Speaking In Tongues
Guided by Voices

Vladimir Mayakovsky

Translated by Konstantin Rusanov

* * *

In my native land I acceptance seek,
But if all my attempts are vain…
I'll just cross the land
                 by a course oblique,
Like a sloping, unwelcome rain.

(from drafts)

A Trousered Cloud
from Prologue

I shall tease by the heart's bloody shred
your thought,
dream-lost in a softened brain
like an obese lackey on a soiled bed;
cheeky and caustic I shall scoff at you,
time and again, to satiety.

My soul lacks a single gray hair,
and is likewise void of the softness of the old!
My voice, thunderlike, having deafened the world,
I walk on -- a handsome

Tender hearts!
You translate love into fiddles' tongue.
The coarse have recourse to the kettledrum.
Unlike me, you cannot turn yourself inside out
and be nothing but lips upon lips all around.

If you so wish --
I'll rage at the sight of flesh,
or else, if you will,
like the sky, shifting shade,
I'll be impeccably tender,
no longer a man, but,
transgendered, --
a trousered cloud-maid.


If they kindle the stars --
well then -- somebody needs it?
Then -- somebody wants them out there?
Then -- somebody calls these tiny gobs
And sweating blood
in the blizzards of midday dust,
rushes up to god,
is afraid of being late,
kisses his sinewy hand,
begs --
that there be a star, without fail! --
swears --
he won't survive this starless torment!
And then walks about uneasy,
but calm on the surface.
Says to somebody:
"Now you're ok, right?
Not afraid?
If they kindle the stars --
then -- somebody needs it?
Then -- it is essential
that at least one star lights up
over the roofs
every night?!