Bicycle Diaries: At the top of my voice

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24.11.07

At the top of my voice

Владимир Маяковский
(Vladimir Mayakovsky)
1893-1930

Russia's original bad-boy poet and avid biker, Mayakovsky would deliver his manuscripts to the publishers by bike. It's not that he was a starving artist who couldn't afford a car. Far from it: his poetry was the toast of the 1920s hipster scene in Moscow. Along with Burliuk, Kruchenykh, and Khlebnikov, he founded The Russian Futurists. They were fascinated by dynamism, speed, and the restlessness of modern urban life. Nothing was more representative of the power of the modern than the bike.

Cars were more powerful. Trains were faster. Planes touched the clouds. But the bike was the cutting edge of the modern world coming to revolutionary Russia. Every man, woman, and child could be totally in control of their own personal means of mass-produced, mechanized freedom. Although Mayakovsky started out with the Anarchists, he threw his creativity into the Bolshevik movement. He committed suicide in Moscow on 14 April 1930. In his suicide note Mayakovsky wrote:
Mother, sisters, friends, forgive me - this is not the way (I do not recommend it to others), but there is no other way out for me.
Lily - love me.
Here's my favorite bike poem he wrote.
My most respected
COMRADES OF THE FUTURE!
Rummaging
IN THESE DAY'S
....PETRIFIED SHIT,
STUDYING THE DARKNESS OF OUR DAYS, You
POSSIBLY
....WILL ASK ABOUT ME!
... Professor,
take off your bicycle glasses!
I myself will tell

....
about my time
........and about myself.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Don Sorsa said...

Thanks very much for another excellent post. I spend very little time reading blogs, but I make a point of reading yours several times a month. I appreciate your insights and wide ranging interests.

23/11/07 22:38  
Blogger Da' Square Wheelman, said...

Don:

Thanks for the wonderful compliment. I wish I had more time to give to the blog; but I guess that's the mixed blessing of full employment %)

And if anyone reading this would like to see some awesome bike photography, check out Don's website here

28/11/07 11:43  
Blogger reconstructingmayakovsky.com said...

FYI: Mayakovsky did own a car, a Renault that he brought back from Paris for Lily Brik. He was already accused of being insufficiently proletarian, so it would have been better to stick with his bike. In any case, I thought you’d be interested in the website for a new novel Reconstructing Mayakovsky. The site, http://www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com
is inventive and interactive. Like the novel, it combines elements of science fiction (the man did ask to be resurrected in the future,) poetry, the detective story and historical fiction to tell the story of Mayakovsky in a radically different way.
If you enjoy it, I hope you’ll share it with your friends or on your blog. Thanks.

9/7/08 15:11  

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