submersible self-esteem

Inspired by his skills as an escape artist, Harry Houdini sought to help deep sea divers unable to extricate themselves from a pressure suit upon finding themselves in trouble. On 1 March 1921, he received U.S. Patent Number 1,370,316 for an new and improved diver’s suit. By comprising two halves with a locking joint in the middle, Houdini’s invention enabled the trapped deep sea diver to slip out of the suit quickly, while submerged. He would then have a chance to escape and reach the surface without assistance. The construction also enabled the diver to don and doff the suit without assistance.

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A more intimate application of Houdini’s invention went unappreciated heretofore:

Уже давным-давно замечено,
как некрасив в скафандре Водолаз.
Но несомненно есть на свете Женщина,
что и такому б отдалась.

Быть может, выйдет из воды он прочь,
обвешанный концами водорослей,
и выпадет ему сегодня ночь,
наполненная массой удовольствий.
(Не в этот, так в другой такой же раз).
Та Женщина отказывала многим.
Ей нужен непременно Водолаз.
Резиновый. Стальной. Свинцовоногий.

Вот ты,
хоть не резиновый,
но скользкий.
И отвратителен, особенно нагой.

Но Женщина ждет и Тебя.
Поскольку
Ей нужен именно Такой.

Владимир Иосифович Уфлянд, 1959

Well known by folk forever and a day
is the deformity of Diver in his suit.
It’s just as true, and well beyond dispute,
that Woman dreams of him, having his way.

Consider him,
sprung up in fetid spray,
festooned and fringed in glutinous seaweed.
He’s looking forward to a night of sensual play.
(If not this once, just down the road he will succeed.)
The Woman who a myriad wooers mooted,
she needs her Diver, not some substitute.
So rubbery, so steely, so lead-footed.

You there,
if not so rubbery,
yet clammy,
and sickening, seen tumid, pale and nude.

But Woman yearns for You,
craving your whammy,
for only your Kind puts her in the mood.

―traduced by MZ, 29 April 2009


Vladimir Ufliand, 21 January 1937 – 14 April 2007

16 thoughts on “submersible self-esteem”

        1. If you mean a feminine rhyme, I hadn’t attempted that order of isomorphism. But now that you mention it, the alternation of genders in the first stanza has an effect not to be found in my Englishing. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll have to think this over.

  1. спасибо!

    хм… вот откуда шланги растут у водолазов Леонида Тишкова – из Уфлянда…

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