12.21.2010

Dienstag Dictung XXXVII; Люблю, Ты/I Love, You and i like your body - Vacation Edition

I'm currently at the Ikea table in Katie Schutt's living room in Santa Rosa, typing away on her computer. As a nerd I attempt to travel light. I never know when Jessica will want to go into a fabric store or get a pedicure, so I do have to take along some books, just in case. In addition to Narnia, a doctoral dissertation on the evolution of the prelude set, my Russian Course book, oh, and an introduction to German poetry... I also took along a book I just traded in for at Second Look Books in Spokane: The Bedbug and Selected Poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky. Here's an excerpt from his sectional poem I Love.
Ты

Пришла —
деловито,
за рыком,
за ростом,
взглянув,
разглядела просто мальчика.
Взяла,
отобрала сердце
и просто
пошла играть —
как девочка мячиком.
И каждая —
чудо будто видится —
где дама вкопалась,
а где девица.
«Такого любить?
Да этакий ринется!
Должно, укротительница.
Должно, из зверинца!»
А я ликую.
Нет его —
ига!
От радости себя не помня,
скакал,
индейцем свадебным прыгал,
так было весело,
было легко мне.

------------------------------
You
trans. by Andrey Kneller

You came 
Attracted 
By my roar
And my height,
But looked closer
And saw there, merely a boy.
You 
Took my heart away,
Like it was all right,
And went on playing,--
Just a girl with her toy.
And everyone,
Stood there, rather bewildered.
Ladies and maidens 
Were gaping at you.
“Love such a fellow?
Why, one day, he’ll kill you!
She must be a tamer,
Straight out of the zoo!”
But I felt unyoked,
Triumphant 
And proud!
And I was oblivious in my delight!
Like a bride-happy Indian,
I leapt all about.
I felt so elated… 
So elated and light.
Mayakovsky was considered Russia's futurist poet. His laconic and bored personality explodes into life with his poems, often bespattered with grotesqueness and nonsense. His life is a roller coaster of fame, impossible love, and always this searching for belongingness, especially as the initial fervor and enthusiasm he had towards the Bolshevisks faded away and gradually ended in suicide in 1930. The compilers of the book make a good point that if he had not done it, he would probably have met the same end as his fellow-radical of the theater, Meyerhold who did not survive the cleansing of the 1930s.
Read Mayakovsky with early Shostakovich or early Prokofiev. There is optimism and grime and grit and shock. Revolutionary music and poetry. Appropriateness is not exactly a strong issue.
-----------------------------------------
The reason I try not to bring too many books on trips is that I never know when I'll come across a cool used book store. In a pinch even Borders will do. So here I am with a sizable book called Another E.E. Cummings.
i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones,and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like,slowly stroking the,shocking fuzz
of your electric fur,and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new
America's modern poet, e.e. cummings is quite fun. This book divides and presents his works in different sections: Deviant Traditional Verse, Erotic Poetry, Language Experiments, Visual Poetry and Sound Poetry, Elliptical Narratives, etc. Really a cool way to become familiar with his It works quite well to think of his poetry with the art of Paul Klee and the music of John Adams, art that expands and complicates our expectations.
This particular poem is from the Erotic Poetry section. I like it because it's sweet. I love the parts of speech smooshed together or the lone "ness" which gives it such a spur of the moment/exploration/discovery sense. Very musical.
So there you have it. Two modern poets of different nations and traditions and ultimate fates. Keep reading and go into that used bookstore you've been passing on the way to the mall every now and then.
Merry Christmas.

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