You say I am class-conscious

Sara Ventroni

You say I am class-conscious and I won't deny it.
However, you meant for me
(thus erotizing the Kantian sublime)
that such class-consciousness came top-down
like a late eighteen-hundreds British attitude
of a mantled suffragette
at the time of exotic herbal teas
from the British Raj.

And that's just fine. But my dear,
between me and the bourgeoisie
there is the same evolutionary difference
as between a lynx and a smoke-grey chartreux
cat in a living room.
They both are, for sure, little beasts
who do not behave passively:
felines, hostile to the art of taming.
That's what a wilding sense of decency I imagine,
makes me dislike a waiter if he is subservient.

I do not want to be served and I don't ask to be saved
not even by comrade Bertold Brecht.

There's no Verfremdungseffect that could convince me of the cause.
How angry the revolution makes me when it speaks
in its medical language.
I recently read a patient information leaflet
and I felt it was hostile, maybe even
subversive: way too many side-effects, too much pride
in the techno-scientific jargon.

I'd much rather drown melancholy (a bourgeois feeling) in a warm bath.
And I really don't think the People is more important than me because
I'm part of it: from this threepenny privilege does spring
a temptation to suicide it, the People, forcing it
to read the whole Recherche
and not the oft-anthologized small chapter
on the tasteless madeleine dipped in the tea.

And I know it already. They will flail me if I'll say
Bruno Lauzi was right:
I write sad songs because when I'm happy, I go out.

Mack The Knife has sharp teeth, like a shark.
To spoil the bourgeois' happiness has always seemed to me
a conservative hypothesis just like any other good intention
burdened by rage.

And now believe me, for those who dare to say it,
we can only close
            in faith
with a loud blasphemy.

Translated from the Italian by Damiano Abeni

 

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