SHIP OF FOOLS
I still turned out to be lucky to get onto this publicized
Though not with the first-class ticket.
Snowy white card with printed pigeon entangled in the
Monster of seven thousand cubits from stern to stem.
Winter gardens, cages for mating cars, skyscrapers of
There was even a post office, envelopes with pigeon.
Jazz band meets passengers with splashes of march,
Old Noah in white three-piece suit wipes his horn-rimmed
Seven decks for the pure, seven decks for the impure.
Travelers out of curiosity and on business.
And those who can’t even write the word “money.”
Perfectly young couple with identical smiles, one suitcase
Chinese with textbook of English.
Gray-haired banker puffing, hidden bankrupt, with brand-new
directly from a department store window, still wrapped
Goggle-eyed mulatto women, large Russians with thick
with shaved heads.
Cheerful Italians in heavy blue overcoats.
Immigrants and refugees from Sodom and Gomorrah with
blankets to third
Polish has six boxes with vacuum cleaners. He brings
them into a new life.
Count Myshkin we were patients together at the Sklif
infirmary in the
same ward when he cut himself
with a razor.
Black-bearded Frenchman from “Figaro” with dear name
in his address
The body of oil sheik is brought down to the hall.
He wanted to be buried by ancestral custom—along with
his beloved Rolls
Stamp collectors rush to the post kiosk to postmark before
First resonant siren.
Unpacking is the first joy of a journey even before you
hear hum of the
It is like opening gifts.
There is a writing table in the cabin and lamp on a nickel-plated
Carpet, fan, marble shelf under the mirror in the bathroom,
for the ladies
to put their perfumes.
Free text of prayer “on travelers.”
Chinese gabble in the next cabin filled with the bags
full of silk.
Steward knows me already “That one with glasses.”
The whole city of cabins, even kids are being born here.
Elevators, decks, railings of polished brass.
Here and there election campaign posters showing curly
He holds panties in his hand.
Majestic beggar with a broken nose is dozing off by the
ladder, nodding to
coins dropped on his rug.
Shem is announced to have gone mad and he gives interviews
in his wood-paneled suite with palm trees, deck A.
In the private dining room the Georgians sing their songs
and plot the
Waiters circle around the diners at a soft tiger pace.
Pigeon loft on the fourth sham chimney.
Garlands all over the promenade deck. Tables are moved.
Everything is ready for the announced evening dance.
Oleanders bloom in the vats.
Romanian family with a bunch of bags is chewing small
Black kids run around the folding chairs yelling in English,
Older rose-cheeked immigrant (pool massage) with small
golden ring on
his pinky explains:
“Now I am on vacation. House in California.
Network of shops. Started with tobacco shop.
Yeah, from a small tobacco shop.”
Sailors Buddhists hung the prayer flags on the rear deck.
Steward in his white robe with a little dove on it rubs
the brass plaque on
the deck cabin.
Armand Noah, President.”
Bank note counter chatters beyond the partition
Terrorists are in the special section with the loot in
bank bags and with
Outside by the door the gendarmes in fatigues guard them.
Perhaps we are
Fountain murmurs in the restaurant in the first class
Daughter of swimming suit manufacturer tortures bleeding
peach with her
UN representative for human rights studies the menu.
Preacher coming back from the tour immersed himself into
a large shrimp
as if it was a watch mechanism.
Saxophone player on the stage blows out cautiously trembling
In the kitchen fish spines glisten with kerosene bluish
sheen and cooks
Young American and a mulatto girl palpate each other
with their eyes in
a desolate lounge.
They are the only ones who will be saved.
Everybody is out on the deck watching the departure.
“You want to waste time any longer, we’re off!”
“There she is by the Coca Cola kiosk. She is waving with
her hat and
“The shop will be open in an hour after the departure.”
“Seim almost introduced citizenship law, but it fell
“When they started shooting we lay in the vegetable garden,
everything burned down, barely saved the passports.”
“I was selling choppers to Bolivia, wife real beauty,
bought a villa on the
“Only if it was not that goddam flood.”
“It’s okay; I started a quarter of a century ago.
Looked around. Started with a tobacco shop.”
“She had an abortion from him.”
“They say you can’t get away from the feminists.”
“It happened with that explosion in Lyon metro.
I wanted to study ballet but my leg…”
“Something about convents.”
“He received a grant for that.”
“You already put a stain on yourself.
Button it up so it’s covered.”
Powerless multicolored serpentine, serpentine.
Squeaky cries of seagulls.
And somewhere from the upper decks distant crackle of
the bank note
The skyscraper departs from skyscrapers harnessed by
Dr. Noah, jacket off, potters about with his pigeons.
Plane rustles above in the high sky as if someone draws
a needle along blue
Clerk from “Lloyd,” who spent all night peering into
the TV watching the
soccer game from Montevideo
already mixed up everything.
Entered a wrong name into the computer: “Titanic.”