Yuri  Tarnopolsky          TECHNOS          To main page     Poetry    

*** NEIGHBORHOOD   1996-1997  ***   Technos  2000-2001 ***  Bagatelles   2002 *** Misprints  2003 *** Anti-Noah  2004 ***            СРОКИ ДАВНОСТИ     Statute of limitations...(in Russian) 1971-1984 ***



                ... A world of made
    is not a world of born ...



        *  *  *

Looking for a seed of a thought
as if  I were a patch of land
or a woman,
I cry:
“A single seed, half myself for the seed!”

But then I would like more:
rain, sunshine, the harvesting hand,
somebody's life all to myself,
devotion, adulation,
money, money,
money, money.

Do we really need a thought?
We need a thing.

The autumnal oak keeps drumming out
the percussion solo of acorns
on the Yamaha porch.

The acorn is the thought of  the oak,
But a thing for a squirrel.

         *  *  *

I know, I know!
But somebody tell me I'm right:
I don't know that I know
unless there is a hand
patting me on my shoulder:
smiling face:
“Good boy.”

I can never be free:
Freedom is being alone.

    *  *  *

The old men
do not dream of being young:
They dream of comfort
and painkillers,
but most look back.

Only an emperor,
a conqueror,
an inventor
a creator
could look ahead
on his death bed.   



        *  *  *

Everybody who is like everybody,
United they stand

Everybody who is unlike everybody,
United we stand.

I want to be unlike others
and so I will be like all who are unlike others.

Them and us:
Two armies in a melee,
everybody a traitor.

we never get what we want.

             *  *  *

How can you love this human body
with its animal orifices
oozing fluids
warm exhaust of degraded air
with cunning mind of its own
human treacherous and
existing in millions of copies?

How can you love this man-made machine
with its poisonous
inhuman predictability
cold hard surface
thousand revolutions per second
fearing no death and
existing in millions of copies?

Yet we are perfect lovers.


        *  *  *

Are we all strange,
or are there any normal people?

To be normal—
what a terrifying fate:
to fight off a brutal throng
charging on from all 360 degrees:
tall, short,
philo, phobic,
homo, hetero,
hyper, hypo,
intro, extra...
with the war cry:
“You make our lives miserable!”

              *  *  *

The word music has different meanings
for a reggae buff
and  a Vivaldi  aficionado,
but the same for all owners of music stores.
the word woman has different  meanings
for homo and hetero women
but the same for homo woman and hetero man.

We should welcome the progress of time
bringing us more relativity,
we should welcome the sweeping commerce,
which would roll through anyway.
We want more shades and less borders
more goods to trade
more sweet fatigue.

We want a leveled play field,
where the ball of progress—
like Buridan's ass—
stunned by the infinity of directions,
could finally stop.


             * * *

Death is never bigger than life.
Life is shrinking,
but so is death:
the closer,
the smaller,
all dwarfed by the hump of life
growing on my back.

The small things will be my last impressions:
Mr. Syringe and Mrs. Pill.
I must show more reverence to things.
I should not mention their names in vain.
I will use monikers:
Mr. Sharp, Mrs. Round.
I will alias them:
Mr. Fringe, Mrs. Pillow.


             * * *

Big change or small stability?
I'm not sure what I want.

It is too late to be
                buried in an avalanche,
                swept by a revolution or reaction,
                or a love affair.

Finally, it is good to take a rest,
look around,
fearing no neighbor.

Peace was  for us to break,
change was  for us to yield.
Today is the time of surrender.

All I need is  to say:
“I  surrender...”

I accept everything
but the authority of things.


    * * *

Extraordinary gods and gadgets
are priceless man-made

Nobody makes a big deal
of simple natural things.

If we still worship  human body:
given, not invented,
not made,
not even painted,
nor lacquered,
not even wrapped up—
we are double pagans.

            * * *

Old folks, awkward,
look in wonder at themselves
like a teenager who has broken the vase.

I don't want to think about death
or to watch it, gory and glorious, on TV.
But everything reminds me of it.

And so my new desire
is to light a candle
and to watch it going to the end.
And my new hobby
is to watch empty clam shells
and drying seaweed on the beach.

In the tidal thinking-non-thinking
I take the middle road.

         * * *

In the world of non-things
any resemblance
is purely coincidental.

Even I am not myself,
at least today,
at least I am not feeling so.

Every letter is  millennia old:
casting a dice
we invent new words.
Every word has been already used:
casting a dice
we invent new combinations.

We cast a dice
And break the mold,
instead of breaking the dice.

           * * *

Time: when you are busy,
it runs through the fingers.
When you  meditate,
it is wasted.
What to do with time?
The time of love
makes your time-thirsty
the time of solitude
makes you time-full. 


          *  *  *

The amebic light
of the freshly decembered year
starts swelling again with  the young timid buds.

It is time to look inside the dark ideas
forever caged  in the lines of pages,
to inspect and classify them, and
when the calendar beeps again,
start a new cycle of observations
on the circular motion of the sun
stirring up the collisions of thoughts.

Watching the cycles of life around,
we learn the art of resurrection.
Ars longa...  




             * * *


Things of the world unite!
The fire
of ire.

Our solution:
We have nothing to lose
but  abuse.
Doesn't seem so.
Technical Esau
and human Isaac?
Doesn't look nice.
We have nothing to lose
but our price

Money is from God,
and so are electrons.
Strike, the thunderbolt
of revolt!

Don't we scream
when you hit us with a sledgehammer?



            * * *


I am never happy.

Worse! I am not happy
not because I am not happy enough:
I am demonically  unhappy
because happiness exists
in inflationary quantities.
There is so much happiness
that it has to shrink—
to implode—
to impop—
lollipop by lollipop—
to give room to more.

Everybody lectures me
on my  unhappiness:
“You are a peninsula without the mainland
with isthmus flooded at high tide
drawn by mood not moon.”

I am definitely guilty
I am happy that I am guilty:
I keep all my happiness corked:
It picks up price with time.




             * * *


To look ahead
behind the broad shoulders of today,
we have to unmaster the human tongue
and learn the idiom of Technos
from the young babble of valves,
from the humming soliloquy  of motors,
with a thousand words for noise
and another thousand for silence.

Looking into the future,
we would find our thing-children prosper
and frolic in a cornucopia of touch
with the sensuality of caress
exuding  a plethora of well oiled affection
between the shaft and the bearing .

In our human discourse on  harmony
we use a wrong language
with archaic words :
suffer, guilt, always,
and no nice word for



         * * *

Sun lovers are many
since the sun is one,
like Pharaoh
                (...? No!)
I like clouds:
The sky painter is rarely inventive
but always expressive.

Cloud lovers are few:
the clouds are many,
they never last,
they need a great devotion
to be loved.

The clouds and things
need their Don Juan
to make them suffer.



        * * *


Everything evolves:
The chase
the touch
the words
the letters



            * * *

The murderous beauty of ideas
can pierce the heart
like a fleeting  face
in a subway window.

The idea of equality—
it can poison the blood
like the Spring hormones
(Only dollars are equal).

The idea of symmetry—
it can paralyze
like a bullet in the spine—
(Only snowflakes are ...)

The idea of truth,
so deadly immaterial,
splits the mortals
into warring clans.

There is only one escape from Things:
There is only one escape from ideas:




        * * *


Ashamed of being a man—
A creature prone to  rape and murder—
(Like some Germans ashamed of Hitler)
I go to the matinee at a Wal-Mart:
The show of gentle Things
and Women-with-children.

Edison's  covenant with God
Has been a hit:
his seed multiplied.

All the hardware children are legitimate,
All bar-coded.
They smell of the honest
sweat of globalization.

I feel like at a slave market:
The toasters
show me their wiry teeth,
dreaming about a Moses.

wade through the aisles,
past empty reed baskets.

I go home,
cured of my shame.



          * * *

What is done by bare hands—
  shaping pottery on the wheel
      kneading dough
        counting money
          closing the eyes of the dead—

What is done by the bare hand
Does not last:

The pottery sold,
  The caress forgotten,
    The bread eaten,
      The money spent,
        The dead buried.

The hunger and desire of touch
returns to the hand
like hunger and desire.

The pottery never returns to clay
Neither the bread to the flour,

What a fatal invention:
The keyboard,
the insatiable black hole of touch.




             * * *

Not everything has been said,
But everything can be said.
Not everything has been done
Not everything can be done.

The words come to us with acne
The Things come to us with acme.

To be young
is the most profitable trade.



             *  *  *


Freedom is an illusion
of the piston to move either back or forth
but it moves only back and forth,
back and forth.
We are choosing machines
destined to choose
among thousands of turns in the maze.
And we only choose and choose.

Freedom is refusing to choose,
waiting for the push, the whim, the lure.
Freedom is a terrible crime.
Freedom is the opium for the people.
Freedom is eternal weekend morning.



        * * *


We, not just humans
but also primates,
and even vertebrates,
are so stubborn in our body needs,
so obstinate in our logic,
so ridiculously predictable
in our curiosity, habits, and aberrations
that Technos is as certain of our desires
as we are of sunrise.

For the settlers of Technos,
unaware of our self-image,
we are vast verdant continents
with enchanting climate,
gentle winds, and warm rains
sending the purring brooks of  the mind
down the magnetic curves and hills
of  the body.

What will they do to us?
What will be done to them?





         * * *

The Things will get everything.
They will get everything they want—
intelligence and spontaneity of wit—
except suffering.

To suffer is not even human,
it is animal:
to enjoy suffering
is human.

Looking for sense—
and finding sensuality
in sense and even more so
in nonsense
is human.

Things will look down
on us
and on each other.

We shall overcome.





Yuri Tarnopolsky                                                   POETRY


NEIGHBORHOOD    1996-1997          Technos      2000-2001

Bagatelles   2002    Misprints   2003   Anti-Noah  2004

СРОКИ ДАВНОСТИ   Statute of limitations...(in Russian) 1971-1984