A poem by Eugene Ostashevsky.
Spinoza / Jacob
When his father lay dying
DJ Spinoza knelt before him in goatskins
and pretended he was someone else.
Cropdusters buzzed over the cornfields,
the knocking of washing machines was heard throughout the land
and the olive trees produced olives with newfound, masculine power.
Poor father! He was becoming smaller,
growing waxier and more inaccessible.
His face bore the stamp of chemotherapy.
He made efforts to speak, but the words shattered
into letters stamped on white plastic blocks in the game of Boggle.
The family bent forward to see what he was saying.
It was, “màmochka, màmochka.”
DJ Spinoza unwittingly looked at his own mother,
who sat as close to the bed as she could, grasping his father’s hand.
From Eugene Ostashevsky, The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza (Brooklyn, NY: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008), 96.
Eugene Ostashevsky is a Russian-American poet and translator residing in New York City. His most recent book of poems, The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, employs characters such as MC Squared, Peepeesaurus, the Begriffon and, of course, DJ Spinoza, to explore the shortcomings of axiomatic systems with the insouciance and energy of Saturday-morning cartoons. His earlier collection, Iterature, displays dissonant rhythms, heavy unexpected rhymes and multilingual puns, as well as a healthy interest in mathematics. Both of these titles came out from Ugly Duckling Presse. As translator, Ostashevsky has edited OBERIU: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism, the first English-language anthology of writings by a 1920s-30s Leningrad avant-garde group led by Alexander Vvedensky and Daniil Kharms. Look for videos of his poetry on YouTube and for recordings here.