Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky

(1893-1930 / Russia)

A Cloud In Trousers - part IV


Maria! Maria! Maria!
Let me in, Maria!
I can't suffer the streets!
You won't?
You'd rather wait
until my cheeks cave in,
until, pawed by everyone,
I arrive,
stale,
toothlessly mumbling
that today I am
'amazingly honest.'

Maria,
as you see my shoulders droop.

In the streets
men will prick the blubber of four-story craws,
thrust out their little eyes,
worn in forty years of wear and tear to snigger
at my champing
again! on the hard crust of yesterday's caress.

Rain has drowned the sidewalks in sobs;
the puddle-prisoned rougue,
all drenched, licks the corpse of the streets by cobbles clobbered,
but on his grizzled eyelashes yes!
on the eyelashes of frosted icicles,
tears gush from his eyes yes! from the drooping eyes of the drainpipes.

The rain's snout licked all pedestrians;
but fleshy athletes, gleaming, passed by in carriages;
people burst asunder,
gorged to the marrow,
and grease dripped through the cracks;
and the cud of old ground meat,
together with the pulp of chewed bread,
dribbled down in a turbid stream from the carriages.

Maria!
How stuff a gentle word into their fat-bulged ears?
A bird
sings
for alms,
hungry and resonant.
But I am a man, Maria,
a simple man,
coughed up by consumptive night on the dirty hand of the Presnya.

Maria, do you want such a man?
Let me in, Maria!
With shuddering fingers I shall grip the doorbell's iron throat!

Maria!

The paddocks of the streets run wild.
The fingers of the mob mark my neck.

Open up!

I'm hurt!

Look -my eyes are stuck
with ladies' hatpins!

You've let me in.

Darling!
Don't be alarmed
if a mountain of women with sweating bellies
squats on my bovine shoulders through life I drag
millions of vast pure loves
and a million million of foul little lovekins.
Don't be afraid
if once again
in the inclemency of betrayal,
I'll cling to thousands of pretty faces 'that love Mayakovsky!' for this is the dynasty
of queens who have ascended the heart of a madman.

Maria, come closer!

Whether in unclothed shame
or shudders of apprehension,
do yield me the unwithered beauty of your lips:
my heart and I have never got as far as May,
and in my expended life
there is only a hundredth April.

Maria!
The poet sings sonnets to Tiana,
but I
am all flesh,
a man every bit I simply ask for your body
as Christians pray:
'Give us this day
our daily bread!'

Maria - give!

Maria!
I fear to forget your name
as a poet fears to forget some word
sprung in the torment of the night,
mighty as god himself.

Your body
I shall cherish and love
as a soldier,
amputated by war,
unwanted
and friendless,
cherishes his last remaining leg.

Maria you won't have me?
you won't have me!
The once again,
darkly and dully,
my heart I shall take,
with tears besprinkled,
and carry it,
like a dog
carries
to its kennel
a paw which a train ran over.

With the heart's blood I gladden the road,
and flowering it sticks to the dusty tunic.
The sun, like Salome,
will dance a thousand times
round the earth - the Baptist's head.

And when my quantity of years
has finished its dance,
a million bloodstains will lie spread
on the path to my father's house.

I shall clamber out
filthy (from sleeping in ditches);
I'll stand at his side
and, bending,
shall speak in his ear:

'Listen, mister god!
Isn't it tedious
to dip your puffy eyes
every day into a jelly of cloud?
Let us¡ªwhy not start a merry-go-round
on the tree of what is good and evil!
Omnipresent, you will be in each cupboard,
and with such wines we'll grace the table
than even frowning Apostle Peter
will want to step out in the ki-ka-pou.
In Eden again we'll lodge little Eves:
command-
and this very night, for you,
from the boulevards, I'll round up
all the most beautiful girls.

Would you like that?

You would not?

You shake your head, curlylocks?
You're frowning, grey brows?
You believe
this
creature with wings behind you
knows what love is?

I too am an angel; I was one
with a sugar lamb's eye I gazed;
but I'll give no more presents to mares
of ornamental vases made of tortured Sevres.
Almighty, you concocted a pair of hands,
arranged
for everyone to have a head:
but why didn't you see to it
that one could without torture
kiss, and kiss and kiss?!

I though you a great big god almighty,
but you're a dunce, a minute little godlet.
Watch me stoop
and reach for the shoemaker's knife
in my boot.

Swindlers with wings,
huddle in heaven!
Ruffle your feathers in shuddering flight!
I'll rip you open, reeking of incense,
wide open from here to Alaska!

Let me in!

You can't stop me.
I may be wrong
or right,
but I'm as calm as I can be.
Look¡
again they've beheaded the stars,
and the sky is bloody with carnage!

Hey, you!
Heaven!
Off with your hat!
I am coming!

Not a sound.

The universe sleeps,
its huge paw curled
upon a star-infested ear.

Submitted: Thursday, September 02, 2010

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