Thursday, February 20, 2014

National Translation Month - NTM: Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) Translated from Russian by Alexander Cigale

As it may

The street collapsed like the nose of a syphilitic.
The river – sweet longing that spilled into spit.
Having shed their underwear down to the last leaf
the vulgar gardens have gone to seed in June.
I walked out onto the square
and put the desiccated neighborhood
on my head like an orange wig.
People terrified of me – out of my mouth
squirming with its feet an undigested scream.
But they won’t judge me, won’t bark at me.
As at a prophet, they will strew flowers in my wake.
All of them with collapsed noses know
I – am your poet.
As by tavern rot, I’m terrified of your terrible judgment.
The prostitutes will carry me alone in their hands
like a sacred relic through the burning buildings
and display me before God as their redemption.
And God will break down and whimper over my book!
Not words – shuddering, congealed into clumps;
he will race across the sky with my verses under his arm
and, all out of breath, recite them to his acquaintances.

From Back to Futurism, Alex Cigale 2012
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