BEATLES (A cycle)
by Attila Mohylny, 1991

I want to tell you about
how we loved each other,
queen of my life when I was sixteen.
We would see each other
in our garden,
and there was school,
and there were factory shifts,
and there were underaged beauty queens
ready to take on the whole world in love,
our block
stood in the sun
and hot blood pulsed
in its veins.

And we made love to each other
in the garden down the block,
lying in the tall grass near the stadium,
we would listen to
our royal block fall asleep
and watch the lights

And then we'd imagine
we were not locals,
and we'd fall in love,
and we'd want to change the world,
and then our town seemed grand,
and then our love seemed grand.

When I hear this music from Liverpool
as my palm rests on your breast,
I watch desire spark
in your eyes,
and I know
that this music speaks of
a city coming to life in the morning,
as we set off for work,
as dew drips off the chestnut leaves,
when we part
I embrace you
you talk of love,
even though I'm certain
we'll never see each other again.

My town gave you to me,
but in the morning you disappear in its traffic,
and in farewell
your tangled hair flies in the wind
and your clothes
wrap round your body,
which no longer belongs to me,
but to the burning thirst of this music from Liverpool.

When I think of writing about you
words disappear.

I remember our childhood,
where between the flares of the sun --
people were busy with their own affairs
trees blossomed
and truck wheels
the red dirt of the suburbs
and all the legends of the road
which was straight, bare
and disappeared into the horizon.

If we ever
set our lives to music,
it will be the music of dust, brick and petroleum,
where we were
the only poetry
in town.

Believe me
the Beatles --
were our youth
an open window
in the empty room of mass art
and sterilized
classical music
do you hear --
the block lives
the people, the cats and the trees live
the giant sun lives over the block
the songs live and that is why
you undress
jeans and sweater fly into the corner
and without clothes
you look like such a woman
and I love
your flowing, shy movements
and the restrained joy of premonition
that clouds your eyes.
Believe me
the Beatles
were our youth,
but we'll have to write
about our love

... I see the guys on our block
and I think: we'll give those Liverpool boys
a run for their money
our guitars play our own music
and our lips pronounce our own words
and maybe, they're not great yet
but they're songs about us --
about how we love
and how we learn to fight,
to break the blows,
and how we slowly grow used to the words
Struggle and Nation
and how the hearts of our lovers sound,
as they beat over the music from Liverpool
I think
our own music lives on our block
and now we are just groping for it.


translated from the Ukrainian
by Virlana Tkacz and Wanda Phipps
published in Agni 36, (fall 92)

Moh2.doc 4/22/92