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Comrade

Vladimir Vladimirovich

Mayakovsky,

it is evening time

in this circus of a brain

i call home,

the small birds

who fed all day

in my garden

sleep,

even the cold-eyed cat

sleeps

and the other occupants

in this rented house,

these grim strangers,

sit and ease the evening away

like a game of chess or a warm beer,

their voices sinking like sleep

in the distance

i have travelled

to my room here.

 

Years have passed

like revolvers spitting bullets

at the dead.

 

And if you could see

all these changes,

they’d seem to travel

in endless circles

without either promise

or hope.

 

Despair breeds in these

concrete warrens like a disease,

the disease of capital!

Likewise this other crippling

contradiction called “socialism”,

our terminal illness

that no matter what’s uprooted

it all remains the fucking same!

 

Here’s a revolution

where nothing important revolves,

only time, Vladimir.

For fucks sake, the evening itself

in despair

throws a barricade

at the bright lights of the casino here,

where each day, comrade,

the glorious dead of our dreams

are marched once again to their execution.

 

But enough!

It is spring!

And in this quiet place now

it seems as if it’s 1a.m., exactly 1a.m.,

your one a.m. where

a thousand boats crash

on the rocks

and all that’s left is silence,

our history,

and dialectically instead

O, your flight and fall,

wingless

to the ground!

 

séamas carraher

 

Past 1 O Clock’ – the poem (“Past one o’clock. You must have gone to bed. /

The Milky Way streams silver through the night.”) was found among Mayakovsky’s papers after his suicide on April 14, 1930. He had used the middle section of the poem as part of his suicide note:

 

“To everyone

   Blame no one for my death, and please don’t gossip. The deceased

really hated gossip.

   Mama, my sisters and comrades, forgive me-this is not a good

method (I don’t recommend any others) but I have no other way out.

   Lili-Iove me.

   Comrade government, my family is Lili Brik, mama, my sisters

and Veronika Vitoldovna Polonskaya.

   If you grant them a bearable life-thank you.

   Give the unfinished poems to the Briks, they understand them.

  

   As they say-

      “the game is over”

   love’s boat

   has smashed against the reef of the everyday.

   I’m quits with life

   And there is no reason

   To keep a record of pains

      cares and quarrels.

Be happy,

Vladimir Mayakovsky

   12/IV-30

 

Comrades in VAPP, don’t call me a faintheart

Seriously-there was nothing else to do

Greetings

Tell Yermilov I’m sorry I took the placard down, ought to have had

our quarrel out

 

      VM

 

   There are 2,000 rubles in the table drawer pay the tax with them.

Take the rest from Gosizdat

 

      VM

 

(From: Bengt Jangfeldt,  Mayakovsky: a biography, The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., 2014, Translation by Harry D. Watson)

 

Image:

Still from Archive film of Vladimir Mayakovsky

https://sputniknews.com/video/20130719182325686-Poet-Vladimir-Mayakovsky-Archive-Footage/

 

 

 

 

 

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ON A DAY THIS WEEK, in April, 1930

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