If I should tell you of my life, I must begin with my
American childhood - of growing along Growing Pains
and Days of our Lives, but I did not have that sort
of a childhood.

And a friend Timmy didn't happen either -
the one stealing grass from his visiting Delaware
adult cousin and then later getting off on school
supplies like felt pens and glue.

There is no aunt in the picture following progressions
of  the Huxtable family life through a wood-paneled Zenith;
no smells of the Rite Aid rehash of Anais Anais
which still reeks of suffocating shit
in its original version.

No Subway Series of 1982 ever:
I didn't grow up on baseball
and can't tell apart a batsman
from a quarterback in another
unnecessary game.

At the same time, some of these things
and people must have happened - if not to me,
then elsewhere, for others.
And if the concocted Timmy really died of overdosing on
crack cocaine at the age of nineteen, I have little to do
with it - or more like nothing.
He's never been my friend if he did live,
but I do feel sad, although I'm not sure
that I've ever lived - that is, lived something
less mysterious than a conscious bearing
of a snail surviving whatever childhood he's been offered.

And if someone's aunt  still has that old Zenith
box that's working - it's a miracle in its
own right.
I detect now that I am older
but only through this retrospective sadness -
a yearning for a crunchier cereal of the past.

Back to living whatever's available: although
we are likely to be the most discriminating
animal on our rocker, I can only offer you all
my complete intellectual surrender
before that something I am compelled to experience.

But it is then, by the same token,
that I know the face I kiss or the wall I drive up to is that
familiar something once appearing
as my first breath and since then never leaving,
never -
as it never befell me - indifferent to desires and
reaching beyond recognition.

Boris Leyvi is a poet and translator living in New York. His professional occupation is that of a social worker for developmentally disabled. Boris is writing and translating in Russian, English, and Ukrainian. His
translation into Russian of Philip Larkin's Church Going has been issued in this summer's edition of The
New Youth literary magazine in Moscow.


For years, I have been attempting to write poetry in fixed measure patterns, employing more or less traditional techniques that include rhyming schemes and diction that would not sound too colloquial. I remember, one day I thought that in order to tackle the subject of what became Prayer I need a new expression, a new voice, a new mode of putting thoughts down on paper. So I wrote the poem in one sitting, between completing some clinical narratives for work, and felt that it has its own voice and internal cohesiveness. I feel it expresses more or less thoroughly what I think on subject of living, perception of self, world, and imagination.



Copyright 2009