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Pelican Man

November 20th, 2021

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
The editor Charis Warchal

HUNTER Part I Flower

November 17th, 2021

HUNTER Part I Flower

HUNTER Part I Flower
By Yelena Tylkina


�Hunter� is a mystical and tragic love story; a complex, fantastic, journey of one young man�s realization of the reality of intangible forces (thoughts, feelings and, most importantly, the imagination) that are the foundations upon which everything is actually built.

Part I: Flower

The young, handsome, hunter entered the forest, but he was too cocky and lazy to look for really difficult prey. He preferred the already wounded and weak, or the young and inexperienced, so that he needed little or no effort in his hunting expedition. He often went alone to hunt, so that, because afterwards he could brag to his friends about how good he was at this manly, risky hobby.

Afterwards, he would host a party and cook his hunting prizes for his friends and while also cooking up stories of his incredible hunting adventures. His trusting friends believed they were gorging themselves on lions or bears but actually stuffing themselves with rabbits, squirrels and rodents.

In the depth of the forest, the young hunter saw a bloody trail and happily followed it, trembling in the anticipation of an easy kill. Preoccupied by the chase, the young hunter did not realized he had entered a maze of a long cave, and only then did he see that the wounded prey slung on the shoulders of some huge, hairy creature was his own nude body, bleeding from a fresh cut in his throat.

The young hunter choked on his scream, biting his knuckles when he was confronted with the beautiful, brown, dewy eyes of a buck frozen in the starting death mask of his own face.

The slain buck brought a lot of cheerful joy to eerie tenants of the cave. The group of mix bread of beings from jelly like aliens, humans, insects and hairy beasts began to prepare for the feast. The big fire lit up the cave and the young hunter searched nervously for a hiding place. He fearfully squeezed himself behind some large rocks. He was not sure whether this bizarre situation was just a wall of hallucination or very real and very deep trouble.

The deer was skinned and cut into pieces: nothing would be wasted. All the deer�s organs were displayed on a big, long wooden table for the different cooks to do their special dishes: soups, goulash, smoked tongue, fresh sausages, brain stew, kidney pie � a seemingly endless combination of delicacies with herbs, spices, wild berries, honey and hallucinogenic mushrooms. The deer�s head was placed on a golden tray. A gentle looking, dark eyed girl about eight or ten years old was petting the deer�s severed head and saying something in its ear. The young hunter concentrated his attention on the little girl face and her pink, moist lips as she pronounced,

�Now you know who killed you, my gorgeous, special pet.�

She then removed the eyes from deer�s head with her fingers and put them on a small crystal plate.

The little girl, dressed in a bright scarlet silk dress with long folds, moved quickly toward the place the young hunter was hiding and blew a kiss at him. The cold chills rushed through the young hunter�s body, but his heart was ready to explode from the hot wave of a hideous fear that he was now discovered. The girl smiled and said,

�My precious, I have made sure that only I can see you, so follow me closely.�

The long folds of girl�s dress enveloped the young hunter and in a few seconds they were in a lavish room of rich shades of scarlet, burgundy, bourdeaux and gold with countless incredible artifacts seemed to be collected from all over the world and many life-size sculptures, paintings and mosaics depicting common life and hunting scenes.

The little girl aged in front of the young hunter�s eyes in to a mature, handsome woman, an Amazon with gleaming gold hair, dressed in hunting clothes.

- �Let�s celebrate this good hunting season and have a drink for the soul of the beautiful, sacred beast we slew today! �- The Amazon exclaimed, as she placed the deer�s eyes in to the bottom of a florescent glass and added a special liquor of fermented honey and hallucinogenic mushrooms.

They emptied the glass and licked their lips in appreciation of the unique, beautiful taste. The young hunter glanced in to the glass and asked the Amazon,

�But who swallows my eyes, I mean the beast�s eyes, you or me?�

�The eyes will go to the one who needs them the most,� the Amazon answered and added, �It is the eyes� choice. They could be evenly divided between us. You will see the effect shortly enough. You will see the truth of things, places and people, beyond the surface, and feel, comprehend this amazing reality, unblemished with influences of any kind. Please excuse me, but I have to attend to some things of immediate importance. Please do not leave this room alone. The entrance door could be different from the exit door. Without guidance, it can be very tricky for an inexperienced person.�

She smiled enigmatically and vanished behind the door.

The young hunter was left alone in a new, strange environment. With great curiosity, he inspected the mysterious, lavish room. He was bewildered when he recognized himself with the Amazon in many images of art work and marveled at the pink marble sculpture of himself as Apollo in the classical pose of Greek masters. The craftsmanship of the sculpture of Apollo was superb and incredibly realistic, full of life and almost ready to speak. The young hunter�s head was spinning from the overwhelming sense of self- importance and a false pride. The effect of the potent liquor was obvious and the aggressive, selfish nature of the young hunter belched out a complaint to the ceiling�s echoes,

�Who does she think she is, this woman, to tell me what to do? I am my own master! I do what I please! She must be insane! There is only one door in this room.� The young hunter barged out.

As he faced the wilderness, the grim wind slapped the door behind him. The young hunter turned around but the door was not there; everything had disappeared. It was snowing lightly and the darkness settled quickly. The realization of his new, equally surprising circumstances was sobering and compelled him to stay put until morning. The young hunter searched for twigs and old branches to use for fire. He made a large circle with what he found, jumped inside it and lit the fire to keep predators at bay. The night seemed as long as an eternity, full of hungry howls, bone- chilling sounds and ominous movements.

But the dawn came and the young hunter moved along, hoping to reach safety. Shortly, enough, he saw a bloody trail unaccompanied by footprints, hooves, paws of any kind and he realized that he was at the same place where his bizarre adventure began. He knew how to get home from this point. The young hunter glanced at the bloody trail, he thought for the last time, and twisted his face with an arrogant smile.

The bloody spots on the snow had the shape of scarlet lipstick kisses against the white paper of a love note. The long chain of scarlet lips moved in a whisper. The young hunter went down on his knees and put his ears close to the scarlet lips which had a warm breath and a lovely voice.

�Follow me passionately, execute me masterfully, and feast on me ecstatically,� the scarlet lips repeated like a mantra. The music of the mysterious voice entered the young hunter�s heart. He sensed gravity free lightness in his body and euphoric happiness of no origin. His hot, heavy tears streamed down into the open scarlet kisses, scrolling around in the fresh snow, covering the ground in frenzy. Scattered diamonds of the young hunter�s tears glimmered in the midday sun, illuminating the wilderness with a magical, unearthly, glow. The tree gushed with perfume blossoms.

4 November 2010
Fantasy Fiction

The editor Charis Warchal

HUNTER Part II Cosmos

November 17th, 2021

HUNTER Part II Cosmos

By Yelena Tylkina

Part II: Cosmos

The young hunter pinched off one, solitary flower from a blooming tree, hided it inside his jacket and followed the trail of scarlet lips. He did not have to wonder for long to get to the magical cave. He prayed for a few minutes to get the courage to face whatever that would come to him and entered a crevice of the maze.

Near the fire the little, dark eye girl was alone, reading a book. The young hunter was spying on the girl for a while, thinking how to approach her. What to say to look evidently smart, dominating, manly and with an immediate explanation about his disappearance. The time was passing and the young hunter could not start a conversation, fumbling tails of his jacket.

“Well, well my special pet is back from playing around in the wild woods,” the girl sad without taking her head of the book. “I am reading a book on your heart desires. I would say an amazing and amusing literature. Please, come closer to the fire. You mast be cold, tired and hungry. We still have some leftovers from a last party which you miss. Would you like a snack? And what should it be? What is your favorite part of yourself?” She looked strait at the young hunter.

Now, the girl seemed to the young hunter about sixteen with boyish appearances: spiky short hair, thick eyebrows, a strong jaw line, dark, deep, hungry eyes; wiry, long body. It was confusing even at the close distance to figure out the gender of this teenager.

The untamed beauty of the teenager girl was captivating and agitating at the same time; even so, she was well groomed, and dressed in superbly tailored, funky clothes: burgundy lather jacket with an embroidered, tattoo inspired design of skull, flowers and dragons, and black, animal print jeans staffed in the red snake skin boots. But her eyes seemed to be not human.

Somehow, the all atmosphere in the cave was changed to a modern look of a city loft: brick walls, high ceilings, huge windows. The cave had been converted into the cosmopolitan living quarters with oversized canvases of Modern Art and wide, heavy furniture placed over antic rugs mixed with skins of wild animals. The young hunter immediately felt more relax and approached the girl flirtatiously: “My favorite part of myself is my butt. It is tasty on anything.” He collapsed on a red lather sofa near the girl, crowding her with his massive presence. The teenager girl still was holding her book. The hunter glanced inside girl’s book but pages were empty.

“What us up with your book, sweetie?” The young hunter asked and broad his face very close to girl’s neck and inhale deeply. The girl frayed her brows, her eyes glowing with amber as she moved her lips slowly:” Only I can see the script. This special gift not for common people, my pet, and only I could see and imagine what will happen in the future. Do not forget this book is about your fate.”

“I am going to tell you what to write.” The young hunter rolled his eye to the ceiling to gather his thoughts, mumbling something to him-self and folding his fingers in calculations of his desirers, wishes and dreams.

The girl rose slowly, closed her book, and annoyingly replied: ” I see you do not learn your life lessons and insisting to be primitive and a bully. Already, you was devoured by your own demons ones, kicked your “good on anything butt” from the paradise to the wilderness of your stupidity, come back and still, not a drop of wisdom in your eyes. I do not understand why you had to be chosen for this magical experiment? We all have to obey cosmic orders but I refuse to participate to help you with your fate. Go to Hell! I am going to burn this boring book of your life right now!”

The girl rushed to the fireplace. The young hunter grabbed her arm and pulled her back toward him. The girl kicked him fast and hard in the crouch, stomach and face. The young hunter stroked back and in the fury of there straggle he stabbed the girl with something he grabbed from a table. When the girl collapsed on the floor, he pulled the book of fate from her hands with laughter. His dance of glory and hysterical laughter stopped when the young hunter was up to his ankles in the girl’s blood. He froze in a shock. A black long line of a calligraphy pen rising from the girl’s shiny from her own blood limp body was the last thing he remembered. The young hunter fainted into a scarlet, abstract space, but of very tiny, suffocating dimensions.

With his book of fate still clanged to his chest, the young hunter regained his conscious on the cold floor of a small, dark room without a door. The ragged structure was a hut made from thick branches and the spaces between branches were staffed with small stones and mud, and layers of dried grass were substitute for a roof. Dim light was lazily descending down from a narrow, horizontal slat of the window on the top of a wall. The young hunter feasted his eyes on the blossoming flower from the deep woods, bathing in the ray of dim light.

“Ha-ha! It is easy to break this childish stricture. This is, maybe, a tree house.”- The young hunter communicated his plan to the flower and rose from the floor. He tried everything in the hope to destroy this tree house: scratching and kicking walls, jumping maniacally, assuming he could brake floor or shack this fragile structure down. Finally, clamming walls and digging holes in the grass roof. But dry grass was sharper than scissors, cutting his hands to shreds. He was creaming for help for hours in to a slut of the window, just to get slaps of bird’s shit on this face. After a few days without water and food, broken by an effortless straggle to free himself from his cell, the young hunter gave up and was ready to meet his end. He collapsed in to oblivion.

The aroma of fried chicken and French fries woke him up. The young hunter lost any sense of reality. He was starving and dying from the thirst. The food on the tray was a large bucket of Kentucky chicken, fries; pickles, fresh bread, soda, and one slice of pizza with pineapple.

“Is it Haven? Did I already die? “-The young hunter was wandering in his thoughts, while staffing himself with food and weeping like a lost child. He finished eating than fell asleep again.

The caravan of long days passed the same, except the fast food variations and a miracle of a never withering, aromatic flower from the deep woods. A basin with water appeared for him to wash and other things of personal toilet. He tried to break out again and again, but the same story repeated itself, till he realized that he could manipulate his surroundings by drawing the image of his needs in the empty pages of his book of fate, with his tears and blood. The small wishes would came true, but still he could not leave his cell, yet the place itself got bigger and bigger and a structure change from a hut to an abandoned factory, than into a space station of a colossal magnitude.

A space station had robots to maintain it and an intercom to talk to the source of the leadership. The young hunter got deeply involved with his place of incarceration and left behind his emotional longings, even forgot his earth life. But felt in his book of fate with drawing and letters of his life story. He reared his book at the remains of his day, staying in the observation room and than looked for hours at the cosmic view full of indescribable, fantastic wonder. He did not know the exact location of this space station. This specific knowledge was not given to him. He was safely drifting among endless cosmic beauty. He surrendered to his destiny to be a time and space traveler.

Than one day, the Amazon walked in to the observation room. The young hunter was not surprise to see her. He was dreaming about this moment for years. They set together in silence, listening music of peace. The Amazon’s elegant silhouettes was a miniature depiction of the cosmic view: the gold streams of the Amazon hair were in a beautiful contrast with a shimmering indigo suit she was wearing and enigmatic glow was emanating from her face. She looked younger then the young hunter remembered, or perhaps, he edged a bit. He took from an inner packet of his jacket the forever blossoming flower from the deep woods of his earth life and decorated the Amazon’s hair with it. The perfume of a timid flower felt the air.

“Life is an unpredictable and mysterious voyage!”- He sad.
“Our life is exactly as we picture it and what an incredible view!”- The Amazon replayed.

Fantasy Fiction
18 November 2010
The editor Charis Warchal

Postcard From Death

November 12th, 2021

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.
This story is about a young woman's survival from a brutal attack and a rape and her emotionally complex affair with her rapist.

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.
the editor Charis Warchal

Essence of Housekeeping

October 16th, 2021

Essence of Housekeeping

Essence of Housekeeping

By Yelena Tylkina

I arrived in New York from Russia as a political refugee on a steamy July afternoon with only fifty dollars in my pocket, but measureless hope for a seemingly bright future. I kneeled and kissed the million- footstep- trodden, gummy, sticky, cigarette ash covered ground of the famous John F. Kennedy Airport, and shed tears of overwhelming happiness in having safely reached the promised land.


“Summer days are long, so there is still plenty of time before the end of this memorable day to look for a job”, I was wisely advised upon my arrival by my sister-cousin, Zemfira Bergoldt, who was kind enough to meet me at the airport after eleven long years of longing for the family’s reunion. I turned with open arms and prepared to smooch my “miss–you- for-ever” darling, five foot- one inch- tall, munchkin Zemfira, and her family.

But, as quick as a middleweight boxer, Zemfira ducked her plump body, grimaced with disgust, and pushed me away. Her chilly welcome jarred me out of my joyful bliss. I raised my arms and sniffed my badly shaven armpits.

“What is it?” I asked, “A little too delicate for the old country aroma?”

My gruesomely obese nephew and cross-eyed niece burst with laughter, showing metal braces over their yellowed teeth. And next, the breadwinner -my four hundred pound square, brother-in-law, Mickey, who, incidentally, was my second cousin, stopped licking his ice-cream cone, sighed and lit a cigarette. With a sad expression on his pumpkin face, he looked at milky steams of cigarette smoke and spoke prophetically about my future:

“With your face… you aren’t going to make it in New York; Skinny, dark, no English. You look Puerto Rican! People will think that you’re our housekeeper! You belong with those people: dancing and fucking all day long. Pueeeeer-to Ri-cooooooooo…”

Fat Mickey unzipped his mouth widely, baring his periodontic, bleeding gums and giggled like a hyena over a fresh corpse. Screwing his fat, black, auto-mechanic, finger into my shoulder, he wiggled his layered, inflated hips. A Tsunami wave of suffocating rage reached my peaceful mental shore. My first reaction was to bite his kielbasa-size, rotten finger and swallow it without chewing and shit it out, just slightly digested in front of a whole family. But at the same moment, I remembered that I needed to crash on someone’s sofa and so far, in New York, I knew only these cartoon characters.

The family members that I grew up with in the same household in Russia had become weirdly shaped aliens. In the middle of summer, they had pale-green, transparent, jelly faces, with greasy lips, eagle noses and a heavy net of blue varicose veins that seemed to be hanging, dripping from their denim khaki shorts over their psoriasis infected skin.

Jet lagged from the flight, dizzy, disoriented and having lost the hearing in my right ear from a rapidly developing infection, all of the above made me reasonably mellow and agreeable. San Juan, Havana, Rio de Janeiro, samba, meringue, cha-cha-cha – Yes! With pleasure, I will carnivalize with rhythm oriented, sensual, suntanned people - but only after a bowl of hot borsht, a good shit and a shower.

The beige minivan subsided from the heavy cargo but, nevertheless, gave us all the treat of a comfortable ride home - to Brooklyn. I was amazed by the rich vegetation on the way from the airport to Bay Ridge. The brick, steel, glass, plastic, concrete jungle wasn’t so inhuman and scary. This was the beginning of my American life! In the comfort of the air-conditioned car, through spotless car windows, I visually absorbed new, all the exotic imagery that we passed on the way: architecture, flowers, birds, traffic - and I saw a raccoon digging through trash in broad daylight.

“A preview of my prospects” I thought.

I turned away from the window to face my ten-year-old niece, Kath. The “th” part of her name was impossible for me to pronounce properly and Kath would sound always like Kiss. She was an authentic American, a New York Yankee, born and bred in New York City. She was an odd looking child. Her face was a surrealistic painting in motion: Salvador Dali’s disturbed, internal, world manifested in one little girl. Kath’s ability to communicate in Russian was much better than my English. Both of us could use some practice and we engaged in Russglish chatting.

“So, tell me, how old are you?” she asked. Kath was rubbing against my leg and spoke in a very deep, sensual voice. She imagined that my miss-pronunciation of her name was an invitation to flirtation.

“In my early twenties, senorita Kiss” I answered.

Kath give me a stare, if one could call it a stare. The little girl’s eyes had a unique, incurable condition different from other cross-eyed people. Her blue pupils and dark centers of her eyes were in different corners of the white base of her eyeball. The amazing part was that she could see well, but focusing on an object was a challenge that sent her facial muscles to obscure, distorted expressions. The inbreeding had reached its acme. A panic attack of a powerful, realistic hallucination of being trapped in an aquarium with a deep-sea creature clogged my trachea. Gasping for oxygen, I barely controlled my desire to jump out of the moving vehicle.

Then Kath began her monologue:

“Ya’ know, you look like a goofy kid; you don’t have any boobs, your skin is dark and bumpy like a sand paper and I see a couple of black hairs on your chin. How gross! When I’m your age, I’ll have a size-E, like Mama, but Grandma is bigger- a dream size -F. She’s got to order her bras by special order. Ya’ know, American society is boob oriented. You’re not one of the chosen, you’re flat and no one in his right mind will marry you, poor thing. I already got a bank account for my wedding and a subscription to “Modern Bride” Magazine…”.

Kath went on and on about chosen and special people. I envied her enthusiasm for tomorrow. I thought to myself that sunglasses and enormous breasts, combined with a substantial bank account could be a winning formula. The little, goggle-eyed, Cyclops has a chance, so I better seriously shift my focus on Latin America. My Spanish vocabulary had up to thirty words more than my English and the Latin world appreciates tall, wiry, small-breasted women.

The radio blared, “Besa me! Besa me mucho! La- la- la!”

“No Spanish-mix! Change the channel! Put on some Russian Rock! We have a guest with us who knows bull about anything Spanish”.

My nephew Max made the request in a feeble attempt to welcome and comfort me, in memory of a decade old sentiment when I was his babysitter. A badly made copy of a vernacular noise crucifies me on the spot. Nailed by my scull to the back seat of the car, I silently wept.

“Jesus came from Jewish family and died suffering, but not like this.” I thought.

A two bedroom, tiny house with one and half bathrooms, still brought the proud owners, the family Bergoldt, to tender tears. The purchase was made a few months prior to my arrival. A few blocks away from the water, practically oceanfront: a gem, a wonder, an architectural masterpiece, a dream! The house was actually a cheaply built, aluminum sided structure, connected to other dreams on both sides: Polish, Italian, Greek, Bangladeshi, Equatorian, Afro- American. We all stood still for a few minutes in the front of their Winter Palace, their Hermitage, to pay homage to human achievement. After much struggle and sacrifice, the Bergoldts could mingle with the imperial crowd. In this corner lives so and so, an owner of mini-meat market (always fresh products) and in that corner someone who has connections to the Mafia (very quiet people), and there lives a lawyer (disbarred for a sexual harassment and embezzlement), but a decent, agreeable chap. The Bergoldts moved mountains to achieve respectability and a secure future and all I had to do was to walk the red carpet straight into the American dream.

What could I say? After Soviet Social Realism, when dust balls counted as an exotic food group and were distributed by rations, I had to admit, that anything was better than my yesterday.

“Incredible, sublime, fantastic!” I exclaimed, increasing the volume in my voice as I approached the last word and the exclamation mark.

The interior of the house was done in a “Le Freak C’est Chic” interpretation of Russian country style - Lubbock. The salmon colored ceiling with gold stencil print gently echoed the wallpaper’s repetitive scenery of a pink sunset over a palm outlined landscape. The wall-to-wall, wild berry linoleum intensified the magical impact on the visitor. Mirror-glass shelves reflected every delicate detail of the fabulous chatschky collection: Russian wooden dolls, matroschkas, ceramic figurines of unicorns, dolphins, ferries, kittens and puppies in woven baskets and a gilded edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, volume from I to P. Black veneer furniture, chrome finished electrical fixtures and plastic-glass coffee tables united in a silent partnership with the jewel of the crown of super refined taste: each and every immigrant’s dream - a 48 inch-screen television!

But, it wasn’t the décor and the two hundred-channel box that took my breath away. In the middle of the living room, a lengthy table with elaborate and lavish banquet sent spasms through my empty colon. Airborne molecules of paradise liquefied my body into a puddle of sticky drool. Very slowly, sliding my feet on the floor, I approached the lavish display of different types of cold cuts, cheeses, smoked fish, something with viciously large claws, salads and blintzes. Individually wrapped in plastic, the extravagant food presentation was a glistening spectrum of the color chart. To see a rainbow after a horrifying storm could be a spiritual, holy experience. God, All Mighty! Tenderly, I caressed the tablecloth and inhaled the complex bouquet of chopped, baked, broiled and cured aromas.

“Stop floundering with the tablecloth and start unwrapping the food!

My angel, Zemfira, was always on time with her wise guidance and worldly points of view. Treasures from Ali Baba’s Sesame Mountain were now at my disposal. Abracadabra! I was presented with kosher barbequed baby-pork ribs and other wonders of Jewish- Russian gourmet cuisine. Only the best and freshest ingredients were used to create the delicate masterpieces of the East.

My deprived life’s insecurities crept in and a paranoid idea seized my head: I was here not to enjoy the pleasure of these wonderful treasures, but merely to assist in the lavish party.

Fearful tears clouded my eyes and through a haze I saw the broiled, whole, spiked fish wink, smile, and say: “Hands off”, or “Fuck off”, or something along those lines, and then show me its tongue. I giggled, tried to step back from the table but got lost in a plate of wonderfully soft and creamy goose pate.

I regained consciousness in the back yard, huddled in a plastic lounge chair under a tree with my hand full of goose pate clinging to my chest and surrounded by a brave group of sparrows using me like a shield, flying back and forth, to steal crumbs.

“Hiya, boys!” I greeted the silly birds. “We may all be working together soon.”

I opened my eyes to the party, which had blossomed to twenty-five people or so. The barbeque smoked and sizzled, and the countless shots of Absolut had softened the borders between reality and absurd.

The buzzing human larvae with zippers unzipped, buttons unbuttoned, and lipstick smudged were packed to the brim with food and beverage, but couldn’t stop chewing and swallowing. I heard distant voices from across the backyard:

“She always was like this, dark and hungry like a roach. She’s illegitimate, you know. Who knows about her father? Probably not even a Jew. When she was three, we had to tie her like a dog, so she wouldn’t chew up the whole house.”

The sensational gossip collector, the hostess, let her tongue loose and became the center of attention. With hysterical dependence on the easy comfort of food and barking excessively like an abandoned puppy, Zemfira talked, with her mouth full of a hodge-podge of food as dressing dripped down her chin, to a bunch of bleached beyond recognition sirens. Blah, blah, blah, blah…

Through my ear yet undamaged by infection, I caught yet another folk tale. Around the barbeque stood Mickey, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, defiantly tailored from the leftovers of the living room’s wallpaper, holding forth with a free lecture on sexual harassment while waving a spatula dripping with oil.

“Some people would scoff at this, but studies show that 93% of men have felt coerced into sex at home. Marriage is like a double shift at the chemical factory, dangerous to the health and exhausting to the spirit. Half the time, I feel like a zombie during my performance, or like an astronaut, praying for a safe landing. Women are the Devil’s Inferno with hungry flames that reduce one to ashes. If not the kids…”

The group of listeners, five stout men with bull-size necks, guts hanging over their belt lines, greasy fingers and mouths full of burned cow flesh, howled in agreement and raised their glasses to the undeniable truth.

Kath appeared in my view like an ominous cloud, all sweaty and pink from excitement:

“I know that you’re fatherless. But, do you know who he is, at least?” She lisped in to my ear.

I looked at my hand full of goose pate, sighed and answered: “I am the daughter of the leader of the People’s Movement Against Oppression!”

The Cyclops’ reaction was very hard to read, she blinked her google-eyes for a long time, then popped: “What? I don’t understand. I can’t follow.”

“Precisely my point, my dear. So go and bring me a couple of crackers to finish this pate, go on.”

“I’m not your servant!”

Kath wanted to add many more adjectives and nouns, but was rudely interrupted with a big slap of watery bird shit on her face. Screaming and cursing in three languages: “Fucking shit! Blayd! Padla! Koorva! (fucking shit, a cheap and lazy whore, an easy slut, lame prostitute) in English, Russian and Polish - the last one, courtesy of a former nanny from Warsaw - the Cyclops turned and disappeared into the house.

Kath’s private school education is paying off handsomely. I couldn’t even finish my thought when I was swooped down upon by the famous, double-G size, Aunt Nina, Kath’s grandmother from Mickey’s side.

“What did you tell Precious, to upset her so much?”

Nina’s “nuclear submarines” vibrated rapidly to reflect her agitation. Staring at the two lethal weapons, human breasts with nipples size of my fists, I stutter:

“No es mi culpa, mira, paharitos locos shit on our p-pobresita Precious. I can’t interfere or stop the r-rascals. I was unconscious. No es mi culpa!”

“What is this shit with Spanish? This is a country of English speaking people!”

“Do you speak English, dear Aunt Nina?”

“I know my way around without it, you dummy! Now, I’ve got to ask you a very imported question. Be an accommodating girl and confess.”
Nina blushed, scratched her head under her cheap wig, put her sweaty palm above my knee, licked her lips hungrily and added: “If I take you to a doctor will I be pleasantly surprised?”

I hesitated to answer, but did so anyway. “The surprise is that my relatives’ core hasn’t changed. We all came from the same tree, then mutated in to a different species.” The goose pate melted inside my fist and dripped like a diarrhea between my fingers on Nina’s clothes.

“You klutz! Trollop! You got no manners or class!” Nina lost her polished cosmopolitan, high-handed demeanor and shouted out loud. “Are you a virgin or not? Answer me! I don’t have all day! People are entitled to know!”

She waved her fleshy hand at the party. Human larvae stopped chewing for a moment and some young men coughed or giggled in an anticipation of my confession.

All her life, Aunt Nina was a professional housewife, after her husband’s departure to a better world a few years back, she developed into a talented match- maker. With Nina’s zealous sense of duty, what had begun as a leisurely hobby became a profitable business. For their spoiled and insecure boys, Jewish Mamas wanted brides fresh from the boat, uncorrupted by temptation. Virgins were pricey but, with a proper certificate from a reliable doctor, negotiations could be completed rapidly to everyone’s satisfaction.

Mazeltov! Congratulations! Nahas, happiness for a hundred years!

“What century is it, the end of the twentieth? I don’t want to get marred! I have an education and, most importantly, I am a lesbian!” I announced proudly, trying to scare off potential marriage offers. The party cracked up in laughter and my body’s stock value shot up.

“These girls today are funny. They make each other’s hair and baboom! They’re automatically lesbians!” Nina maneuvered her monumental body between the guests, diplomatically explaining the delicate matter, if any doubt or confusion existed. “She is a virgin, a perverted one, but a virgin nevertheless. Tomorrow I will take her to a doctor. Mickey, throw more steaks on the grill. What a great party! Enjoy everyone!”

Nina was a living encyclopedia of traditional Russian, Jewish, and Polish folk songs and had a very pleasant singing voice. She belted out classic vocal pieces like “ Black Eyes”, a song about a Russian Army cadet- hussar’s passion for a dark eyed, Gypsy woman; “ Sen’ka Rasin”, a song about a Russian peasant who claimed to be Tsar Ivan the Third and demanded the Throne. He killed his beloved mistress front of his comrades to prove his loyalty to the cause; and, finally, “A Bisele Wein”, a Yiddish version of “A Little More Wine” – a song that always brought the guests closer.

So close, in fact, that my body was used as a musical instrument, my rib cage was an accordion, my buttocks -a drum, my fingers and neck, were used as a lute, a harp and a trombone. No new and exciting sounds were created, but the musicians had a hell of a time.

The morning cup of black coffee never tastes better than when suffering from a hangover. Every sip is an elixir.

“Give her something to eat, she look like an unripe prune! Her head is green and her ass is brown.” Exuberant and intensely perfumed, Nina slapped the refrigerator door.

“What happened to the leftovers from yesterday, Zemfira? We’re all hungry!” Nina then turns to me. “And you, Schlimazel, eat faster! We’re already late for the doctor’s appointment”. She pressed her index finger between my eyes.

“Strangely enough, missy, you got several offers of marriage during the party. The classic combination never fails: vodka and good shish-kebab, but strike while it’s hot! People here are very fickle.”

In her late sixties, Nina had more energy, than any young person I ever came across. She got fixated on the idea of my secure and easy life, which, for her, was marriage. “Marriage is the spinal cord of a society. A strong, healthy spinal cord can hold a promising future for the whole world.” My future husband would pay all my transportation and immigration debts to my family and I would be a respectable housewife with no worry of having to look for a job.

Sooner or latter, even a trapped animal would give up, and I wanted to avoid confrontations, especially during a crushing headache. I had an infection in my ear, so let’s go see the doctor and I would take it from there. When I asked for an iron to press my business clothes, I found out that wrinkled corduroy or denim, complete with white snickers and socks were considered favorites for the season. “This is not your village, this is New York, and people don’t dress for a doctor’s appointment. Casual is the way to go.”

I love having a little delicious sense of alienation. The obstinate and eccentric characteristics of my personality always hatch an adverse reaction of disobedience at any provocation. And my interpretation of casual was a starchy, little dress, in pink and yellow with tonal embroidery on a over-dyed dragon print and a pair of lime green sandals. My dowry consisted of just three pairs of shoes: sandals, dressy pumps and winter boots that were painted with industrial acrylics too many times to match the different outfits of my limited wardrobe. Piled layers of different shades of acrylic chipped off, showing the colorful decay of my sandals. At one glance at my creatively rebellious appearance, my relatives choked on that morning’s coffee, looked at each other with crooked smiles, but kept silent, remembering their Russian deprived past. Only Zemfira mentioned that she never saw a white person look so well in home-dyed, Caribbean colored shmatas.

The aged, shriveled, doctor immediately realized that I was not marriage material. For a while, we talked about art and poetry, and my untypical Jewish looks. The doctor diagnosed that I could pass for Brazilian. Are you a dancer? You’re a svelte young lady. A great posture! Could you do a split? No, I am not a dancer, just a propaganda artist, but yeah, I can do a split. I demonstrate the flexibility of my limbs. The doctor gave me an address for a cleaning job and a prescription for my ear infection.

Nina was disappointed that I chose work, instead of the security of marriage, but the address on Fifth Avenue across the Metropolitan Museum was a very promising prospect that I would not be a burden any longer.

I traveled to an unknown constellation, not visible through an immature user’s telescope, far away from even my imagination, to a non-parallel universe. I entered a Fifth Avenue apartment. The internationally exaggerated living space was blazing with luxury: gilded moldings and furniture, blue chip art, priceless artifacts, Murano glass frescos, elaborated fresh flower arrangements and an elegant host, in his forties with streaks of gray in his wavy, black hair and with impeccable manners. I did not feel overwhelmed or out of place. I studied art from the time I was eight years old, hitchhiking through all the major cities of the Soviet Union: Kiev, Yalta, Odessa, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stalingrad, Brest, Grodno, Vitebsk, and the cities along the Baltic and Black sea coasts; I ate sandwiches in every café of all the major museums; I had my first group exhibition at thirteen in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, and finished a few murals before my emigration. And now to dust “ Picasso”, “De Chirico”, “Dali”, “ Chagall”, “ De Koonig”, and caress with soft feathers Chinese Objects de ‘Art from the second, third and may be the seven dynasties, vacuum naturally dyed, hundred year old, Persian silk rugs and change four hundred dollar designer sheets was like working in the museum’s restoration section. In a place of such intense beauty and deep cultural roots, I felt privileged to be a cleaning lady.

My English- Russian dictionary came handy, when my master tried to explain my housekeeping duties, which included nothing sexual but an occasional healthy stream of clear urine on his face. He wanted to be pissed on. It was a moment of quiet uneasiness. I am the same person who just a few days ago wiped her ass with grass under a wild bush in the geographically uncomfortable part of this world? And now I ‘m transformed to the winning finalist in an international pissing contest with a prize of two hundred dollars per urine sample? What’s the problem? I thought. When half of my life I felt like doing it for free to so many people I know, just put them in place. It’s time to practice my secret desire on strangers then move onto my family members. Where’s the soda? The cracking sound of opening soda cans releases the bubbling Genie. On the malachite tiles of the bathroom floor, about the size of my cousins’ living room, a refined collector, my master, was rolling in ecstasy in a champagne colored voyage. I caught my reflection in the oversized, inlaid, Versailles mirrors. A peaceful picture of a young woman with her skirt up, carefully, crossing a brook, got stack in my mind.

On the roof sculpture garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I spent the rest of my working day merely to justify my insanely high salary. With a spectacular sight of the Central Park, sitting under a Rodin’s bronze, I make myself comfortable before reading my aesthetic employer’s letter of explanation for his unique addiction, fetish, or urge. He starts with an epic:

The neon sign of a desire flashes
Linen on my bed in flames.

Deep in my throat a scream is laid,
Controlling involuntary vital functions.
Emotions seep into the medulla.
A contagious conflict
In a stream of blood cells,
That no one can evade.
Lonely tears corrode the metal core
Of the metropolitan beast.

My heart stands still for a moment
To catch a glimpse of an innocent wish,
But death is not an option.

In drastic lines, the scholar continues, that the meaning of life has dissolved into materialism and an endless hunt for possessions. Urine is a means for a higher level of communication, far beyond pedestrian sexual encounters. Only then do momentary connections accrue between humans. The urine stream is an umbilical cord that is never cut between the mother, the Madonna, and the child, and represents the essence of togetherness, and the true definition of belonging. The triumph of a human existence lies in an unconditional surrender to universal love.

Did I just participate in something bigger than one individual judgment? I dared to let go of my ego and venture into a world that may lie behind all artistic marvels. My act of urination could be the enormously valuable, intensely stimulating force behind the creativity of a poet. The City of New York contains ten, eleven, million people and many, like my master-poet, are searching for a meaning in life. I will be a solution to the educated, sensitive and artistic. A perverse virgin’s healing, cleansing power, ready for the request of the next stranger in need. The umbilical cord would never dry out or get soiled.

Creative Realism
Event Date: June 1, 1989 NYC, US

The Bathing Suit.

October 4th, 2021

The Bathing Suit.

by Yelena Tylkina

The Red October Factory was about a minute walking distance from my house, or
perhaps three minutes, if you really dragged your feet. So, it was very
convenient when one day I discovered the factory’s management decided to open
the company indoor swimming pool for the use of the children of the
neighborhood. Aside from the fact that there would be a swimming coach available
to teach the children how to swim, there would be showers – with hot water – to
bathe in. This may not seem like a big deal to most people, but to me, living
as I did, in a house where in order to bathe we had to boil water on a
wood-burning stove, this was a source of indescribable happiness and bliss,
especially in the winter, where the simple act of bathing meant taking your life
in your hands.

At the time, I was eight years old and very excited about the prospect of
swimming in a heated pool in the frigid Russian winter. However, my
participation required possession of a bathing suit. Bathing suits were not so
easy to obtain as one might imagine. Indeed, they were rare and luxurious items.
How could I obtain a bathing suit in my provincial Byelorussian town in the
middle of winter- or in any other season for that matter?

I tearfully complained to my mother that I would not be able to learn to swim
and that the kids in the neighborhood would make fun of me in the summer when
they - unlike me - would be able to swim in the town’s river like caviar bearing
sturgeon, whereas I would sit on the shore like a lump of gefilte fish.
Fortunately for me, my mother owned a two-piece bathing suit in royal blue that
was imported either from Bulgaria or Yugoslavia that she considered one of her
most treasured possessions. She put it on to demonstrate it for me. Now, one
must remember that my mother, God Bless Her, looked something like a Russian
–Jewish version of the The Venus of Willendorf. Each of her breasts was bigger
than my head and her midsection was the widest point of her body. But, in that
royal blue bathing suit, to me, she was beautiful!

With much flourish, she removed her famous bathing suit that made her the envy
of all the women on our street and presented it to me so that I might try it on.
The bottom was much too wide for me at the waist and the top of the suit
contained large plastic supporting cups for each breast that created the
illusion that I had things that I would not have for many years to come. I
marveled at my womanly good looks as I viewed myself in the mirror. I was
convinced that Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and even Marilyn Monroe had
nothing on me.
“Ach! Meine schane madele!* This is marvelous! ”, My mother cried,” Everyone
will be green with envy!”
Indeed, I was so impressed by my newfound good looks that I refused to take off
the bathing suit even when I went to bed. This presented a problem since my
mother and I slept in the same bed for the simple reason that we only had one
bed. As I slept and turned one way or another, the plastic breast cups of the
bathing suit made loud clicking noises. Suddenly, my mother sat up and kindly
suggested to me to take that thing off so she could go to sleep because the
noise was driving her meshugah.**

The twenty or so neighborhood kids stood at attention along the side of the pool
as our young swimming coach introduced himself and began to examine the new
recruits. He slowly went up the line like a general inspecting the troops when,
upon reaching me, he stopped, moved closer and, in a particularly polite manner,
inquired about the origins of my bathing suit. “Aha!” I thought, ”Here is a
person of taste who has sensitivity to fashion!”
Happy as I was to be recognized by such a worthy person, I took one step
forward, and proudly announced to everyone that the bathing suit belonged to my
mother. He looked intently at the cups of the bathing suit and said ”Hmmm…Your
mother’s, eh? I would like to talk to her sometime, but first we must begin our

The shallow end of the pool was the place where our training began. Our coach
wanted to discern our various levels of ability. Sitting at the edge of the
pool, we first got our feet accustomed to the water. Then we all jumped in and
tried to swim as best as we could. Suddenly, I realized that my bathing suit had
decided to go out on its own. To my horror, the bottom of my suit was floating
right beside me. When I tried to retrieve the fleeing rascal, and salvage my
dignity, my top, having become waterlogged, began to pull me down like the
tentacles of a giant squid. As I strayed into deeper water, my body was ready to
surrender when I felt someone grab me and pull me to the surface. Our coach had
joined the battle against the fashion import that betrayed me. When he tried to
release me from the grasp of the deadly “D” cups, there was a loud clicking
noise and one of the cups smacked against my ear. I lost my senses and saw all
my life pass before my eyes -- all eight years of it !

I awoke to the warm embrace of a terry-cloth robe. On my lap, was the miserable
object of my embarrassment and of my almost untimely demise-- the bathing suit.
That day in the pool dramatically shook my confidence. I didn’t swim in the
river that summer. As a matter of fact, twelve more summers would pass before I
was able to conquer my fear of the water and the unseen fashion monsters that
lurked beneath.

The Life of One Butterfly

February 5th, 2021

The Life of One Butterfly

The Life of One Butterfly
By Yelena Tylkina

A butterfly became trapped inside a fake greenhouse where all the vegetation was made of plastic. By appearance, it was a very pretty green house and the plastic flowers looked super realistic and fresh. The plastic flowers even displayed morning dew made from glue of useless nutritional value. Soon the butterfly collapsed from hunger and was on her last breath..

But, luckily, a terrible storm came and broke a window of the greenhouse. Its strong wind swept the butterfly far away and placed her on a majestic, ever -blossoming, tree. The enormous tree was covered with glowing aromatic blossoms full of nectar and spread its ever growing branches endlessly to outer space.

The butterfly was resurrected and loved her new home. She replicated itself and all the new butterflies remained with the majestic tree forever.

Every few minutes, a spectacular view of a fantastic explosion of glowing colors would unfold as countless groups of butterflies swirled around the majestic mother tree in a whirlpool of dancing rainbows.

The majestic butterfly tree became an important item for tourists: It became something to see before one dies.
But for the locals, it became a place of worship; a sacred place of purification, forgiveness and metamorphoses.

26 of April- 5 November, 2011 and 1/6/2020

This story was made in to a 3D erotic slideshow on YouTub at your pleasure:

In The Eye Of The Beholder

February 2nd, 2021

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 people�s 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. Afronut�s 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. Valentine�s 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 city�s rodents and birds to munch on. His life became a morbid drag, witch led him to his mutilation and the suicide.

Afronut�s tortured and beheaded body was not identified and was buried in potter�s 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 Afronut�s eye out and rodents cleaned the brain, flesh and skin from the skull.

The cemetery�s beekeeper, a magic woman named Linga, found Afronut�s 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 Afronut�s 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 her�little 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 woman�s bed like an entrance to haven. He could not resist trying on the cape. The cape felt uniquely comfortable, and extremely sensual against Afronut�s 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 woman�s 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

A fly on the wall

December 2nd, 2018

A fly on the wall

I am a swirling mass
of lusty maggots
over a decomposing corpse
of my yesterday,
gorging on the rotten flesh of all idols,
and all the rules
on life’s propriety
and prosperity.

Who sold me that inspirational horse shit?
And called it Pegasus golden nuggets?
And put it in print
in the holy book of knowledge:
How to satisfy the king of flies?!

I will make decisions from my point of view,
from my perception
and my endless quirks.
I am plentiful and hungry.
At any time now
wings will spout on my back
and green flies
will inherit the earth…

Just a dream,
just a dream
of the fly on my wall
watching me
writing this poem for you.
Yelena Tylkina, 2 July 2017

Hell Gate

July 23rd, 2018

Hell Gate

I will walk naked through the inferno
just to see roses of your love in bloom.
I will survive anything
just to get close enough
to see the magic in fast forward.

And your vagina flows perfume at me,
velvet petals covered with dew.
I see my perfect reflection
in every sparkling drop.
I am forever lost
in the gardens of paradise
with heavenly blossoms
that climb over Hell’s Gate.

Anna Karenina Last Wish

July 7th, 2018

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 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.


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

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

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.


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.



September 9th, 2014


THE HEART OF M&M By Yelena Tylkina

In the middle of a passionate embrace
I will leave you
Walking out slowly
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

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:
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."
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!

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.
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.


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

God Gift

March 22nd, 2012

God Gift

By Yelena Tylkina
You missed a spot.

Nikolai Nenko, Kolya, pointed his swollen, hairy finger at the kitchens ceiling.

We need a second coat of paint. I want the apartment to look new for the baby.
It better be a son! Women are worthless he exclaimed with contradiction free, firm look on his face and banged his fist at the table. Than he moved forward gently slapped the swollen belly of his nine months pregnant wife, Dina and added:
I will name him after myself! My Junior.

Dina, at the moment, was standing on a chair, with her left hand holding the top of the refrigerator, stretching her body far up while her right hand moved a large brush with crimson paint back and forth. She was painting the kitchens ceiling. Dina had a hard time keeping her balance on a kitchen chair so, instead of answering her beloved Kolya, she just moved her shoulders nervously like she was trying to scare off a fly. Nikoly put out his last cigarette, gazed at the cigarette-butt for some time and wrinkled his forehead as if trying to remember something of importance.

Red kitchen is very patriotic. Yew! A good beginning for my son, maybe he will choose a military profession. Nikolay Nenko Junior- the Officer! Kolay commented with joy in his eyes, then crushed the empty pack of cigarettes in his hand and complained to Dina that the smell of paint gave him a bit of headache and that he had to step out to clear his head and to get some cigarettes. Did she need anything from the kiosk? Maybe some sweets, or some cold beer, because a woman in Dinas condition must have cravings from time to time, you know.

Nikoly stood up from his chair, yawned, stretched his stocky body, made boxing moves with his hands in an illusion of a boxing match with an invisible opponent and disappeared from the kitchen. Dina heard pocket change drop on the corridor floor as Kolya started a long chain of curses and the entrance door slam against its frame as Kolyas baritone descended downstairs.
A soft embrace of a peaceful silence gave Dina chills. She glanced at her bare arms, covered with goose bumps, shook her body a couple of times like a happy dog and started singing:

Willow, green, little willow
You bended over Fast River,
Dont conceal, Let me know,
Where is my love gone?

The cosmopolitan, Kieve native couple married three years ago. They began to worry that Dina was sterile during the second year of the marriage. Privately, Dina agonized over her ability to get pregnant. She strongly believed that her marriage would collapse if she didnt get pregnant soon. And now, Dinas stomach was bigger than a globe as Kolya would say, and she felt like a queen in her kingdom. Loved, protected and needed. Who could ask for anything more?

Glowing with happiness from a thought of coming close to motherhood, Dina worked enthusiastically, bending and stretching in every direction her swollen - but not for long now - body. She would stop only to sweep beads of sweat from under her newspaper hat, or to pull down her sun- flower pattern housedress that hardly covered her protruding belly. She had so many things to do before baby came. She would try to finish painting her tiny, khrooschouvka apartment today, then

Dina stopped working, stopped thinking and squatted down on the chair. The air bubble got stuck in her windpipe. She grimaced and moved her chin from side to side, rolled her eyes in and out from her eye sockets, puffed her lips forward and gasped for air like a dying fish on the shore. Then still holding the brush in her fist, Dina knocked it against her rib cage, splashing red paint all over her self and the kitchen. Finally, she belched.


The power of the belch was so overwhelmingly intense that the chair she stood on suddenly moved. Dina lost her balance and plopped her butt on the floor. A hot waterfall ran out between her legs, creating a puddle around Dinas thighs.

Oh My God! My water broke!

Dina jumped up. Cupping her crotch with her hands, she rushed to the kitchen window and stuck out her head.

Kolya, Kolya! She screamed into an empty street.

But her husband was nowhere to be found. Dina rushed out of the apartment down three floors and two blocks of agony to reach a pay telephone.

Hello! My waters broken! Baby is coming! What? Address? and wait outside? I am outside! Ok..Ok!

After the emergency phone call, Dina dragged herself back to her building with the hope of finding her husband. She hadnt quiet yet reached her building than she heard the siren. Dina waved her hand and screamed, signaling her location. Still, the ambulance car drove passed her. Dina went into a hysterical fit, pulled up the bottom part of her dress and waved it like a flag. The ambulance car backed up rapidly and suddenly stopped in front of Dina. She groaned from surprise and seized her belly for protection.

Totally soaked in perspiration, the ambulance driver jumped out and helped the pregnant woman to get inside the ambulance.

Im sorry Honey! Im alone on this shift! Please try to hold on till we get to the hospital!

The ambulance roared and leaped down the road. The siren screamed, Get out of my way! Get out of my way! We have a situation here! We have a situation here! OOOOOUUUUUweeeeeeeee!OOOOUUUUweeeeeeee!

Inside the ambulance, the stench from fresh vomit attacked Dinas sense of smell and suffocation squeezed her throat. The ambulance had neither a bed, nor a place to sit on. Dina remained standing and held herself steady as the ambulance raced and twisted and turned, by grasping a sticky overhead cable inside the cabin. The floor was covered with a mlange of liquids that the human body produces. Her feet slid on the slimy floor and Dina banged hard against the ambulance wall but, through sheer will, she maintained her balance. Dina felt her abdomen snap and her insides begin to slide downward. She howled with pain and desperately scanned the interior for a medical robe, or anything that even appeared clean. At a corner of the cabin, she spotted a stack of newspapers.

The child stuck to the newspaper like a fresh kielbasa.

The boy was pink and had a very loud voice. The ambulance finally reached the destination. The driver helped the young woman with the newborn child in her arms to get out. The bright sun and fresh air punched her in the face. For a moment, the world spun and she almost fainted.

Oh Honey! Hold yourself together!

Evidently, even experienced driver was not prepared for the ultimate reality and began to fuss around Dina.

You did it! Look what kind of a warrior youve given birth to! A Superman! I cant believe my eyes!

The driver took off his not so medically white jacket and wrapped it around the young mother.

Dragging her feet like a drunken wino with the taste of the umbilical cord still fresh in her mouth, Dina entered the hospital. A beastly looking, red-faced nurse who was really meant to be a butcher, barricaded the entrance.

Hold on! Whats this? Eh? Youre bringing your infections in here? You gave birth in the street, then stay there! Get out! Go home!

The exhausted mother walked out and sat on a bench under a linden tree. It was a fresh October day, full of sunshine. Migrating groups of birds were singing going away songs. The little boy smiled. The malachite autumn sky reflected in his eyes. Wrinkling his nose, child blew a bubble with all the colors of the rainbow.

Look at this gorgeous baby! This is simply Gods gift! The whole world has blossomed!

The new mother looked up and saw the joyous, baked-apple face of the old woman.

Then Dina finally realized her situation, as if she was seeing everything for from a distance. Her housedress was damp and smudged with blood and mucous that still dripped from her thighs. She wore but one dirty slipper and held her child wrapped in a newspaper. Dina twisted her face and bared her gums in silent cry and began to rock her now skinny, fragile body, back and forth.

Cry honey, go ahead, tears are the best remedy for pain. With the corner of the sweaty sleeve of her brightly colored blouse, the old woman began to clean the childs face. Look honey how the newspaper has imprinted itself on you babys forehead! I can read it: M-e-d-i-c-a-l l-e-a-p f-o-r-w-a-r-d. Ha! Perhaps he will be a Professor, or a Doctor! She then gently stroked Dinas hair.

To give birth is not a big deal, Honey. The real work is start now. Trust this old woman, she knows. I have on my one seven kids. They are all over the country. Some go even as fare as Vladivostok. Some are in jail. One is dead In a new life is a new hope.

Event Date: 7 October 1977

Creative Realism @2005

Travel Notes Show Europe Show Belarus

July 3rd, 2011

Travel Notes Show Europe Show Belarus

Travel Notes:

Show Europe- Show Belarus,
The Portuguese Event.

The joint cultural campaign Show Europe-Show Belarus, including Belarus and five European Union countries, Germany, Lithuania, Portugal, Sweden and Estonia, was recently successfully launched in Portugal, in the ancient city of Evora.

The opening presentation of the event was given by the director of the Portugal-based Oficina de Courela, and the Belarusian - American artist, Yelena Tylkina. Tylkinas personal exhibition entitled The Divine Female, which included 13 of her monochrome works and a lecture-dialogue about Belarusian art abroad, took place amidst the elegance of the Museu de Evora, on May 26 through June 19, 2011.

On the June 3rd through June 5th , at the Sociedade Harmonia Eborense (The Harmonious Society of Evora), the cultural exchange campaign Show Europe- Show Belarus continued with a group exhibition of Belarusian and Portuguese artists. Among them were artists Yelena Tylkina, Konstantin Selihanov and Antonio Monteiro; photographers Pedro Lobo and Yra Matsiyun. The exhibition was follow by a concert of the Belarusian folk vocal group Akana and a popular Portuguese local band known as the No Mazurka Band. Both performed together and produced a unique potpourri combining the antique songs of Belarus with the colorful background of a Portuguese band. The artistic and musical mixology was suitable to all tastes: from toddlers to the elderly. The music traveled through the many Portuguese and Belarusian hearts assembled there and engaged the audience to sing along. Couples of every age were soon dancing through all the long corridors and endless rooms of the Sociedade Harmonia Eborense.

Thereafter, a series of engaging workshops were conducted every afternoon that surpassed usual convention and were received with great participation and interest.

Together the participants accomplished the creation of an exciting and comfortable cultural space in which everyone became freely acquainted with the contemporary art of Belarus and Portugal.

While the event had an authentic Belarusian- Portuguese flair to it, it was truly international. The language of harmony and understanding blossomed fully along with the great promise of a fruitful tomorrow. Hopefully, a new cultural chapter has opened for Belarus, and international audiences will be challenged to broaden their horizons and examine their assumptions.

This was a truly historical moment in view of the fact that this was the first cultural connection between these two countries in history.

Much credit for the success of this extraordinary and experimental venture goes to the President of the Oficina de Courela, Ms. Elza Neto, the Portuguese partner of the campaign, whose high level of organizational skill made this venture so successful.

Yelena Tylkina,
30th of June, 2011

Mao in Beverly Hills

August 5th, 2010

Mao in Beverly Hills

By Yelena Tylkina

Little Suzy heard a splash and happy, horny, ecstatic noises in the pool area of the house. She rushed to the back door. In the pool, an enormous being was joyfully doing laps in the organically treated turquoise water. The thing was translucent and a pink glow reflected from its weird shape. Some kind of hybrid between a human baby and

Oh! Little Suzys teeth became painfully sensitive and she felt a numbness spreading in her chest creating a sensation as if her rib cage was frozen solid. She gasped for air

From the age of seven, Suzy dreamed about being an alien abductee. In two months she would have her 13th birthday- but now, her batmitzva dreams had already come true. She could already see the headlines:

Extra! Extra! Extraterrestrial Contact in Sunny Southern California!

Little Suzy is the Princess of the Black Hole!

Left behind on her bed with three hundred dollar sheets were all the negative criticism about the extra piece of chocolate cake, Butterfingers, Mars Bars, size eleven shoos, flaming acme and boys. Suzy was about to become a star.


Respectable Ruth Rothko was a quiet, intellectual woman, who loved everyone and was loved by everyone in return. All of the Save the Earth, animals, ozone layer, green forest, and hungry baby societies got generous donations from her. Ruth enjoyed gardening and conducted a heavy correspondence on the net and in the old-fashioned manner: by mail. From foreign envelopes she occasionally made collages and participated in local art exhibitions, wrote books and articles on the subject of comparative religion, was an undeveloped piano player, a vegetarian, and single.
The last two mentioned facts were a sore subject to her devoted Ecuadorian housekeeper, who felt that her unique talent for cooking delicacies made of hooves and intestines was totally wasted in the United States.

On her 42nd birthday, Ruth received a considerable number of interesting presents, among them, a large, healthy looking pig which, according to her housekeeper, would bring happiness, good luck and a sense of center to any person and, especially, to a woman in need of a mate.

Family is the most important thing.

Rosa Rubella Tamara Gonzalez Perez - by marriage, was living proof of this. She had left behind five children, four of which were masculine. Truly, she was blessed! One day, when Rosa goes back to Ecuador (only God knows when!) she will always have someone to meet her with open arms and open hands.

Ruth was more fluent in French than Spanish, but she got the drift and kept the pig. The beast was smart, sly and lazy, had an enormous body, a narrow cut pair of ever-suspicious eyes and atrociously bad hygienic habits. He was a spitting image of the former leader of the Peoples Republic of China: Mao Tse Tung. Ruth recognized the unique qualities of her new pets character and her intelligence and weird sense of humor would not settle for a less suitable statement than a Swarovsky crystal collar with three letters: M-A-O.


Myopic Suzy did not have the courage to introduce herself to the alien. Instead, with sweaty, chubby fingers, she betrayed her only chance for happiness and dialed 911.

The police dispatcher transmitted the message that at certain address, in an upscale neighborhood, there was a great disturbance. Apparently, some illegal aliens, probably drunk Mexicans, got carried away and were furiously trashing the place.

Police Officers Travis Good and Judy Freeman were very disappointed in discovering that the drunk Mexicans were nothing more then one, single, gigantic, ill-tempered pig wearing what appeared to be a diamond collar shining like the Milky Way. The officers looked one at another with the collective thought that they may be hallucinating from the sugar overflow in their brains from all those mouth-watering, double-chocolate donuts.
But this was not a game for the officers of the police force. They hoped that the boar with the expensive jewelry would simply melt in the chlorine. But little Suzy interjected that her family was environmentally aware and used only organic products. She added that her mother could not be disturbed at the moment, because she had just undergone a butt lift and was presently under medication and that their Polish housekeeper was at the pharmacy, but would be back shortly.

Officers Travis Good and Judy Freeman tried to scare the pig out of the pool by using different types of police tactics: polite persuasion, insults, threats, bribes, to even firing a few gun shots in the air. As a direct result of all the commotion, Mao had a healthy bowl-movement and several dark sausages of fresh feces began to float in circles around him.

However, a boar, with an historic name like Mao, was not so easy to intimidate. If reincarnation exists, then the spirit of the leader of Chinas Revolution would continue to do his leisurely laps as he pleased.

The police officers had had enough and called the Animal Control Center.
Within minutes, it became very crowded at the pool. The pool was drained, but the boar was fast, slippery and noisy. He squealed, bit and released himself constantly. The battle with Mao took much longer than anyone expected. By sundown, the dedicated civil servants were about to give up. Officer Good was very close to putting an end to all the nonsense and to have a fantastic barbeque - with the beer on him. He slowly removed his pistol, cocked it and aimed at the letter O.

Sensing the immediate danger, Mao lunged at his would be attacker and bit him in the crotch.


As Ruth arrived home, she heard a shot and Maos squeals for help. She rushed to her neighbors back yard and began to frantically plead for the life of her sweet, innocent pet. Ruth reassured everyone that she knew what she was doing. She brought a wide plank, carefully placed it at the shallow end of the pool, and began to gently call him. Agile as a cat, Mao climbed out of the pool and began to nibble lovingly on Ruths sleeve while making soft, happy, snorting noises and moving his snout up and down, begging for approval and a cookie.

Ruth commanded Mao to perform some tricks: he walked on his hind feet; he rolled over; he played dead. The tired, wet, and recently frustrated crowd broke into applause. But, in the middle of all this happiness, little Suzy suddenly collapsed in a fit of hysterical tears. Everyone thought that this was merely the after effect of excitement and exhaustion. Little did they know that Suzy had just realized that her dream of becoming an alien abductee had just evaporated: the glowing pink alien with fluffy, translucent ears was only a neighbors pet pig. Suzys housekeeper also burst into tears. Mao evoked some sentimental memories of the sweet family that she left behind in a small village in her beloved Poland and especially her husband, Joachim, the freckled albino who was obedient only to heavy liquor and his hardworking wife.

Maos day of adventure had exhausted him and, as he rested at the feet of lonely Ruth, he began to make plans for tomorrow, for the future.

Fiction @2003

Erotic Blossoms And Brooding Fantasies

May 1st, 2009

Erotic Blossoms And Brooding Fantasies

Yelena Tylkinas Art by Donald Kuspit

I have to say that I was taken with Yelena Tylkinas images of flowers, all lushly blossoming and often passionately redluridly alive still livesand taken aback (at least momentarily) by many of her female figures, not because of their nakedness, but because of their raw narcissism, all the more confrontational because of the raw graffiti (Bronx, 1997) environment in which they appear. Dramatizing the female bodypresented with photographic clarity, and hauntingly nuanced by atmospheric paintin what are clearly dream pictures, as the fantastic images (many from primitive art) fixed on their flat space indicates, Tylkina conveys both the angry glory and tortured unhappiness of being female.
The point is made clearly in three gloomy workstheir darkness may be alleviated by patches of bright color, but it never lifts. In one (New York City, 1996) a naked, youthful, well-built woman holds up the wheel of the world, like an Atlas, keeping its machinery moving despite the surrounding chaos. But she seems to do so at the cost of her identity and individuality, as the hair that shrouds her facethe proverbial place where the inner self becomes manifestsuggests. In the second work (JFK Airport, 1996) this same female, her face now visible and her wide-open eyes staring at us, confronts us with her nakedness, all the more intimidating because her genitals are exposed. She squats in the ruins of some huge structure, holding up a fragment of its heavy roofa sort of female Samson at the ironical moment she brings down the temple, physically blind and bound but in full consciousness of her destructive and self-destructive act and humiliating situation. She is self-possessed even as she is doomed, as the abyss below her implies.
Finally, we see this same haunted naked female, now with an African mask attached to the back of her head, and thus implicitly two facedand suggesting her inner torment--chained to a decaying wooden column crowning an Aztec sculpture and sitting on a huge beam (like that in the second picture) spanning a black void (Mexican Water Goddess,1998). Chains hang from the beam. Theres a pile of skulls to her left and another wooden columna totemic fragment--now marked with a small Jewish star. Symbols of death and suffering abound; even the flat church faade that frames her figure is pitch black, however luminous the openings in the towers. This woman seems to have lost her strength and will power. If the African mask is any clue, she is imprisoned by her own dark passions. Her existence is precarious, as her position above the void indicates.
There is an air of violence and despair in all three pictures. The antidote to their poisonous mood is the erotically charged, ecstatically colorful, manically intense flowers in Tylkinas still lives. She oscillates between the extremes, finding no place to rest. Not even the crosses that often appear in her pictures offer reassurance. In one (Crossroad, 1998) a young womans beautiful face appears in the center of an enormous black crossan enlarged quotation from Malevich, who came from Vitebsk Province, where Tylkina was also born (the abstract Suprematist character of the cross is made evident by the various small traditional crosses that surround it)implying that she has been crucified. Still alive, she unflinchingly meets our gaze, but her body has disappeared into the mortifying black. (The work also suggests a struggle between modernist abstraction and traditionalist representationhowever leavened by primitivism and surrealismfor the soul of her art.)
I am suggesting that Tylkinas works are by and large allegories of female identity. There is a sort of surreal portrait of a male figure, Anastasios Sarikas, but it seems beside the larger point of her oeuvre, although his strong personality suggests the dominance of the male over the female, symbolized by the comparatively small flower, again in full blossom, at his feet. He turns away from the flower, as though indifferent to its wonderful presence, to confront the spectator with his glance, perhaps hoping to dominate her as he dominates the flower, a precious thing of rare and natural beauty. He is clearly a conquering male, awkwardly at rest but still vigorously, perhaps arrogantly, alert. Just as the female fights to hold her own in her grim environmentgain control of it, however finally overwhelmed and ignored by itin the works previously mentioned, so the flower is dismissed by the male figure.
Going further, and looking at Tylkinas oeuvre as a whole, I suggest that her works are an intriguing mix of self-hatred and self-love. She loves the seductive female body, and symbolizes its desire in many works, but she shows its frustration and dubious power in other works, suggesting a certain self-hatred. Narcissistic female desire is as natural and spontaneous as the floral pattern on the dress and the flowery head-dress the woman wears in one black and white work. The beautiful woman welcomes the embrace of a primitive male figure wearing an African mask marked by nailsa sort of god of the emotional underworld. Here (Fetish Girl, 2007) the female figure is comfortable with her body and desire. She is as instinctively alive as the primitive male figure, although its monstrousness may symbolize the destructive character of her powerful sexuality, should she lose control of it. Is that the secret of the grim works I have already discussed: is the struggle to take control of the dangerous and collapsing society around her a symbol of her struggle to take control of her dangerous instincts and collapsing inner world?
On the one hand, woman is a guilt-ridden symbol of suffering and loss. Perhaps Tylkina misses Belarus, however depressing it may have been, and is not entirely happy in the United States, which also has its depressing side. Tylkina may be unconsciously trapped in an unresolved conflict between her old and new homelands. Are the catastrophic ruins she depicts those of both countries, the graffitied Bronx a synecdoche of the latter? They seem to fuse in several images. On the other hand, woman is a glorious sexual being, ready for any and every pleasure, as the brilliant image of a man performing cunnilingus on her indicates (Nova, 2007). Her ecstasy is apparent, and so is her dominance of the man, who now sexually serves her rather than her sexually serving him, as is traditionally supposed to be the case. She is a total creature of instinctive nature, as the wonderful image(Primavera, 2007) of her embracing a tree, the lines of her body merging with its lines, makes clear. The beautiful bird, exquisitely rendered, that perches on her shoulder symbolizes her inner beauty. The two women rarely meet, unless they can be said to through the black and white in which they are rendered. Tylkina is a master of black and white, sometimes sharply contrasting them to dramatic effect, sometimes weaving them together into a kind of morbid gray.
I think Tylkinas still life watercolorsanother medium in which she is very much at home--are in a class by themselves. Bold, luscious, ripe flowers, fruit, and vegetables, are the vital alternativeespecially in abundance--to Tylkinas morbid scenes of death and suffering. Her handling is passionately suave: black informs the gifts of nature, intensifying their colorsoften reds and yellows, sometimes intermingling, and with light emanating from them, as though they had no need of the sun to shineand often extends into the surrounding space, making it darkly brooding, as in the powerful Beets, 1995. Peaches and Figs, 1995 is also a strong and intimate work: the still life is shown in confrontational close-upit is as though it is approaching us to meet our approaching gaze--even as it maintains its separateness, and with that a peculiar aura of self-determination. If the females in the morbid images are self-representations, then the flowers are self-symbols, and the fruit, especially when they are cut open, are, I venture to say, symbols of the female genital. Of course Tylkina is following traditional models of the still life, as in Still Life with a Rose, 1999, which suggests a Dutch influencethe fruit peel is a familiar device for creating the illusion of space----but the point I want to make is that there is a kind of forceful feminine character to them, partly the result of their expressionistic fervor, partly the result of their age-old symbolic meaning. Vases and Pears, to refer to a 1999 watercolor, with their voluptuous lines, are familiar symbols of the seductive female body.
But lets go further: the peach and the fig are ancient hieroglyphs of the archetypal female genital. The black core of the Tiger Lilies, 2000 is emblematic of female pubic hair. In the magnificent Night Flower, 1999, the pistils, which are the seed-bearing organ of a flower, that is, its female genital, as the fact that it consists of ovary, style, and stigma indicates, are on conspicuous display, at once inviting and intimidating. They dangle in our eyes; we can almost smell their strong perfume. The flower, as we know is a hermaphrodite, but the stamen, the pollen-bearing organ of a flower, consisting of the filament and anther, are barely (if at all) visible. The flower in the portrait of Anastasios Sarikas is implicitly an invitation to a sexual relation, but the exhibitionistic Night Flower has no need of a male lover, for its pistils hang like penises, suggesting that it is a symbol of the phallic woman, that is, the all-powerful mother.
The Night Flower stands out of the surrounding darkness, completely self-possessed and consummate in itself. It is a truly extraordinary presencea profoundly erotic image of the traditionally hidden core of female identity, at once narcissistically exciting and sexually threatening, all the more so because it threatens to engulf and overwhelm the viewer. It brought to mind Wolfgang Lederers observation in his analysis of The Fear of Women: If a woman is seen as revolting, how much so that which makes her a womanher genital. The revolting, of course, was once the sacred. Lederer adds: emphasis was placed on the pubic area from paleolithic times on, that is, as he says, in the primitive representation of the female body (thus partially explaining the unconscious rationale behind Tylinkas use of it). In later representations of the Goddess in Greece, Crete, Egypt Harrappa and all over Asia Minor, whether her name be Isis or Demeter, Aphrodite or Hathor or whatever, she is often shown in a sitting or squatting position, her thighs spread wide, her vulva plainly displayed. Such ritual exhibitionism of the naked goddess was acceptable to antiquity as part of the cult of the fertile womb. I suggest that Tylkinas dramatic images of women and symbols of women, whether morbidly flavored or ecstatically colorful, celebrate the cult of herself and the sacred complexity of woman.

A Marvelous Pebble In The Mosaic Of The World Of Art

May 1st, 2009

A Marvelous Pebble In The Mosaic Of The World Of Art

By Margarita Shklyarevskaya

It was not by chance that I name this short review on Yelena Tylkina: A Marvelous Pebble in the Mosaic of the World of Art, words that I borrow from a famous Russian artist Yuri Pimenov. Because Tylkina is, indeed, a special person: a gifted, uniquely individual, thinker and a master of any media with a refined story telling approach which has become quite rare these days. Her narrative is that of a woman with her dreams, desires, happiness, pain, disappointments and love.

Yelena Tylkina is a genuine artist. Like the patriarch of Impressionism, Camille Pissaro, she is a master of visual effect and illusion but also of the deep, intangible things in the human psyche. The proof of my words lies in her retrospective exhibition of over sixty works presented by the QCC Art Gallery.

The exhibition is a body of work divided in three groups: unique graphics, phenomenal paintings and watercolors emanating light, all residing in the spacious rooms of a beautiful gallery and united with one theme psychoanalyses and a search of the self.

This exhibition is a voyage to an incredible world of erotic blossoms and vivid fantasies .I will start from the room filled with black and white graphics which are exquisitely executed. But first, lets talk about a precious jewel that welcomes viewers at the main entrance. Astonishing in intensity, the emotional painting,Violet (2007), is a virtuoso piece that reveals the tale of the short journey of life: from birth to death. A flower opens, gives its beauty to the world and fades into nothingness. But this painting is an optimistic, so to speak, homage to the ecstasy of the brief earthly existence and a triumph of a blossoming soul over the turbulence and trials of life. My guess is that it is a self-portrait of the artist. I recognize Yelenas enigmatic smile, wandering eyes, proud posture and a light cloud of ultra feminine sensitivity over all her persona which may be mistaken for grievous vulnerability. It was no accident that Violet was a chosen for the cover of her art book and to grace the invitations for the exhibition.

In the black and white work First Kiss (2007), the awesome passion of pure love shines upon the viewer. Then, the proud and lonely Queen (2007) on the chess board caught between the sharp edges of a geometric dilemma: What are the odds? How to continue when everything is lost? A painted novel of our life unfolds. We all wander between choices of black and white, right and wrong. But the game of life always seems to be one move ahead of us. And in complicated circumstance the basics remain the same: To be strong and truthful to one s self when difficult obstacles lie ahead.

I think this principle applies to Yelena Tylkina in her approach toward her professional success. She is a member of the National Association of Woman Artists of America, which nurtured famous American artists as Marie Cassat and Judy Chicago. Yelena has, in her account, several awards and honors for her contribution to the world of art both nationally and internationally, and her art work is included in many private and corporate collections all over the globe.

As I step into the main exhibition room full of colorful, yet dramatic paintings I note that Yelena Tylkina has surprising ability to produce quantity with superb attention to quality in her work. She is truly a workaholic; a prolific artist with originality and scope that befits a rising star in the art world. Or, to be absolutely accurate, she is a person who is obsessed with creativity to the point where she herself has become a creative tool in the hands of higher powers.

The over all style of Tylkinas complex works is figurative symbolism. Her symbolism in itself is a twisted strip of our collective existence that is taken apart by Tylkinas sharp eye and penetrating intellect. At first glance, the heavy symbolism of her work overwhelms you. Yet, immediate connections accrue and symbols sweep you into the world of her personal confession which echoes any womans search of her own soul. The higher level of self expression of Tylkinas creative ying is in her endless self portraiture. Perhaps this is a syndrome similar to Frida Kalhos? Maybe not, but the thought came to mind that Tylkina uses herself as a sort of guinea pig to see what is inside the rest of humanity. She gives both contemporaries and future viewers a full report of her own life saga in the great hope that womens complex internal world and sexuality can be finally understood.

Each and every one of her works is a philosophical, social and psychoanalytical essay, which is contemporary and timeless, professionally executed and emotionally deep. What is womans place in todays world? Even now, it is still an open, pending question. Decoding the mining of Tylkinas feminine series illustrates the constant struggle between the sexes in the arena of life. In every line of Tylkinas works there is a secret message engraved for us: her quest for equality of women, recognition of their abilities in every aspect of life, if not their superiority in many such areas. Who is our lord, boss, manager, judge? Tylkina comprehends that which is not obvious to everyone Time is our only master. And in New York City (1996) she puts herself in between the gears of a ticking mechanism of fate, rotating the wheels of time, to determine her own destiny. She is tormented again and again in Tormento (1998). Her nude body pressed against cold cement under a bridge and yet her spirit floats freely above with an enlightened gaze. A masterpiece from this series is the work Crossroad. The artist crucifies herself on the crossroads of Time and Space; a self- analysis that takes even Freudian theory to yet higher levels.

But the drama of being a woman is layered with Romanticism, erotica and wild sexuality as well. The emotional material is pushed through a grinding mechanism of the artists internal world. Her being -as a surreal form- can overload you with visual puzzles and brain games. One novelty of Tylkinas symbolism is graffiti. The universal language of our time, or from the beginning of time: from prehistoric wall drawings to aerosol can painting, she is seeks inspiration without judgment or criticism, guided only by love.

Love is not ignored in her images of males. Male portraits are domineering, but sensitive. Gods are gentle and loyal. Poseidon caresses the earth, longs to leave his oceanic kingdom, dreams of the flower in bloom in his heart and hopes for unconditional love.

Of course, one can not miss the canvasses dedicated to New York City, the giant cosmopolitan-monster and the Wizard of Oz all wrapped in one; the grand prize for those who dare. Yelena Tylkina, an immigrant from Belarus, chose this city as her Mecca and became devoted to her new birthplace. The beauty and the beast are the artist and the city. And like a fairy tale with a good ending, the beast has become a loving prince and the beauty has blossomed fully.

And speaking of blossoms - the third room, the balcony (which I call the watercolor room), is filled with large, emotionally uplifting, watercolors of floral bouquets dripping with a zest for life. I could sense the aroma of painted flowers that left me invigorated and fresh.

There she stood: Yelena Tylkina, elegant and courageous in the middle the gallery, an Amazon of contemporary avant-garde, who most assuredly shall leave her mark in art history.

Translation from the New York City Russian newspaper
Russian Bazaar #36(646) Sept. 4 -10, 2008 Article ID 13330