Gargoyle 24
Cover photo by Moki Publication date 3/5/1984

Mayakovsky Is Dead

Jesse Glass

Where’s the joint of Nita Joe?
Nita’s joint is just below!

          Mayakovsky knew
                  that bullets turn to poetry
in Bagdadi Russia between dusk and dawn.
        He thought perhaps in Moscow it was the same.
               He also knew that to get ahead
he had to catch the fame train early.
first he wondered where to aim his Poetry Gun—
                                down his throat maybe?
        Should he suck the bullet out,
draw on it like a clit?
Should he wrap his tongue around the barrel thinking
Lenin, Stalin? Choke the death seed down hoping
that it breaks the spine with an incredibly sweet snap?
       Should he perhaps aim it at his brow
ready to begin the revolution at the count of three?
                                                1, 2 . . .
       Mayakovsky wished his gun were bigger,
       for his pistol shrank each time he pulled the trigger.

Should a man write odes about Ford trucks? Ask
       Mayakovsky who says:
"Forget your ‘Wooden Russia’ with candles scorching the Virgin’s
double chin.
We have cars to race, great enemies to wrestle.
The timer is ticking, there is the tape ready to break across
our chests, here is the hammer and here is the stone,
strike quickly, and a silver rocket will rise like a prayer
to shatter on tomorrow’s perfect streets!"

                     Point your Poetry Gun in the air:
                            bang! bang! bang! Comrade.
                The moon steams on its rails over the Urals.
                I love you like a one-legged soldier
                loves his leg, Babushka.

                   Wicked Paris woman waiting on the bed,
           would you care to conceive good Russian sons?
                         Aim your gun Mayakovsky:
                         Gobble your pineapple,
                         Chew at your grouse,
                         Your last day is coming, you bourgeoisie louse.

We celebrate radios, aeroplanes, hammer on iron,
iron bent in the shape of a man, Cubist paintings,
negro jazz. Why? Because! Exactly! Citizens, listen
to this important announcement:
               Hard-hearted Hannah
               The Vamp of Savannah
               The Vamp of Savannah

Workers foreward! Factories in place of museums!
The tire recapper’s sweating dance is more beautiful
       than the arabesques of 1000 Nijinskies!

Mayakovsky points his gun
                       at the lion-colored clouds.
Points his silver-triggered gun
                       at mother tundra, father taiga.
Aims his six-shooter under the table,
                        "Let’s see them cards!"
he yells at Carl Sandburg. Marinetti
at Mayakovsky’s marksmanship

                        how magnificent
manifestations of tomorrow manifest themselves in myriads
from Mayakovsky’s magnetic manipulations.

            Q. Why did Mayakovsky cross Red Square?
                    A. To get to the other side.
            Q. What’s Blok and white and red all over?
                    A. Mayakovsky.

           O you shootnik, shoot it out!
           O you shootnik, shoot it forth!

You who shoot both up and down,
Shoot along so shootingly.
            Shoot it off dynamically.
Shooter of the shooting shootniks, overshoot the shootathons!
Aimer of Poetic Pistols, countershoot the Kingdom’s shots!
            Bangio! Crackio!
            Discharge, recharge, chargelets, banglets,
Aim your Pistol high and low.

            O you shootnik, shoot it out!
            O you shootnik, shoot it forth!

Mayakovsky admires himself even now.
Mayakovsky was Billy the Kid in another incarnation.
Mayakovsky eternally wins the race.

Mayakovsky understands what must be understood.
Mayakovsky signs and countersigns.
Mayakovsky is not jealous of Gorky nor Pasternak, neither
is he awed by Tolstoi. He handles official matters
expertly, with the deft touch of any Rimsky-Korsakov.

"Hand me another, and quickly!" roars Mayakovsky.
Mayakovsky met Sophocles in hell the other night. They
dropped their eyes and advanced with clenched fists. We
were waiting for a confrontation. The air was electrified
with suppressed emotion. Sophocles spat at Mayakovsky’s feet . . .
This was the only time we’ve seen Mayakovsky back down from a fight.

His HEART was a 50,000 pound boiler ready to rupture.
       His GUN was a wolf with circular teeth.
His HEART was a smiling athlete strolling along a sandy beach.
       His GUN was a pimply man with no where to go.
His HEART was a unicycle the size of an explosion.
       His GUN was built of interlocking contradictions.
His HEART screamed down at his groin: "Get me some air!"
       His GUN grew split hooves and ran after magpies in the thickets.
His HEART was a long-fingered woman with her hair tied in knots.
       His GUN pounded its fist and wanted to know the reason why.

       BULLET like a young hound tasting blood
for the first time. You rest now in a scarlet castle
awaiting the Master’s key. What poems did Mayakovsky
think of then? Did he, like Esenin, have the sense
to write them down? And how many factories gave mandatory
      on that wonderful day?