Vladimir Mayakovsky 1925

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Source: The Bedbug and selected poetry, translated by Max Hayward and George Reavey. Meridian Books, New York, 1960;
Transcribed: by Mitch Abidor.

Thoughts, go your way home.
      depths of the soul and the sea.
In my view,
         it is
to be
       always serene.
My cabin is the worst
                   of all cabins  -  
All night above me
             Thuds a smithy of feet.
All night,
             stirring the ceiling’s calm,
dancers stampede
                           to a moaning motif:
Marquita my darling,
why won’t you,
why won’t you love me …”
But why
            Should marquita love me?!
I have
        no francs to spare.
And Marquita
                     (at the slightest wink!)
for a hundred francs
                               she’d be brought to your room.
The sum’s not large  -  
                              just live for show  -  
     you highbrow,
                             ruffling your matted hair,
you would thrust upon her
                                         a sewing machine,
in stitches
                                the silk of verse.
                 arrive at communism
                                                   from below  -  
by the low way of mines,
                                                    and pitchforks  -  
But I,
       from poetry’s skies,
                                       plunge into communism,
            without it
                            I feel no love.
            I’m self-exiled
                                   or sent to mamma  -  
the steel of words corrodes,
                                           the brass of the brass tarnishes.
       beneath foreign rains,
must I soak,
                        and rust?
Here I recline,
                     having gone oversea,
in my idleness
                     barely moving
                                            my machine parts.
I myself
            feel like a Soviet
manufacturing happiness.
I object
          to being torn up,
like a flower of the fields,
                                         after a long day’s work.
I want
        the Gosplan to sweat
                                         in debate,
assignning me
                      goals a year ahead.
I want
        a commissar
                           with a decree
to lean over the thought of the age.
I want
         the heart to earn
its love wage
                    at a specialist’s rate.
I want
         the factory committee
                                             to lock
My lips
           when the work is done.
I want
         the pen to be on a par
                                            with the bayonet;
and Stalin
               to deliver his Politbureau
           about verse in the making
as he would about pig iron
                                          and the smelting of steel.
“That’s how it is,
                          the way it goes …
                                                     We’ve attained
the topmost level,
                            climbing from the workers’ bunks:
in the Union
                  of  Republics
                                       the understanding of verse
now tops
              the prewar norm …”