Mayakovsky stands in the lobby of a Czarist hotel and his skin is creased and dry, so dry he wishes it would fall off because at the moment he can’t move without breaking, and the huge potted palm behind him is groping perversely at the back of his head with its barbed green frond ends. Each time he blinks little flakes of the white parts of his eyes fall off and litter his lapels like dandruff. The cigarette someone put in his left hand is burning down to his fingers; and he can’t move. Very beautiful women are gliding from the hotel’s front desk to the lobby’s telegraph office, making reservations in Helsinki and Oslo because the revolution is coming. Each one wears a feathery boa that waves and blinks as she walks; but Mayakovsky can’t move. A woman in a sequined green gown has passed him three times, each sweep a little closer, and now she’s standing near a beige pillar wetting her lips and smiling his way; but Mayakovsky can’t move. In fact, the only part of his body he can move are the fingers of his right hand, which have been in his pants pocket playing with one of his balls for the last hour. His ball is dry and chafed and probably red after this abuse, but he knows that if he could stop his fingers would curl and pale like dead leaves. But he can’t stop and the revolution is coming and the woman in the sequined green has lost all patience and is now on her back, her gown hitched high on her hips, dry-humping the pillar passionately; and Mayakovsky, he can’t move.
Timothy Cohrs has published poems in Green Horse, Falcon and Loon. Presently he is working for his MFA at Cornell. (1975)