I was tall and slim during my lifetime, Neither bullets nor words had me frightened, And I shunned dull conventionís embrace, But now they seem to reckon Iíve died Iím Fixed and twisted around, buffed and brightened - An Achilles on a concrete base. This stone-cold granite flesh I canít shake off, My Achilles heel I canít wrest free From this plinth where itís held for all time. On my iron ribs, too stiff to take off Hangs a concrete coat, rigid and deathly - I feel nothing but chills down my spine. My wide shoulders were a source of pride and You can check it; Iíd not known theyíd cut me down to size when I had pegged it. But they battered me into a mould as For a wager And they forced my broad, uneven shoulders To be straighter. When I got myself dearly departed My relations made haste to have me cloned So they took a death mask from my face. And I donít know what fool got them started But they smoothed my Asiatic cheekbones Till the plaster retained not a trace. Iíd not dreamt there could be in existence Such a fate that I would be enslaved by: Iím more dead than those who lie beneath - But the death maskís surface softly glistened And there blew a boredom cold and grave-like From my gaping grin without its teeth. I would never put my hand inside a Wild beastís jaw; Those who thought the common rules applied to Me got what for - But the undertaker, what a fool, right In the bathroom, Sized my mask up with a wooden rule like In the classroom. In a year, when the dust had all settled, As to crown my rehabilitation, A huge multitude gathered to see My cast statue made from stone and metal Be unveiled to songs of jubilation Played from audio tapes... It was me! Then above my head there started blaring Sounds from speakers that shattered the silence Just as spotlights shot down from the roofs. And my voice strained and gruff from despairing Had been changed by means of modern science To a falsetto pleasant and smooth. Hidden under the sheet I was dumbstruck Like all dead souls; At the same time I yelled like a eunuch In their lugholes. When the shroud was removed I was shrunken - You can check it - Do I have in this form any function Now Iíve pegged it? Remembering the Commendatore I thought Iíd take some steps of my own and Make the slabs ring with echoing sound. People dashed to the backstreets before me As I ripped out my foot with a groan and My stone cladding slipped down to the ground. I was hideous, bare and unsteady But I busted a gut till I reached out With my iron arm just as I dived. When Iíd tumbled down to earth already Through the torn megaphones I still screeched out: "Though Iíve fallen it seems Iím alive."
My collapse had left me twisted, mangled Bent and wounded But my metal cheekbones, sharply angled, Now protruded. I could not lie low as if Iíd pegged it Like they planned it; No, instead before the crowd I legged it From the granite.
© Margaret & Stas Porokhnya. Translation, 2008