Andrei Voznesensky



Translated by Daniel Weissbort

The burlesque dancer

gestures and strips…

Am I bellowing?..
Or do my eyes ache from the stage lights?

She plucks off a foulard, a stole, tinsel,
Just like you strip an orange of its peel.

And her eyes hold that tedium of the birds.
They call this dance ‘strip-tease’.

The dance horrifies. At the bar, bald-spots and whistling,
The drunkards’ eyes have filled up like leeches.
One, ginger-haired, as with egg bespattered,
Stumps like a pneumatic hammer!
Another, like a bed-bug

is apoplectic and terrible.

The saxophone blows in Apocalyptic gusts.

I curse the scale of you, O Universe,
Martian radiance on the bridges,
Worshipping and wondering,

I curse,

The woman ripples to the jazz dance.

‘Are you America?’ I’ll ask her like an idiot.
She’ll sit down and tap her cigarette.
‘What an accent you’ve got, kid’, she’ll say.
‘Get me an absinthe and martini’.

Notes on this poem

© Zoya Boguslavskaya.