SELF-PORTRAIT by Andrei Voznesensky
Unshaven and thin, with an angular face
He's lain on my mattress
for several days.
A cast-iron shadow hangs down the stair,
the lips, huge and bulging, smuggle and flare.
"Hello, Russian poets, -- his voice sounds wistful --
shall I give you a razor or, maybe, a pistol?
Are you a genius? Disdain all this chaos...
Or, p'rhaps, you will say your confessional prayers?
Or take a newspaper, clip out a bar
and roll self-reproach like you roll a cigar?"
Why is he cuddling you when I'm there?
Why is he trying my scarf on? How dare?
He's squinting at my cigarettes... Oh yes!
Keep off me! Keep off!
© Copyright Alec Vagapov's translation