e is for f

I

the creaking of old skies
over the fields of fast growing
wings of deceased birds
conceals a call of a cow
detrimental to the ears of the two-legged

II

the twelfth psalmist remains unfaithful
to broken glass and digested grass
turning the silence inside out
before the popping eyes of the fish

III

in the dreams of a feral nanny goat
blind waiters climb slippery twisted staircases
to lick a secondhand sun

IV

in a house made of cardboard winds
dragonflies die spitting cast-iron letters

V

the sun vaporizes our souls every night

as usual

They say that the Tower of Babel had no windows
to avoid acrophobic fits. Dropouts sold magic carpets,
socks and panties at the entrance. Stilts too.
Spiders on the walls dreamt of icy surfaces
lit by invisible lamps. Shouts and songs disappeared
in the cracks in the sky. A deicide suddenly
discovered a word on the pillowcase and left town.
Dates of birth had become meaningless but
the celestial animals still hid in their abodes.

on

In the city I have never visited but where I should have spent my childhood women eat their offspring listening to sad fiddle music. The radios are always on, streets empty, a few yellow leaves float down the gutters after the rain. It is too clean everywhere for insects and rodents. A girl is trying to hide dancing behind a gas station like an inept graffiti.

cry

A woman sleeps in a plaza wrapped in a book twice her size.
Shadows return to the sky smeared with her native language.
Passersby wear masks to scare the planets off,
to steal contaminated gasps and hangovers.
Weather isn’t the medium of the beasts covered by stinking stars,
whose voices are too weak for the giant letters and cold air.
The skins of decrepit goddesses, forgotten on the clotheslines,
shrink indefinitely. Geese practice applied scatology and eschatology
a long while before achieving the transparency of a cry.

for a while

From time immemorial
obscure universities of the Plains have
trusted the professors from the inner Earth
regardless their background and countenance.
Faces are just irregular spots, after all,
buildings are just rectangles in the air
if you are not going to dwell there,
to rent a room, to stay for a while with
relatives and friends, to teach them
how to spend the years they probably
don’t have ahead of them; naturally,
all things change except those we don’t see.
They drink wine to make the footsteps lighter,
but the ancients knew how to make
the fabric of the universe threadbare,
how to hide a robot in the soul,
an assassin in the empty streets.

nickels

What kind of fruitcake could attend
lectures on agoraphobia in forgotten baby carriages
vultures stay away from at all costs,
while empires are collapsing and
stepladders, plungers and teaspoons
falling from above? Why do moons and cities
teem with timid houseflies, the bottoms
of mirrors with melting inedible ice cream?
The history of boredom deserves mountains of nickels.

sing or cough

One of the blind children lives behind the humongous radiant door
next to the statue of a housewife from Ur holding a rooster.
(When you hear her last name first time you are impressed,
but then you get to know people with that name everywhere,
which is unbearable.) In the street
magicians and drunks piss on coyotes and hogs in ecstasy,
soldiers jump onto trees from the roofs, the armor clanks,
strumpets devour computers and swallow empty bottles.
Our allegedly dead monarchs, in desperate need of a haircut,
constantly sing and cough inside, resting the heads on cushions and pillows.
It doesn’t sound like a choir,
and the child doesn’t think we have the right to talk about it to outsiders.
When so much royalty has gathered at a place, it’s a mockery,
as if several sons and daughters of God have been crucified at once for our ludicrous sins.
It’s temporary, they assure us in the rare moments they are calm.
Just a week more, or a month, or a year, or a decade.

ideology

What it was in 1982: shining rails, Martian freight trains delivering hateful silence to the squares around, shining rails, a couple of junkies sitting on them, the schmucks just like me I enjoyed talking to, the hollow

Moscow sun, hovels, dust, hovels galore and slogans above the buildings, long live the Communist Party you fucking shitheads, a couple of bottles of vodka in our pockets immune to lint, cracks in the pavement, potholes.

We did talk like gods avoiding jejune allegories. We were gods in fact that day, and I loved the absence of Militsiya. I loved the lack of everything in their apartment. No sleep, no shadows, translucent curtains, but plenty of ashtrays, weak slanted sunrays and cold tap water.

itself

Amidst the smell of grass pissed over by coyotes,
gullies replete with insect spirits,
plants mocking menorahs,
sounds of animals that doubted my existence,
I was a rusty road sign that couldn’t read itself.

(#)

There is only a limited amount
of angels per square mile of the firmament,
wailing, trembling, somersaulting, relaxing,
angels mumbling and crawling upside down,
chanting psalms to the void.
Can you swim, they ask each other
in those rare moments when they meet,
can you fucking swim, you bastard?
They have a secret place owned
by fish and mushrooms where they stash
their nail pairings and play checkers with
melancholia-addicted beasts of burden.
They poorly assimilate and eat only paper money,
don’t let other creatures splash in heaven,
their vehicles rot in space.
Voices of invisible birds tear the air to shreds,
trees and snakes hide in the grass,
unhewn stone steps lead to eternal banality,
thoughts and clouds pass by and the words remain,
blooming heads of frost gatherers sway in the wind,-
they don’t pay attention.
They don’t exist here on earth at all,
which apparently makes them a laughing stock
when they care.