London—6/11/72—A Friend of Ivan Ivanovitch! DO 2180
1. (DAD SINGS A LITTLE SONG IN TONGUES.) (Maria: More, more, more!) (Dad sings some more!) (Maria: One more!) (Sings one more!) Ha, ha, ha! (Maria: Sing in English‚ one verse, for David's family.) No, I don't know English. (Maria: Tell me what it says, for David's Children!)
2. (SINGS IN ENGLISH A ROUGH TRANSLATION OF THE RUSSIAN SONG: ) We row the boat down the river! We paddle our boat up the river. We row the boat down the river, we paddle the boat, we kiss & we love, we fuck & we fight & we kiss & we love & we paddle the boat till we get to the bottom of the river! (Maria: Oooh! Tell me more!)
3. WE GET IN THE BOAT & PADDLE THE BOAT UP THE RIVER! We watch the trees & see the birds & the bees & go up the river! We see the flowers & all the trees & we make love in the bowers. We paddle the boat & paddle the boat & row the boat & go in the boat & fuck in the boat till we get down to the bottom of the river! (Maria: Oh, so good! One more, one more!)
4. THE BOY & THE GIRL IN THE SPRING OF THE YEAR THEY LIKE THE RIVER! The boy & the girl in the Spring of the year they get in the boat up the river. They paddle the boat & row the boat & go in the boat & go up the river. They paddle the boat & row the boat & fuck in the boat & see the boat & keep going up the boat & down the boat until they get to the bottom of the river! (Maria: Just one more! It's such a cute little song. One more try, please? It's so nice for David's Children‚ they love to sing the little songs.)
5. THE GIRL SHE HAS LONG DRESS. The girl she has skirt, the girl she has umbrella. The girl she sits in the boat, she sits & flirts with her fella! He rows the boat & paddles the boat until she gets up the river. And there she is & she loses her umbrella‚ & she loses her everything, & she loses it in the bottom of the boat as they go up the river & they paddle the boat & they row the boat to the bottom of the river!
6. (MARIA: THEN WHAT HAPPENS?) That's enough! (Maria: One more, I have to find out what happens!) What do you expect to happen after he fucks her in the bottom of the boat? (Maria: Who's the boy? What's his name?) Alex. (Maria: Who's the girl?) Matuska. (And who are you?) Alex, & you're Matuska! (I'm Matuska?) You like it? (Maria: Oh‚ I love it! We have great fun paddling the boat up the river!)
7. (HE SINGS IN TONGUES.) YOU SEE? IT KEEPS GOING ON & ON & ON, like you're going down the river. (Maria: Sing one more, one more, please‚ Alex? For Matuska! One more!) No, I don't know no more. We paddle the boat & row the boat & go in the boat up & down the river.
8. (MARIA: WHO'S OUR KING?) THE CZAR. (Maria: Which Czar?) Nicholas, but I don't like him. (Why?—You don't like him why? Isn't he a Christian?) He says he is. (Are we Christians?) Of course we are Christians! (Alex, do we know Gypsies in Russia?) Of course I know Gypsies in Russia! Of course, of course, of course! Now, you lie down in the boat so we can go to sleep. (Alex sings in tongues.)
9. (MARIA: IS THAT AN OLD RUSSIAN FOLK SONG?) Of course, Honey! Russian Gypsy song. (Do all the boys & girls like to sing that song?) They don't all know it, just me & Matuska & some more Gypsies. (Are we Gypsies too?) Of course! (Russian Gypsies?) Of course‚ you're stupid little girl! (But you love me anyway?) Of course I do. (Alex sings & claps.) (Maria: Sing in English for the Children, sing that, try, Honey.) I don't know English. I don't know English, no, I don't know English! (Try, one time, one more for your little English Children! Just one more, okay?)
10. WE PADDLE THE BOAT & ROW THE BOAT UP THE RIVER. She waves her—what do you call that thing—she waves her parasol‚ she waves her skirt, she flirts with him up the river. She lifts up her skirt & puts up her foot & he gives it to her! And they fuck & they fuck & they fuck & they fuck & they fuck & they fuck & they fuck & they fuck down the river! You're a crazy little girl! (Sings it again in tongues.) Ha, ha, ha!
11. THAT'S A GOOD SONG, I LIKE IT, BUT I DON'T KNOW IT IN ENGLISH, Honey‚ & we need to rest now in the boat. (Maria: We'll rest now & take our ease & do as we please.) I'm going to go to sleep in the bottom of the boat, Matuska. (Alex sings another verse!) I don't like English, I don't like English. (Maria: But the Children of David don't understand your language.)
12. THEY ROW THE BOAT & PADDLE THE BOAT UP THE RIVER! They row the boat & paddle the boat down the river. They come to the pier & they get up on the pier by the river, & then they make love, with the girl that he loves & they make love & make love & make love & make love under the trees on the bank of the river! (Alex & Matuska sing.) You row the boat, you paddle the boat, you paddle the girl, you fuck the girl, you row the boat, you do that on the river!
13. SING & SING & SING & SING! Where's the happy song about the Dnieper River? I already forget it.
14. (MARIA: WAS THE SONG ABOUT THE VOLGA A SAD SONG?) It's a bad song‚ sad song, about the slaves have to pull boats up the river. I don't want to hear about the Volga river. (Do they pull them by ropes up the river? Is it very, very hard?) Just like animals, just like beasts they have to pull them. I want to hear the happy love song about the Dnieper River, where is it? (Alex sings sad song in tongues.) That's a sad song, I don't want to sing, I want the happy song about the Dnieper River. (Is the Volga a river too?) Honey, you stupid little girl, of course it's a river!
15. YOU NEVER HEARD ABOUT THE VOLGA RIVER? (Alex sings in tongues.) That's the song about the Volga river, you never heard that song? (Why is it sad, what does it say?) It's a song the serfs sing when they're pulling the boats up the river, when they're walking along the paths, pulling the boats with ropes like slaves & they sing: (Sings sadly in tongues.) I don't want to hear about the Volga River, I want to hear about the Dnieper River.
16. I WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE HAPPY TIMES when we rent a boat on the pier in the big city. My little Babushka! I love you Rushka baby, sweet baby girl! I like to row you up the river, Honey. Why you want to go so far up the river? You never want to stop, you always want to keep going way up the river!
17. IF WE GO TOO FAR UP THE RIVER‚ THEY'RE GOING TO STOP US. The Communists are going to come & say‚ what you doing up here? (Who's going to come?) The Communists are going to say, "Whose boat this boat—what you doing up here? You're not supposed to be up here near Karkoff. No! You're supposed to be down near Black Sea!"
18. (SINGS: ) YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE ROWED SO FAR UP THE RIVER! You better paddle your boat & row your boat back down the river! (We go there for holiday?) Yes, of course. Why else should we be fucking in the bottom of a boat unless it's some holiday?
19. (MARIA: WHERE DO WE LIVE IF WE GO FOR HOLIDAY ON THE DNIEPER RIVER?) In the boat, Honey, of course. (But where do we live when we go back home?) We live & we sleep in the bottom of the boat, we fuck in the boat, we eat in the boat, we get off back on the dock on the pier, we get off & go back to our hotel. (But where is our home?) Oh, Honey, you know where's our home! You live one place, I live another place. But we come together in the holiday down on the Dnieper River. (Alex sings again.)
20. (MARIA: WHERE'S MY HOME, DO YOU KNOW MY LITTLE TOWN?) I've never been there, Honey. (Do you know the name of it?) No. (Where's your little town?) Where do you live, what's your town? (I'll tell you after you tell me where you live.) I'm Alex! (I'm Matuska, but where's your town?) I live in Karkoff. (You live in Karkoff?—I live in Odessa.) And I come down here for a holiday. (And I come up from Odessa.)
21. OKAY‚ SO WE MEET & WE HAVE A NICE BOAT RIDE & WE FUCK IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOAT! You lift up your skirt & you throw your parasol so we can fuck in the bottom of the boat. (But I want to come home with you to Karkoff & stay all the time with you.) They won't let you. (Why?) Because you have to work in Odessa. (I can't be with you all the time?) You have your job in Odessa. You just spend your two weeks' vacation in Crimea & we boat up the Dnieper River.
22. YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO WORK, HONEY! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? (But I'll miss you!) You don't want to be loyal to the great Soviet Union? (I'll miss you!) Ah‚ you miss me but that's okay, you find another boy, okay? (Sings:) You paddle the boat & row the boat & fuck in the boat on the Dnieper River! Yes, you will. Okay!
23. TIME TO GO TO SLEEPY BABY! BABUSHKA. (We rent the boat?) We get into the boat at the little dock where the man rents the boat, you know that! We row the boat up the river & where the trees hang over & the branches hang down, & we get back in where it's nice & private & you lift up your skirt & we fuck in the bottom of the boat!
24. (MARIA: WHAT'S YOUR JOB IN KARKOFF?) You know what I do. I have to sit at a desk all day & I have to keep all those books for them.
25. (MARIA: HOW MUCH WINE DO YOU GET A MONTH?) I'm almost out for this weekend. (Do they give you some each week?) Every weekend we get a bottle. We get a girl & she brings her bottle, that makes two bottles! (Every weekend you get a girl?) Everybody brings a bottle & we have bottles & bottles & bottles! Everybody drinks bottles & bottles & bottles!
26. (MARIA: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU SIT AT YOUR BIG DESK?) Make big pictures. (Pictures of what?) Make drawings. (For what?) Of what they say they're going to do. Make drawings. Yes, of big buildings & things. How much it cost. Big buildings—we make buildings. I'm damn sick of making buildings, I want to make babies instead of buildings! (Maria: You & I can go off & live with the Gypsies.) Okay, let's go!
27. WHAT YOU DO IN ODESSA? (Maria: I work in a hospital.) Making babies? (Uh-huh.) Your babies? (No.) Why don't you make your babies? (With you?) Okay, let's fuck some more in bottom of boat & we make babies.
28. YOU PROMISE WE TAKE A LITTLE REST IN THE BOTTOM OF THE BOAT, OKAY? And if the boat rocks‚ you love me, okay? If the boat sinks we sink together. You want some more wine? (No thank you.) You don't like good wine made in the vineyards? (The vineyards of where?) You know, the vineyards of the Ukraine, Honey. So many grapevines & grapes & makes such good wine! You ship it out of Odessa come to Karkoff, you should know about that, Honey. You want me to turn off lamp, Honey?
29. WHY DON'T WE GO TO SLEEP, HONEY? It's coming dawn & the birdies are waking up. You must put up your box & we must have a little rest & go to sleep, okay? Good night, friends, Romans & countrymen, I give you back your ears 'cause I'm going to go to sleep. You can lie & wash in the bottom of the boat if you want to. I'm through fucking‚ I've had enough fucking. (Good night, Alex! I love you!) Okay, good night, go to sleep, Honey Baby. I love you‚ you know I love you. (Thank you.) Sweet baby, I love you! (I love you!)
30. YOU WANT TO SEND ME A MILLION DOLLARS FROM TEXAS, OKAY? Rich country! And I need some money, okay? You give me some money. (Yes, what year is it?) You know what it is, 1972‚ you know that. (No‚ the year in the boat‚ we're in the boat & we have Czar Nicolas.) No, Honey‚ long time ago. I forget. (1917?) I forget. (1916?) Way back there, I forget. I guess so.
31. (DAD:) WHEN MARIA PLAYED IT BACK TO ME, OF COURSE, LIKE ALWAYS, IT RECALLS THE PICTURES & I could remember rowing this pretty girl up & down the river in the boat, shoving it back under the branches of the trees where we made love. And I remember it must have been the kind of the park where they rented boats‚ because there was a pier & a lot of boats there. I remember the banks of the river were all grassy, they had flowers & some benches & there were some buildings down the river, so there must have been a town nearby.
32. OH, WHEN I WAS SINGING THAT SONG I COULD SEE THE PEOPLE DANCING‚ the guys & gals were dancing, & when we come to that last part of the song where it goes da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da–da, they would whirl around & around & around & around & it seemed like they'd try to see how long they could whirl around without falling down dizzy!
33. THEN SOMETIMES THEY WOULD SQUAT DOWN & KICK THEIR FEET OUT like those Russian dancers do, & they would see how long they could do that. As long as they'd sing that part—da-da-da-da-da–da-da-da-da-da–da-da–da, they'd either whirl around or they would dance squatting down & kicking out their feet to see how long they could do it!
34. (MARIA: WHAT WAS THE LITTLE TOWN LIKE?) I don't remember the town. It was just this place outside where they were dancing, it must have been a little park with a little patio‚ like a dancefloor outdoors in the park, like one of those beer gardens, sort of like a German Beer Garden.
35. (MARIA: WHAT ABOUT YOUR WORK?—CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE LITTLE PLACE WHERE YOU WORKED?) It says I drew pictures—right away I could see the drafting board with the blueprints & all. I was apparently an architect & was drawing plans for buildings. I don't know where that million Dollars from Texas came in, that was something else‚ must have gotten a little bit mixed up!—Texas & the Soviet Union all mixed up with Czar Nicholas!
36. IT MUST HAVE BEEN AROUND THE TURN OF THE CENTURY SOMEWHERE because the girls had on these pretty long dresses clear down to the ankles, you know? Really frilly dresses, kind of low-cut in the front carrying those pretty white parasols they twirl around & make eyes over & wearing those big hats, you know? She was all dressed up like it was a pretty new dress in Spring—I don't see why she wanted to get down on the bottom of that dirty boat!
37. BUT ANYHOW, I OR WHOEVER IT WAS, HAD ON THIS FUNNY BIG CAP & then this kind of a grey tunic coat with a belt around it on the outside‚ short coat, about hip length, then I had sort of like knickers on with socks, you know what knickers are? Not little panties, but they're pants gathered just below the knees like bloomers. And then heavy socks on & boots. I had this big funny kind of slouched cap on. And sure enough we looked up the Dnieper River on a map & it's in the resort part of Southern Russia. I could see it all so plain in my vision.
38. AT FIRST I THOUGHT I WAS ALEX.—Then I realised I was seeing Alex, or the scenes through his eyes. Anyhow, it was a crazy, funny experience that Abrahim must've given me, as Alex was a friend of Ivan (See ML#279), & both were apparently old friends of Abrahim—& all three are Russian Gypsies.
39. I SUPPOSE IT WAS JUST A FUNNY LITTLE STORY OR VISION TO CHEER ME UP & GIVE ME A PERSONAL TASTE OF RUSSIA & two funny Russians!—The song sounded really Russian! God has a sense of humour!—Do you?