The blonde asked. We have natural skin tone enhancer. We use only organic products here!

Daiquiris? Or Martinis? You dont look like a beer person, asks another blue eyed, golden locks. I moved my lips in silence, totally stunned by whole scene.

I feel that lady Friday is a Pomegranate Martini person, please, porfavor, pozaluysta says one black young man who introduces himself as Dmitry and offers me his help in choosing a beverage. He was soft-spoken and very handsome with exquisite bone structure, elegant and refined even in shorts and sandals. He kissed my hand and smiled. His smile was like an open treasure chest: sparkling, precious and free. I tenderly pet his face.

Youre as pretty as a night sky full of stars. I tell him.

Would you like to be my moon? Dmitry asked.

I blush from the exuberant comfort of the improvised flirtation. I was ashamed how mach I wanted to stay in the Live Exhibition room.

But what about rest of the world, art, politics, etc.? I tried to appear overly intellectual. But, whom am I kidding? Anna was already making out with two guys simultaneously with a third massaging her feet. She, the upper crust prissy, finally got connected with her desires. Maybe this is the place to be. No mother Russia, no judgmental family and societal obligations. Women, at their sexual peaks, and with their intense needs, taken care of by a group of young and enthusiastic volunteers.

I gulped down the Martini like a glass of lemonade and stuck my tongue in to Dmitrys mouth. The kiss was like a sip of hot chocolate, sophisticated, sensitive and passionate. Now, time was mine exclusively. I wanted to be someones special priority.


The Falchi Building Show LIC ARTS OPEN

June 5th, 2016

The Falchi Building Show LIC ARTS OPEN

The Falchi Building Show

Despite the intense heat on June 4, 2016 at the closing party of LIC Arts Open, people were pouring in to the Falchi Building, room 401, to see a performance of the dance company Feral Child based on the writing and art of Yelena Tylkina. The dance, Postcard from Death , is a story about a young womans survival of a brutal attack and a rape and her emotionally complex affair with her rapist which adapted in to the modern ballet form and phenomanally performed by Tana Sirois in the role of young woman, Josh Popa as Death, Maria Swisher as the Spirit, with narration by Kim Kaiser, accompanied by the music of Julianna Carr.
The talented performance mesmerized the audience and captivated the viewers mind and soul. As the last note of music faded, the crowd was momentarilly speechless. It took seconds before the applause rose to a sound wave heard blocks away.
This unique event included a variety of fine art consisting of paintings, photography, collage, installations and sculpture of over 20 local artists inside a huge factory-size room , complemented with live music and a buffet with fine wines.
Great credit goes to the organizer of this amazing exhibition - local sculptor Edjo Wheeler - whose tornado-like personality was the force of nature which brought all the different elements of the event together and whose spiritually erotic oversized metal sculpture was rightly featured on the front page of the website for LIC ARTS OPEN 6 as an example of the fabulous dicoveries found in our culturally dense city. Truly, LIC knows how to have a good time with style.
With deep respect and appreciation to all who helped to make this event possible,
Yelena Tylkina.

In The Eye Of The Beholder

June 3rd, 2015

In The Eye Of The Beholder

By Yelena Tylkina

Somewhere in the city, there was a young man named Afronut, who dreamed of experience the profound, incredible, feelings of love as only depicted in myth, legend and fairy tale. But his search led him to no one.

Life around him was painfully simple, idiotically vulgar, and emotionally poor. For a long time, he mimicked other peoples behavior in close relationships. Yet those examples did not suit for his gentle soul and the suffering inflicted upon his naturally refined senses was excruciating. Afronut was trapped in a space of warped mirrors with twisted, goofy and, frequently, hideous and scary reflections.

From frustration and disappointment he smashed his penis between two rocks wrung it from his body and threw it away. He then covered his face with blood and screamed for many days in blind madness. Afterwards, he ripped out his own heart, and then cut his head off. That seemed the end of it.

His head rolled out into the street and local boys used it to play soccer. His heart faded under the sun and deteriorated because of the weather, rodents and birds. Afronuts heart never matched his emotional longings and deep, intense and colorful desirers. It was made from cheap, mass produced materials, like the dozens of little hearts sold for a dollar on St. Valentines Day on every corner of the city. With an unsuitable, goofy heart like this, Afronut was easily satisfied with his effortless conquers, and then the next day memories are in the garbage for the citys rodents and birds to munch on. His life became a morbid drag, witch led him to his mutilation and the suicide.

Afronuts tortured and beheaded body was not identified and was buried in potters field under the number: # 935362-8955462. And after a while, the local boys realized that they were playing with a human head instead of a ball and ran away in insane, hysterical fear. Rodents and birds finished the job: birds pecked Afronuts eye out and rodents cleaned the brain, flesh and skin from the skull.

The cemeterys beekeeper, a magic woman named Linga, found Afronuts skull and put some ideas together. Her bees produced reddish- black, lava- like honey from collecting nectar from the blossoms on the graves. One grave had flowers that were the same lava- like colors: an explosion of orangey-red hues of the color spectrum upon an indigo velvet background.

Linga, the magic woman, smashed Afronuts skull in to a powder, mixed it with lava- colored honey and ate the potion for eleven days. On the twelfth day, she became pregnant and gave birth the very next day to a budding Calla- lily. When Calla-lily came to the full blossom, her pistil was Afronut a handsome man in his prime, but still an emotional infant. Like a freshly hatched chick, Afronut assumed that the magic woman was his mother.

The magic woman was ageless, maybe thousands of years old, or perhaps, merely a teenager. Who could tell her age when light emanated from her face like a solemn halo? When even by the slightest physical contact with her clothes, any person experienced mental or emotional bliss. She loved herlittle chick unconditionally and showered him with attention and affection, spoiling him rotten.

But to watch a grown man crawling nude, just in a baby diaper, and sucking pathetically on his thumb, was not an option. Linga had to create a new, magnificent, and unique heart for Afronut. She tailored it in the shape of the cape of indigo velvet with intricate gold embroidery and embellished it with precious stones and pearls. The lining was woven from her own hair: like rich, royal and silky furs of ermine. The magic woman was ready to present her little chick, Afronut with her priceless gift, but stepped out to first inspect her bees.

While wandering about the house aimlessly, Afronut suddenly saw the incredible, hand- embroidered cape, glistening on the magic womans bed like an entrance to haven. He could not resist trying on the cape. The cape felt uniquely comfortable, and extremely sensual against Afronuts skin. He rotated his body as if preparing to dance and glanced in the mirror. His limbs went numb from staring at his reflection: he saw an amazingly graceful human being resting upon shiny stars looking peacefully back at him. He stepped closer to the mirror with admiration and love for the reflection, only to realize that the mirror was the magic womans eyes.

I can not stop looking at you! I experience such an enormous amount of beauty and love, by just looking at you. I am abducted and possessed. Every moment together, since we met is priceless, incredible and endless. I sense the eternity of my soul and an immortality of our union. Afronut whispered to the magic woman as he gently caressed her face.

You are my masterpiece. The magic woman answered. I know that some things are not how they appear to the naked eye. Wear your heart proudly. It is breath tackingly romantic, passionate, sensitive, honorable and pure.

The editor Charis Warchal

April, 23, 2011 Fantasy Fiction


May 28th, 2015



By Yelena Tylkina

It was a rational decision
To abandon my protective shell-
My dearly cherished fear
Of ridicule and rejection.

To lie open for exploitation-
My flesh surrenders into the
Clever hands of a glutinous,
Creative chef.

Murmuring to himself a popular ditty,
He does his kitchen magic;

Dipping my agreeable limbs into
Boiling champagne, glazing my skin
With zest and butter;
Stuffing my body with exotic ingredients,
Garnish with wild components and spice.

In the black tie banquet,
For the fickle attention of spoiled guests
And intimate acquaintances
I was presented as a center-piece
In fierce competition with other un-kosher
Horn DOuvres, dips and shell-fish.

The crowd drools with excitement,
Waiting for the signal to start the feast.

As the chefs flamboyant surprise recipe
I will be the talk of the evening.

An expression of love
Sliced into chewable pieces,
I travel though digestive systems
To be broken down into basic element and
Mutate into the word,
That people use only in the negative sense.

Just that important element which
Represents a final stop in the cycle of life:
Squeezed out, flushed down and forgotten.

This is brings me right back to the first sentence
Of my painful confession
But without any regret or humiliation
I repeat,
It was a rational decision.



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