I said to myself: "Stop writing!" But my fingers want to write. Oh, my dear mother, my beloved friends. I look - in this ward theyíre ogling. Iím afraid to fall asleep - might get attacked. Around me are incurable psychos with itchy hands. There are psychos of different kinds - not wild but filthy, They are cured with starvation, they get beaten up. And you know whatís amazing - they all walk without nursesí watch. And the food that is brought to me, Those guys just eat it up. What is Dostoevsky with his "Death House Notes"? If he could only see how they bang heads against the wall. And if Gogol could be told about this awful scanty life, Then certainly that Gogol would not believe a soul. Oh, boy, what a misery! I spit on them, theyíre going wild. They always want to lick me, each time they curse and shout. Last night in the ward number seven one really went insane, He screamed: "Give me America!" and punched the nurses out. I have no need for any fame, while Iím still in full good health. My judgment is not impaired yet, but that is yet to come. One woman, chief doctor here, she also must be a lunatic, I say to her: "Iím going mad!" She says, "Wait awhile." Iím waiting, but I can already feel: "Iím walking the edge of a razor blade, Iíve forgotten the alphabet, remembered just two nouns... And I beg of you, my pals, so I wouldnít become one of them, Please come and take me forever from this place.
© Nathan Mer. Translation, 1991