[AUTHOR'S NOTE. I arrived at the present work thru a practice of translingual-poetic (translational) deformance across/between multiple code-switching dialects. My compositional method traverses by (mis)translation in/to Yiddish-, Hebrew-, Aramaic- & Akkadian-English adapted sonic/semantic properties in grammar, syntax & lexicon, taking English as its temporary “host” while performing perpetual inflectional slippages—interlingual punning & fusion-slangs, as much as the host can absorb.
The dybbuk (Yiddish: spirit-possessor), which my Jewish-Ashkenazi ancestors believed to inhabit the body of the wild stutterer, mad person, heretic or “akher” [lit. other], became the peripheral focus of this poetry. I began to imagine the “odd” transgressional practices of that other(ed) marginal antinomian ancestor —the “possessed”— and to consider the ways in which this “possession” by language might manifest in my own “odd” practices, which so mark me as poet, translator and jew. I use the word “odd” here in deliberate echo of the terms against which Sabbatean stigma was transcribed in 17th-century Palestine: “for the odd practices of a false messiah.”--A.R.]
y i n g l o s s i a “ f i r s t s p e e c h ”
praise god! thanks & pray. recite the 18 benedictions. vo den (cut-off [lit: what else])? no sweat. god [lit. the name] respects the humble somebody -- does he? berates the evil-ones (may they choke on their tongues [lit. languages]). the real article is a bargain for hire. the chew-among-chews. for rent or (re)lease. it pleases me, see? my heart told me so, see? i predicted it, see? likewise: keep it moving! don't bother me [lit. don’t throw a hook around my nose]! **a stutterer was seen as a scatterbrain, confuser, & somehow also a conniver, twister, self-promoter, not to be trusted [lit. jew]. human dung was attributed to [lit. the inferior merchandise] now we talk excessively or not at all. a groan, maybe, even, a disparaging sigh…cld be…lies on the square & still talking non-sense
y i n g l o s s i a “ f r i e n d l y f a c e ”
friendly face. a familiar face.
like a hot bath. like a bowl of chopped meat.
stop banging on my head [lit. bargaining w/ my sanity]
the gargling solution shld be
fresh breath? o, that it shld come true! who bringeth forth bread
from the earth, etc.
from the earth, etc.
to the common people, for a bargain say, not only to do business
but for heartache, see? sweetheart (singing) my heart’s love
is a pit in the earth . . .
listen: you can shake-stammer
in impending fire
from stuffed cabbage to stuffed cabbage to
stuffed (holebshes/holishkes/holubtshe) depending on
& so I made a mistake. so the words abrade. so what?
i’ve been called worse than debauchee
many times before, a caine-raiser
carouser, mad man, mongrel, kyke --
y i n g l o s s i a “ m i n c h a ”
for Anne Tardos
in praise & submission to a baby-son [yiddishism (derisive)] -- let us prepare the tools for extraction [lit. from tongues]. if the fever is of a jewish head -- is it a shaygets luck? There's no evil eye, either way, as they say (tu-tu), the canary keep away. single men of marriageable age [lit. little birds] crippled into misfits for a spoiled lap of milk, narrowly achieved [lit. hardly lived to see] the transformation of soars into sacrifice (slang [lit. false-messianism]). raw groats (a mess-up [lit. mix-up of]) & cooked groats w/ broad noodles at a kosher boarding-house-cafeteria in the far-reaches of the Bronx [lit. a lively Russian dance, usually to sexual cause (ie. of ‘blind mixing’)]. an amulet [lit. charm, (from german, "kind-bet-tzettel")] worn at birth, containing psalm 121: di nomen fun melokhim [lit. names of angels] -- envision god in labor & after, old & young, eating plates of stuffed derma (in flour & onion, salt, feffer & shmaltz, (to keep them in skins) -- the ticklish little prigs (technically, talkative little jews [lit. fruitless idle questions)]: not in "reality," so to say [lit. "as if it were" (pronounced ver)], round dumplings made of groat-meal cooked-up in pork-belly stew & tied at the corners in ‘bakers handkerchiefs.’ dumplings filled w/ potatoes & livers, kidneys & barley at a kosher boarding-house-cafeteria on grand concourse: a petulant excitability by a gad-about gang of jews gathers about --“he had been perfect [lit. legitimate] before the cross-eyed sickness took!” first in small pockets of dough filled w/ meat & curd-cheese, the magic-worker, trickster, phony casper milquetoast corrupts the root-canals of the pure jewish jaw. a virus of the tongue & teeth [lit. cheek & mouth]. how does it infect?
**in force of false laughter & aguish [lit. idling], the loafer lox-addict stutterer stumbles out of the afternoon prayer-hall, wreathing in false thanks & praise: “may we fan forever the shekhina embers”! [lit. blessed is the vessel as it breaks]
y i n g l o s s i a “ b l e s s e d a r e w e ”
go away! go hump w/ the whales (peddle yr fish
elsewhere [lit. whistle at a leviathan]).
go to hell! [lit. may you choke on yr tongue] shit in the ocean.
spill yr guts.
spill yr guts.
spill yr guts against the city hall.
spill yr guts against the synagogue [lit. house-of-entry]
that you shd threaten the "holy geese" upon entering & don't
(& don't frighten me [lit. you little non-native jew of
someone hollers: go frig yrself . . .
the same to you! [hebraism, lit. big deal… (derisive)]
quite well, huh? tho it doesn't work-out the way we planned
there is no "complete man"
to bribe, see? blessed are we, w/ children & all (in fractured
English [lit. utter
misery]) we are chopped-in w/ the herring & vodka [lit. minced]
y i n g l o s s i a “ c o m m e n s e n s e ”
what a..! what kind of a..! what’s it matter to you, huh? now don’t get excited [lit. burst into flame]. it stinks—what’r you talking? smack smack (gently said) wd you keep quiet (shouted), quiet, I said, shutup!! there’s the professional (professorial) type who makes a living from it, gathering the pious sheep, berating the irreligious (who “flout” the sacred law. “beautiful as the seven worlds,” (belles lettres, & w/ a hearty laugh [lit. half-sarcastically]). the wig at the wedding she wore ever after (a watchword greeting, beadle at the shtibl quoting old policeman’s slang: “it had a been a brothel whorehouse (before) mix of wool & linen !” now you oughta be ashamed of yrself [lit. to the bottom of yr throat]. the prettier ones they bury [lit. this one is an ugly one]. & gather pleasure, the little nothings for a “messenger drunkard” -- non-jewish [lit. impious or wild one]. if to skin one: a hag-mare worthless one [lit. mischievous child]. an apoplectic wreck. where the customer is king [Americanism], a snake can also be a shrew clumsy bungler, drag, poor luckless sponger, butter-fingered shmock
y i n g l o s s i a “ p a r v e n u ”
so now, get rid of it:
alas for alack, woe unto whom?
either too much or too little [lit. a wallop or a toot]
“dear me!” (imitatingly —parvenu!
cut it short [lit. w/out intro(duction)]
conceited & peevish
sulky & stuffed in a puffy shirt
& sputtered as confused
little pups [lit. overly made-up]
“the rich are too stuffed-up
to photograph [lit. stuffed in dead birds]
me bothersome hanger-on
good for nothing -- worth nothing -- starved [lit. dead hungry] day-to-day contrary to the dietary laws -- forbidden foods, impure or unprepared [lit. improvisatory] (applied also to the Sabbatean writings) in the posterior rectum [lit. buttocks-ass, a backward variant on toches] or “house of worship”. the pashkeviln [lit. wheat-paste posters] coating the study hall’s walls: THE JEW WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY THE JEWISH LAW IS AN IMPURE BONE. r e a d i t & s e e. ( t h e ) evil inclinations [lit. those who crave pig’s feed] are no-thing but an-other ratty snot rag [yiddishism, sarcastically], decrepit worn out no-body. said some-body to no-body “it’d be better to fornicate w/ one-self than to birth such a body.” said a bum ne’er-do-well faker I was -- mistaken for a petty-Paul & overdressed in wretched rags wandering. from a distant foreign words melted into a mouth, then confusion, absent-minded wild ecstatic repetition: not the one you were expecting, but like a sweet carrot pie [slang, lit. fuss over nothing] in disgrace & humiliation hang the words on tho unwanted, for better or worse. “do me a favor & don’t do me any favors !” the confusion agitation roister bositerer is not just an ornamental swan but at the fringes of language hanging-on; & its costly dear, too much, for such & such [lit. bodily soars]