The Blank Notebook: A Tribute to Daniil Kharms


I met a man in the street today whose collar was turned up even though there was no wind. I did not nod to him, but pushed my left index finger through the hole in my left coat pocket and kept walking.

I think that’s all.


Most people are good people until they are given the opportunity to go bad. This reminds me of an aunt who died last year alone in her apartment. They only noticed because the neighbors complained of the smell. The aunt had rotted because she had been given the opportunity.


When not speaking, keep your mouth shut.


“Lyuba!” cried the undertaker.

“Elena!” cried the baker.

“Kchkch!” cried Irina, raising the doorknob.

Behind the fence Serge drank the goat’s milk and listened to the thwacking.

April 18, 2017


Matvei ate peas from a spoon.

The children’s grandmother peeked out from behind the curtains.

The goat in the garden bleated.

The sun went down.

Andrei waited in the dark.

Mice squeaked and Arseni died.


Today I sat at the window preparing to write until a wind forced me to close it.

As I could prepare no more, I left.


One September Foma and Dmitry quarreled over a bed slat. Shortly thereafter Foma took to drink and Dmitry left his family to join a religious order. Dmitry’s wife got a paper cut and died and her four children divided the remains.


Is it necessary for a man whose bed is infested with fleas to comb his hair?


Aleksey sat with his face buried in his hands.

Nikolai’s face was buried, but he didn’t have hands.

Anna contemplated her faceless hands.


There was once a man called Ivan who was five months and twenty-four years old and knew he was especially wicked. He had known he was wicked since he had met a horned man in the street who hadn’t tipped his hat. He had been two months and ten years old then. Ivan’s wickedness was his secret and he was careful not to show it to the world.

Every Friday he took black bread to an unfortunate widow and I have forgotten the rest.


Beneath my bed lies a cane.

In my trunk lies a suit.

Leave me be—

I’ll strap the leg on myself.

I’ll drink coffee

And ignore you over the rim.

April 21, 2017


Daniil Kharms, with his signature Sherlock Holmes deerstalker and pipe.

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