Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Yelena Kostyleva


Translated by Max Nemtsov

* * *

a vacancy instead of you
a vacant head, a vacant heart
the joy has never visited this space
no fires burnt there
afterwards they usually stub

somewhere underground
deep deep under this ground
there are the finest of our roots
no roots are softer, babies of our roots
so smooth yet bitter --
should I say entwined?

humus oh humus
you and I, we inhume us

* * *

A vacancy instead of you
One can get rid of any other one
of any dream
by stepping to a window
and shaking one's head up
saying, fains I
Saying, fains I

* * *

A vacancy instead of you
"In vain, enough already"
There's mother's voice,
it's whispering, exhorting
like an old record I
used to fall asleep to
in the background.
Mother dear, in vain --
Mother dear, in vain
In vain \ in vain \

* * *

stand before me, stripped to the waist,
smile and shake your head.
-- how could I sculp a frail doll --

blindfold us both,
let me touch your face
I know my hands are cold
and my eyes congeal all
that had ever been.

stand before me, blindfolded
let me remember your features
let me a drink

* * *

There are no endeavors vainer than
shoveling snow, curing people, and bearing kids.
The snow gets melted into wine
that douses streets in summer
for all that dust should be dealt with.
Young doctors cure me
yet I die of their cures
and they die of it.

Dust on the windowpanes.
A baby's born -- my hands are cold,
no way to cuddle it.
Doctor, doctor.

* * *

an alabaster baby was conceived through a headcloth
the skin is white, but under it there
mine and yours, the blood flows

there's ringing in the ears
his, yours, mine

alabaster, plaster, alabaster

* * *

when you look at me in public
everything congeals without me
and everything within I'd ever got
I start to think
God knows what
God wot
step to me, just one step
stay where you are

for when you look at me in public
the sky looks like a sheepskin to me
and my uterus feels like a nubble

* * *

humus oh humus
you and I, we inhume us
stand before me strong and luminous