Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices


by Boris Leyvi


* * *

Upper Side, maybe Lower...
Spurting upward the «HI’s»,
Downward mumbling, «How are
You?» A grocer defies
You and your weary whirring.
«Milk, two sugars on top.» —
Time has stopped. Coffee's pouring
In the blue paper cup...

* * *

«Chicken fried rice» and coke,
pasta, meatballs, a Pepsi,
Marlboro (lights!) for a smoke,
maps for the bus. A map, see,
is a very convenient thing:
all 'round town and better
'twill teach to ride and cling,
to one another. «Get her!»,
in OTB yelps out
an old and decrepit dweller,
«If she don't make that route,
I'm goin' broke! You tell her!»
White and very polite
a boy will take down your order:
«Do you like baked or fried?
Will you have beer or soda?»
I would just like to try
a thing I was taught to defy
by those who meant to fry
my brain and my conscience for the
Eternity, with no return,
and no chance to remember
that not only I haven't sworn
to idiocy, but my member
isn't the only part
that can be an organ for feeling,
and, if so I'm willing,
yes, I can use my heart.

A Beggar and a Skeptical Stroller
(On the Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn)

Take my hand in your hand:
Say, a nasty view?
It's a wound — it will mend
Right in front of you.
Say, you'd rather be damned,
Say, you'll sooner trust
A detained chum who lammed,
Fuck a pederast,
Than believe that's a slit —
Not some kind of con?
Let us slowly repeat:
Take another one.
See, it's soaked in red,
Simple, earthly cut.
No, I ain't gettin' mad.
(I get that a lot.)
In the dark ancient past,
There was a man.
He would come to my fest,
say he is my fan.
He'd be standing in awe
Of the things I did
He'd be telling me, «Now,
How'd it be sweet,
If you sold me the heed
To your simple craft.»
I said, love is the lead.
Just like you -- he laughed...

* * *

Cripples the cool down smudgy furnace;
For one with cold it's another nuisance.
And to the creed I give my two cents:
Maybe my gods watch on the corners.
Maybe the gods don't give a fig, and
Maybe two cents isn't the price, still,
I am to give two with my quick hand,
Hoping blood would match to the tear spill.
Making the cold look like some nuisance,
While it's, in fact, a simple bother —
Will sell my creed for fucking two cents:
Have I had more — I'd sell another.
I'd sell for cause, and for no causes,
I'd trade the stiff for wracked and gory.
The living wake to smell the roses,
The corpses smell. The end of story.
Cripples the cold down smudgy furnace,
For one with cool it's a simple nuisance.
What ‘bout his faith? There're only hernias
Left. Screw your god damned little two cents.

Novembre Di Primavera

A nightingale revolves midst towers and gales
And sings his song predestined to distortion.
It's time to wait: another weighted portion
Of wine is on its way. The darkened dales
Hiss stronger, lower. Lovebound singing fails
And withers. Winds blow cov'ring ancient ruptures
And take along with ancientry's still sculptures
Of cultivated chasms and nobled hails
To Hellas, Rome. I put away my tome.
No more allusions: godly wreaths of foam
Do not address the simple innocence
Of lively things. The sideway door, the cusp
Of green and yellow; maiden's squeaky gasp,
Banal, full of expected mock pretense.

Nuova York before Christmas

An oak midst fume and soggy swamp
Is left to quiver on the flaws
Of smog and smokes; an early close:
The banks, the river banks all dumb
Before the spree for festive goods.
The worried people at the gate
Of Macy’s. Weighing their fate
And wallets. Distant neighborhoods'
The proud dwellers all at rise:
The Christmas time is coming soon!
And the decrepit local loon
Bears blinking droplets in his eyes.