YANA  DJIN

INEVITABLE

PART ONE  -  ON TIME AND LOSS

INDIFFERENCE

         A simple way of life Iíve learned and wise...
                           (Anna Akhmatova)

Now all that is left is -
to die to the past
and to fast-forward the future.
To the place where you sit and observe
how furniture gathers dust,
and how the brain begins 
to resemble a crust
of yesterdayís bread.
And the heart knows no dread.
 
 
 
 
 

ON LOSS

                 The art of losing isnít hard to master...
                            (Elizabeth Bishop)

What of it if whatís left - is scattered moments and silver tongues...
If life resembles a gray smudge on the X-ray of nicotine-eaten lungs...
What if the heart is scarred and the brain grows limp...
And your reflection forms a toad or an evil imp...

What of it then...

What of it if thereís no one with whom to share your bread...
And the sobriety of knowing leads to naked dread...
Lying down with people for whom you do not care...
Embraced by them - who are just there...

What of it then...

What of it if you taste the salt - the matter of your tear...
Pain is a sure sign that you were not deceived - that you were
 here...
What of it that the purest snow turns into sleet...
What frightens - is that the heart must continue its beat...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

RUINS

         And they will stand solitary...
              (Gospel of Gnostic Thomas)

To have been born sometime in V B.C.
Upon an island - in Asia Minor.
Amidst what now we call ruins
because thereíre only splinters left
of then a finer time.
Crime was basic -
Theft. Murder plot against the king.
Thus to uphold the status quo.
And a seagull merged her profile with a crow.

To have been born sometime in V B.C.
Not on the mainland. Somewhere by the sea.
It doesnít matter which - the Red, letís say.
Converse with passersby - the Dead, letís say.
And search a eucalyptus leaf for morning dew.
Wait around for a wondering Jew
to pass salvation from a neighboring land.
Instead: there follow sweat-drenched men clad in white.
The only thing to wish for is a cool, cool night.

Twenty A.D. A row of stars in twenty After Death
pulsating in the winter sky.
With every breath - you lose the thread of words.
Thereís only voice. With nothing left to add.
Slow, even dread soaks through the brain.
Insomnia. You cringe you face. Wait for pain:
For something to begin or end.
Rain falls.
Solitary there you stand.
Jerk the curtains shut. 
Ignore the sky.
Four square walls will be truer to your eye
accustomed mostly to the color gray.
Jerk the curtains shut. Pray
to the emptiness of sound, absence of a tear.
This room is but a prelude to the fear.
 

Close your eyes.
Ignore the rain.
Thatís what death is:
Lack of pain.
 

Insomnia. A mirror on the wall
deciphers your face with no remorse.
Four square walls illuminated by the light
play with the shadow of your bowed head.
Look in the mirror!
Images of the dead glide past your eyes -
Those features in the interim of cries.
Insomnia - sobriety to its unbearable degree.
Sleep - as nonexistence - is a form of being free.
 

The splintered images of dead make up your face.
Their tears break through your half-opened eyes.
Like everything that lived, they left a trace.
The pain you feel is a ruin of their sighs.
The dust of time had settled on your skin -
    into its folds and cracks.
Hence - that longing to commit the yet-unlived sin -
    to get off the tracks.
With years you see: Time plagiarized itself.
    And you did too.
With shameless ease you watched
    how one became two.
    Then three.
How numbers mocked your dream 
     of being free.
     Four. Five.
Ah, you became a detail of your own life.
A part of setting. Backdrop. Circumstance.
A ruin in a solitary trance.
Something like an outmoded ship in a provincial port.
    Agape in solitude. A naturmorte. 

A naturmorte of you ...
On the edge of a bed.
Of square walls. A bowed head.
Of random shame without a source.
Of mirror with no remorse.
Of sobriety driven to the brink.
the one that dreamt them.

...And stillness... in the morning...
Life - is what is left to you when
all else vanishes.
When the imaginary dies.
Life - a pale blue eye mourning
the fragments of its own vision.
Life - dispersed and scattered like sand.
And solitary there you will stand.

It happens quietly:
You realize thereís no one near.
That all is lost - it always was -
For, it was never here.
The only thing to call your own -
    are disconnected sighs.
And begging to be said -
    Good Bye.

Go, take a walk along a cemetery.
    Letís say - of Jews.
And cross the line that separates
    the ones that chose to die,
    from those - taken by surprise.
When emptiness stabs through their 
    artless eyes.
And leaves them - baffled, lost.
Like a November evening bitten
    by a sudden frost.

The self-inflicted ruins - suicides - half-dead
lie to the other side of gates at random.
Seldom does anyone come to pray for their sins.
    A eucalyptus tree leans
dropping a leaf after a leaf instead of tears.
    Grief is nonexistent here.

                       So are fears.
Unable to bear the neutrality, your hilly brain
searches for a mountain of sorrow -
Only to find a glimpse of pain.

Maturity - the flat expanse of life.
A sudden switch to whispers.
    Disdain of screams.
Becoming a detail of other peopleís dreams.
Desire - like sand - (the ruin of a stone) -
seeps though your crooked fingers.
And like a gnawing afterthought,
    the thing that lingers - 
    is pain plus boredom.
Anything that juts or bends
becomes too much for your eyes to see.
    Hence - that love of sea
    before a storm.
    Devoid of any form -
which is - but a work of time
that also out of boredom and pain -
    builds and destroys 
    so many Troys.

And like a ruin in the middle of a city 
    - a dissident stone -
    - like a Colosseum in Rome -
looks in estrangement at the architecture of today,
you look upon accumulated years
    - and roam your brain -
for melancholy or nostalgia.
( For slight touch of pain)
To find - that you have shifted from yourself
    - yourself in Time.
To realize that previous words no longer rhyme.
Eucalyptus leaf catches your memory
    - with its touch of dew.
And you recall the call
    - you start anew.

Here - there is no word to equal what youíve lost.
Words fail.
For how to describe the feeling of an aging snail
that tired of its home,
escaped into the blue
    to also start anew?
    And left its shell,
    like Dante bored with Hell.
    Without turning back.
    If anything - itís lack
    you feel. A minus.
    In other words -
    a prelude to the Chronos.

    To Nothingness.
    Without bound.
    Without a shore.
    A single sound.
    A yawn.
    A bore.

A snail that crawled away 
without a farewell kiss.
Leaving behind the story
of an eternal hiss...

So, there you stand,
pressing a ruined shell
against your ear -
soundlessly crying.
It isnít death we fear -
but dying:

Losing the connection between 
what you once were
and what you now are.
Affirming events which have occurred -
but never recognizing your self in them.
This is how you recalled a noose -
and in it someoneís head 
which once was dear.
This is how you lost the thread.
This is how the past crawled near -
No, not to haunt you! - Just to exude a breath of fear.
This is how a rhyme got lost.
This is how you transformed into a blind host
leading yourself through amnesia and memories
    that had concluded a truce.
Hoping to start from the beginning -
    but whose?!

For, where do you turn when the lost feel no loss?!

Where do you turn when the cross
had been converted into a post 
to uphold a city sign?!

When do you turn when your most hopeful line
no longer provides solace?

...Neither does prayer - repetitive in its rhythm and rhyme...

Where do you turn when time
does what it does best -
chisels you into your own ruin,
         your own core:
When you see yourself - raw, disclosed,
          whored-out by habits:

When your heart no longer beats like hundred escaping rabbits -
but a decrepit, worked-down snail
which you just saw crawling away
along the eucalyptus leaves touched by dew
to get off its snailish tracks and start anew...

Where do you turn?!

Into the past?

Then whose?

Your own...

It is as much yours now as the future -
of which one thing is sure -
it will arrive - with or without you ...
And yet, the past possesses one cure:
Itís as unfaithful as the memory of it.
So, there you stand in solitude.
You hesitate a bit ...
And speak into the caverns of the snails abode
Not to resolve some question - but to unload

the sound of your aging voice -
For there is nothing else you have
that presents a choice...

You say:
I, too, you know, was born in the land
where East met West,
then shied away and slithered like a lizard...
There blizzards were as rare as good will...
a pomegranate chill bit through your bone... 
There were more people moving 
than those carved in stone.
And this is how you guessed - this was the East.
At least,
the smell of rotting melons made you think of Palestine,
where every deed was stamped into a line...
There streets were crooked - fashioned after an average brain.
And, therefore, there was nothing to look forward to except for          rain
to wash away the ruins of the day,
and to be left in solitude to pray
for those that found strength to go astray
from their sources, their earth, their kin -
in other words, for those that grew a second skin,
invoking words of undiscovered prayers -
where boredom and pain exchange the layers...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

CLOSER TO NON-EXISTENCE

Donít pay attention. Donít pay any heed
to anything beyond this room.
Just sit there. Motionless. Or read
about someone elseís gloom.

Donít blink or fidget. Do not jerk
if suddenly you hear a scream.
And if you must give out a quirk -
Just know: it is your neighborís dream.

Donít trust in instinct. Use a double lock.
And sit, not-waiting, on the floor.
And when they come for you and knock,
donít move. Say : ďItís a wrong door!Ē

If outside, avert your gaze from eyes.
When asked, do not respond. Donít be a hero.
And when you hear that he died,
stay put. But, most of all, avoid the mirror.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ANNO DOMINI or LIFE IN OUR ERA

It is accomplished!
It is done!
 Gone
is the time of laughter,
- of tears.
Resigned smile - symbol of our times -
will wash away all our primitive fears.
And here weíll stand -
indifferent, alike -
million blades of grass,
rays of light -
that melt into a putrid night.

Anno Domini - how ungrateful words can be!
  - how untrue to their beginnings!
New Era - has begun with a suicide.
The Alpha and Omega of existence
too impatient to wait out its own death.
Too crude to hear ďhow.Ē
Gasping for the ďwhatĒ with its last breath.
And shouting at heaven: ďNow!Ē

Now we have no more prophets!
And who needs them?
Answers forgot the questions long ago.
A comma now stands where used to be
a question mark.
(Or was it ever?)
Tears in our era
flow upon a handkerchief of
all-forgiving, all-forgetting.
They are sucked in before theyíve time to dry
- especially those of despair -
dismissed as a sign of weak will,
as an affair with melancholy.
At best - as a result of poor upbringing.

Itís hard to find an adjective
for our times.

Mad?
If only!
Sad?
No.
Lonely?
Perhaps.

Far from an ocean -
buried inland,
in the monotony
of greenery,
metallic horns,
of conversations
about this or that...
Letís say, about how clouds
change their face with weather.
Time slithers
by and hides behind space.

Traces of it can be discerned
with a careful eye -
a drop of rain upon a cross.
Moss - mustard-green - extension of a rock.
A lock - caressed by spiderís dust:
thatís how time erupts
from under the earthís crust:
By force -
By force of habit!

An overlooked splinter of time
in search of an attentive eye
that picks at all that goes astray -
but kind enough to look,
then quickly turn away -
without blinking. So as not to
photograph within itself the image seen -
evoking a faint sensation of:
Hasnít it already been?
Or has it?

Ah! Nostalgia for the parts unknown. -
Nostalgia for the future,
Nostalgia for ďwhat couldíve been,Ē
Nostalgia for thousand forking paths,
 For someone else;s deaths,
 For final, gasping breaths,
 For narrow roads where silence hisses.
Nostalgia for one thousand kisses -
evokes if not believe - at least,
a thought of God.

And buried inland -
up to your knees in viscous mud,
you let out a single tear -
if not grieve -
and you abandon for a while the land -
If not forever leave...

Here by the water
Time is forever... -
Blueness - occasionally interrupted
by a seagullís bored shrill.
Time stays still -
not measured by arches,
minarets,
or crosses.

Here losses
are easiest to take
then there,
where absence of words
is harder to bear.
Here by the water where
oysters are mute
instead of wondering
whom to shoot,
a traveller finds himself at a loss
upon encountering mustard-green moss
that has been growing from God knows when! -
ignoring a need to follow a plan. - 
For, here, in blueness
one doesnít need to excuse
to live without any use...

Here the sky is mirrored
only by sea.
And whiling your time,
you could clearly see -
unspoilt by nostalgia -
your painless death,
happening quietly
in one cool breath.

Here by the water
everything thatís said and done
in one sway brushes against
the ancient, orange sun.
Here by the water
with every wave
everything thatís happened
is happening again.
And it wouldnít matter,
should you pray,
for here nothing changes
with the break of a day.
And it wouldnít matter,
if you cry,
for oysters shout anew:
ďCrucify! Crucify!Ē
And it wouldnít matter,
should you strain your ears,
to hear of the untold fears.
A raucous, dirty, violent throng
still drowns the exiled Absalomís song.
Oh Absalom, Absalom,
the rightful heir,
What did you sing in exile, here?

Accumulation of details. At random.
Objects remind that memory
feels no pity.
That itís not picky
but piles layer upon layer
of forgettable nonsense
till you no longer care
to be precise about your destination.
Till all nostalgias blur into 
one figment of imagination.
And you hear a song
you thought youíve heard before
with faint surprise.
You try to recall where it comes from,
you shut your eyes:
But itís darkness all round -
as the prophet foretold.
Itís nothing to fear -
youíre just getting old.

It is just that lately
only those trains come
for which you donít wait.
And the fish bites the rod
although there is no bait.
And itís not that youíre happy,
but thereís no more tears -
youíre floating along
without attempt to steer.

And the tide brings you
to the very source of that
song - sung forever.
At last, you remember:
ďLife In Our Era.Ē -

I have stared with half-empty eyes
at the sterile moisture of this city.
I have loved so much
that now I know that love is pity.
I have walked the ends of the earth,
but couldnít reach the water.
I have weighed my life to its last breath.
But then, I slipped. I faltered:
Now I am a memory. - A symbol. -
Elevated time, played to the sounds of cymbals.
Russian icon. Lurching eyes behind white laces.
I have slipped. I did.
I felt traces behind.

...As for sadness - no more nerves.
      Time swerves
into an alley of no regrets.
Life in our era lets no one cry.
With half-empty eyes we stare
as others in solitude die.

And itís not the space -
but time that kills.
No matter where you are,
you no longer fore-feel
the familiar gesture
from an approaching train.
You just frown a little...
Hide from the rain
under an abandoned stationís roof,
where - once - The Dictator - so aloof -
ordered millions to die.
But no moisture flows
from your blue eye.

Life. Propaganda of details.
Their repetition.
Etched in your brain to the point
of remembering.
The cruelty of knowing - yet not
understanding.
The soothing of light recognition.
The last grasp for here.
The last glimpse of fear.
The last attempt to stand.
The last movement of pen in hand.
The very last wish - burn me to ashes
and recall at times how snow wouldnít melt on lashes.
And imagine that we are near.
That we are attempting to steer.
That hands of the clock -
not arrows - but rows.
And nowhere in sight are black, black crows.

Recall the eyes behind white laces.
Recall the face among the faces.
Recall the very first and only embrace.
And when leaving - try not to leave a trace.

Passing of time only proofs that
it doesnít exist.
That you feared in vain.
That itís only pain
that moves and lasts,
that itís dull to long for the past.

That if anything -
time is Emperor Nero.
Shouting ďBurn!Ē
and completing the zero.
That no matter, no matter how you lived:
more than likely, you were deceived.

Whatís left? How to fill the void?
The emptiness. Indifference -
the eyes devoid of moisture?
How to reconcile yourself with futures not achieved?
Wilting into the dead branches of the past,
and thus - becoming dear?
Only because they never weighed the space
 because they bore no face;
 because they never left a stain,
 but hovered over us like
 flakes of un-left pain -

...Like snow... Like thoughts -
which never dared to fit under a word.
Like some unknown God
who never dreamt of creating a world.
Like a ďNoĒ that never kaleidoscoped into a ďYesĒ.
Like freedom - that never longed for caress.

Anno Domini...
The era of a cross.
Of many crosses.
Of time surrendering to space.
Count the losses
and the result -
will be your life -
that city where we trade
our memories, our dreams.
Where every corner resounds
in un-heard screams.
Where only a fearful ear
swallows a sigh.
Where only from living...
from living we die...

Where:
Everything becomes interchangeable
like the days you live. -
Shuffle them around: the sum doesnít change.
Every place becomes a place to leave -
pieces of space to rearrange.
Everyone, in the long run, is just a dot
upon a dotted line.
Everyone, except, of course,
for those whoíre not...

And we wait.
From solitude to solitude we say their names.
In solitude - from rhyme to rhyme.
Knowing that they will never claim us as their own -
if only to the other side of time.
If only - to the other side of eternity -
where thereís just an empty space.
To the other side of memories
that leave no trace.
To the other side of kindness -
where we give.
To the other side of love -
where we forever leave...

We wait...
Patiently sucking the smoke of our cigarettes.
We wait.
Thinking that we embrace eternity.
But a sudden minaret reminds - you are flesh.
What does it rhyme with? - Trash!
Absurdity.
We see the snow - onslaught of white butterflies.
And then ourselves - how in solitude we die...

And we fidget. Ill at ease.
Like money in an infantís hand.
We try to firmly stand upon the waves.
We search for order.
For shelves. For laws.
Only to shatter them.
For, in the end -
nothing is left, but to run for border

with hair flying in the wind,
and mouth open.
With palms outstretched
for anotherís skin -
forever hoping.

In vain. Without gain.
Like Cain - for forgiveness.
Like a scattered chain of events.
Like freshly opened vein -
blood oozing.
Like Magdalene -
forever loosing.
Like Buddha fluttering upon his hanging loins.
Like Judah flattering for thirty silver coins.
Like words that sound alike.
Like cowards - afraid of rhymes.
Like 2 + 2. Like a cliche.
Like a simple sound - Shhh...

And now, as the Era comes to a close,
who will dare to sing the mass?
Who among us will raise a glass
to everyoneís ďAlasĒ?
Who among us will strum the cords
to the tune of a few scattered words? -

Ah! The air smells
of Eastern dew.
Words donít lie.
Objects do.

Recall me once.
Then, cross me out.
Faith - is just
an abundance of doubt.

Close your eyes.
And trod the ways.
Write an equal sign
between all of your days.

Every smile is the
remnant of pain.
Even when Abel
forgives his Cain.

So, close your eyes.
Drop a tear.
What is a dream?
An inversion of fear.

Blank white page -
out-of tune lyre.
What is a fear?
An inverted desire.

Bow your head
in pre-deathly shame.
Why did everything end
in a fat cliche?

A poor man sat by the gate.
The eyes were blue.
What is the Messiah waiting for?
Waiting for you.

It is accomplished.
It is done.
Gone is the time of laughter. Of tears.
End nears.

Crawls like the streets in the city of my birth.
Like East.
The dream forgot the beast that dreamt it
and flew away leaving an empty cage behind.
A prayer - light as an unborn child
will be all that remains of our Era.
Plus some witnessing of death and cruelty.
A prayer - light as the breath of an unborn child
and shame.
We never found the dream -
But only those - that dreamt the same.
 
 
 
 
 
 

BECOME INVISIBLE...

Become invisible.
Freeze in the form of a statue.
Let Time pass through your flesh - undisturbed.
A moving body is easier to fracture.
And a skull in motion begs to be crushed.
 
 
 
 
 


AFTER THE RUSSIANS

Ah, genderless nostalgia of the void...
In which we do not find, nor are we ever found...
In the midriff of your life, annoyed,
you stare blankly at the lack of common ground.

Ah, halfway to the phrase a sound,
that interrupts your whisper with a scream.
You thought youíd be indifferent, unbound
by dailyness, by circumstances. Dream,

dream on, my friend. Youíll also turn into a hound
who bites with its last effort onto breath.
It forms a common ďAh!Ē - so loud
that pain steps aside and yells for death...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

WHAT FRIGHTENS...

What frightens is not the sameness,
but lack of will to describe it...
The lame attempt of words to
seek out some meaning to our existence
wonít render any to it -
nor will it take it away...
You could patch your life together moment by moment -
and still come out empty-handed
                          like an equal sign.
You could look in wonder at
your lifeís punctured line
and evoke your memory to help you fill the distance.
You could recollect your life
instance by instance -
down to the tiniest shriek of a crow -
still - it will amount to a tired draw...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

HURT

            ďI will die from eating an unwashed grape...Ē
                (From ęStreet Car Named DesireĽ) 

What hurts most -
is that you must learn indifference
at lifeís very peak.
Learn it -
as its inevitable outcome.
Learn it by heart -
which, damaged,
will no longer know how to wait.
But only mourn its own weight.

What hurts most - 
is that those that love you the best,
will dissuade you from instinct,
belief,
and teach you the anatomy of grief
in slow, distinct
lessons.
And it will be them - your kin -
who will persuade doubt 
to get under your skin.
And it will no longer feel like a sin.

What hurts most -
is that some strangerís glance
will reawaken your heart
into a rhyming prance
of an abandoned truth.
Or may be -
words, taken out of context:
ďI will die from eating an unwashed grape...Ē
will thrash you back into youth.

What hurts most -
is that there will be no one
to whom you could explain,
how easy it was,
how plain,
to regain your soul.
And like a writer,
who has no eyes to see the whole
picture, prefers to dwell on details,
you, when all else fails,
will fall silent to others.

And massaging the pain in your nape,
keep recalling:
ďI will die from eating an unwashed grape...Ē
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NOTES OF A SOMNAMBULIST

Giving in - is the question of time.
Not of choice.
And the longer that you resist,
the sharper the knuckles upon the fist
which fate shoves in your eyes.
Hence, much less the surprise
at yourself -
when with grace and with poise,
you retire into existence
devoid of the former noise.

Scrape trough life day by day.
In the city where skyscrapers scrape the sky.
Tread the asphalt.
Welcome yourself 
to the black-and-white realm of a fly.
Watch a dog cross the street -
as your mirror in more ways than one.
Just like you, she is living
only because she was born.

See the Empire State pierce its peak
through the cellulite clouds.
While the beast bares his bloodied breast
against all who have doubts -
that Love murders Time,
makes the throng naive.
And the murdered King Kong roars his death 
at the feet of a bored Eve.

But all is quiet and wrong.
All is quiet and wrong.
Where the hell are the dead?!
Through this black-and-white realm
you can clearly sense 2 ounces of lead
penetrating your brain -
with the sweetness of final repose...
Yet, the banal explosion of rhyme
is replaced by dutiful prose

of yourself, once again, much alive,
much awake, crossing the street
with your dutiful dog.
You - her dutiful master -
must admit the defeat.
You both tread the asphalt,
equally wasted, crumpling leaves.
Everything can be compared -
except for griefs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A DREAM - A CONVERSATION WITH 
THE JUST-DECEASED

Relax - you have seen my face before in a dream.
Interrupted suddenly by your scream
I have fled. And left you like a question mark.
My skin was cold. The room was dark.

You will see me again in a bare place.
Arms stretched out, Iíll beg for embrace -
If they play on These Shores, it is only lute.
But no one moans. For all are mute.

I was right: Nonexistence is worse than hell -
Like an empty stage, but the curtain fell.
Like that dying fly in an opened fist.
But whatís worst of all - it doesnít exist.

Not a soul to talk to. Not a hand to touch.
With a nervous laughter, He just scratches His crotch.
So, donít pray to Him - not because He wonít hear.
But because like all He is full of fear.

You see, Iím alone. You could say Iím free.
Iíd give up my death to bark up the same tree!
Repetitionís not evil. Donít avoid the cliches.
Ah, if there were only Devil! But thereís only shame...

What a fool you were to postpone the time.
What a fool I was not to flip the dime.
And if you think, my dear, that weíll ever meet
On the Shores of Here - well, itís a crock of shit.

My advice to you? You asked for one.
Be more simple and straight, try to never stun...
Swallow hard your tears when you say good bye...
And another thing - write a lullaby

To the unborn son - in an unfound land
Stepping lightly his feet over the desert sand.
Till He reaches the water. Till He takes a dive.
And you thought that death doesnít answer life...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

COMPROMISE
(A song in two voices)

To forget.
To exhale... and forget.
All - from fingers to words.
You will never hear it again.
Those that talk now,
pray to different lords.
And besides, theyíre not 
talking to you...
So, forget.
Start anew.

What regard could I have for them,
who are weighed down by the price of ham
or whatís under the hem 
of some everyday floozy?!
Choosing life over love -
isnít punishment from above,
but concern for what lies below the waist.
No, the world has no taste.

Now, at thirty, Iíll learn to crawl.
To obey. To appease. To fall
at the feet with the polished shoes.
I will never again choose to lose
with the barefoot, penniless bums,
who live freely - but feed on crumbs.
I will satisfy you and my kin.
With a life, clean - like infantís skin.
With opinions that end with a dot, 
Iíll transform into a glorified slut.
With the hatred for brain and the rain.
With distrust towards every pain.
Unaccustomed to tears, Iíll gain
A respectable slot in your race -
And continue the human race.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ACCEPTANCE

Accord.
Lackluster. Tame.
Days begin and end
with a nod, with a gaze
turned inward.
Because the eye that cannot see
the whole picture,
prefers to recoil.
Walking, you measure
each step and
haphazard thoughts
trash the brain -
some which have occurred,
and some to which 
you have grown inured 
due to their needle-like precision...
A street-cleanerís unhurried sweep,
his shovel littered with 
splinters of glass, cigarette butts,
dead pigeons.
Or the legions 
of defeated soldiers,
shuffling away -
their common denominator -
the color gray -
in winter, from an abandoned beach
where sorrow had planted 
absence of sound
and compliance with fate
that didnít work out.
Where waves -
change ever slower.
Hissing through foam:
ďRelax, it is almost over...Ē
And yet this is better.
This is better than
the hysteria of transformation,
hysteria of wait -
of hope,
of relegating all the weight
upon the future -
which is always wrong.
This is better than
clapping hands and looking up,
only to be burned by the sun,
because, you know, 
the horizon lies ahead -
just at the tip of your forehead.
Better than stretching your palms
and expecting the alms
of love to be dropped 
like manna from the sky.
It is better, ultimately,
to open your eye,
for, like everything else,
it has reached its limit 
for feeling shame.
Hence, there is no more fear,
that it will be pierced
or plucked or spill a tear.
Overall, this is better,
for, you can pretend 
that youíre oblivious, dead.
From a pulsating vessel of pain -
turn into a gray statue, instead:
surrounded by the colorless space,
where no oneís voice
could turn your head.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AFTER CHEKVOV

Last night I had a dream 
of a Russian movie about life in the country
Nineteenth century white dresses
and the Impressionistic light
Seagulls and tears and strawberry preserves
Subtle snobbery enveloping the internal turmoil and soft passion
that is only, only released when women comb
their hair tresses in the rooms...
They squeeze their breasts, caress their thighs and moan
While men outside in the garden sit and groan
Of love thatís lost or love unconquered
Compare their feelings to the falling leaves
and are only too happy when the maid interrupts
their elastic murmur with a call for tea...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

GOING HOME

            For my grandmother Gulo Baazova

Everything crumbled.
The house that you were born in
has lost its walls
to time and mildewed moisture.
Even the stars in that sky, they say,
no longer blink of desire, - but of need.
The religions, the Gods you believed in
turned out to be murderers on the loose.
And if you see a head there - 
you see a noose around it. 

The surrounding mountains
open their mouth agape
and pour out the sea - blue in color.
But the sky is tired of reflecting it,
and sends on the clouds.
It is a paradise, they say,
for those who cannot see beyond doubts.
It is no place for them that still know
how to pray without a word.
It is a place of a ruined past - abandoned Lord -
Blue-eyed.
Who wanders like a vagabond in His own land,
murmurs a prophecy:
ďSolitary there you will stand.Ē

Everything shattered.
Even time has lost its meaning.
You are saddened because you
no longer desire your past.
Or, at least, thatís how it seems.
Each day happens...
Towards dawn it rips at the seams
and gives birth to another -
stripped of memory -
Life appears raw, - as it is -
And you understand that
Emptiness must be another word for now. How
do you fill the hollow?
How do you follow
along the terraces that had disappeared?
You stand still. Frozen into the ground.
And look around, - mouth agape -
without a sound...

...This is home...
And here you are...
Roaming the town.
You look like a clown
Who hoped too far
Upon a false star...

Stranger, are you trying to encounter yourself, stranger...
Larger, larger, larger than universeís kindness is this tear painted
 on a clownís face.
For when I said ďtruthĒ, I never meant this world - capable, 
perhaps - of honesty,
but never, never, - truthfulness.

Truthfulness transcends the bounds
and warms the grounds under the rays
which never shone before
under layers of stars that never blinked
under the moon that was never compared to any oval of a face...
and under a cloud from which not a drop of moisture ever dropped
under the virginal blueness which you call - the sky
under your most distant fear - an imagined lie...

And you leaf through the pages of your faith
        - losing your balance -
         hoping to find a word
               a sign
               a sigh
resurrecting you back into yourself...

But you find only grief
     you find only loss
     you find youíre Eve
     sprawled upon the cross
     of cynicism and shame

     of boredom and pain
     and the mustard-green moss soaks in the rain
     that knocks against the dome
     of your imagined home...

Everything crumbled...
People whom you loved
are no longer found
at the familiar address.
Some have scattered. Most are
lying under the cemeteryís hand-made hills.
Like you - whose only trace is the mark of the visitorsí heels.
And the bones of your palms
are unable to form a caress.

Your house is empty.
   The gates are shut.
   And I will pass it by.
   Wonít reopen the plot
   of remembered grief,
   of remembered loss
   If there was ever an Eve
   Then she turned into moss
   growing out from your grave
   unmarked by a cross -
   but by a single tree
   atop a hand-made hill.
   Now you are free -
   If you still care to feel.

   An un-bitten fruit
   Rolls around the yard.
   To the sound of the flute.
   And it makes it hard
   To remain untouched
   By the call of the beast -
   That roams around, hunched,
   Through the streets of the East.
   These may be only words
   Spoken in vain.
   But they told me that love
   is the measure of pain.

   The past doesnít vanish -
   It just condenses with Time
   Into a slowly-built home 
   Of a whispered rhyme...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A SONG OF EXPERIENCE

Lifeís a bitch.
A bitch on wheels.
Hold on tighter, dear, please.
Hold on tighter.
Donít you move.
This ainít no place for silky groove.
Hold on tighter.
Turn to stone.
Lest you utter a soft moan.
Only shriek of pain must come
From a wounded, soulful bum.
 

Ainít no time for slow demise,
when the drop of blood dries
quickly, quickly, -
with a crack upon a knife.
Ainít no time for words or sounds
when your loved ones turn to hounds
spelling out: a sorry lack in your life.
 

Hearíem coming, hearíem screech,
Feelíem crawling like a leach.
Jerking off on what they preach -
Oh, lifeís a bitch!
 

Whereís your lover? -
Goneís the boy,
sucking on your breast with joy.
Are you tired of the toy,
Loverboy?!
Are you tired of the sameíol flesh?
Go! Get you something fresh!
Dump the old into the trash -
With a crash!
 

Let them run now, let them go.
Hold on tighter and hang low.
Clench your teeth, lock your pain inside.
For a voice that weeps there ainít no ear.
Forget to be, try to appear.
And theyíll cling to you like sinners to a child.
 

Lifeís a bitch - a bummed-out fact.
And with truth - it signed no pact.
No one wants your edgy honesty -
Just tact.
Lifeís a bitch, a whore on wheels.
But you look good on your high heels,
Clicking, clicking, clicking through it
Like a pro.
 

Damn! You look good!
And thatís the truth!
And you loved well.
But whatís the use
If you clicked your 
pretty way to the noose?!
Which you tightened 
stitch by stitch.
As you choked on tears,
and your teeth screeched,
and your pain unlocked and poured:
Lifeís a bitch!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DISAPPOINTMENT

Nothing is worse than passage of time.
Not because it changes you -
but because - nothing changes.
Save, perhaps, for the outline of features
that grows weary and sags.
The bustle of alike creatures
urges you to avoid the mirror.
And disregard the boorish command 
to ďbe happy and multiplyĒ.
And instead of compliance,
you push out a stifled : ďWhy?!Ē

An octave lower live proceeds...
Yet, it is not so much a sign of taste or prudence
as the unwillingness to make extra moves.
Hence - distrust in all tomorrows.
Future, suffers from amnesia.  It borrows
heavily from the already-was.
So, what indecency to speak of loss!
Itís imagination is very much akin to ours.
And life proceeds accumulating fat and hours...

Perhaps, passing of time equals
lack of compassion, lack of pain.
Looking around at centuryís end,
it is easy to say : We have failed. Again.
At these words the eyelid does not dare to blink.
If a tear crawls out - thatís from the daily stink
that slightly burns the skin at the end of the era.
On this side of Atlantic - they exchanged
the crucified Jew for a pumped-up hero.
And Magdaleneís suffering for a housewife with tits.

So, why feel loss?!
Rip it! Crush it!
To pieces and bits.

As for them - for the Reds -
they too sold their kingdom
for thirty silver coins.
Now theyíre free.
Running wild with castrated loins.

So, stay put.
Lean your head on your palm and repeat:
ďSilent... Simple...Ē
Not because thatís where itís at -
but - there is nothing else.

Wait.
For the end of doubt.
For the end of cares.
Lest you blow out your brains -
Or theirs.

And when the one you love consoles you
by saying: ď Be kinder. Pray.Ē
Suppress your urge to spit.
Stay silent.
Or turn away.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SIMPLE STROPHES

This winter proved as uneventful as the one before.
If, of course, one doesnít count such trifles as new snow.
That attacks your eye like the onslaught of white butterflies.
And rips out of the throat empty sighs.

This winter only a hairís width kept me from going mad.
Only the sight of the past - the color of yellow sand
gave me hope to go through yet another arch.
I had hardly time to shake off the fleas like some dog.
Now itís March.

The room that I live in looks more like a square box.
There - no one would think of the fable about the cheese and the fox.
Some photographs of people - their faces sad.
I am afraid, hairís width wonít stop me from going mad.

I am afraid that patience is too heavy a load -
For those to the other side of time.
And the eyelid covers the eye - so as not to explode.
Pushing out a tear that precedes a rhyme.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ERASING TIME

Now you too have the right 
to slit your lips apart
into a sore smile.
Now you can order your arms 
to let go, to unclasp.
How is it, then -
to-more-than-know,
to-more-than-grasp -
to cross the point where you 
begin to feel, to be 
all that makes up your presence,
- to merge your senses -
all the five -
and call it life...

Now you can discard your former self.
As trash.
Now you can part.
With breeze.
The melancholy of being merely aware.
Now you can hear the beating of the heart
and dare
to speak its voice.
But then again...
thatís not a choice.
Erase your pride.
It is a must.
Like teenage boys
jerking off their lust.

Relax... Exhale...
Itís love that makes dimensions one.
It bails
you out of the brainy void
where miracles could never stun
but only cause unease.
So, breathe... 
Breathe easily...
Breathe in the dust,
the faith

of all that is around.
Do the impossible
and sniff the sound
of words.

Caress their path.
And follow them
For they alone
donít lead to death.

See how they stumble,
stammer,
feel how they hammer
into the ticking of your pulse,
your blood
that very phrase
which now is free of daze.
Like a resurrected mare amidst
the horde of maddened, bitter beasts,
wounded by timeís neglect,
It stands alone.
Erect.
And trusting the movement,
the moisture of its lips
pronounces
in full accord:
ď In the beginning was the Word.Ē

Now you are another.
Someone else.
Much less
of you is left.
But you are not bereft,
or looted-out.
You now recollect 
your every cry, your every shout
of pain, of loss,
that passed before your eyes
but didnít disappear.
Itís just as near.
Itís there! Touch it!
Nothing dies.
Keep walking.
Dare

to keep up the pace
and bear
the fear
of a naked stare
into the past.
Keep walking.
Fast.
Keep on.
And do not halt.
See, you didnít become
a pillar of salt.
Again.
Again.
Turn back.
Turn back your head.
See, theyíre not dead.

Exhale... Exhale...
And split your lips apart into a sore smile.
You are alive. You live.
Now. Only now -you have the right 
to grieve.
With all your pores,
all your blood,
For all that lies beneath the mud,
For all that burned and formed 
a fleck of ash, of dust
upon the ray of light,
For all that melts
into the gravity of night.
With joy. With gratitude.
With Love.
Await the start of day.
And simply pray:

My Lord!
Forgive me.
I am nothing.
Not even a speck.
I was never anything
to speak of lack.
I had nothing to part with.
Nothing at all.
I never stood on a cliff
from which I could fall.
But in the ravine of indifference,
of daily chores.
And You simply took
what was rightfully Yours.

I thank You, Lord,
For granting me strength
to reach the end of length
where love begins
and evokes a shrill,
a movement,
a surest thrill,
where you, at last,
peel of the crust,
and stand reborn,
with throbbing lust,
and stand reborn,
pure and precise,
where you, at last,
open your eyes.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A THREE-LEGGED DOG

           And the beasts, who are our younger brothers,
                  I have never beaten, never slain.
                                     (S. Esenin)

A three-legged dog
in a Moscow subway -
limping its pathway
to vagueness.
One day less
to trod this earth -
which here
is covered with snow
six months out of a year.
And the glance of passerby
is sharp and evil
as the ear is deaf 
to a howl or a cry.

Slovenly thoughts
in a slovenly head.
Slavs, too donít share
their daily bread.
They are recognized
by high cheekbones, 
slanted eyes, and cruelty.
But that runs in everyoneís veins.
Itís just that here
the meaning of the word ďveneerĒ
is obscured by the Daily Double.
Especially, when the rouble spells ďtroubleĒ.

The fate of a three-legged dog
is not one to envy.
No one will levy
a penalty on a sleeze
for an unjust hit.
No one will admonish a kid
throwing stones.

Instead, now, they freeze
all the bones
for tomorrow's meal.
For when the prices leap -
It is hard to feel...

Each day is reduced
to finding a corner.
Hidden.
Unseen by their stares 
that never blink.
I only ask for a hole
where I could lie and think.
Of my past.
Of my family.
Of my flock.
Of things that donít last.
Of the hair that once covered my head.
Well, if worse comes to worse - of the dead...

Off into a corner.
Limping. One. Two. Three.
Into a hidden corner.
The invisible is free.

Find a hidden corner.
Lie down. Close your eyes.
The swollen moisture
will hum you a lullaby.

Recognize the melody?
Just different words.
To everyone his own fate.
Strangled by one cord.

Reddish-brown nothing.
Too afraid to heave.
And he begs his soul.
To take its timely leave.

But the soul, it lingers.
Hums a lullaby:
Death will not be painless
To those who want to die.

Under a dirty boot
Of some daily scum
Who had lost his loot -
Your death will come.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

FAREWELL, OLD WORLD

Trading space for space
fails to confuse the Time.
Wherever you go -
youíre unwinding the same old thread.
Words topple each other -
to spite the classical rhyme.
Like those that still move
offend the dead -

Who in the so-called Old World
dwell more above than below the ground.
Statues and gravestones on every corner remind
that you in the middle are probably bound -
to find yourself under the earth -

Rather than hover marble-clad
above the river.
For your motionless glance directed ahead,
Is unable to make a passerby quiver.
Much less - to awaken the dead.

The streets of Old Empire 
cling together like sheep -
afraid to lose sight of each other.
Farther towards the center,
invariably, you find a river:
their shepherd -
the point zero of every city here.
And a Gothic tower drips its reflection
into it like a meaningless tear.

A quiet walk with no one in Paris along the Seine.
You pause for a while to appraise the scene.
But your eye casts down upon the ripples
Not to see the reflection of some fallen angelís nipples,
Or the Emperorís statue in an iron helmet
Who finished his days as an island hermit --
But, most probably, to simply vomit.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ES MUSS SEIN
(It Must Be So)

Everyone attempts to justify
the random choices they made.
                As if to say -
It was painful but I had to do it -
Whether an ambitious wiseman
Or a nonchalant fool -

But no one has the lack of fear
                 To say -
It merely was a part of destiny.
        It merely happened.
                It had to.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

TALKING TO YOURSELF

If to remember anything -
Then, it is the flow of the river
beneath the crust of ice.
In a city, where -
the predominant color of eyes is gray.
And the scraped facade of a building 
where a winter is whiled away
is indifferent to your shadow.
Like a soon-to-be-suicide to a loan.

If to remember anything -
it is the moan of the wind
which has nothing to say.
The rest, it turns out, - is hearsay.

If to remember anything -
it is that everything has its end.
Both - the depth of an ocean,
And that of your glass.
That your outstretched palm
wonít merge with anotherís hand.
That with Time - your thoughts 
will repeat and resemble grass.

If to remember anything -
it is that absence replaces sorrow.
And leaves you numb, dry-eyed.
That your yesterday is most likely 
your neighborís tomorrow.
That all the calendars lied.

If to remember anything -
it is that at a certain age,
happiness must be feigned.
That freedom is point zero
and silencing your pain.
For if your loudest scream reaches all twelve,
the echo will be audible -
to no one but yourself.

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