In Heaven They Were All Wearing Jeans

Translated from the romanian by Daniela Stănescu

Awarded the prize of the Danubian Writers Society for a manuscript at the 18th edition of the „Mihai Eminescu” International Poetry Festival, 2009

I. Somewhere In A Universal Village

Mr Kent

When children, we always smoked in pack.
We gathered, four or five kids,
and sneaked in different places
away from our grandparents.

We smoked in the attic,
stirring the wasps in their hives,
we smoked in the hogsty,
in the cattle shed,
in the rills, in the clearings, in the woods.

We would puff either Serbian Vikend,
or Bulgarian BT,
rarely Carpati or Bucegi no filter.
What a celebration when we got one KENT!
We sniffed them spellbound,
felt their fine paper
and smoked them ritually,
passing the cigarette from one to the other.

When we were left without cigarretes,
we worked out cigars from maize stalks,
that we smoked until we ended up in tears.

Then, I haven’t smoked in years,
neither in middle school or high school,
when I was wearing jeans from the Serbians,
and my mates flocked during breakes
either towards the toilets, or to the back door of  ‘Traian’ High School,
behind them the janitor women gathered buckets of cigarettes butts.

When I took up smoking again,
during college, I smoked mechanically.
I tried all sorts,
legions, no frontiers,
until I felt that not even Kent
don’t smell American anymore
and I quit smoking
and started writing.

I am a cigarette smoked out of words.

Narcophagus

The streets are empty, the midnight
Shares only with the chosen ones.
Water boils in the kettle
Awaits mint leaves
As I my ancestors’ return.
What is it, white piece of paper, what else do you want?
I gave you enough blood,
I quit smoking,
I numbed my nerves
Of the spine for you,
I plucked out my eyes and filled
The empty sockets with letters, letters…
………………………………………………….
I hear leaves falling, from my childhood, on the aerodrome,
How could I sleep, how could I ever fall asleep?

Verde de Paris

Mother, poor thing, misfortuned
eternally to carry on her shoulders
all our family burden.
Her sister got involved with a guy working on a tractor,
who knocked her down and left her alone,
I don’t know how, but they found her dead one day.
From a picture she looks like a Gioconda with thick lips
bound by an ageless smile.

Her mother went crazy then, until one day,
she mistook the bottles,
and drank the green death with a beautiful name.
My grandfather, Ion Mohira, was a good man,
unnaturally good for this carnivorous world.
He was the only one in the village who had books and brushed his teeth.
He was from the rare kin of ardent foresters – the forests
are still mourning for him.
The local people called him ‘noble father’ or ‘the gentleman of the hills’.
His eyes shone when he saw me,
What a pity I knew him at the nadir of his life!
Pa Nelu, in spite of his troubled life, was a man of the world,
he liked to party – the table from the houseyard in Firizu
was never moved.
He married Verginia, Mother Vergica to me.
My step-mother was a real mother to me also,
I am not mad at her – how could I?

Mother fell in love with a fabulous man – aferim!,
endowed from the nature with incredible force,
wit and the beauty of an ephebus.
Their souls, an infinte circle in circle at first,
became two parallels in two years most,
neither my birth couldn’t bring them together.

Mother turned nin’teen, she was working in town,
it was a little better at ‘The Danube’ Restaurant.

After she weaned me, she left me in the care of an aunt,
Ma Nuţa, as I called her.
This is the way I opened my eyes in Adam’s garden,
Somewhere in a village, on the banks of Coşuşta.

Firizu

Firizu is a village nestled in the shadow of the forests,
back then, it numbered almost a hundred souls.
It had no church, no cemetery,
we burried our dead in the neighbour village, Dâlbociţa,
we also went there for the church service.
My ancestors were among the first settlers
on this land.
I often imagine that harsh day of October in the year 1532,
when the silence of the Coşuşta Valley was disturbed by four lads
with fierce and exhausted looks,
begging the monks from the Crivelnic monastery
to shelter them and not give them away.
I see their saddened faces by the hermits’ refusal,
too poor to feed four more people.
The monks didn’t kill their hope:
they advised them to try their luck in the nearby village, Crivelnic,
where Ma’am Hamza, a rich widow,
needed help with work.
The lady looked them up and down and made one request:
to build a cart so that she could walk around her daughter,
and then, if they get through the winter all right, in spring
they could clear a part of the woods and have some work done.
Years passed, the lads started to raise wooden houses,
loosen their hearts, sing their sadness, their loves…

They were from Transylvania,
had hard times with some noble people,
so they went into the wild world,
they crossed mountains, forests, on and on,
until they reached the walls of a monastery.

The four wandering knights were: Mohora, Manţog, Vreja şi Văcaru.

Happy Not To Be A Grown-up

Mother Nuţa’s husband was named Niţă, and I nicknamed him Tucă.
He worked with his sons, Nelu şi Crinu,
as everybody from the village, in a mine.
They weren’t exactly miners, didn’t work with the pick,
didn’t go in the pit,
Tucă was a foreman, Crinu a welder and Nelu a driver.

The people from Firizeni would wake up at three in the morning
to catch the bus from the neighbour village,
some of them did this all their life.
I heard those three when they got up
And I cuddled in Ma Nuţa’s arms,
Happy not to be a grown up.
I heard them washing their faces with cold water…
sometimes they talked loudly, swearing at the weather, at the rain.

They came back in the village at dawn.
We, a noisy herd of children,
cut their way as pirates,
asking them quickly for candies,
biscuits, snacks, chocolates.

I Want To Go To School

When I was four or five I was really bad,
I was bad as a swine without a ring,
I was the naughtiest boy in the village.
I keep a photograph in which I can see
the flower of my cheeks, more carnivorous than now,
when my sunken cheeks, sucked by metaphors,
betray me a lot…

On top of that, I was scarce,
I didn’t sharewith anyone the sweets that I received,
I hid them in the closet, under the clothes.
I swore, I spit, I fought with the children in the street,
I squashed ants on the bark of the trees,
I was the lord of the flies, the devilest devil…

Then, suddenly, something in me broke out, as the water of a pregnant woman,
I started to roll on the ground as an epileptic,
to shout, to hit the wall with the fists and cry:
I want to go to school! I want to go to school!
I barely turned six, I saw books
only on my grandfather’s wardrobe, he was a brigadeer,
but that didn’t matter, I went to sleep and woke up with only the school in my mind.

So, Ma Nuţa and Tucă made a schoolbag
out of an old military bag,
a black uniform, compulsory at  that time,
fitted me with some Drăgăşani sneakers
and escorted me to school.

Nobody told me that I had to stay still at my desk,
and draw those lines and little canes all the time.

It was my hair I couldn’t tame at all,
My head was all covered with crosses, forks and whirls.

Fishing

I never left my big ‘brothers’,
I stuck to them everywhere.
I burst with happiness when we were getting ready for fishing.
We took some shoes thrown under the bed,
so we didn’t cut in breakages.
Nana* Nelu brought a bunch of wreathed rods from osier willows.
Nana Crinu filled a bottle with brandy and hurried me:
‘Come on, you dummy, are you ready?’
I knew by heart all the hollow places in the bank
where the beautiful chubs rested.

Nelu rolled like a stone in the clear waters,
he scared the fish to enter the hollow places.
He dipped then to place the bow net and disappeared underneath.
At first I was afraid, I was about to cry.
but Nelu came out from the belly of the hollow
with a fish in his hand as big as a corn cob and threw it on the bank.
The silvered fish fret in the grass.
I touched it, I kissed it, to bring us luck,
And threw it in the raffia bag.
Nelu vanished again under the cristal waters,
but I knew now that he was a traveller
who can return anytime from that unknown land.

He kept his eyes open under the water,
tenderly touching the fish, which waltzed between his hands,
then suddenly stuck his fingers under the gills of a dizzy one.

*Nana is used locally for uncles and aunts.

Shaving

When he shaved, nana Crinu warmed the water in a kettle,
took out the shaving kit, unbound the wrap of a new blade,
put it in the razor,
he soaped his face and firmly rubbed it with the brush
dipped in the water from a bowl.

Even though he shaved carefully, he always cut himself.
He washed, wiped himself with the towel, then used some alcohol.
Some cuts were still visible,
those he covered with bits of newspaper.

One morning, I had no ideea he was going to shave,
So I blew my nose in the towel that was hanging in the entrance hall.
I saw him when he wiped himself starring
with his sparkling eyes of a hyena.

Had he known of my snot,
he would have given me a beating.

There, Heaven Was In The Cellar

I went almost monthly to town, to see my mother.
I missed her,
I went on hunger strike when the visit was postponed.

Mother was now working at the ‘The Outlaws’Hearth’ Restaurant,
that was hidden in the middle of Crihala Forest.
Heaven was there, in the basement: pineapple juice, figs,
dates, almonds, oranges, cookies,
sweet white frosted peanuts, chocolates…

I went running through the rooms, hiding upstairs,
playing with the musicians’ drums,
I gobbled bread rolls and drank Brifcor juice,
spent time with Bobi, the bartender,
trying to convince him to let me try the liquid from those beautiful bottles,
except Campari, which was bitter…

There, they used to throw chlorine in the toilets,
that burned my eyes and made me cry,
so I used to tell them straight in their faces:
I’d better go myself and piss myself on the fence!

The Summer Holiday

Later, my mother took me to school in town.
I spent only the holidays in the village,
all the children came to their grandparents in the summertime,
while parents were busy with their urban things.

In our village, the cattle pastured at night.
We, the children, every night,
would lead them towards the ridge of the forest,
and leave them there.
In the morning, at daybreak, it was grandparents’ turn
to leave and search for them and bring them home full.

One evening, on the way back,
we took a steep shortcut through the woods,
we didn’t know the place, we went down as if being chased by a beast,
clinging on trees
in order to slow down.

In the tempestuous descent,
a boy in front of us stepped on a wasp nest
hidden under some heaps of leaves,
and they furiosly attacked me, imagine!
Hunted by the little beasts,
I reached like a bolt the border of the village
and desperately rolled in the small water of the stream.

Everybody else got away easy,
only a few stings, lucky guys,
while I started to swell out.

Some women helped,
they undressed me right there, in the street,
God I was so ashamed,
there came the girls with their breasts
that gave me jasmine thrills,
and rubbed my body with salt and vinegar.

A Kind Of Hell In Heaven

I was carrying water from the fountain of the village,
in two big plastic buckets
my hands getting longer as a chimpanzee’s hands.
In unbearable heat,
I went to cut the hay or getting down the leaves
(this is how we call cutting the leaves – not feeding them to the dogs – the balding of the poplar or of the oak tree,
when, with a sharp axe, we cimbed the tree and disfigured it).
Down, the women arranged nicely the branches,
tied them in the middle with wire and overlapped them.
I carried them home by cart and gathered leaves for the cattle in winter…

The hay was left to dry for a week or two,
then arranged in small piles and loaded.
Oh, that was hell, in the middle of the summer to make a cart of hay.
I, on the meadow, with the furcer,
A kind of fork with a long stick and two teeth,
raised the bunches of hay, and Ma Nuţa in the cart,
torturing her body as thin as a dragonfly,
to arrange the hay well,
so that the cart wouldn’t fall on one side.

While we were loading,
the oxen would desperately flip their tails
in order to drive away the flies.
I helped them from time to time:
I caught the bumble bees and stuck a straw up their ass.

‘Hey, who’s there?’

When first hairs of our beard started to grow,
I and Cosmin sneaked in the everning under the windows of the houses,
hoping to peep behind the white little curtains
how the virgins nestled in the arms of the sleep.
We planned everything with the precision of a clockmaker.

One night we ended up in the courtyard of a long-haired girl, Monica,
she was to be married the following week.
We wanted to see her how she would toss and turn in bed,
awaiting the moment…

We jumped over the wood fence and hid under the window.
While we were giggling trying to get a glimpse,
through the white curtain with tassels,
of teets or a thigh, the dog felt us and started to growl in chain.
Relu, the girl’s brother came out on the porch,
he came, stupid guy, with the axe, shouting:
‘Hey, who’s there?’

Cosmin jumped over the wood fence,
Iran into the wire one, instead,
I got away with my pants ripped
and her brother’s voice was louder and louder behind us:
‘You, Nelu, goddamn you and your family, I’ll catch you tomorrow! ‘
Nelu was a bachelor quite known as a ladies’ man.

And the next day, what a row,
Relu and Nelu almost took out their knives,
while I and Cosmin kept our mouths shut.

Dinamite Pastry

We came back from the city, by nea* Săndel’s bus,
crammed as the sardines in a can.
The bus had the end of the line in the next village,
we had to go a few meanders up to our heaven.
Time passed easily, we did some whistling, some cheering,
some humming of a song that was in fashion at the time.

We weren’t aware of how the time butterfly flew by,
that we already stepped in the houseyard.
I entered the room, threw away my schoolbag and was about to get out.
On the table, a plate full with doughnuts winked at me.
Oh, how nice!, MaVergica knew I was coming and made me some pancakes.
I was starving, I gobbled quickly one.
I spit right away the bite, puzzled by its unusual taste.
I just bit from my gradfather’s bars of dinamite…
I don’t know what kind of dinamite was it, but it looked just like pancakes.

Well, people used it for fishing sometimes.
One day, they got drunk, Pa Nelu and Costel o’ Fanu,
And they felt like fishing.

In spite of my prayers,
they took a bar of dinamite and headed for Coşuşte.
They stopped at one of the cavities in Lunca’s Turn.
Grandpa stuck the fuse into the dinamite and lit it,
just that, keeping on talking, he forgot to throw it away.

He came off cheaply, he lost only seven fingers.

I cried a few days feeling sorry for him,
I would have given him my fingers…

*Romanian informal appelative for men, instead of Mr.

Invernalia

I don’t like this misty winter,
with a cold soul of a sex priestes,
I don’t like this misty winter,
a reversed hell for the children of the street,
haloed by the spell of the aurolac.*

I can see myself as a child, I went caroling
and carved in the snow rare jewels
rolling the torches made from a cherry tree bark,
we raced, from house to house,
which to get there first to take the communion bread,
the villagers greeted us at the gates with knot shaped bread made in wicker baskets,
some of them were big and soft, others small and hard as rock,
and, from big tin buckets, with hot ţuică*

We woke up early in the morning
to see the men of the family slashing the hog,
scorching it into a mild fire,
portioning it, and giving us the hog’s bladder
to blow out and play some soccer with it until it burst.

The women prepared the alms of the hog,
they laid on the table the pan with fresh meat,
rolled the maize porridge on the cutting board and sliced it with a thread,
filled the jugs with wine from osier bottles that was corked up with tar
and let there be party!

The winter was winter, Coşuştea froze like a slab
and we slid on ice or with our little sleighs on the sleighroad.
Who got to sleigh standing on it was the best!

I changed my clothes with the sweater and the woolen vest,
knitted by mother Nuţa,
I didn’t see her getting blinder and blinder…

*aurolac: Romanian word describing people and mainly children inhaling solvent substances to get high
* ţuică: plum brandy, a traditional Romanian drink

LOVE


I was contemplating the bark of the oak tree as if it was a papyrus,
And I didn’t understand the dream that had moved me,
While my hands were searching madly
The clasp knife in my funny uncle’s overall.

I was contemplating the bark of the oak tree as if it was an ancient papyrus,
While Tucă was shouting: Don’t let the goats enter the vineyard!
And I scribbled then, shaking, on the glorious oak tree,
Four big letters and left bewitched to hide
The fallen pearls of grapes.

At The Wake

At the wake the women of the village would wail,
eat, drink, gossiped mechanically.
We played hide and seek.
’Who’s not ready, we’ll be shovelled!’

Once, I and Neluţu, my godson,
hid in the attic of the house.
We wanted to get through the attic and go down in the back of the house,
then jump over the fence and spit ‘I spit’,
outrunning the boy who was looking for us.

But Neluţu didn’t know that in the attic there was a trap
And I didn’t know that he didn’t know.

The attic was dark as night,
full only with the smell of onion and dried grapes,
we stepped on the nuts laid there to dry and on the corn cobs,
then Neluţu’s howl –
who was falling into the slops bucket -,
ripped the gown of the night.

Nana Nelu

I was already a lad when they caught him stealing
bars from the mine and gave him three years.

I didn’t quite get what was happening,
I only knew that he won’t come home for awhile,
that nobody would catch beautiful chubs for me anymore,
or defend me in front of the others,
or…

I felt powerless, my strength
didn’t work in the grown-ups’ world.

Tucă and Ma Nuţa went to see him every month.
They prepared carefully a parcel with food
and a box of „Carpaţi”without filter,
one with a hundred packets,
not ten, as the foreign ones.

In jail, nana Nelu learned to carve soap.
God, what marvelous corollas flowered in his a’hands!
When the due time ended and he got out,
there was holiday in the village,
they partied and danced as for a celebration.

Nobody imagined that Nelu had become a carnivorous flower,
that, after digesting his dear ones,
he would then devour himself.

Ma Nuţa, Forgive Me!

When you were raising me the most beautiful child,
how was I supposed to know, for God’s sake,
that a time of the horrible curse will come
when women will scorch as flowers touched by frost
or that they will swell as the barrels in the river,
and the men will get to drink brandy as if it was water,
and when they cut wood at the circular saw
they will cut their fingers also as if they had spare ones.

Not even in my dreams would I have believed
that the benches from the gates will rot,
where we gathered every night to chat,
that the flood will come and take the ship and the goats
from the fold as the wind blows up the globe of the dandelion,
that Tucă will get the retirement but it won’t be of any good,
he will see his sons in the same way, crooked by alcohol,
they who were once as tall as the fir trees.

Not even if I died,  wouldn’t I catch a glimpse of that moment
when you will tell me at that small table with three legs
that I will give you up when the rooster will have sung three times,
while I will sip the soup as if it was god’s ambrosia,
you will tell me through a rain of tears:
‘Dear boy, dear boy, I will die and not get to come to your wedding. ‘

How was I to know that you will end up thin as a thread,
Unable to bear any more of their beatings and insults,
and find heaven in the attic, in the knot of the noose,
that all this time of your passions, I being away from the village,
how was I to believe that you will die without light,
you, Mother Nuţo, the kindness and light of the world.

And while above your casket
the last shovels with dirt will fall,
Tucă, Nelu and Crinu, with their heads full with alcohol,
will fight with stones.

How was I to know that in your warm and kind eyes
the too early worm will twist famished?

Had I known all of these, we would have left for America!

II. Comunism quarantine


French Kiss

Other birds nestled in the hollow of the memories
they’re about the one room appartment comfort 1,
bought by mother after she had divorced my dad.

I can see myself in front of the block,
where we often hurt our knees and elbows
while we maradonized, vanbastenized or gullitized,
I can see the gangway, next to the The Gipsy Camp Restaurant
I can see the smell of piss, because the drunkyards that lingered there
wanted to feel lighter crawling on the stairs of the block.

The gangway was guarded by a gipsy woman,
she was here since the morning until the evening,
she was selling seeds and chewing gum.
You always had to buy a small jar of seeds,
So you can pass through…
Sometimes she seemd to me a terrible monster,
With three heads and a snake’s tail,
And around her neck, there was a necklace of vipers,
I couls see their tongues.

Her daughter, I liked her instead,
was a well-built gal,
I don’t want to justify the squable that she’d given me
for the new ‘make-up’ her brother got.

In front of our one room apartament there lived Mrs Valeria,
a widow with a heart of gold.
Her daughter, Cerasela, a few years older than me,
will soon get very close to me,
on the shore of her house I will often shipwreck,
a meditative Ullyses of her Ithaca.

I endlessly owe Cerasela:
she initiated me in the secrets of the French kiss,
after both of us, forheads touching,
had drunk banana brandy with the bottle cap and
mistaken the sour cherry brandy from the wicker bottle with compote.

In Heaven They Were All Wearing Jeans

Our one room apartament was cosy,
but here the sky was never starry, as it was in the countryside,
the colours didn’t burn in the pictures,
on the bookshelves – only china,
placed orderly on crocketed cloths,
princes and princesses in carriages,
the Arch’s bestiary moulded in porcelain,
ladies singing the lyra in the antechamber of hell.

In front of the one room apartment there stood the Russians’ block.
The lights never went out there…

On the wardrobes,
wrapped in Scânteia newspaper
from time to time some green bananas
were getting ripped under the white sun of the ceiling.

The comunism seemed a regular world!
I was too young to understand
the humiliation to be worth half of a loaf.

I was glad to go with my friends at the sweetshop ‘ The Lily’,
to meet the savarins,
the lemonades and vanilla icecream in inox cups.
When we left, we bought ‘Chindia’ biscuits
and ‘Cip’ candies, small as pepper,
and the pasty chewing gum, whose flavour
vanished after the first munches.

The comunism seemed a regular world!
Some took it seriously.
I was too young to understand.

I would go to the Danube, on the bank.
The river separated hell from heaven
as the ancient Styx.

Heaven was at the Serbians,
They were all wearing jeans,
they ate white soft
unreal bread.

Ice Amber

When Cerasela’s mother bought coffee beans,
she roasted them with the care of gold diggers
who guessed the nugged at the bottom of the sieve.
The brown smell went down the hall of the block
and stuck on the walls and nostrills, melting our brain.
I and Cerasela put beans in our pockets
and went outside to play,
crunching them into my mouth.

We were glad when Cerasela’s mother bought
frozen fish from the grocery shop,
she queued and didn’t give up, she brought the fish home,
filled the tub with water and throw the ice amber in.

It was our joy
to dip our hand in the water,
and play with them…

A miracle! It happened that a few times some of the fish came back to life!
We took them and put them in big greenish jars,
their hearts pulsating near ours for a few days more.

Grieved, with pagan gestures,
we removed their scales, pushed their bellies
until their guts and frail lungs came out,
two bubbles filled with air wrapped in a translucent skin,
and washed them under the cold flow from the tap.

The fishes were good,
they tasted like ocean amber.

Love Story

I was so happy when you dropped by
with your mother in visit, Roxana.
Our mothers went into the kitchen to talk,
we went into the room
with the colour TV.
We hugged, kissed, swore eternal love…

Just seconds, cos’ the fates from the other room threw the anathema:
Elvis, dear, will you go and buy some cream for us?
And I hurried to the bakery from the corner,
I was running and thinking that in short time
I will be back in your arms.
I went into the bakery and introduced myself – ‘I am Nuţica’s boy’ – to make shure that
I get fresh stuff.

Once I reached home, the torture contiuned.

I had to throw a spoon of sugar
into the jar and keep stirring,
because we didn’t have a mixer.
My slavery ended when, turning the spoon,
the gracious cream, out of the pupa of the cream,
levitated.

You didn’t know, you were sleeping,
maybe on purpose,
so that my poignant kiss would wake you up.

III. Other No Filter Poems


Passing Bout Of Loneliness

I am rummiging through the ashes of the soul,
I blow in the narcotic embers
With rounded lips.
I dress the cloak of the word
And start my way up to the heights.

The air gets sharper and sharper
The wind blows tremendously.

I cross suspended bridges over the abyss,
Through woods that touch the sky,
I am trying to find a path.

Suddenly, the head of the moon
Rolls at my feet
And I can see the spasm of crucified clouds,
The burned cry of the owl,
The dead silence of the moors.

I am pale,
My eyes are bloody and bulky,
I am frightened as a child by the dark
That floats in the forest of my room.

I am cold, I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am sleepy,
Clods of letters get out of my mouth,
There’s even a skull…

Memento

We bow at a carved face,
The magic box with sounds and colours.
We watch the rain, the snow, the twilight,
Through the metalic skeleton in our balcony,
We obsessively listen to Dassin and Depeche Mode,
We cut the destiny open as a frog.
It rains buckets, the Hyades are fighting in the sky,
It rains cats and dogs,
The putrid grey swallows the city
We don’t have vices anymore, nor virtues,
Nor a beach for meditation,
Lives a ralanti,
Grumpy mornings, sour,
Blank nights, edgeless areas.
The time wanders in snail shells,
His teeths leaves marks on your beautiful neck,
Indiferent seem to me the gills of purple death.

The worst thing is that I don’t believe in miracles anymore,
The worst thing is that tomorrow repeats itself…

The Engraving

The plane trees cast off
In the trodden park
Of the old Prefect’s House.

We were heading home
After shopping,
The Sunday was nervous
As a mower in the blazing sun.

And suddenly the earth
Spinned into memory –

Around us there were flying narcotic
Fairies with water lily eyes enchanting
Whoever would dare to watch them,
Time itself was playing gently the harp,
The verdure melted and burned,
And came alive greener
And greener…

But those bohemian years of holly delirium
Have vanished as snowflakes on a palm,
And the chlorine of their water turned
Our faces pale.

The Apparition

There are nights when the piece of paper is heavy as the lead,
So is the pencil, the eye, the hand…
Not even the soul can fly anymore
And falls pray to the carnivorous flower of ugliness

The Town Is Quite An Anaconda

The autumn shakes its leaves
On Carol I Boulevard,
The light clings on my eyes
As the ivy on the gryphons of the houses.
The cigarette shakes its ashes absently.
O pack of dogs cuts the street slantingly
And the street flows into the Danube.

I eat candy floss.

The town is quite an anaconda,
It wraps around me,
And swallows me bitterly.

And My Soul Throbs

The night is a higher mountain than the sea,
If it wouln’t be for the moon, you wouldn’t believe me.

The forest moans stiffed in stars.

Only the dog of the moon
Escorts me through the dark land
And my soul throbs louder than my heart.

A Wolf’s Howl

When the earth will drag me into her womb,
Backwards in living,
I will tear up the the ties of silence,
And I will fly with green wings
In the mother of pearl immortality.

At every hostile customs
I will howl like the wolves of the nights,
Under the moon that will try to hide
Your flesh from my fangs.

Reverse Line

We bathe
Under autumn’s
Eyes in the river of melancholy,

The wind, harshly, won’t raise
In the sky our ambiguous locks of hair,

We love each other, sharing one beating heart,
And the walnuts in old attics turn into stones.

Evening fire

Tonight I will turn you into a verse.
I will tame the words and make them quickly build a temple,
In which I will contemplate and venerate your statue.

I am afraid that your love
Could be as lightening
That splits the lofty tree from the top
To its soles.
And only old death will pick me up
For the evening fire.

The Journey

At the rise of the night, when the sky sprouts,
The horse in me neighs,
Pulling the hobble towards richer fields.

I cut the night in two with the sword
And drink the tears from large silvery glasses.

At dawn, I perturb the mirror of the river,
Touching the high walls of the fortress.

A stranger to my kin,
A stranger to you,
And also to me…

The Lesson

‘Do not forget the grammar, otherwise I will kill you!
Repercurssion is endless. ‘
That is what Mrs. Dacia Costea yelled at us,
God bless her!

She was like a virgin when we knew the lesson,
She was like a satrap when we didn’t.

Anyway, you would rather eat chalk
Than come with your homework undone
To Mrs. Dacia Costea’s class.

Student Card

Evening by evening,
Here and there,
We smoked, drank, partied.

We learned, cramming desperately,
We produced quickly
Notes with tiny writing,
The work of an old Chinese, mon cher!

We went to and fro in the starry parks
Shaking the cigarrete
On alleys gone crayz because of loneliness.

We shared beds, girls and boys,
Mixed as toothbrushes
In a plastic jug.

We waited trembling with cold, în Enescu Park,
Every two weeks,
The bags with food and the envelopes with food vouchers
As a dream in which grandfather
Appeared to tell us
That where he is right now
It’s warm and fine.

The years went by…

There’s still the sound of those mornings,
When we shaved slowly,
Quite delighted…

Cherchez la femme

I was young and I was crying like a virgin,
A black coat a size bigger wearin’.

You came all of a sudden,
With death stepping down on death…

One Time Haiku


A glass thrown in the grass
Ants inside devouring
Last drops of Coca Cola.

Short Circuit

I need to iron my white T-shirt.
I like white cotton T-shirts,
Fitting tightlty the body.
I plug in the iron and suddenly the socket bursts into flames.

How about progress!
(Cioran, when old: ‘I now believe in progress!’)
Where is the iron that my granmother put on hot embers
And burned my pioneer ties?

Ad

Young poet
Lost for you,
I declare him null.

Alive Nature

Passing, passing, passing,
Quickly over the valleys,
And hiding on peaks –
The storks.

I want to snatch them,
Play with them
And throw them up
Like kites.

Order

Write me with your blood, you were telling me,
Write me in terza rima, definitely Dantesque,
Carve my face in the gorge of the Danube,
With the pick hammer that you worked in the Florentine’s country,
Until your fingers clenched in sleep
As the sparrow’s frozen claws on a twig.

Philodendron

Feels like dreaming, feels like sleeping in your dream,
Translucent eyelids
Like a shroud covering
Your big inquisitive eyes.

The sunrays splits the clouds,
The curtain, our iridiscent armour…

The philodendron, with its big leaves, heart-shaped,
Is my trustworthy sentinel at the window of the house.

So that no one would steal you away
Not even in dreams.

Postcard from 1993

The miners came back to the village
With Milka chocolate and trousers
Made of fake snake skin.

It was nineteen ninety-three,
Nelu got out of jail as an artist,
He was carving flowers in soap,
Crinu had gotten married and had a child.

It felt good at home,
We dined in the entrance hall,
The chill of the evening and the flavour of the food
Brought back our childhood,
Pieces of heaven in jeans, though.

The seasons went by as
The four apocalyptic knights,
I touched their armour thrilled,
I felt their body, their magic, their glory.

Fog Engraving

The evening that hurts me now isn’t the evening
When all the children gathered
In God’s lap
To pull his beard
And make him tell us the greatest stories.

Nor is the noise in the street the noise
That lulled me to run away from home.

It’s just the smoke…

Forget-me-not poem

How could I ever forget your little hands,
That concocted mountains of wonders,
And hid the coin
In the cake slice that was found only by me?

Your hands laid a crown with jewels on my foreahead
From the kingdom of forests, rivers and clearings
(I also do not forget the wineyard where the wine streamed from the hip of the hill).

I am like a king now
A crownless humble forget-me-not poem.

There Were Hot Summer Evenings

There were hot summer evenings
when the fire became as clear as the water,
the stars turned to stones in the sky,
the fir tree forests burned in the hearth of the moon,
the sweet corn welcomed in its milk pulp
our teeth of children.

There were hot summer evenings
when we wrote in sand
and The Story grew within us.

Epilogue

Now that I have learnt how to put a halter on the word,
To harness it with quick moves
And fly like the thought, like the wind,
There is only one question that bridles me:
Where to?

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