Speaking In Tongues
Scribbling In Voices

Maximilian Voloshin

Translated from Russian by Natasha Levitan

Ώ 1997-1999


A Machine
(1922)




As there is no inventor,
Who by drafting a machine,
Had not imagined his creation
To ennoble humans,
There is no machine
That did not bring the world
The most misery
And the new kinds of enslavement!

While human hand had pushed the lever,
And waters
Spined the wheels of mill --
Their strenghts combined
Had not disturbed
The ancient balances of nature
But man
Had picked the keys to her eternal puzzles
And 'captured' monsters were released.

Like spirit, that embodies itself
Into the woman's womb and builds the body,
The steam, the electricity and the gun powder
By getting hold of the human mind and its desires
Have built themselves the bodies made of iron
According to their utmost nature:
Blast furnaces and caldrons,
Dynamo-stations, motors and turbines

Like poor student of magician
Who freed the elements by spell
But could not manage the calamities
They've caused and drowned
With his house and his village, --
The same way a man cannot contain
The fury of machine:
The levers bend the elbows,
The wheels are moving madly,
The belts are sliding, the factories ingulf with fire,
And, shaking in the endless spasm,
Their wombs of steel are spawning like fish eggs
The multiplicity of monotonious useless objects:
The collars, automobiles and phonographs
In millions and millions, filling up
The villages, the regions and countries
And the entire world
Creating new empires, taking over markets,
And there is no way to stop their fury
Or to restrain the pack of rowdy slaves.

Machine has won over a man:
It needed slave to take away its sweat,
To comfort its insides with pure oil,
To feed it coal and take away its excrements,
And then it started asking for itself
The swarming bungle of musles and of wills
Brought up in hungry discipline,
And greedy rude who cheapened his spirit
For joys of mediocrity and comforts.

Machine has taught a man to think appropriately
And logically discuss the findings
It visually proved to him
That there is no spirit: only substance
That man is nothing but a machine himself
That starry cosmos is merely a mechanism
To manufacture time, that thought
Is just a simple product of the brain digestion,
That mere sustenance defines the spirit,
That genius is a degeneration,
That culture means increase in number
Of the consumer needs,
That the ideal is general well being
And stomach satisfaction
That there is One Universal Worldly Stomach
And there is no other Gods besides it.

Fulfillment of all the culture dreams:
The poles dron and the antennas ring
And the electric currents direct
Into the space dome sounds and words,
The lightning spreads
The laws and orders
Of the police, of government and stock exchange,
But not a single thought of human being
Would ever pass through these sophisticated wires.
The rotary press machines spawn
Day and night the printed pages,
Newspapers manufacture truth
One truth for all each hour of day:
But not a single line is printed of a human, --
The very ancient, hidden fire.
The grain is flowing into the shipholds and the barns,
The ports and markets are crammed with delicacies,
With hot fresh meals the restaraunts are breathing, --
But not a single crust is there for the hungry,
For the unnumerated slaves.
In ocean depths steel fishes prowl
The heavy ships explode the abyss of seas
Propellers sing
In heights above the clouds
The earth and waters, air and the fire,
All rise against the human.
And in the towns where the slaves are closed
The doors of theaters and museums are open
The squares are bubbling
The orators are throwing into the crowds slogans
About the hate
Between the classes,
About social heaven and of freedom,
About the happy friendship of the nations
And petty beggar with a mutilated soul
And overtensioned brain is celebrating
The triumph of the culture,
Thought and labour.


The Rioter
(1923)





1



I am the voice that cries in the wilderness
Of the swarming crowds in the spasms of cities
In whirlpools of the streets and railway stations --
The least inhabited of all the deserts on earth.




2



I was told:
šššššššššššššš-- Go to the market places --
The time has come,
To call each slave to riot.
But do not cast the truths at them, but blast
The layers of their frozen conceptions:
Let dormant truth arise like fire
From the deepest pit of soul,
That opened itself by thunder of explosion!
The one will get in trouble who persuades a fool!
Who once accepts the truth by faith alone,
ššššššššššššššššBecomes blinded by it,
The preacher is driving before him
A herd of those harassed by truth:
ššššššššššššššššCompulsion by the truth
ššššššššššššššššIs worse than any killing:
Who wants the riot -- sow the contradictions,
Who wants to give the freedom -- tempt,
Be an incediary,
Be a poison, be a trichina
Be a gadfly that drives the herds insane.




3



You are prisoners of self-made labyrinths!
You -- corpses in the coffins clamped with nails!
You -- fanatics, who throw bombs
Into the Parlaments, stock exchanges, and palaces, --
And you imagine that you can destroy with dynamite
All that which sprouts from within --
From your own self with irrepressible force!
I call you to rebel against
The laws of your habitual nature and your mind:
To jump out of humanity --
To final madness --
The Transformation of your own self.




4



Who wrote on those walls with blood:
'Your freedom, brotherhood, equality
Or death?'
There is no freedom.
But there is liberation.
Among the slaves the single place
That's adequate for freeman is a prison.
There is no brotherhood among the humans
That doesnτt taste like brotherhood of Cain:
And verily who's tied by blood
More so, than an executioner and victim?
There is no equality -- only balance
Between revolting forces
And two walls fallen on each other
Are forming single arch
Do you believe that goal of culture -- being happy,
That general well being is an ideal?
The suffering and hunger -- that's the chisel
By which the death is sculpting human being
Not in equality or brotherhood
Or freedom
But only in the death the truth of riot lies.




5



There is no Law -- there only is compulsion
All crimes were created by the Law.
Those cramped in herd are called delinquent:
To judge them and to punish aren't for you.
Before the criminal
The government is faulty.
Do not supress the wills, but build the channels
For the excess of force.
The cause of evil should be understood
And passion should not be so feared
Don't dread them both to penetrate in you:
All evil of the universe
Is ought in oneself to be accepted
And by your own virtue
Be transformed
But you have set up prisons and restrictions
The Court extinguishes goodwill
The Government -- a riot,
The doctor puts out life
And priest puts out conscience.
We have enough commandments for the 'no'
All 'do not kill', 'don't do', and 'do not steal', --
To be replaced by one commandment: 'BURN!'
Your God is in yourself,
And don't go look for other
Neither in heavens nor on earth:
Check all external world
There is a law and reason
But there is no love
Because its source is You!
God is this love
And love is raging fire
That will devour the Universe
And will transform the flesh
You listen carefully to all the flow of life
And see the double stream:
The growth and decay.
Run not from evil, but only from extinction.
And sin and passion are life's expression
Sterility --
It is not at all a virtue.




6



Nor crime, nor creativity, nor work
All cannot be repaid
The payment for the labor is absurd:
ššššššššJust alms
ššššššššAre contribution worthy of creator
ššššššššAlike the tree's your ripened fruits
ššššššššShall fall on earth
And then extend your branches
For charity produced by light and rain.
Was your gift taken?
Given and returned?
All needs a compensation?
You are such petty dealers!
You fabricated gratefulness
To catch the good in embryonic state
And strangle it.
Do not bestow the giver
Give someone else
For him to give the people
Then contribution thrown to the sea
Will stir the souls, widening like wave.
You fight for property?
But who belongs to whom?
To owner -- a thing?
Or are the things manipulating humans?
The property is that
As gift which can be rendered
You gave it out, and have become that richer
But you are slaves of all
ššššššššššššššššwhich you cannot surrender.




7



With ourselves we carry only that,
The ownership of which we have refused,
And is it true that you'll remain to keep
The iron church containing morbid ghosts?
You were primordial ooze in ocean depths
And carried it inside your own veins,
You have renounced light of sun,
To start bonfire in the caves.
Disintegration of the balances of forces
You wasted to contortion of machines,
In single moment of the fierce explosion
You have depleted powers of fire
Bringing the age of Prometheus to finish,
And now the new age of explosion is rising.
It used to be that furnace of the hearth
Was forging clan, altar and state,
From now on, its furnace of explosion
That will alloy world's elements anew.
You have perceived the plaits of inert masses,
You measured their weight
And broke apart their atoms,
And in the depth of evil you were planted
Till present days like land mine
Lying charged in depths of substance. [..]


January 25, 1923






From 'When Time Stops'
1903



* * *



During nights when in the fog light
Stars in sky are weaving time,
I am catching threads of minutes
In eternal shawl of mine.
I am catching these tight moments,
While material is swirled
From all things in forms and colors
From all those in sounds of words.[...]


1903






From 'Wanderings'
1911





Please deceive me right now...
šššššššššbut forever, 'til end...
To dismiss thinking why,
šššššššššand forget thinking when...
To believe in a lie so freely and fast
Walk behind someone else
šššššššššin the darkness of dust...
And not know who came and blindfolded my eyes,
And who's leading in a maze of the unknown size,
And whose breath sometimes burns
ššššššššššon my cheek like a balm,
And who's squeezing my hand,
ššššššššššheld so tightly in arm...
I'll awaken to see only fog and the night...
So deceive me in love and believe in your lie.


1911




From the Notes of Maximilian Voloshin
1917-1920



* * *



We live in era, when everything is displaced in the world, there are no foundations, no feeling of gravity, we don't know where is up and where is down. Europe is torned down by war, Russia is torn down by Revolution. The time has come, when one, with closed eyes like a blind man, has to get in touch with those inclinations and those points of support within himself which had slipped away in the external world. There exist two powers within the creative will of man: the force of perception and that of love.
Perception is a negative force. When human mind is rising up the steps of creation of heavenly hierarchies, the spirits that sustain the world, in reverse order -- this phenomenon is rational perception. Rational perception -- is creativity, turned around in the reverse order. Comprehension is a negative imprint of the creation.
All positive creative forces of a man are only in Love. By Love he is taking something new into the world, and through love he is participating in the work of the Hierarchies by becoming a part of one. The task of a man in the world can be defined this way: man is submerged into the universe of wisdom in which all is interconnected by architecture of reason. His task is to leave after himself the universe of love.