My, that house where I was - I can’t find it again, I recall just wallpaper with flowers; I recall Kate was there with her friend, Ann or Jane - One of them I would kiss in the shower. When I woke next day From the hostess I heard That last night I would say But a four-letter word, That I skipped like a deer, Shrieking songs, wild and queer, And I bet that my dad Had been ranked brigadier! Then I’d tear my shirt, hit myself in the breast, And before other guests I was posturing, And I called them the traitors, and gave them no rest, With my drunk chords the guests I was torturing. After seven highballs I abstained for a while, But, instead, on the walls Started pouring red wine; I got hold of a bat - Crystal glasses I smashed, Then a nice coffee set I threw out in the trash. They were frightened at first, keeping mum, silly bums, But at last ‘twas beyond their bearing - Knocked me down and then with the cord tied my arms After that they became very daring. Blows were rather thick, But to worsen the case One smart dancer would kick At my belly and face... But then suddenly came A young widow there Stopping that bloody game, Saving me from a tear. So they left me alone, bleeding there on the floor, And I wheezed out: ”People, I’ll cut this trick! Let me go, untie me, I’ll drink no more!” They untied me, but hid all the cutlery. After I broke free Sure, my promise I broke, And I paid them their fee With a finishing stroke. As a violent bull I would hit them and gore - And I splintered some stool And unhinged their door. My, I can’t find that place where we had quite a bust, I recall just wallpaper with roses; In the mirror I look at my face with disgust - Only scratches and bruises compose it! If this story is true, And that monster was I - Out of shame, out of rue I must lie down and die... But that widow was Full of pity and grace - She forgave me, of course, Now I live at her place.
© George Tokarev. Translation, 2001
Edited by Robert Titterton