Rustam Mavlikhanov – Civilization




“No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.

But I know none, and therefore am no beast”

(“Richard III”)


As any great civilization (not the culture of chamber pots with spindle-shaped ornament), this one emerged in the valley of the great river. The landscape was not similar to the vast plains of Mesopotamia, the Indus River or Huang He: no, judging by the feelings – a pain in the front left corner of the trachea (if the trachea has a front left corner) – it had been biting into the canyon of Upper Nile. While its Promethea were inventing the wheel and the spear, were building irrigation canals to divert the great floods to the fields, I, lazy and placid like a surfer, was practicing in zapping recommended by Prophet Che: I was sliding on the TV waves. In Madagascar, children were going to school through the valley where organ dealers were operating, the ninth position of the charts was taken by “Mi-Mi feat Yo-Yo”, the actor’s former concubine displaced Ukraine in the generation of screaming in the studio, “rub a carrot through a sieve into a curd”, a six-year-old boy wonderfully performed “Requiem” on the piano, the Mossad declassified Daches’s plan for the extermination of the Slavic-Aryans … the white noise was increasing, and the coveted thoughtlessness which could open the Gates’ Pylons was almost in my hands, but…

but the pain in my throat confused all the hieroglyphs. I had to get up, dig in the first-aid kit and – having nothing against any of the bacteria personally – I pounced them like Seth, the Evil Wind of the Desert: sulfanilamide felled from the heavens into their homes as monstrous boulders, sweeping away the palaces and poisoning the waters.

“Woe, woe! Fear, the noose and the pit!” – streptococci-pyogeneses screamed and sprinkled their membranes with the ashes of their pastures.

“No man is a prophet in his own land!” – Streptococcuses-mutanses shook off the dust of the Doomed City with an angry reproof, divided into a dozen units of a billion and head out to the promised land, which found on the mucous tunic of my throat after forty minutes of my time and several generations of their own.

The fittest survived.

They survived – and began to construct Kali Yuga on the debris of the golden age: exterminating their own renegades and hostile Pandav tribes at the root by some bacteriocins and other exotoxins, building up lipopolysaccharides on the walls of their Zions and Babylons, repelling the attacks of barbarians and the devastating invasions of monocytes – these Godzillas of my immune system, – landing the brave colonists – adeno-, rubula- and another parainfluenza viruses – to the far Turkish and Caribbean beaches, paving the borders of empires with fragments of mitochondria and nuclei, they transformed wild spaces into cultural ecumene micron by micron (I felt it by each cilia of bronchi), so that later, after hundreds of generations, declare with pride: “Everything, millimeters down, here is soaked with the cytoplasm of our ancestors! This is our Homeland! They shall not pass because we are Sparta!”

Sincere patriots of their races, they were not able to either enter into a symbiosis with me like escherichia coli, nor to build a geopolitical balance between the great powers and therefore they continued their drung nach the bronchioles with the heroism of true passionaries moving to the warmest edges of the universe – the lower segments of the lungs, and, in spite of the environmental consequences, they interfered in everything that quenched their greedy for the amino acids, even in the synthesis of prostaglandins and histamines – my good old pain carriers. Maybe their own biochemical Confucies and Zarathustras, Mozarts and Pushkins were appearing in the cultural centers of their civilization; perhaps they may have tried to find ways to peaceful coexistence if not with me, then with neutrophils, macrophages and another phagocytes of my non-parliamentary immunity, but all their efforts were lost in vain because the struggle for a place under the carina of trachea, for Lebensraum for their nations covered by messianism, led to the constant escalation and deployment of increasingly sophisticated methods of mass destruction of their own kind – from a primitive attack of the bacterial outer membrane to a violation of DNA supercoiling.

At some point I fell asleep: their cosmism philosophers found a way to emanate from the united by quorum sensing colonies of the pseudomonas aeruginosa into the noosphere the aspirations of the common people: about daily bread/panem nostrum supersubstantialem/, about wonderful children, about world peace in general and happiness for everybody, free (and let no one be left behind!) in particular, – or simply warmed my flesh and blood to the point of oblivion.

The dream was beautiful, and while it lasted, waterfalls, mountain peaks, Mediterranean beaches and pine forests changed several times on the Living Nature Channel, and the inhabitants of my beloved endosphere, having forgotten about “was worth even one tear of one child”, held a few scary, armageddon-like wars to divvy up the world anew – my bronchial tubes in this case. In seconds of the Verdun meat grinders and Miracles of the Marne I woke up – but only to roll over and continue the Wonderful Adventures with wild geese to the unmanifested sides of my own nature. In these moments, the cough tried to suffocate me as if the entire collective mind of civilization was blackmailing me: “If you want to breathe – you must sleep!”

The cup of my patience heated up by the temperature – a global warming generated by a life prospering within me – was limitless. But when the arms race provoked by the continuous attacks of my T-killers came close to an unlimited conflict with the use of superantigens, which were supposed to launch a cascade effect of my immune system, I rose.

I said:

– Hell with it!

I hammered a nail into a wall.

I put a bottle of saline in the mesh.

I hung the mesh on the nail.

I stuck a drip chamber into it.

I injected a drug made from my favorite tea, a drug with a name that declares love for the Almighty, Theofillin.

I inserted the needle into the vein and took control.

I connected the transfusion system to it.

In a matter of minutes I will perform an act of total, ruthless genocide saturated with incredible cruelty trampling down own death by death of trillions of creatures thirsting for one thing – to stay alive.

In a matter of minutes, my wrath will fall upon them.

For I am the Image.

For I am the Likeness.


‘Woe, woe! Fear, the noose and the pit!’ – relates to Nikolay Gumilev`s ‘Star Terror’ (‘Woe! Woe! Dread the noose and dread the pit’) and to Isaiah 24.17 (‘Fear and the pit, and the snare are upon then, O inhabitant of earth’) |  Slavic-Aryans – the reference to popular neopaganism | Daches’s plan – the reference to conspiracy theory ‘Dulles’ plan’ plus Hoffmann`s ‘Klein Zaches’ | The Doomed City is a novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky and an artwork by Nicholas Roerich| drung nach – is a motto of the German nationalist movement | ‘passionaries’ – is a term from Lev Gumilyov`s theory of ethnogenesis meaning the level of activity to expand typical for an ethnic group, and especially for their leaders, at the given moment of time.

(Russian) ‘cosmism’ – is a philosophical and cultural movement represented by Tsiolkovsky, Chizhevsky, Vernadsky etc. | ‘quorum sensing’ – is the ability of some bacteria (and possibly other microorganisms) to communicate and coordinate their behaviour | ‘was worth even one tear of one child’ – the reference to ‘The Karamazov Brothers’ of Fyodor Dostoevsky | ‘Wonderful Adventures with wild geese’ – Russian name of Selma Lagerlцf`s ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’ | tea … Theophylline – a play on words: lat. ‘Thea’ (‘tea bush’) + Greek ‘phyllon’ (‘leaf’) and ‘teos’ (‘god’) + ‘filia’ (‘love’) | ‘trampling down death by death’ – phrase from the Paschal troparion, the characteristic hymn for the celebration of the Orthodox Pascha in the Eastern Orthodox Church

Rustam Mavlikhanov (Buddha) was born in the town of Salavat, Republic of Bashkortostan. He comes from the native nations of the Ural mountains. His poems and novels were published in several journals and almanacs: «Belskye Prostory», «Istoki», «Iziaschnaya Slovesnost», «Journal of Poets», «Nizhny Novgorod», «Baltika», «Velikoross», «Sura», «LiFFT», «Foreign Backyards» and others. He lives in the town of Salavat, Republic of Bashkortostan.

Note from the Editor: We assume this is the author’s own work, and no part of it has been plagiarized from third party sources.