The Leaflet

by Yevgeny Kharitonov

translated by Kevin Moss

We are barren fatal flowers. And like flowers we should be gathered and put in a vase for our beauty.

Our question is in some respects like the Jewish question.

Just as, for example, their genius, according to the common anti-Semitic opinion, flourishes most often in commerce, in mimicry, in the feuilleton, in art without pathos, in worldly tact, in the art of survival, and as there are, one may say, certain spheres of activity created intentionally by them and for them--even so has our genius flourished, for example, in the emptiest and most pretentious of the arts--ballet. It is obvious that it was created by us. Whether it is literally a dance or any pop song, or any other art with sensual pleasure as its basis. Just as Judaic people have to be ridiculed in anecdote and as the image of the sparrow-Jew has to be held firm in the consciousness of all non-Jewish humanity so that Judeophobia is not extinguished--otherwise what would prevent the Jews from occupying all positions in the world? (and there is a belief that exactly this would be the end of the world)--even so our lightweight floral species with its pollen flying who knows where has to be ridiculed and turned by the crude straight common sense of the simple people into a curse word. So that foolish young boys, their masculine aspirations not yet firmly established, shouldn't take it into their heads to indulge the weakness of falling in love with themselves. For of course, and of this there can be no doubt (for us), but the thought is extremely dangerous and should not be sent openly into the world (so as not to bring closer the end of the world, on the othe hand), but it is so: you are all frustrated homosexuals; and you are right, you have once and for all to imagine this pursuit as pitiful and vile and generally not imagine it at all.

And that all of you are us is clear as day.

Otherwise tell me why you like yourselves, that is a person of your own sex in the mirror? why are adolescents platonically in love with the leader of their courtyard gang? why do people no longer young look at times with a sigh at the young, seeing in them themselves as they can no longer be? why do you exhibit the beautiful and the young for the adoration of the whole world at the Olympics? Of course in your straight eyes all this has no romantic meaning! And it shouldn't! Otherwise the world would become distinctly polarized, the passions of the sexes would close in on themselves, and Sodom and Gomorrah would come.

We as the chosen and the predestined ones have to be encircled by a hostile boundary, so our example doesn't infect others.

Our chosenness and predestination are in living by love alone (insatiable and infinite).

While you, having found yourself at a young age a friend for life (a girlfriend), even if you look at other people, even if you break up, and then take up with another, still you basically live in the warmth of the family and are free from the daily search for love, free to do something with your mind, to take up a trade, or even to get drunk. But we, the Flowers, have ephemeral unions, tied neither by fruits nor by responsibilities. Living every hour in expectation of a new meeting, we, the shallowest people, to our graves play records with songs of love and look around with nervous eyes in expectation of ever newer young people like you.

But the best flower of our shallow people is called like no other to dance the dance of impossible love and to sing of it sweetly.

We secretly control the tastes of the world. What you find beautiful is in part established by us, but you don't always guess this (as Rozanov did). Avoiding in life much that arouses you, we at various times and in various ages have expressed ourselves in our own signs, and you have taken them for an expression of ascetic heights or the beauty of decadence which seemed to have a universal meaning. To say nothing of the fact that we often dictate fashion in clothes, we also present for your admiration women--such women as you might not have chosen in your straight desire. If it weren't for us, you would tend more strongly in your tastes to the direct, the carnal, the bloody. With a backwards glance at us, though not always realizing it, you have placed a high significance on the playful and the impractical. And it is also clear as day that everything fragile, deceptive, all the fallen angels, all that is in beads, paper flowers and tears, all this God keeps in his bosom; all shall have the first place in paradise and a divine kiss. The best of our young perished creatures he will seat closest to himself. And everything pious, normal, bearded, everything that is presented as a model on earth, though the Lord assures all this of his love, secretely in his heart he does not love it very much.

Western law allows our flowers open meetings, a direct showing of us in art, clubs, gatherings, and declarations of rights--but what rights? and rights to what?

The stagnant morality of our Russian Soviet Fatherland has its purpose! It pretends we don't exist, but its Criminal code sees in our floral existence a violation of the Law; because the more visible we are, the closer the End of the World.

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