Школа танцев 2 1995
Translated by Tanya Wolfson ©


I wouldn't really say that I prefer to sleep
Inhaling strange miasmas to amaze bedbugs,
But I breathe that stuff anyway, because I keep
Nose to the wall, and the wall has rugs.
While I sleep here, the folks below yell and scream,
And hurl plates at each other and against the wall.
Why do they live, I sometimes wonder in my dream,
And find no reason for them at all.
I also muse, while sleeping, that life is noise -
But minor, and accordingly with death to match.
Today is minimum, tomorrow the same or less,
The day after - not even that much.
Now death commands so many of my lines of thought,
That when this figure (in my dream, naturally)
Enters softly, I do not ask who is that,
I know She has come for me.
And I am terrified when she draws near,
All sexy chic a la Paris, ready to pounce,
And whispers seductively in my ear:
Why the trembling, silly?  Shall we dance?
O beauty, beauty!  No matter how you rile us
Still we trail doggedly in your wake,
Knowing full well that the fairest of reptiles
Is a deadly coral snake.
And I fear setting myself up for an ordeal,
But tell me, how often do we get to harbor
Hopes of this lady's visit with a cordial
Invitation to the danse macabre!
Yes we're a couple to end all couples. Showtime!
She's George Sand and I am the Marquis de Sade!
She is airborne like a blown kiss, and I'm
Airborne like paratroopers in descent!
I'll treat you to a dance, so out of my way!
I'll smash your parquetry to smithereens!
And the folks living underneath, why they
Can go on living underneath!
"Watch your limbs!" I shrill, a beastly screech,
And break into a gallop, floors a-thud,
Today's minimum tomorrow is out of reach,
The day after - send down the flood!
But as things reach a crescendo, my lovely guest
And all her rouge and perfume, powder and gloss
With a whistle of flying silks turn to dust
And I am suddenly at a loss...
Then I wake up, mouth sour and textured like peat,
And in someone else's voice, hoarse with belief
I swear to quit smoking, renounce red meat,
And turn a new healthy leaf.
Thereupon I heat pork chops and wolf them down,
Spread noxious cigar smoke through my rooms,
And back to bed, like a ghoul replete with my own
Blood from the bleeding gums...