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1. Leo Yankevich - Leaves

  • Duration: 33
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Leaves

Leaves fall as if from up the sky, fall to form their motley shrouds, fall but never question why, amid the branches and the clouds, past the bramble and the rose, the sun above them comes and goes, but does not die. Leo Yankevich

2. Leo Yankevich - Swallows

  • Duration: 66
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Swallows

It was once thought that swallows wintered on the moon, or morphed into field mice beneath the autumn swoon of clouds, or slept beneath wavelets on the floor of shadowy ponds and lakes until the sudden lure of springtime roused them from the kingdom of the dead. Early Christians believed they swirled around the head of Jesus, giving comfort as he bore his heavy cross, or they were harbingers of heaven after loss. Today I look above the eaves as autumn blooms in the deep well of the sky, my house’s empty rooms echoing only wind, the memory of their song. They have flown south for winter, which here is dark and long. Leo Yankevich

3. Leo Yankevich - The Cat

  • Duration: 57
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - The Cat

I’d pass it on the mission trail—             half-decomposed, green burr-like eyes beyond my thoughts or pity, tail             curled into questions only flies would answer, as they staked their claim             to rotting tissue. Food for worms, and mocked by summer’s honey flame,             it had no choice but come to terms with piecemeal dissolution. Those             loud buzzes echoed in my ears until it circled and then rose,             converting me—some thirty years since—into the lone passerby             and witness, ever on my way from daily service, like the sky             itself on resurrection day. Leo Yankevich

4. Leo Yankevich - Garbage

  • Duration: 34
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Garbage

One rarely finds just wholesome scraps: a slice of ham, potato rinds, a glob of jam, beer bottle caps. Inside this drum there’s other stuff: a blouse that’s torn, a hiker’s thumb, two clips of porn, hardcore and snuff. Leo Yankevich

5. Leo Yankevich - Old Meerschaum Pipe

  • Duration: 46
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Old Meerschaum Pipe

A friend sent a pipe made from petrified sea foam, froth that was life’s first home. A bearded craftsman’s blade carved it into the face of man: the progeny of an amoeba, the image of his race. It sits for all to see, like a bust on the shelf: in-cognizant of self, yet part of the same sea, its beauty and its scars, its yellow stain and reek, the wrinkle on its cheek: the stuff of dreams and stars. Leo Yankevich

6. Leo Yankevich - Moscow,1928

  • Duration: 35
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Moscow,1928

(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 pass over the heads of those who go no further than the prison walls— mothers, fathers, weeping wives bearing bags of fruit and rolls to those whose candour cost their lives. Leo Yankevich

7. Leo Yankevich - Out Back

  • Duration: 45
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Out Back

Amid the sudden flurries, shrill bells toll beneath December cloud. Martha opens lids, her will one with the rooks that curse out loud: *another day on bitter earth passes over Tinker Hill.* Reeking of mackerel culled from tins, she bends for something of true worth, reaches into a toppled barrel the moment a miracle begins, and, off-key, sings a Christmas carol to celebrate a kitten's birth. Leo Yankevich

8. Leo Yankevich - Barcelona,1936

  • Duration: 31
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Barcelona,1936

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 that Orlov’s Reds were there: a priest lies bludgeoned on the lawn, and Christian Spain lies struck at prayer. Leo Yankevich

9. Leo Yankevich - Saint Francis of 9th Avenue

  • Duration: 55
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Saint Francis of 9th Avenue

Coughing, he unlocks the iron-clad door, and a flock of gold and silver keys rises like an inverted pyramid over his little kitchen for the poor. The gnarly, the disabled, weak of knees, the drunk, the ugly, stoned and plain stupid stand in the s hit and shadows of his doves, sobered by the wrath of a cold breeze. Squinty-eyed himself, he is not blind to avarice, nor to their push-and-shoves. Holding a pipe in his yellow hand, he touches with the fingers of his mind, and watches those not even morning loves enter and reenter the promised land. Leo Yankevich

10. Leo Yankevich - At a Suicide’s Grave(1869-1897)

  • Duration: 23
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - At a Suicide’s Grave(1869-1897)

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

11. Leo Yankevich - Babcia

  • Duration: 64
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Babcia

Milk curdles in her jar, mould forms on her black bread. She’s come so very far, but her blue Polish eyes no longer see the flies buzzing above her head. She does not hear her friend knocking at the door. This is her journey’s end, the faithful silly dear. Christ does not shed a tear, not for the meek and poor. He looks down from the wall, with both arms open, heart sacred, eyes blind to all, truly not of this world. He does not see her curled- up broken flesh depart, resurrected by the hour towards the skies. He won’t feed her a lie, nor redeem a bone. He will leave her alone in the kingdom where she lies. Leo Yankevich

12. Leo Yankevich - The Familiar Night

  • Duration: 30
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - The Familiar Night

You leave the dive, the din behind the doors forever shut. You stagger in the light and watch rats bear the moon and stars away into an afterlife of steaming sewers. Face baptized by the quiet, hell to pay: there’s only you now, the familiar night. Leo Yankevich

13. Leo Yankevich - Crossing Geneva Marsh

  • Duration: 74
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Crossing Geneva Marsh

Mist lingers on the surface of stagnant tea-brown water. The flat bridge spans a mile, a sea of spatterdocks. Tangled stalks of cattails and swamp grass reach up towards the underside of the deck, the chalcedony of cloud. My father’s at the wheel of his coffin Cadillac, following a wayward crow into the depths of autumn. His headlights gaze into the Nietzschean abyss. And then the same abyss gazes back into us. Rear tail-fins cut through the snapping-turtle air, past the scarlet oaks and shagbark hickories. Smoke from his cigar drifts out his cracked window, heavenward, as we head towards the exit at Mercer. We turn in the direction of Farrell, Sharon, Youngstown, and pass the furnaces of purgatory and hell. Leo Yankevich

14. Leo Yankevich - When Nothing Remains

  • Duration: 56
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - When Nothing Remains

(for Kasia) Today, I think, I’d like to have you pose surrounded by abundant store and riches, surrounded by elaborate head-dresses, water-heavy pearls and silken hose. I want you in the dark, holding a rose, among bronzes, candlesticks and vases, vases from which a balmy steam arises into a Great Dane’s dilating nose. Rembrandt, doubtless, must have felt this way when painting Saskia in a velvet gown as she approached her death before his sight— as if with grapes he could prolong her stay, as if he wished to weigh her beauty down with the luminescent heft of candlelight. Leo Yankevich

15. Leo Yankevich - The World to Come

  • Duration: 43
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - The World to Come

(for Michael Axtell) There is a glimmer of the world to come in the ease of the eyes of the homeless woman decked out in rags, and there's a hint of glory in the castaway leaves lying low in the gutters amid smouldering fags. For I've seen Christs climb out of the flames of icicles clinging to the rusty pipes where the forsaken dwell, and I've seen the saved herded in suits before steeples delighting in daybreaks indistinguishable from hell. 1998 Leo Yankevich

16. Leo Yankevich - On the Lynching of Saddam Hussein

  • Duration: 75
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - On the Lynching of Saddam Hussein

“To die not knowing why is to die like an animal... To die like a human being you have at least got to know why it is done to you.” —Ezra Pound You hear your lungs begin to rattle. This is the rattle mother told you about: it comes before your death           as vital organs fail. It is the end of agonizing suffocation, when life puts a pillow on your nose and mouth.           All death is suffocation. Indifferent light penetrates the jello in your bedside bowl, and hell absorbs the fluorescent bulb’s           impalpable low heat. You died with tubes inside your mouth, gasping for one more breath of air, your fragile fists still clenched in fear           before almighty Allah. No mercenary’s noose was placed around your neck, as round Saddam’s. You did not chasten craven tormentors,           falling through the gallows. Leo Yankevich

17. Leo Yankevich - Migrations

  • Duration: 49
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Migrations

Through bleary eyes I hear migrating birds at morning. Over meadows, down into the valley of my ears, they follow words whispered in dreams. And only for this do I keep faith in the alchemy of rays. They will return when ice breaks in the river, when my mind sinks in the mud of May’s tadpole-like embryo, flock to deliver their paeans over my salt and pepper hair as I rise from the shadow of their wings, my thoughts entangled in a spider's lair, groping to overhear a bell that rings. Leo Yankevich

18. Leo Yankevich - The Exit

  • Duration: 39
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - The Exit

The heart would heal, blood not sour in the veins, the philosopher's cave not dim in the skull, the body rise, and in the light, forget its pains, the once mad apes freed by the glorious wall. And all would climb the miraculous ladder, eyes burning, behind mirrors, and in the sun: see Your face, ineffable, but much sadder, wrestling with what God for whose will to be done? (2000) Leo Yankevich

19. Leo Yankevich - Moonshine,1969

  • Duration: 56
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Moonshine,1969

Grandpa had a gambler’s poker face, though grandma held the tattered deck of cards. We crossed the bridge in Wheatland, and then raced by Dunbar Slag, and two scrap metal yards. Old Bill was sleeping near his pit-bull Pug, but woke when he caught ear of grandpa’s voice. They went inside, then came out with a jug of what Old Bill called “Pennsylvania’s Choice.” They drank it like spring water, cold and pure, reminisced about what two old fogies had done for cash in nineteen-twentyfour, then grandpa smiled and said: “We’d better go.” Before we got back home he smoked two stogies, stinky ones, so grandma wouldn’t know. Leo Yankevich

20. Leo Yankevich - Exile

  • Duration: 48
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Exile

He looks up at what pierces cloud, but doesn’t know it’s epiphany— this moment wind blows over sea and dark’s forgiven in its tracks. He sees the field a boy once ploughed, nostrils piqued by blossoming flax, and thinks the questions no one asks, eyes mirroring eternity. Beyond the headland waves break loud. Once again Boreas smacks his pale and hypothermic lips. Summer suddenly turns to Fall. Behind him now the sunken ships will never take him home at all. Leo Yankevich