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1. Leo Yankevich - Racked Beauty

  • Duration: 49
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Racked Beauty

Blest be the dawn, the luminous blue-slate, the arch transfused by the glorious sun, and blackbirds chanting hymnals in prickly bushes, and rooks high over fields coughing up love. Blest be the winds about the furrowed brow, and the joyful whispers of dying leaves, the maples staggered blissfully behind barbed fences above the tombs of the newly redeemed. Blest be pain that comes like a stark beggar, the thorn-tree that has its roots in a star, the sweet massacred gourds tethered to the rusting gate, the apples heaped on the agonized floor. 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 - 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

4. 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

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 - Crow

  • Duration: 46
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Crow

Crow, the doves descending on the square have sullied your name, cooed gossip to wealthy tourists, their gullets stuffed with handouts, while you soar over the oaks with dreaming clouds, with the glare and glimmer of the distant but holy sun in your misunderstood eyes, your paeans one with the wind. Yet it was you who, perched on the shoulder of Jesus, watched him suffer and heard him cry, and it was you who saw the enormous boulder moved, and you who saw him enter the sky. Leo Yankevich

7. Leo Yankevich - Metaphysics

  • Duration: 54
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Metaphysics

This is the last goodbye, the final salute. From beneath the cover of a flag the ensign is assisted down the chute so neither flank nor limb can catch a snag. Then at last his sunken eyes see light, and he sets foot into the promised land. Effulgent plankton there redeems his sight, Elysium of bright seaweed and sand. How glorious his underwater grave, even though above, the stone-faced captain sees a guilty spectre in each wave, and dejection overwhelms the chaplain. And the crew? They’re busy swatting flies, the smoke from guns still burning in their eyes. Leo Yankevich

8. Leo Yankevich - Onion Snow

  • Duration: 56
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Onion Snow

The peeps you'd bought were chirping in the box. The groundhog lied again. You'd left to buy beer, bread and chipped ham. It was Easter Sunday. Bells from a dozen churches filled the air in this small steel town where the unemployed perpetually keep beer gardens open. You'd yelled: 'Yunz better worsh them dishes and redd up things before yunz go outside.' You said you'd had enough of eating jumbo and food stamps didn't make a difference. We didn't know you'd go by way of Altoona, that you'd go ghost on mommy and us kids. You left behind a bloodstain in your truck, the lasting memory of onion snow. Leo Yankevich

9. Leo Yankevich - Veterans’ Hospital

  • Duration: 44
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Veterans’ Hospital

Some nights are never-ending hells for these old veterans in our care. We do not hand out pills, but shells, as out of battlefields they stare from over sixty years ago on far-off Guam or Guadalcanal. With trembling hands they try to show how the bravest or youngest fell. We console them with a cold cup, and a tender tap on the shoulder. What haunts them, though, will not give up, nor the fallen boys grow older. Leo Yankevich

10. Leo Yankevich - Baroque Nativity Scene

  • Duration: 54
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Baroque Nativity Scene

Malachite of tower and dome, clatter of sabots, creaks of wheels, neighs of horses headed home from a market where smoked eels glimmer in the October sun. As merchants hawk their sundry wares an English poet, squire John Donne, stands by a basket full of pears. Clad in a purple gown, a tart straight out of Caravaggio offers smiles for the sake of art, and rubenesquely curtsies low. She is the virgin mother of Christ, albeit in one timeless pose. Pious, but easily enticed, will he kneel to take off her clothes? Leo Yankevich

11. 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

12. 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

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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

16. Leo Yankevich - The Moth

  • Duration: 58
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - The Moth

Although they’ve much in common: fear of night, fear of the hour-glass’s falling sands, he traps a fleeting moth inside his hands as it departs the darkness for the light. It beats its wings in an impassioned fight to force its way out, willfully demands its freedom. But the power that commands his own will—is unmindful of its plight. He holds it fast, as if intent to show that all depends upon the power’s whim, that if he dares to squeeze, or lets it go, no wrathful god will judge or punish him. Yet when his hands unfold, his conscience stings: the powdery, white flakes—were once its wings. Leo Yankevich

17. Leo Yankevich - Hank

  • Duration: 58
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Hank

He finds himself alone again, pig-drunk on the third planet from the sun, his thought maudlin, stale as umpteen years ago, but fresher than the whisky in his mouth. Through failure he finds solace in the funk of 10 o’clock. The Nashville moon has not yet touched him like the talons of a crow. One with the evening, he will not fly south, guitar strapped just behind the sprawling wings of a misunderstood angel, cough and voice inspired in the wake of careful choice. He’ll linger in the drawling words he sings, the hero of this blue and lonesome story while love moves on, and basks in all the glory. Leo Yankevich

18. Leo Yankevich - St. Martin’s Cemetery

  • Duration: 57
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - St. Martin’s Cemetery

(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 you as blind and bleeding underneath the many winding caverns of the hellish earth, your starved lungs gasping for a final breath, you prayed for some miraculous rebirth to justify the agony of death. But what your friends could rescue from the ground resembled only contours of a man. And none dared utter words or make a sound when Hilda (mother of my mother) ran and tried to recognize your blackened face, then covered it with light from her embrace. Leo Yankevich

19. Leo Yankevich - Journey Late at Night

  • Duration: 47
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - Journey Late at Night

My little boat unmoored, I’ve drifted under stars, but do not see the Lord, just Artemis and Mars. Above the deep, dark lake, the moonlight’s never said: 'dawn is about to break and heaven turn bright red.' Across the waves, an owl has borne away its prey, and something on the prowl blasphemes the light of day. The hope a mooncalf follows is sacrifice for slaughter, and yet the wings of swallows still skip across the water. Leo Yankevich

20. Leo Yankevich - The Death of Communism

  • Duration: 42
  • Channel: music
Leo Yankevich - The Death of Communism

(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 tins of bargain lager, stars in smoke, East German cars with soot on their tail fins. A little further on— unheard of graves, hedgerows, and flocks of hooded crows delighting in the dawn.  Leo Yankevich