Greetings from Paris! Vanya, as I walk around here The things Iíve found here, each sight and sound here, Iím jotting down while my impressions havenít faded - Then Iíll bring out my humble memoirs when Iím aged. Iíll tell them, Vanya, Paris clearly needs us Like you need pliers in a steam bath. The emigres here from the second generation All cause confusion and even consternation. The way they say our names they all sound unfamiliar - Instead of "Vanya", theyíd call you "Van-i-ya". But really, Vanya, Paris clearly needs us Like you need skis in Russian steam baths. Me and a French girl spent some happy hours; I count among my friends now Pierre and Jean. I got to spit on, from the Eiffel Tower, The heads of the untroubled Paris throng. Believe me, Vanya, Paris clearly needs us Like you need pliers in a steam bath. Our cultureís spread so far you canít avoid it - You notice it the most when far from there. The fact is in the Paris public toilets Thereís scribbling in Russian everywhere. But really, Vanya, Paris clearly needs us Like you need skis in Russian steam baths.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2008