Leo Yankevich
At A Suicide’s Grave(1869-1897) by Leo Yankevich

At A Suicide’s Grave(1869-1897) by Leo Yankevich

Here where this graveyard comes to a sudden endyou lie forgotten beside a crumbling wall, yet sometimes at night a nova calls you friend, and the moon itself recalls your rise and ...

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Babcia by Leo Yankevich

Babcia by Leo Yankevich

Milk curdles in her jar, mould forms on her black bread.She’s come so very far, but her blue Polish eyesno longer see the fliesbuzzing above her head.She does not hear her ...

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A Plurality Of Worlds by Leo Yankevich

A Plurality Of Worlds by Leo Yankevich

Intensities of pain—of those once persecutedand those once executed.The scientific gainbelongs to us, but who knowsof Giordano Bruno’ssuffering on the square, tongue-tied on ...

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Barcelona,1936 by Leo Yankevich

Barcelona,1936 by Leo Yankevich

Perhaps there’s mercy in the skies, although the Spaniards have seen none. The tears of horror in their eyes reflect the fury of the sun lifting the curtain over dawn. They know ...

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A Hater Learns About Love by Leo Yankevich

A Hater Learns About Love by Leo Yankevich

After a long night of interrogation, followed by a thirty-minute trial, there was no doubt about it: I was guilty.So with my teeth tucked in my bleeding mouth, and with my jaw now ...

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Bethlehem by Leo Yankevich

Bethlehem by Leo Yankevich

They come, come faithfully to behold him, three kings and their harems after three nights of fasting, coated in an afterlife of sweet confection. But the star is dim in the ...

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Baroque Nativity Scene by Leo Yankevich

Baroque Nativity Scene by Leo Yankevich

Malachite of tower and dome, clatter of sabots, creaks of wheels, neighs of horses headed homefrom a market where smoked eelsglimmer in the October sun.As merchants hawk their ...

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Ah, Love by Leo Yankevich

Ah, Love by Leo Yankevich

Though many years have passed, and loves, I swear I can still smell the soaps this one would use. I can still see the mole on her left thigh, black eden lace against her northern ...

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No Flowers, No Doves by Leo Yankevich

No Flowers, No Doves by Leo Yankevich

When we entered the burning citycharred corpses greeted us.A child’s hand dangled from a scorched treeand the twisted wreckage of a busmocked the stillness of the sky.Gunner ...

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After The Old Masters by Leo Yankevich

After The Old Masters by Leo Yankevich

The father looks up to the sky or ceiling(beyond the grey scale of the photograph) with his son wrapped inside his cradling arms.An orderly obscures the boy’s midsection, with ...

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Break Of Dawn by Leo Yankevich

Break Of Dawn by Leo Yankevich

I rise at the break of dawn, still dreaming, half awake, wondering whether I’m gone; but, the sun on the lake, the ancient stones, the pine-trees, and the mad hungry birds(in a ...

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An Autumn Evening by Leo Yankevich

An Autumn Evening by Leo Yankevich

(after the German of Georg Trakl) The brown village. A darkness often treadsAlong the walls that stand in autumn. Mock-Shapes: man as well as woman, dead now, walkIn the cold ...

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Butugychag by Leo Yankevich

Butugychag by Leo Yankevich

(Eastern Siberia) From this hillside full of multiple graves(marked by discs made from the lids of tin cans, rusty now, stamped with the ID numbersof Tsarist and reactionary ...

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A Tiny Glow by Leo Yankevich

A Tiny Glow by Leo Yankevich

Without the moon or stars to guide his sight, without a glint from shanties down below, he rested on the foggy hill that night, and begged the heavens for a tiny glow.Despair ...

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Blurb by Leo Yankevich

Blurb by Leo Yankevich

You take the book from the shelf, hold it in your hand, crack it open, leaf through pages, stop at a line: a waste of paper, of trees, of lumberjacks’ painful work—each blurb on ...

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After 20 Years Of Marriage by Leo Yankevich

After 20 Years Of Marriage by Leo Yankevich

Here is a river with a little boatmoored beside its bank. The boat's the colourof oranges in the south of Greece, all bloodyand ripe with sweetness, while the bank's the colourof ...

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Beast by Leo Yankevich

Beast by Leo Yankevich

It’s night again. Above the dreaming hillstars are so close your finger reaches them.You’ve downed your pint of beer, have had your fillof darts and cards, and piss beneath a ...

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Eastertide by Leo Yankevich

Eastertide by Leo Yankevich

A sudden brightness. Call it day.Rooks above the cathedral, and cloudsa thousand shades of morning grey, while underneath: the coiling crowdsbear their pastries and precious ...

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Manichaeans by Leo Yankevich

Manichaeans by Leo Yankevich

Indistinguishable from the dark, a ratcrawls through debris. Above, aloof and pale, the moon shines on all the heavens and hellsof the city, shines on the good and badalike, more ...

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A December Wish by Leo Yankevich

A December Wish by Leo Yankevich

You hear the sound of carols from afar.Bright bulbs and tinsel, cinnamon and cloves.Beyond a hill of snow you see a star.Here you can look at stacks of Christmas trees, buy nuts ...

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Black Oak by Leo Yankevich

Black Oak by Leo Yankevich

At midnight, just beneath the sunken moon, there is a glade, where leaf on fallen leaflie underneath her long and bony arms.There, naked, she awaits her time to come.But, singing ...

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Billie by Leo Yankevich

Billie by Leo Yankevich

I felt it in her body loves ago. Call it what you will: her psyche, soul, essence, the ghost I never got to know that haunts me down my later years. A fool, I wanted flesh, her ...

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Clarity by Leo Yankevich

Clarity by Leo Yankevich

This God-gifted dawn, dawn of brilliant leavesand dew-dampened clover—wakes the drowsy senses, telling them to proclaimjoy and adoration.But the mind sees beetlesslain along a ...

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Don Quixote by Leo Yankevich

Don Quixote by Leo Yankevich

Suddenly, I am astride a donkeywith Sancho Panza. As usual, my headis in the clouds. And I am stubborn, stupidas always. Please forgive my making somuch noise when I send dreams ...

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Ludwig Wittgenstein Visits George Trakl In Hospital, Cracow,6 November 1914 by Leo Yankevich

Ludwig Wittgenstein Visits George Trakl In Hospital, Cracow,6 November 1914 by Leo Yankevich

'O stolzere Trauer! ihr ehernen Altare, Die hei?e Flamme des Geistes nahrt heute ein gewaltiger Schmerz, Die ungebornen Enkel.'The doves alight. The rooks cast shadows down.And ...

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Dylan Thomas by Leo Yankevich

Dylan Thomas by Leo Yankevich

Although a sea of whisky filled each lung, he would have called out from beneath a wave just to console the living, but his tongue was heavy as a stone inside the grave.

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Brother, by Leo Yankevich

Brother, by Leo Yankevich

I can still hear your voice although decades have passed— the baritone of a man who is approaching fifteen. Knees and knuckles numb, you stand on the snowy bank of the Shenango ...

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Bukovina,1989 by Leo Yankevich

Bukovina,1989 by Leo Yankevich

The peasant man still burns his leaveswhich rise into Romania’s skieslike smouldering stars above its eaves.With grubby hands he shields his eyes, but cannot stop the acrid ...

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Tikkun Olam* by Leo Yankevich

Tikkun Olam* by Leo Yankevich

(Ekaterinburg, Russia,17 July 1918) His mouth agape, as though still asking questions, the Tsar lies at the end of his long reign.(Blue lips almost struggle to explain, caught in ...

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Exile by Leo Yankevich

Exile by Leo Yankevich

He looks up at what pierces cloud, but doesn’t know it’s epiphany—this moment wind blows over seaand dark’s forgiven in its tracks.He sees the field a boy once ploughed, nostrils ...

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The Birdman Of Gdansk by Leo Yankevich

The Birdman Of Gdansk by Leo Yankevich

When cathedral bells toll through the morning and sunlight touches steeples with its glare, and arrows on the town hall clock stop turning, you will find him on the market square, ...

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Angel by Leo Yankevich

Angel by Leo Yankevich

To wake again like dew upon the bladesof the green meadow, like a gust of windpushing the clouds above the forest glades, at last free from desire, no longer pinnedto gristle, ...

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Moscow,1928 by Leo Yankevich

Moscow,1928 by Leo Yankevich

(Those Who Would Dare Speak the Truth) Through iron bars and sooty glass, you see a square of muddy snow, where cawing rooks and jackdaws passover the heads of those who gono ...

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The Birdman by Leo Yankevich

The Birdman by Leo Yankevich

'In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away Quite leisurely from the disaster...'—W.H. Auden, from *Musee des Beaux Arts*He rose to the caws of housewives, the ...

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Swallows by Leo Yankevich

Swallows by Leo Yankevich

It was once thought that swallowswintered on the moon, or morphed into field micebeneath the autumn swoonof clouds, or slept beneathwavelets on the floorof shadowy ponds and ...

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After The Expulsions by Leo Yankevich

After The Expulsions by Leo Yankevich

(Gleiwitz,1946) The old Romanesque church in Petersdorf, closed since the Germans left the neighbourhood, crumbles in the pouring acid rain.Above, no bells toll for its dead; but ...

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Despair by Leo Yankevich

Despair by Leo Yankevich

Alone in the dark, the blood of blackberries dripping down his shins, the morning star looking back in the mirror through which he gazes, moon-eyed and at odds with himself, he ...

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Beasts by Leo Yankevich

Beasts by Leo Yankevich

How many beastshad roamed the soilbefore man's feastsbegan to spoiltheir habitat? Eat or be eaten? Even the fatfrom a club-beatendhole was treasured, its snout and tonguecrudely ...

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The Garrett Loft by Leo Yankevich

The Garrett Loft by Leo Yankevich

In garret lofts poor artists have quite oftenpainted women bathing, combing hairinside a nearby mirror ... Your eyes soften, and, pale as blossoms or flesh from a pear, your skin ...

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Cracow by Leo Yankevich

Cracow by Leo Yankevich

(for Meghan) This dawn of fog and lingering dreams, you feelthe centuries in your waking body. Cracowlies on a river at the foot of a hill.Light and bells awaken senses. Black ...

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St. Martin’s Cemetery by Leo Yankevich

St. Martin’s Cemetery by Leo Yankevich

(New Derry, Westmoreland County, PA) Grandfather Lawrence, whom I never knew, I wonder what appeasing light, if any, may have eased your pain and strengthened youas blind and ...

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Ezra Pound Enters The Tent by Leo Yankevich

Ezra Pound Enters The Tent by Leo Yankevich

No, this is not a station in the metro, this is an open cage outside of Pisa.Ezra Pound now sits inside of it, his beard a burning bush of grief made new.Gazing at the moon, and ...

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Burn by Leo Yankevich

Burn by Leo Yankevich

Better than the burn of boozewhen Jack Frost penetrates your boneis the cheap skid-row wine you useto light the day when you're alone. As spleen and liver give up ghoststhe leaves ...

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Philosopher by Leo Yankevich

Philosopher by Leo Yankevich

For a moment as brief and long as eternityhe sees what the blind man sees in the blink of an eye: a sun that never sets, forms wrought from gold, puritybefore it falls or is ...

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The Death Of Communism by Leo Yankevich

The Death Of Communism by Leo Yankevich

(Poland,1989) Grey clouds in early May, a hint or threat of rain.Beyond the tracks a lane, a bench along the way.Night watchmen, empty tinsof bargain lager, starsin smoke, East ...

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Papa’s Dying by Leo Yankevich

Papa’s Dying by Leo Yankevich

Visionary underneath his pain, he lies there, staring blankly at my mother, cancer spread from his liver to his brain.She tries to tell him all the latest news, mentions I’m in ...

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Onion Snow by Leo Yankevich

Onion Snow by Leo Yankevich

The peeps you'd bought were chirping in the box.The groundhog lied again. You'd left to buybeer, bread and chipped ham. It was Easter Sunday.Bells from a dozen churches filled the ...

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Draza Bregovich by Leo Yankevich

Draza Bregovich by Leo Yankevich

His pockets full of poems, fingers stained from packs of Camels, green eyes wet from tears, Draza Bregovich looks from the plane, forgetting where he’d lived for twenty years. ...

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The World To Come by Leo Yankevich

The World To Come by Leo Yankevich

(for Michael Axtell) There is a glimmer of the world to come in the easeof the eyes of the homeless woman decked out in rags, and there's a hint of glory in the castaway ...

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The Bell by Leo Yankevich

The Bell by Leo Yankevich

You hear the bell, the sun upon your shoulderslike a spilt bag of gold, the street awashwith piss and lager as the hated soldiers of the sewers dodge the morning's shrapnel, ...

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