Эпиграф 1999
Translated by Tanya Wolfson ©


The head of an ox can take knocks.  An elephant's mind is a find.
But my head is no longer useful for functions of any kind.
Rub it gently or squeeze it tight, it's in a hopeless state:
Nothing but incoherent rustle: six times seven and three times eight.
It ignores the passage of hours. Doesn't care if Christmas is white.
Will not register things around it, except maybe food on a plate.
Having eaten a slice or a chunk I project myself onto a bunk.
And go down the tubes, my career. Close your quiver, you winged punk.
So what if knowledge is hot. That work must be done, and soon.
That nearby a player wails like a street organ. No words, no tune.
With my bag I'll go through the snow, for a big loaf of raisin bread.
I'll even consider a detour, to find something to help my head.
Hey pharmacists.  Knock-knock-knock. I want nineteen from your stock
Of the roundest and whitest tablets. Or else one noose and one hook.
Ride up to my bed on a steed, Santa Claus from a local store.
Wake me up with a firecracker.  Make this lethargy last no more.
I will rise, and away I'll ride.  For example, to Kalimantan
Where I'll sing in a coffeehouse, pretending I'm Yves Montand.
In the meantime the head is dead.  Two times seven and all that crud.
And the street organ croaks behind me, and every third fa is screwed.