So This Is How I Turned Into A Dog

This is entirely unbearable!
As though bitten all over by malice.
I rage not like anyone could possibly,
Like a hound at the bareheaded moon –
in its face
then howl at everything.

Nerves, it must be….
Go outside,
take a stroll.
And in the street didn’t calm down at anyone.
Somebody shouted about the good evening.
I have to answer her:
she’s an acquaintance.
I want to.
I feel –
but can’t like a human being.

What is this barbarity?
Am I asleep, what gives?
Squeeze myself:
the same as I’ve been,
the same face I’ve grown accustomed to.
Touch my lips,
and out from under my lip –
a fang.

Quickly I cover my face as though blowing my nose.
Rush homeward, redoubling my stride.
Carefully rounding the policeman’s post,
suddenly thundering:
“Policeman!
He’s got a tail!”

I trace it with my hand and freeze like a post.
What the hell,
better than all the fangs in the world,
I hadn’t noticed in my mad pace:
from under my jacket
fanning behind me a giant tail,
huge and canine.

What to do now?
One hollered and a crowd grew.
A second merged, then a third, and a fourth.
They trampled an old woman.
She, crossing herself, shouted something about the devil.

And when my face stiffened with broom-like mustaches,
a mob piled up,
tremendous,
furious,
I got down on all fours
and began to bark.

Vladimir Mayakovsky
(Translated from Russian by Alex Cigale)

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