by Boris Leyvi
I visit it whenever I am free:
at three o'clock at night and well past three.
I get my coffee and a chipped ashtray,
And stay as long as I can bear to stay.
My waitress, Jill, a belle of forty-six,
Would charge me nothing. She's a lovely fix
Of greenish eyes and overworked physique.
Her tone is low and gait is forced and quick.
Her husband is a drunkard and her son
Was a drug-addict homo. Now he's gone,
As she puts it. The fatal overdose
That caused his death, turned out to be the cause
Of her accepting him; now she gets up
To pour some coffee in my empty cup.
Last Saturday I met here with my friend.
He ate a jelly doughnut and then went
About the news: you heard, the Russian sub
had sunk down Barents seabed, and on top
Of that the stupid Russian government
Would not accept the US helping hand.
Old Russia's going down, it's very clear,
And we are lucky we're no longer there,
that fucked-up Russia, rusting country-wreck.
I watch a jelly drop that stained his neck,
Right on his Adam's apple. It's as though
He was shot in the throat. He does not know
Why I am smiling, and keeps raging forth.
It's chilly out. The day has given birth
to almost all its evil. Yet there might
more accidents and rapes be due tonight.
And we get up, shake heads and hands, and rush.
The lifelong chain is not a chain -- mirage,
now limpid, now beclouded, but at least
I know: that heinousness does not exist.
I know it's all but a cerebral trick
Made for one purpose -- to deceive the weak,
Who are afraid to know that we're long dead.
And that is it. Good night. It's time for bed.
Quickly it vented out. Now all those things
gone wrong, the screwed-up hopes, the lively pressures
escaped the battered mind. Now eager void
reigns on. The ceremony is deployed:
the brain squeaks lamentably, robbed of precious
belongings, its grown memories. There tings,
twixt forehead and a nape, a resting bullet.
Such mess around, things lost about the trance
resulted from invasion. Blood is shedding,
but it is slow as hell. A carnal wedding
is taking place: the blood-bride seeming tense,
the soil-groom ready to accept and lull it.
The smell is raw, bright bloodstains on the grass,
rough freshness in the air, decaying bodies,
but somehow life seems nearer then before --
It is its breath, of freshness and of gore,
Its rotting bodies lying there. But what is
death -- that one thing that never seems to pass?
I've never been so close to it: unknown,
yet giving out a flavor of some sort -
a thickly thing obliterating air,
Not a mere flower or sunlight - but a word,
Being at once invisible and fair,
And heard; -- and that's the only thing I own.
Those many bits of past and present, sewn
So clumsily by facts and memory's fables,
Mean naught, but I'm perpetually in awe
Before one thing -- one only -- that enables
Me to look forth, yet never letting know
It is the only thing I need to own.
Let all those things be never seen: the town
Where I was born, the grave where I will rest,
No less obscure than passing window-scenes;
Somehow I know of one thing that will last
Till I can breathe, with airy outs and ins, --
The word, the only thing I'll ever own.
On Saturdays, when
I send my kids off
to a movie, the junk
they love so much --
some Jackie Chan flick or
whatever, I tell
them to come
home on time, but
in my mind there plays
a different message: stay
off longer, spend some
hours after a movie else-
where, get a chow, kiss,
sniff -- I don't care, but
I have to come
prepared for that;
I will light up
a scenty candle, I
will turn on
the radio to
play some soft
will get into
chair and breathe
Every single mom
needs time to
take out the trash,
with no one around,
to spend on her-
self some thirty
minutes of uneven in-
of her children,
1. A diner on Kings Highway & corner of East 8th