This book is not a novel, not a story, not a lyric diary and no memoirs. Chronological connections are replaced here by associative, and the search for beauty – by searching for authenticity, no matter how bad it may seem. This is Moovism (from “move” – it is bad). It is a free flight of fantasy, generated by true events. Therefore, almost no one is named here by their name, and the pseudonym will be written with a small letter, except for the Commander.
My acquaintance with the key (Yu Olesha) took place when I was seventeen, he was fifteen, later we became the closest friends, belonged to one literary environment. Эскесс, птицелов, the brother, the friend, конармеец – all of them too odessites, together with the Kiev blue-eyed
With the bird-bird (Eduard Bagritsky) I met at a meeting of young poets, where the critic Peter Pilsky chose the best and then drove around the summer theaters. Next to him in the jury always sat the poet eskess (Semyon Kesselman), invariably ironic and merciless in poetic assessments.
Ptitselov was an elite of Odessa poets, his poems seemed unattainable to me. They were both tasteless and incomprehensibly beautiful. He looked strong, had a gladiatorial appearance, and only afterwards I learned that he suffers from asthma.
To pull him to Moscow was possible only after the Civil War. He was already married to a widow of a military doctor, lived a literary work day and day, sat in his shack on the mattress in Turkish, coughed, gasped, burnt anti-asthmatic powder. I do not remember how I once managed to entice him on a yacht into the sea, to which he tried not to come closer than twenty paces.
He wanted to be a smuggler, a Chekist, and Whittington, whom a gentle voice called to come back.
In the origins of our poetry there was almost always a little-known love drama – the collapse of the first love, treason. The boy’s love of youth had once changed him with a half-drunk officer. The wound did not
The same was with the key and with me. Mutual envy all my life tied us to each other, and I witnessed many episodes of his life. The key once told me that he does not know a stronger engine than envy. I saw even more powerful power – love, and not divided.
The key girl was a pretty blue-eyed girl. In moments of tenderness, he called her a friend, and she was an elephant. For her the key refused to go with his parents to Poland and stayed in Russia. But one day a friend announced that she had married. The key will remain for her the most-most, but she is tired of starving, and Mack (the new husband) serves in the gubprokdom. I went to Mac and announced that I had come for a friend. She explained to him that she loves the key and must return at once, that’s only to collect things. Yes, she dissipated my perplexity, now she has things. And the products, she added, returning with two bundles. However, after a while, in my room in Mylnikov Lane, she appeared accompanied by someone whom I would call lame (V. Narbut).
Once he was in charge of the Odessa branch of the ROSTA. After the civil war, he limped, he did not have the left hand, he stuttered as a result of the concussion. The servicemen kept in their gloves. For all that, it was a poet, known even before the revolution, a friend of Akhmatova and Gumilev. Druzhochek almost on the day of arrival in Moscow, the key again appeared in my room and with tears in my eyes kissed my elephant. But soon there was a knock. I went out, and the lame one asked me to tell him that if the friend did not return immediately, he would shoot himself in the temple.
With tears in her eyes, the friend said goodbye to the key (now forever) and went to the lame.
Soon I took the key to the editor’s office “Gudka”. What can you do? What do you need? – There was an answer. And really. The chisel (the pseudonym of the key in the “Hooter”) nearly eclipsed the fame of Demyan Bedny, and our satellites (M. Bulgakov) satellites definitely drowned in the glory of his glory.
Soon, the editor appeared someone whom I will call a friend (I. Ilf). He was taken as a pravoschikom. From illiterate and tongue-tied letters he created a kind of prose epigrams, simple, saturated with humor. Ahead, however, he was waiting for world fame. My younger brother, who served in the Odessa threat, came to Moscow and settled in Butyrka as a warden. I was horrified, made him write. Soon he began to earn a decent amount of feuilletons. I offered him and a friend a story about finding diamonds hidden in the upholstery of chairs. My co-authors not only perfectly developed the plot, but invented a new character – Ostap Bender. The prototype of Ostap was the brother of a young Odessa poet, who served in a threat and very annoying gangsters. They decided to kill him, but the assassin confused the brothers and shot him in the poet. The brother of the murdered man found out where the murderers were hiding, and went there. Who killed his brother? One of the present confessed to the error: he did not then know that before him was a famous poet, and now he asks for forgiveness. All night Ostap spent among these people. They drank alcohol and read poems of the dead, a bird-catcher, wept and kissed. The next morning he left and continued to fight the bandits.
World glory came to the blue-eyed. Unlike us, desperate bohemians, he was a family man, positive, with principles, was conservative and could not tolerate Commander (V. Mayakovsky), Meyerhold, Tatlin. There was in him an almost imperceptible touch of provincialism. When he became famous, put on a bow tie, bought boots with buttons, inserted a monocle in his eye, divorced his wife and then married Beloselskaya-Belozerskaya. Then there was a third wife – Elena. We were related to him by his love for Gogol.
Of course, we, Southerners, were not limited to our own circle. I was fairly well acquainted with the prince (S. Yesenin), was a witness of his poetic triumphs and ugly debauches. My life flowed more or less near the life of the Commander, a colleague (N. Aseev), a mulatto (B. Pasternak). The great chairman of the globe (V. Khlebnikov) spent several days with me in Mytnikov. Fate often brought me together with the grasshopper (O. Mandelstam), the captain (M. Zoshchenko), the Harlequin (A. Kruchenykh), the horse-soldier (I. Babel), the son of the plumber (V. Kazin), the climber (N. Tikhonov ) and others, now gone from life, but not gone from memory, from literature, from history.