I started up the engine and I lingered.
Where should I go? The night was fine, I figured.
The bonnet trembled like a nervous hound.
I shivered. Night lit up the houses around.
The Balzac age, I felt its burning pain,
Chilled to the bone, I couldn’t hold my own.
The age of balsam wine mixed with champaign!..

So I looked up, and wound the window down.

They were young, two pretty-pretty fellows,
wearing fur coats, looking slightly careless.
“You’re free, Miss, aren’t you ? Care for delight?
Five hundred now. One thousand for the night”.

I flared up. They took me for a prostitute.
My heart was jumping. What an attitude!
They want you, you’re young, you’re a whore!
Indignant, I said “Yes”, instead of “No”.

The other one, so “sweet and pure”,
swaying his hips, looking aside,
said: “Have you got a friend, as rich as you are?
I, too, will take it. A thousand for the night”.

The brutes! I thought I’d better vanish!
I stepped upon the gas and left the site.
My heart, however, jumped for joy and anguish!
“Five hundred now. One thousand for the night”.

© Copyright Alec Vagapov’s translation



Poems by Andrei Voznesensky

Andrei Voznesensky (Voznesenski, Voznesenskii, Voznesenskï, Wosnesenski, Woznesenski)