Monday, April 23, 2012

I would like

I would like

to be born

in every country,

have a passport,

for them all

to throw

all foreign offices

into panic,

be every fish

in every ocean

and every dog

in the streets of the world.

I don’t want to bow down

before any idols

or play at being

a Russian Orthodox church hippie,

but I would like to plunge

deep into Lake Baikal

and surface snorting


why not in the Mississippi?

In my damned beloved universe

I would like

to be a lonely weed,

but not a delicate Narcissus

kissing his own mug

in the mirror.

I would like to be

any of God’s creatures

right down to the last mangy hyena--

but never a tyrant

or even the cat of a tyrant.

I would like to be

reincarnated as a man

in any image:

a victim of prison tortures,

a homeless child in the slums of Hong Kong,

a living skeleton in Bangladesh,

a holy beggar in Tibet,

a black in Cape Town,

but never

in the image of Rambo.

The only people whom I hate

are the hypocrites--

pickled hyenas

in heavy syrup.

I would like to lie

under the knives of all the surgeons in the world,

be hunchbacked, blind,

suffer all kinds of diseases,

wounds and scars,

be a victim of war,

or a sweeper of cigarette butts,

just so a filthy microbe of superiority

doesn’t creep inside.

I would not like to be in the elite,

nor, of course,

in the cowardly herd,

nor be a guard dog of that herd,

nor a shepherd,

sheltered by that herd.

And I would like happiness,

but not at the expense of the unhappy,

and I would like freedom,

but not at the expense of the unfree.

I would like to love

all the women in the world,

and I would like to be a woman, too--

just once...

Men have been diminished

by Mother Nature.

Why couldn’t we give motherhood

to men?

If an innocent child


below his heart,

man would probably

not be so cruel.

I would like to be man’s daily bread--


a cup of rice

for a Vietnamese woman in mourning,

cheap wine

in a Neapolitan workers’ trattoria,

or a tiny tube of cheese

in orbit round the moon.

Let them eat me,

let them drink me,

only let my death

be of some use.

I would like to belong to all times,

shock all history so much

that it would be amazed

what a smart aleck I was.

I would like to bring Nefertiti

to Pushkin in a troika.

I would like to increase

the space of a moment

a hundredfold,

so that in the same moment

I could drink vodka with fishermen in Siberia

and sit together with Homer,



and Tolstoy,

drinking anything,

except, of course,


--dance to the tom-toms in the Congo,

--strike at Renault,

--chase a ball with Brazilian boys

at Copacabana Beach.

I would like to know every language,

like the secret waters under the earth,

and do all kinds of work at once.

I would make sure

that one Yevtushenko was merely a poet,

the second--an underground fighter


I couldn’t say where

for security reasons,

the third--a student at Berkeley,

the fourth--a jolly Georgian drinker,

and the fifth--

maybe a teacher of Eskimo children in Alaska,

the sixth--

a young president,

somewhere, say, modestly speaking, in Sierra Leone,

the seventh--

would still be shaking a rattle in his stroller,

and the tenth...

the hundredth...

the millionth...

For me it’s not enough to be myself,

let me be everyone!

Every creature

usually has a double,

but God was stingy

with the carbon paper,

and in his Paradise Publishing Corporation

made a unique copy of me.

But I shall muddle up

all God’s cards--

I shall confound God!

I shall be in a thousand copies to the end of my days,

so that the earth buzzes with me,

and computers go berserk

in the world census of me.

I would like to fight on all your barricades,


dying each night

like an exhausted moon,

and resurrecting each morning

like a newborn sun,

with an immortal soft spot--fontanel--

on my head.

And when I die,

a smart-aleck Siberian Francois Villon,

do not lay me in the earth

of France

or Italy,

but in our Russian, Siberian earth,

on a still-green hill,

where I first felt

that I was


Composed and translated from the Russian by Yevgenny Yevtushenko
Loved, copied and pasted by Homeless with a Laptop, That is my Name

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Steve Jobs