Amos Weisz translating

Bertold Brecht, "Vom Armen B.B." (from Hauspostille)

poor b.b.

I, bertolt brecht, am from the black forests.
my mother took me into town
when I lay in her body. and the forest cold
will be in me till my dying day.

in the asphalt town I'm at home. from the start provided
with every sacrament of death:
papers. baccy. brandy.
untrusting lazy and finally content.

folk find me friendly. I put on
a stiff hat according to their custom.
I say: these animals have a curious smell
and I say: no matter. me too.

into my empty rocking chairs before lunch
I sometimes put a couple of women
and no worries I look at them and say:
I'm not the kind you want to rely on.

towards evening I gather men round
we say "gentlemen"
their feet are on my table
they say: things are on the up. and I don't say: when.

towards morning in the early grey the fir trees piss
and their vermin, the birds, start to cry.
around that hour in town I drink up and chuck
the fag end away and sleep without peace.

a heedless people we sat around
in houses that counted for indestructible.
(so we built the long houses of manhattan island
and the thin aerials that keep the atlantic entertained.)

of these towns will remain: the wind that passed through them!
of good cheer the consumer due to the house: he empties it.
we know that we're makeshift
and after us will come: nought worth troubling to mention.

the earthquakes to come will not I hope
cause me to let my virginian cigar go out because i'm bitter
me, bertolt brecht, who chanced to hole up in the asphalt towns
out of the black forests in my mother and early days.