Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Andrey Kneller


July. White curtains. Melancholy.
A whole new day erupts...
Although the day is six feet under...
I attack through the center...
"I love you" always sounds so trite...
The Shadow
I've walked through mazes, labyrinths
Reflect me as I am...
The tears of August
The Demon
The Sleepless Phantom
Two lines
The revelation
Mary's Confession
Lisa is afraid to love
Lessons in Geography
The homeless people that scan the odorous urns
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Oh, squint your eyes...

July. White curtains. Melancholy.

July. White curtains. Melancholy.
The stale air is hard to breathe.
Alone I sit and stare at Holly,
Who's doing homework, while I grieve.
Two weeks remaining. Birds are chirping.
It's four a.m. I'm counting sheep.
Is it my conscience -- so disturbing?
My eyes are red from lack of sleep.
Spread fingers hold the heavy Norton (1).
Her other hand is on her lips.
While I am left to die from boredom.
Outside, the pale sunrise creeps.
The sun will rise before we know it
This day will be consumed by time.
But, until then, let's steal a moment
From lifeless verse and boring rhyme.
I strain my eyes from lack of sleep
July. White curtains. Melancholy.
Four twenty-five. I'm counting sheep
Alone I sit and stare at Holly.

A whole new day erupts...

A whole new day erupts
With rays of crimson red.
The wind blows, pierced with drops
Of tears November bled.
The leaves twirl in their flight,
So weak and short of breath,
While reaching for new height,
They glide into the depth
Of dimmed, reflected skies,
Where heaven quickly smears
And echoes of their cries
Roam through deserted years.
The sad fate of the lost, --
To seek the Truth in mud
When by the window crossed
The Truth is hung to rot...
Just take a look outside
The skin hangs off its bones
November, crucified,
In all three voices moans...

Although the day is six feet under...

Although the day is six feet under,
Your perfume in the air remains
And horses drag the fallen reins, --
Apollo's fallen into slumber.

Like ghosts at night, dark branches sway
And cast long shadows onto walls.
The creaking carriage slowly rolls...
The horses' hooves sink into clay.

The wearied horses stray and wander.
The night is chilling, cold and grim,
And one by one, the windows dim,
Apollo's fallen into slumber.

The heavy clouds loom with gray.
They're undisturbed by northern winds
And leaving only rounded prints
The horses' hooves sink into clay.

Dark skies are gliding down the lanes.
The moonlight lulls us, gently healing.
Cold corpses lie without feeling
And horses drag the fallen reins.

The darkness fills the empty halls.
Our voices lower to a whisper.
The air is turning colder, crisper.
The creaking carriage slowly rolls...

With frenzy throwing up the curtains,
September rages, filled with spite...
My darling, don't turn off the light--
We won't awake the sleeping servants.


Each night, I am deprived of sleep and rest
Three grueling weeks and I have just begun.
It started as a game, -- now I'm obsessed,
The cards were dealt, -- His will is left undone!
With every note my Fate is drawing near
The melody resounds in her steps
Oh Melpomene, my heart is filled with fear,
I'm tangled in my notes, -- my wicked webs.
I wove each line with Ariadne's thread
My Requiem is due, I've lost my touch...
"Do take the ink that I've already bled
There's blood in me, -- don't hold it as a grudge!"

I attack through the center...

I attack through the center. The shortest distance
between two points is a straight line,
and if I take his queen first, for instance,
then his king is just a matter of time.
The pawns skip squares on the first move only,
still not knowing their hierarchical order,
and the knights as though unicorns hop gracefully, calmly,
toward the enemy out of the corner.
The two queens rave in passion, becoming very ecstatic,
"off with her head!" pointing at each other.
Who would have thought chess would get so dramatic?
Black and white figures ardently hover
and only my king alone, is lonesome and grieving
neither charging nor hiding, just waiting
while his subjects are fighting for life and living, --
he is squared like a mime,- it's degrading!
The black bishop makes two moves down the left lateral.
and the spectators quickly record them.
At this time, my king resigns as the admiral
and commits suicide out of boredom.
The game of chess was never for simpletons, --
every move involves great precision.
Thus I surrendered and went for the Wimbledon, --
Kournikova is playing on television.

"I love you" always sounds so trite...

"I love you" always sounds so trite!--
I've lost my faith while seeking reason!
But then, I saw you there, that night,
Right then I knew, -- my heart's imprisoned!

What fate could render you such grace?
Your perfume fills the empty hallways!
One day, I'll talk to you, and dazed,
I'll say to you, "I've loved you always!"

The Shadow

Like paint on canvas, on the wall
a shadow's drying, -- long and misshapen
and awry, left by the human soul.
Within it, passion's resting latent.
Under the mask of careless shade,
the warmth is hiding in gray covers
of swirling make-up -- masquerade.
Unnoticed, it just sleeps for hours.
Light like a feather, --
even lighter, but none can lift it's frail body --
Like, on a sheet, -- a printed letter,
A letter written for somebody...

* * *

"Now I shall spy on beauty as none has
spied on it yet..."
-- V. Nabokov

I've walked through mazes, labyrinths
And webs.
I've sat in churches listening to hymns
And seeking essence.
But if I ever loved, -- then in her presence;
If ever I heard God, -- then in her steps.

A perfect symmetry of strangeness
And of beauty, --
Her skin complexion changes
With the light.
I've never seen a star this close, this bright!...
I've never loved before, -- now it's my duty...

Reflect me as I am...

"Reflect me as I am, -- three-dimensional!
Do not flatten me with your exterior,
rather curve from all the conventional
and engulf me, -- first the inferior

and then cover it up with affinity.
Swallow light and reflect its radiance,
capture everything in your vicinity,
and invert the lines of your radius

as to include all of the outwardly, --
everything that is our of your medium.
In a sense, I guess that I'm cowardly,
I'm afraid of the permanent tedium

of the life on this side of the border...
so I beg you reflect me, I'm sinking!" --
Thus I prayed to oblivious water,
as the puddles were drying and shrinking...

The tears of August

The tears of August are slantingly sliding
down the window. I'm bored and lonely.
If only the radio said something exciting
I'd get up out of bed, if only
there was a reason, a purpose for breathing.
I'd find my vocation in something important --
I'm not here for breeding!
What for? I don't know, thus I'm dormant,
uncaring. I'm just a leftover of my social
milieu, -- a by-product of my generation,
But I won't get emotional --
there's always an outlet- imagination.
I've spent my best years devising affection,
Through the looking glass and he's flying!
Who could he be?... not I, -- my reflection.
All the while, I'm over here... dying.

The Demon

The demon on my shoulder said it best, --
"The grass is greener when the grass is smoked,
It doesn't matter on which path you walked,
All roads will lead to Rome, both east and west...

Remember that three lefts will make a right!
That curiosity gave cats a life worth living
Don't read the books, their context is deceiving,
Judge by the cover and you'll be alright!

Remember that nobody wins in peace,
Engage in fights as often as you wish!
Learn that the worms will catch the early fish,
And it's the second mouse that gets the cheese!

For every penny saved, a second's lost...
If time is money, -- do not sell it short!
Don't sell your soul for pennies to the Lord --
The Devil buys it at a higher cost."

The Sleepless Phantom

Two steps 'til sunrise... closer, warmer!
The twilight fades into the light.
Her sleepless phantom, tender murmur
Keeps me awake. Before my sight,
She heaves and casts her pale shadows
Against the walls. In black and white,
Survives my memory and shatters
My dreams of peace with sad delight.

O, gentle phantom, rest a while!
The heartbeat skips within my breast.
O, soothe me, calm me, and beguile
The conscious feeling of unrest.
O, grant me peace! Alone and lonely,
I seek in you my home, my nest.
In silence, lay beside me calmly
And rest your head upon my chest.

Two lines

We're like two lines whose slopes
slightly differ. Our hopes
contradict science, -- we've met
at one point and your line went
higher, mine went lower. Thus is
our fate, -- share a moment of bliss

only once on the white graphing paper
and say to each other the final "later"
and diverge as you go higher,
and I go lower. I strive and aspire
to pull myself higher, but fail --
My way has been laid by the rail.

I cannot fight it, I go by the ruler! --
sad fate of the lines. I praise lunar
eclipses, waves and ellipses, -- they
can cross many times on their way.
But if only we pull a little bit harder
and longer, our fates might just start to

come closer and closer and closer, until
maybe... just maybe, we'll start to feel
the lines stretching and bending, --
nearer and nearer! Polar endings
will meet and run towards the electrical
outlet as two adjacent, geometrical

fates, -- defying the laws of motion
and gravity, with pure emotion.

The revelation

Under the roof, by God protected,
They sat in rags and begged for change.
Outside the vestibule, neglected,
Where only moonbeams interjected
And fell like spotlights on the stage,
The beggars peacefully expected
The people of the upper class,
Whose souls, in spirit of the Mass,
Would softer turn by Truth affected.
But on the cold December night,
The sinners to their coaches rushed,
And horses pulling through the slush
Would quickly disappear from sight,
And as they left, a revelation --
The church by snow was set alight,
As beggars watched with admiration.
The church with frenzy would ignite
And meet each faithful expectation,
Fulfilling souls with warmth and light.
The snow would fall into cold hands
And beggars laughing with delight
Would fill the streets. The children danced
In whirlpools of the playful blizzard.
With frost and snow, the storm would sizzle
The frozen souls, the sleeping earth
Supplying each with life and verve
And through the clamor, there advanced
A long procession, filled with chants,
To celebrate Christ's holy birth.

Mary's Confession

"Late April. Curtains slowly rising...
The spacious room draws twilight in
Caressing gently, tranquilizing
Seductive breeze engulfs my skin.

I struggle with the heavy eyelids
I'm half-asleep, I dream of thee.
But I can't rest, disturbing silence
Rings in my ears and pleads to me:

"Thou shall conceive a holy child
Believe in God, He'll show the way."
This voice I heard, so tender, mild
Convinced my conscience, I felt gay.

I fell asleep... and in contentment,
I dreamt of stars, of warmth, of light...
I felt no feeling of resentment
My face was shinning with delight.

Believe me, Joseph! True affection
Came over me, -- God's awesome will!"
He hung his head and in dejection,
With pity thought, "thou shall not kill."

Lisa is afraid to love

"Лизе страшно полюбить..."

How insecure and how inviting!
With echo of the passing steps,
She lures me straight into her webs
Within my heart, new life igniting.

Observing her is not enough, --
The fervent heart her looks affect
Alas, the prophet was correct, --
The child is afraid to love...

Lessons in Geography

I trace her geography
from Canada down to the Gulf
of Mexico, exploring her topography,
as my eager hands revolve
around the Appalachian mountains
and then, the Grand Canyon...
She smiles with an approving countenance.
She is now my companion...
My fingers run through the Thousand Islands,
brushing them gently. I'm hopping
through the plains and the highlands,
through the national forests, and dropping, --
overflowing with passion and ardor.
Rowing up the Mississippi and back...
faster and harder!
and now I see stars... on the flag, --
With excitement I rave!
Shake the champagne and fire the corks!
God bless America, -- the home of the brave!
Fourth of July or not, -- there are fireworks!

* * *

The homeless people that scan the odorous urns
for cans to recycle are the archeologists
of our era. But right now, the flowers and ferns, --
are already in bloom. Designed by the allergists,
as the multi-million dollar advertisement,
The spring attracts running noses and unknown
poets. And I, too, got caught in that enticement
and now I wander through these streets alone
equipped with a notebook. If I could just
capture this breeze and convert it to verse! --
but I'm powerless. With naked eyes, I lust,
and crave like the bees, to taste flowers, or in reverse
to be tasted like flowers. Bright blue skies
submerse my thoughts, observations and senses
and no pills or drops can prevent the watery eyes,
as the salty liquid slowly condenses,
on chapped lips and white sheets, -- of paper
and bedclothes. He who writes with tears,
writes with passion and with pleasure not labor, --
preserves in his verse, the short, fragile years.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening:
A Thief's Song

Though candle glitters in the window
And melts the frost around its flame,
I have no way of passing into
That room, and frozen fingers cling to
The wooden frame.

My eager eyes soon lose their glow
A vicious dog... (Oh, I can weep!)
Sits, guards the safe, and thus I know
That I have miles and miles to go
Before I sleep.

Oh, squint your eyes...

Oh squint your eyes once more my darling
So I may capture them in rhyme
So that my verse may save what time
Holds for mere seconds. Let me label
Those long dark lashes and those charming
Dense brows that bend into a rainbow,
The hair that glows and shines with sable
When with the touch of sultry rays
The jealous sun stares at your face,
Absorb the fervor life supplies!
And let my pencil with short strokes
Preserve what purest love evokes
Inside my soul. Oh squint your eyes!

1. Norton -- Collection of English Poetry.