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And could you?

Just now I smeared the map of the daily grind,

splashing paint out of a glass;

I revealed the sharp cheek-bones of the ocean

on a platter of jellied meat.

I read the summons of new lips

on the scales of a tin fish.

And you

could you

play a nocturne

on a drain-pipe flute?

The Fop’s Smock

I’ll sew myself a pair of black trousers

from the velvet of my voice.

A yellow smock from three yards of sunset.

I’ll saunter along the Nevsky Prospect of the world,

along its polished strips,

with the step of Don Juan and a fop.

Let the earth, gone to seed from neglect, yell out:

“You’re going off to rape the green springs!”

I throw a taunt at the sun, grinning brazenly,

“It’s good to roll my r’s along

the smooth surface of asphalt!”

Isn’t it because the sky is blue

And the earth is my lover in this celebratory cleaning,

that I give you verses? Amusing ones, like bi-ba-bo,

and sharp and useful ones, like toothpicks.

Women, who love my flesh, and this

girl, looking at me like I’m her brother,

shower your smiles on me, the poet.

I’ll sew them onto my smock like flowers.


мечтающую на размягченном мозгу,

как выжиревший лакей на засаленной кушетке,

буду дразнить об окровавленный сердца лоскут:

досыта изъиздеваюсь, нахальный и едкий.

У меня в душе ни одного седого волоса,

и старческой нежности нет в ней!

Мир огромив мощью голоса,

иду - красивый,


A Cloud in Trousers


Your thought

musing in those brains of oatmeal

like a bloated functionary on an oily sofa —

I’ll mock it to death with a dripping shred of my heart

and nourish my biting contempt.

No gray hair in my soul,

No doddering tenderness.

I rock the world with the thunder of my voice,

strolling, looking good —


Een wolk in broek


Uw denktrant -

dagdroom in uw hersenpap

als een vervette butler in een mottige fauteuil

kom ik te sarren met een bloedige lap hart,

mij te bezatten aan mijn hoon, venijnig, vuil.

Geen haartje grijs loopt door mijn zielement

waar geen seniele zachtheid is te vinden.

De wereld tartend met mijn macht van stem

verplaats ik mij - iets moois

van tweeëntwintig.

Nederlandse vertaling, Marko Fondse

An Extraordinary Adventure Which Befell Vladimir Mayakovsky In A Summer Cottage
The sun responded!

“You and I,

my comrade, are quite a pair!

Let’s go, my poet,

let’s dawn

and sing

in a gray tattered world.

I shall pour forth my sun,

and you—your own,

in verse.”