The last day of Poetry Month: “Brother Writer’s” by Vladimir Mayakovsky

In commemoration of the end of Poetry Month, a poem by Vladimir Mayakovsky:

Brother Writers

Seemingly I shall never grow accustomed
to sitting in the “Bristol,”
sipping tea,
fibbing by the line.
I shall knock down the glasses,
clamber on the table:
literary brothers!
Here you sit,
eyes drowning in tea,
velvet elbows worn with scribbling.
Raise your eyes from the unemptied glasses!
Disentangle your ears from those shaggy locks!
what has wedded you to words,
you who sit glued
to walls
and wall-paper?
Do you know
that Francois Villon,
when he had finished writing,
did a job of plundering?
But you,
who quake at the sight of a penknife,
boast yourselves the guardians of a splendid age.
what have you to write about today?
Any solicitor’s clerk finds
a hundred times more fascinating.
Gentlemen poets,
have you not wearied
of palaces,
and lilac blooms?
If such as you
are the creators,
then I spit upon all art.
I’d rather open a shop,
or work on the Stock Exchange
and bulge my sides with fat wallets.
In a tavern rear
I’ll spew up my soul
in a drunken song.
Will the blow tell,
cleave through your sheaves of hair?
But you have only one notion
under that mop of hair:
to be slick-combed! Rut why?
For a short while it’s not worth the labour,
and to be combed
is impossible.”

Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930)
Translated from the russian by George Reavey

holding out for lunchtime, maybe

oh, that silvery fish just slipped into the fryer, and the acheing burn that places it there and then just claws out the eyelids. oh my, gargling with frothy draining mustard would be more fun, feel those seedlings, those tiny thoughts, grow big and consume the brain, spreading out their tentacles, groping into countless crannies, then blooming out.

filthy horror, that lurks in plainsight, dallying in the daylight. where’s the monkeygrinder been loafing? where’s the snakecharmer when you need some cheap rope trick? this one wants to climb out of the place he’s sitting in–the brain snapped back to rue, from some unwelcome visitation from the past, some unexorcised demon or ghost which floats, just waiting to coalesce within some vibrant thought.

ick, feel that skin crawl and the physical sickness, caused by the brainboil–stop little brain! stop, with the flooding of the body with the neurochemickals that sicken and die the healthy flesh and soul!–oh, and there go the muscles clenching in some heated fashion, ouch. and, but, where does all your brainreading get you now, little boy? when the greasy sucking wounds come ratcheting around the bend? why does that old dear friend have to be such a crow’s-call of old ill omen? bringing those nasty once-darks to bear, oh, all innocent-like and no-harm-meant… though the visitation left some light which stabbed a spear of thought and memory into the brain…

where’s the module in this brain that will banish that cavalcade of fiery minstrels, playing their discordant panpipes and dancing their stick and garish plots? oh, begone thou fair and vile memory! if i had but a razorblade of mind to cut away that perished thought. p’raps it’s just my cold repilian brain, once seized in pain and now like tortured grapes or some other word or phrase that makes no sense, which flees-or-fights, which longs to claw the eyes out of some thing.

fly away, silvery fish, fly away from those pincing tongs of thought. and, oh, perhaps the trending time of words will keep those hollowness at bay. a flickering walnut to escape from or to, depending. so even words of strain, which, lacking art or even some Romantick gesture, all o’erflowing with some Revolutionary Principle, some heated vision of Mountain or of Roiling Sea, will open up a door, floating green and EXIT by and by.

another book “game” floating around the internet

There’s another book game floating around the internet. Here, it’s all about taking a list of books and bolding all of the ones which you’ve read. I first ran across it at Nick Mametas’s livejournal. Something called the “College Board’s 101 Greatest Works of Literature”. The good Mr. Mametas has read all of these, but I’ve read a goodly number of them myself and since I’ve been thinking about lists of books that I’ve read, this seemed appropriate. (Funny: I’ve read far more, percentage-wise, of these science fiction books…) Here it is:
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