Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Boris Leyvi


A Troubadour's Complaint

Am I a child, and are you evil Lilith?
You're running from awakening inwit.
Don't waft off, stop -- your heart is dancing, feel it!

Let's dance together, my beloved zealot.
I am a walla, you're a lass -- I'll lead...
Am I a child, and are you evil Lilith?

Don't let your woe be fathomed out, conceal it,
As you conceal your panic when I plead:
Don't waft off, stop -- your heart is dancing, feel it!

I'll send you a medieval-like long billet
To ask you this, though I already did:
Am I a child, and are you evil Lilith?

Reprove me not; imagine as I kneel at
Your tender, small aristocratic feet:
Don't waft off, stop -- your heart is dancing, feel it!

For us will sing the ever-silent willet.
The sun is out, my world is brightly lit.
Am I a child, and are you evil Lilith?
You dance with me, but I no longer feel it.

* * *

Blackens, like pupil, the Thracian penurious sun,
And there's no need to beseech the lugubrious Hades,
To go through the crowd, and to pray that you aren't yet gone,
Your image half-dimmed to behold... Still I ponder: what fate is --
What is it? I shattered my cithara: no songs -- it's the war!
The war of my heart and frozen embittering reason:
This place is congested, and you -- I do not need anymore
To live in the mental abyss, the eternal self-prison.

I scream -- for a song, and, not taking a minute to rest,
I won't let my treacherous eyes ferret back at your grace.
My path is determined: I walk towards the infinite past --
The Styx, through a lifeless, oppressively sweltering Thrace.


To look back at one's way, it's much easier, reader, to tell you
Of deeds I've not done, of those views that I am yet to view.
I was, likely, conceived, then -- was born, but it isn't my failure
That I do not remember that many a thing -- just a few.
Separation, they say, would be one of the hardest things found,
But I think -- expectation sometimes has its serious turn:
Cut off from the world, in the womb with my upper side downed,
I was waiting and waiting and waiting until I was born.
The reality opened its arms, so servile and unyielding,
And I jumped out of my nine-months' overpacked waiting place,
And I screamed, and I screamed, and I screamed, glutting all of the building
With my joy and my fear, in a surgeon's impassive embrace.
Yet the rest of existence's a dim and intangible spawning
Of the faces and voices that faded or shortly will fade.
What is next? When the night is relieved by a somnolent dawning,
I just wait, and I wait, and I wait, and I wait, and I...

A Bad Sense of Prose, or Taking out a Splinter

One day in December, in the hours busy to linger,
I, to the tune of the trivial motto «Sic! Capre Diem!»,
Caught a splinter under the skin of my left little finger.
It was one in the afternoon. A wooden stick in a pink mausoleum,

With its head, popping out, was screaming, «How's it hanging, fellow!»
«Out, out,» I whispered, «no time for your bother.»
Then my whisper grew into a primal bellow.
Splinter laughed and summed up, «My luck, yet another

One, reclusive and apprehensive: I don't care what you're feeling,
I will stay in the warmth of this meaty matter.»
I spat on the floor, cursing, and examined the ceiling.
I said to myself, «What in the whole white wide world could be sadder

Than arguing with a prickly splinter? »
Am I losing my mind? No, unlikely, -- lower and lower
Winds are howling and howling and… -- it certainly must be the winter.
It must be. And I pulled that thing over and over.

Don't delay, I said, come out, my ornery little treasure,
But it wouldn't, being so awfully ardent,
Like a modern poetry piece, baleful, bland, of an indiscernible measure --
In and out and in. And I finally pardoned

The offender and cut off the unfortunate finger,
After having a sip of water,
In the hours that still seemed to linger.
Life went on. It was one and a quarter.

Kill the Lyricist

I sit by a pond, imagining non-existent poplars waft mushy fluffs onto a reflected firmament. The reflection throbs, and a watery cloudlet winks to its cause: kill the lyricist, for he will keep on imagining, without trying to grasp on the overwhelming outreach of the palpable world. He won't ever jump into waters of the pond; he is afraid of that baptism and will remain corrupt, scorning fancy and living on -- happily, for the praised imagination saved him the trip. He will make it up, jotting down carefully every bubbled sensation of the imagined world, when the real one dies out in front of him. Just kill him, or he will tell you of water running off his scull, cornering the armpits, oozing into the navel, sliding to the pubis, entering the groin area and shrinking his penis, coming down the calves.
Am I like him? I always knew that I don't have the guts for action. But I decide to jump. I take a breath and swing heavily into the pond. The water is fucking cold; it's everywhere at the same time: in my eyes, in my navel, up my ass. I can't breathe; the fucking clothes are too heavy, permeated with water; and on top of that -- I don't know how to swim. Motherfuckers! Some fellows help me out of the water, and I go home, cross with everything and with myself.
At home, I change my clothes, dry up thoroughly, get me a cup of hot coffee, and perch at the table to jot down carefully every bubbled sensation of the imagined world, when the real one dies out in front of me.