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Anna Karenina Last Wish

July 7th, 2018

Anna Karenina Last Wish

ANNA KARENINA'S LAST WISH By Yelena Tylkina


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 Moscow�s train station is overwhelming and I hear only bits and pieces of Anna�s enthusiastic greeting and something about her adventures in Paris. I laugh, showing her in sign language that I can�t 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 Anna�s 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 poet�s 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 heaven�s 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 cow�s moo�s 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 Anna�s 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.

Anna�s 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. I�m 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 can�t 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.� I�m 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: �Where�s 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 women�s 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 don�t 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.

� You�re 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 Dmitry�s mouth. The kiss was like a sip of hot chocolate, sophisticated, sensitive and passionate. Now, time was mine exclusively. I wanted to be someone�s special priority.


Fiction@2006


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.

Shooft-pa-a!!!!!

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

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

YELENA TYLKINA

"STARLIGHT SYNCHRONICITIES" MAY 6 � JUNE 14, 2016

�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

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.

Decision

May 28th, 2015

Decision

DECISION

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.

@2003

THE HEART OF M and M

September 9th, 2014

THE HEART OF M and M

THE HEART OF M&M By Yelena Tylkina

In the middle of a passionate embrace
I will leave you
Walking out slowly
Barefoot
On the broken glass of your shattered feelings
Bloody trails of my wicked heart


It is two o'clock in the morning when Berty opens the refrigerator door. Like a sharp blade of a kitchen knife, the refrigerator light slices through the violet darkness of the night. Berty moans, bends his body backward and wrinkles his face from the overwhelming slap on the face - the sudden, sharp ray of the electrical light. He curses out loud. An explosion of profanities ricochets from the kitchen walls and another voice from far away wishes that the Euro-Nigger-garbage-trash- basura - Berty, is killed in a horrible accident.

Berty sprays farts in to darkness like a long chain of shots from a semi- automatic gun and bellows in to the night, Ah, you muddahfuckah son-of-bitch, come over here and fart on my balls when I screw you on the back of your mother!

Berty Matti is fully awake now. Bare foot and wearing only from his wrinkled shorts, he scratches his hairless chest and gazes into his refrigerator. Before him lie bags of treasure: M&M�s, Butterfingers, Milky Ways, Hershey�s �Kisses� and �Hugs�, �Kit Kat�s� and any type of soda that one could imagine. Obviously, Berty has a sweet tooth. His addiction to any cheap chocolate often awakened him at night, but he never kept a stash of sweet goods near his bed, preferring his chocolates cold and crunchy. He would stuff a small, icicle- cold piece of the candy-bar under his tongue and, in just one second, roll back his eyes from the intense, pleasurably rich sensation of melted chocolate dripping into his throat.
Berty would feed himself chocolate slowly, piece by piece, not quiet biting the chunks of the chocolate bar, but breaking it to start the melting process between his fingers. Afterwards, Berty would always suck his fingers for hours on end for extra nourishment.

At this hour of the night, he makes his journey to the kitchen not only for his sweet fetish, but also because he feels compelled to talk to the human heart that he maintains in a oversize mayonnaise jar on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

�Sleepy?� Berty asks the Heart.

� Not really, not after that splendid intellectual exchange with the neighbor. How are you doing, you chocolate slut? Come for reinforcement, eh? What? Your chocolate blood level has suddenly gone down? Remember when she made those chocolate hearts for Valentine�s Day? You lied to her that you have to watch your figure and ate only one little heart. Remember? She made those hearts from very expensive chocolate, following the French recipe for champagne truffles step by step. Do you even know what champagne truffles are, you Philistine?�

Berty screws up his eyes, bends his knees and shifted his body from side to side, ready to throw or duck the first punch.

�Don�t start with me�, Berty hisses to the Heart, dragging words through his teeth. �She was a heartless bitch.�

�Well, of course she is heartless bitch now, you mental pygmy! I am here,
Aren�t I?� The agitated Heart responds as it moves nervously in arouse of a premonition of a fusty argument or a verbal fistfight.
� When you stabbed her that night in the street, a dabble coupon assassin, she was bleeding and screaming from pain!�

�Yeah, she was bleeding alright, but with all the colors of M&Ms and laughing in my face. The bitch had chocolate in her veins.� Berty mumbles. � She broke my heart! That lying snake, that evil cunt, the red haired witch��

Berty chews on those last words and his voice begin to break. He turns his head away from the refrigerator. The Heart can see Berty�s athletic, tattoo-covered shoulders shaking. The now sniveling tough biker can�t stop his tears. The Heart desires to embrace, caress and comfort Berty by kissing his eyelids and his lips. But, without the Heart�s mistress, Ms. Candy Slutky, formerly of Omaha, Nebraska, it is now impossible.

In a feeble attempt to fix the awkward situation, the Heart softly whispers: �I love you, Berty. You always in my heart.� But Berty already collapses to the floor and gagging on his tears, covering his head with his arms to protect himself from emotional kicks, while screaming: � Stop it! Leave me alone! Go away! You are ugly piece of flesh, I despise you!�

The Heart leans against the glass wall of its cell, thoroughly enjoying the impact of its wicked experiment.

Fiction @2005

First Love And Pornography

September 9th, 2014

First Love And Pornography

THREE STORIES
I. FIRST LOVE AND PORNOGRAPHY
We did not have St. Valentines Day in Russia. Instead, we had something called Red Army Day and it was celebrated every February 23rd. On that day, the girls gave the boys presents. Thirteen days later, on March 8th, we celebrated. The Day of the Woman and the boys had their chance for revenge if the presents they received had not met their expectations.
To avoid hurt feelings, insults and conflicts, the teachers in our school assigned a particular girl to purchase a gift for a particular boy. These assignments were made on the basis of alphabetical order.
To my good fortune, I was assigned Roma Malkin, who, aside from being good-looking, was also, according to my mother, from a good Jewish family. "Baruch Ashem!- she exclaimed. -A Jewish boy! I know his Papa! He is a hairdresser! And I hear that they have a piano in their home! Wow! They have a piano in their home, I thought. How do I impress people who have a piano?
My mother, hoping to obtain much greater rewards through a good match in the future, decided to invest the substantial sum of one ruble for the purchase of an appropriate gift. I decided to throw in my own humble savings of 83 kopeks on top of my mother's generous donation.
I had one ruble and 83 kopeks, but knew most of the gifts would consist of toys and games I just couldn't afford. Moreover, I was at the mature age of 12, and had already divested myself of dolls and other children's toys for over four years. I wanted to obtain something sophisticated for the son of a family who owned a piano.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The sign above the store said, "Books and Antique Prints." As I pushed open the heavy door, the musty smell of old books immediately embraced me. I was surrounded by books with gold letters on the bindings, hand-painted tin serving trays, and stacks of complete sets of magazines available only for veterans of the Great Patriotic War. Once I overcame my delirium, I saw a small sign which said,"Sale of Reproductions of Russian and Soviet Artists."
Sale! My excitement was limitless though short-lived. The prints averaged anywhere from 15 to 20 rubles! "What kind of sale is this?" I asked myself. Totally crushed, I began to walk out of the store. Suddenly, my eye caught a small but lovely framed reproduction of a painting by Brullov called, "Italian Noon."
She was a full figured, young peasant girl collecting grapes in the Mediterranean sunlight. Her low-cut white cotton blouse barely covered her ample bosom. Her naked shoulders were in direct competition with the golden grapes that she was picking - and the grapes were losing.
Brullov's meticulous attention to realistic - and rather suggestive - detail stole my heart. I was in love. But the object of my love cost the eminently reasonable sum of two rubles, and I had only 1 ruble and 83 kopeks. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to take a chance and left a small, non-refundable down payment. I ran home and began to describe to my mother the pretty young woman collecting grapes somewhere in sunny Italy and how I needed her help to purchase this impressive present. Despite my mother's earlier reveries about a good match for the future, she parted with the additional 17 kopeks with great difficulty. Alone in my room two hours later, I gazed lovingly at the beautiful object of my desire.
The day that I began to dread - Red Army Day - soon arrived and the moment was fast approaching when I would have to say goodbye to my Italian beauty. Before the lunch break was over, she would be in the hands of another.
The ringing school bell announced the lunch break. Our teacher solemnly and gravely began to extol the virtues of the great and powerful Red Army that single-handedly defeated the venomous Nazis and made it safe for us to be able to sit there and open presents.
Her speech seemed to drag on forever. As she went on and on, I gazed around the room and was able to determine from the shapes and sizes of the packages, an array of teddy bears, trucks and a couple of airplanes. She finally finished her speech and gave the boys the green light to open their presents according to the order of their seating. From the first row emerged two stuffed animals and a truck. The second row held no surprises. Nor did the third. I was dying of anticipation!
Roma Malkin looked at his gift with great curiosity. He picked it up, weighed it in his hands, and then gently shook it. I thought I could actually see his thoughts. "Maybe a book? No - too light. Maybe a game? No - it's not making any sounds. What the heck is it?"- Confusion and premature disappointment were written all over his pretty face.
"Go on already! Open it!"- I screamed at him.

Roma tore the wrapping paper away in an instant and froze with his mouth wide open. And then, his throat produced an ear-piercing unearthly howl:
"Pornoooooooooooooooooooooooogrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaphyyyyyyyyyy!"
He was immediately surrounded by all the kids in the class. A chaotic, hysterical wrestling match began as they tried to get a view of Roma Malkin's gift. Pornography! Everyone wanted to see the dirty picture. Our teacher frantically banged on desk with a pointer in an effort to restore order, while screaming in her high pitched voice: "Order! Order! Order! Everyone get back to their seats! Tylkina! What have you done now!? This is a disaster!"
The pieces of the shattered pointer flew around the classroom like shrapnel from a Red Army artillery shell as the school bell announced that our lunch break was over.
My unappreciated, insulted, and now molested love disappeared into Roma Malkin's schoolbag while he looked at me with a salacious conspiratorial smile on his lips. Within minutes, my desk was overflowing with notes containing questions regarding my knowledge of human anatomy and adult entertainment.
By the end of the day, the word "pornography" spread through our school like a dry brushfire. By the end of the week, the stories that were circulated about my gift had taken on so many different shades and colors that could not be found in the work of the brilliant Russian painter Karl Pavlovitch Brullov (1799-1857), a contemporary of our immortal Alexander Pushkin. And many boys had a sudden, incredible desire to know me better. At the ripe old age of 12, my reputation was destroyed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The next day, even before I sat down at my desk, our teacher ordered me to proceed to the principal's office immediately. As I walked down the hallway, I could hear the shrill, angry voice of Mrs. Malkin emanating from the school principal's office.
"I demand an investigation! What do you mean by "gift"? Girls from good families don't bring gifts like this to school! I will not allow anyone to corrupt my son! Do you hear me? What kind of society are we living in? Believe me, I will report this to higher authorities!" Before I could even knock, the door flew open and an exceedingly large, red-faced woman stormed out and almost ran me over like a Stalin tank.

Upon seeing me through the open door, the principal ordered me to come inside, close the door, and sit down. He began to pace back and forth in total silence behind his desk while holding his hands over his mouth as if engaged in deep meditation or silent prayer. Finally, his voice broke the silence like a clap of thunder.
"Serious students do not have time for frivolous amusements! I understand the importance of fine art. School, however, is a temple for education. There is no place for fine art in school. As our beloved Vladimir Ilich Lenin wisely observed: Study! Study! Study! From an early age, we must be aware of the consequences of our actions and prepare ourselves to be useful citizens of our Soviet society. Remember, Tylkina, we have a bright communist future behind us - I mean, in front of us - and with art we cannot do it. Remember this, Tylkina, and carve it on your forehead! Promise me you will behave yourself in the future, otherwise there will be grave consequences. Do you promise? Good. You can go now."
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Woman's Day, March eighth, arrived and Roma Malkin presented me with a large pancake-faced doll wearing a dress with lace frills. It looked like a miniature version of his mother. I said to myself: Its over when I say its over.
At the end of the school day there was commotion outside the boys� bathroom. A doll was found hanging upside down suspended by a string from the ceiling with its head wrapped in black electrical tape, and a sign attached to it read: The end has arrived!


II. HIDE AND SEEK
The three of us stood at the bus stop, and racked our collective brain trying to figure out what adventure we might pursue within the boundaries of our provincial town. My two girlfriends Svetlana and Svetlana, and me, all of us mature and sophisticated eighteen year olds.
The bus arrived, the door opened, and a young man got out. He wore a three-piece suit, was tall, dark haired, attractive, and carried a stylish attache case. He stopped and looked long and hard at us and we returned the dirty look. Then, he smiled. There was something familiar in that smile.
Roma! Malkin! Orsha High School Number 2! Class of 82!- I screamed at him: Is that really you? You are a real dude now! Roma enthusiastically spread his arms and gave us each a friendly hug. We talked about this and that, about so and so the usual stuff. He informed us that he was in his first year at the University in the Department of Civil Engineering. In response, I pointed out to Roma that he should be particularly nice to my girlfriends, since they were both new practicing nurses and had access to penicillin and rubbing alcohol. Connections like this could be very valuable in our times. And what about me? I am just a freelance artist. In other words: a bum!
Clearly intrigued by us, Roma mentioned that his parents were visiting the countryside for a few days. Yeah, right: The countryside! As if our hole in the ground village was not �country� enough for them! Hey, how about a small party, Roma continued. Well, what are you offering? We were playing hard to get. He promised three star cognac and chocolate from Moscow. Right on!
First Roma gave us a tour of the apartment. A foyer, a living room, a piano, rugs, crystal, a kitchen, a dining room, three bedrooms, a balcony! The humble abode of our town�s hairdresser, Mr. Malkin, made me dizzy. In Roma�s room, I noticed a small reproduction of Brullov�s �Italian Noon� on the wall. I pointed to it and exclaimed, �Oh my God! Is this art or pornography? Roma, you should not show good girls like us such things! Are you trying to corrupt us or something?� We all laughed hysterically.
Moments later, Roma was pouring three star cognac in crystal glasses, while we girls gorged ourselves on Moscow chocolates. �Well Comrades, if this is what they call rotting bourgeoisie decadence, I must say that it gives off an awfully fine aroma!� I exclaimed amidst the laughter. My gastric system was doing a waltz of joy with the warm glow of the three star cognac, while Roma danced cheek to cheek with Svetlana and Svetlana. �Roma�, I said,� Its good to see that your education hasn�t been wasted on you. You know how to please fine ladies, but how about playing a game?�
Roma appeared confused: �Cards, you mean, or chess?�
�No!� I said, �We girls will hide and you then have to find us and the first girl you find, you get to�kiss.� Roma clapped his hands in excitement. He closed his eyes and began to count: one, two, three�
I downed one more shot of cognac and ran to his parents� bedroom to hide in one of the closets. Choking with laughter, I hoped he would find me first. The closet was dark, warm and cozy - so warm and cozy, in fact - that I dozed off. I awoke and opened the door of the closet. Night had fallen and it was dark. Yet, I was neither afraid nor confused; I felt right at home. I went to the bathroom, flushed, gargled and washed my face with cold water. I was ready for a new adventure. I marched straight to Roma�s room.
�Hey, what happened you dumb putz? How long should I hide for?� I yelled. Roma jumped out of bed, grabbed me by the arm and screamed, �What? You�re still here! I looked all over for you! I thought you�d snuck out of the apartment so I threw out your stupid friends! I didn�t care about them anyway. It�s you I wanted�.
Before I could respond, he pulled me to the sofa bed and jumped on top of me. �Are we having sex yet?� He asked joyfully. �Idiot!� I screamed as I pushed him off of me. �I�m fully dressed, you schmuck! Get off me! We�re not frogs, you imbecile! Did you study the art of seduction at your engineering school?�
�Tell me what I�m doing wrong! I�ve never done this before!� he cried.
�I know you�ve never done this! Who would degrade themselves and have sex with you anyway?� I snapped back.
�But I thought you wanted me,� he replied and pointed to the Brullov painting that I had given him years before.
�I was twelve years old then and I wanted to impress your parents!� I answered. Angrily, I turned away from him and stared out the window. The full moon reminded me of pancakes and bagels. My stomach roared. I turned around and asked him if he had some real food in the house. Anxious to please me, he led me to the kitchen, put on an apron over his underwear and, like a master chef, began to do his kitchen magic. In no time at all, the spotless, white, hospital-clean kitchen was filled with the aroma of Kielbasa, omelets, and fresh ground coffee. As I stuffed myself with the tasty breakfast I checked out Roma as he whipped the pancake butter in a large bowl.
�I�m glad to see that you are enjoying yourself� he happily exclaimed, �I can�t stand girls who are always on a diet. You know, it�s a crime what women do to their bodies these days. Do you know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? So don�t leave anything on your plate! Would you like more coffee?�
We ate and talked until sunrise. I promised to call and walked out into a crisp midsummer morning. I thought to myself: Roma has nice legs; he is hospitable, clean and � quite boring. He would make a great housewife.
III. THE FAREWELL
On March 22nd, 1989, I would say my final goodbye to my country. Like Cinderella parting from her stepmother, there would be no tears, no regrets.
As Sergey Yesenin once said: �Leave your sentiments behind you. We are all strangers in this world. We come and go as we please�
Our house was already sold. The new owner�s unassembled furniture and countless packages cluttered each room. For over a month, I slept on the floor in a makeshift sleeping bag. But there were no complaints - my soul was already in America. The body, after all, is just a container for the spirit - and anyway who worries about the wrapping rather than its contents.
During the last three days, there was a pilgrimage through my front door of all the people who knew my family and me, and felt compelled to come and say goodbye. I heard a knock that I became so accustomed to during this time. When I opened the door, there stood Roma Malkin in a Soviet Army uniform, replete with tall, black-leather boots. I had not seen him for over five years. He embraced me with the passion of a long absent soldier coming home after the war. I was stunned.
�Lena, please come with me to the cemetery, my Papa passed away. Please.�
The Jewish cemetery was not far from my home, situated on a hill overlooking the city. The headstones with Stars of David inscribed on them stood next to Orthodox Russian crosses. The Russian cemetery had been destroyed as a result of a sinkhole and the Russians received permission from the Jewish community to rebury their dead.
The strong odor of rotting leaves emanated from the patches of earth between the melting snows. Our steps on the crackling white snow whispered kaddish - a prayer for the dead, a prayer for yesterday. The blue dome of the sky rested on columns of black poplars. We had entered a Holy Temple, a place of cleansing and forgiveness.
Roma wept on my shoulder. I hugged him and gently stroked his freshly shaved head. He looked so handsome in his uniform.
�Lena, Papa is gone! Gone!� Roma cried as he collapsed upon his father�s grave. I tried to comfort him. �Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I�m here. Everything will be all right.� I helped him stand up, and suggested that we visit my grandfather Yakov�s grave.
As we stood next to Yakov�s tombstone, he reached into his army bag and pulled out the small reproduction of Brullov�s painting, �Italian Noon� that I had given him many years before in school in celebration of Red Army Day. He said that he loved me since that day. He asked me to stay and marry him. He said that we would be happy together living in the apartment that he had just inherited.
�Please say you will marry me! Papa would be very happy.� It was a sweet moment. I kissed him on his lips. He still had not learned how to do it.

I thought to myself, my dear friend, don�t try to seduce me with a warm bathroom and hot running water. I absolve everyone for their blind simplicity. I am not even here any longer. I am already far away across the sea��� I am in America.


� 2001 YELENA TYLKINA

Images of Women in art of Yelena Tylkina

August 7th, 2013

Images of Women in art of Yelena Tylkina

All female images of Tylkinas art essentially are the symbols of the Great Mother or Virgin Mary, (in the past she was know as Ishtar, Cybele, Rhea, Astarte, the Egyptian, Iris, Demeter, Hecate, Diana, Venus, Qwan Yin, Rhada), a divine female, some times an old, but most of the time, ageless woman: The Earth, the sea, a cave, a tree, a flower, and a bird.
Whatever the symbols of the image, whether dramatically twisted, ecstatically colorful, tenderly nude, or traditionally solemn, it often contains great religious feeling, or spiritual uplift.
Tylkinas images of women radiate wisdom, authority, and unconditional love, which are a synthesis of what has risen out of the pain and strength of the women in ones family and, collectively, in all women in our human history, stretching back through time.
Using backgrounds from prehistoric drawings through brightly explosive modern day urban graffiti, Tylkinas uniquely flavored images of women hold access to resources of insight and information at those times and are an embodiment of what we deeply need, fear, hope for, or avoid.
The female part of human psyche knows as Anima exists in every one of us as a quality of personal characteristics, which is the receptive, creative aspect. In man, it depicts sensitivity and contact with his unconscious through receptivity, his relationship with his own feelings and intuitive self. In woman, Anima depicts her higher potential and unrealized capability.
The female, the woman, holds the cosmic mystery of birth, the sense of connection with the rest of the world, and, perhaps, our future possibilities, as our imagination unfolds.




Yelena Tylkina, March, 27, 2011

 

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