GELLU DORIAN

 

HURRAY NEW YORK

 

I can hunt lions in a jungle of glass, the gun telescope sees an aiming

point, my brothers wander through the East asking themselves where

the sun is going to rise in 7 hours, no hope, I can feel

their shadow nearby, here in the Woodside house, sparkling

in little bulbs as the tinsel in a bride's hair, you can see so far,

from that place you can't see up there,

I can aim quietly straight at the World Trade Center and nobody

will know, it's a stray thought like a strange unlived souvenir,

an illusion in a puppet's head

gnawed at in the yard by the dogs from Coļula, convulsions

on the writing table, next to the tea with the flavor of fruit

picked from Flushing Meadows Corona Park by Claudia' s hands while

the hoarfrost was like the down on the peaches, hands poulticed by Doru

with unction and holy water, metaphors let free on Christmas' Eve

among the tears of a child whimpering carols

of his native land, a flute weeping joyfully in the hands of a former

ballet dancer, quiet and confused as if I had lived all my life

in Queens, harassed by thoughts as by a nuisance

in an drained soul with the despair let free

through Manhattan looking in the Panasonic shop window

on Lexington or the indifference of a whore in Central Park

when those from N. Y. P. D. prepare the stainless bracelets,

free, free, free I still hear through the air the voices

of those from the Metropolitan Opera touching the Twins' windows,

streaming on Wall Street, farther on Broadway, venom of

red viper in the hearing of the stranger coming from over the ocean,

from South Ferry up to St. George in Staten Island, I can, of course, I can

hunt lions from here, with no friends who could shoot me at the back,

Ghilgamesh without Enkidu in the glass forest with thousands of

Humbaba, through the trees electrically blossoming

in the garden at Rockefeller Center or in Herald Square, in a

flat in the Olympic Tower, on the 34th floor at Nelu's,

under the icy cupola, among Asian and  Spanish eyes and sad

people from Botoļani dancing Northen folk dances,

led by temptation like the freelance journalists

close to a scandalous event,

how many fears of an abandoned child in the City Hall or lost among

the gambling machines in New Jersey, scared in Harlem, killed

in Brooklyn, circumcised in the Bronx, adopted in Queens

or brought up free of cares in Manhattan, a future of Apache

in St. Museum of Natural History, a Brancusi corner in

Metropolitan Museum of Art, a lesson broken on your knees as

the dry brushwood in the forest at home, a too remote remembrance

but alive here in a flat on Broadway, at Mikiís,

the Macedonian, like Alexander conquering the Persians,

in a Sarmi-seget-usa way, ready to change our history in which

we falsified ourselves for thousands of years, free, free, free,

not knowing what to do with that freedom for thirty days

on East River pouring out their angers in Long Island Sand,

fishing on the Potomac River, a small animal in the

Bronx Zoo Park, like painting lacking ideas,

worth millions of dollars, on the cymas in Guggenheim Museum,

glassware and concrete landed here from Mars,

in so much silence and words from Dambovita, on Steinway,

in shops full of Chinese and Hindu stuff, through subway

wandering in the New Year's Eve, scared among drug addicts

and the homeless commuting between Queens Plaza and Lexington,

piercing Roosevelt Island, thinking at Golden Pheasant,

bewildered between streets and avenues, drives and broadways

counting block after block down to Woodside, my ďat homeĒ

in New York,  at the light of some windows where the waits and

the hate from home are missing, dream next to dream making reality

nice, thus I can hunt quietly in the glass jungle the wild lions,

trained and hungry, as greedy as my eyes to overcome

Governor's Island too and the Statue of Liberty, and Bowling Green

and New Brighton, the United Nations : all at once, silent and

absent among rocks of words rolled on the snow

                                                                                        

loved for only one second here, as free as the Statue of Liberty Ferry

stone-still in the Atlantic, nobody says no, nobody

forbids me to aim my telescope at the hunter and shoot,

only the vagrant and quiet thought lies crouched in my hometown

and burns, sighing as the hermit in his lonely mountain

like God in His sight as large as heaven,

I'll forget his ghost too, I say to myself, soon I'll fly to

the skies from where ice slabs fall, soon I'll really love

this friendly and indifferent land as proud as

a Mohican in front of death, soon I'll know to really meet him

as I haven't met him in my dreams,

who will know that I was here and I have hunted,

hunter and hunted game at the same time, eye focused on zenith

and buried in nadir, ear buried in music and as deaf as

Beethoven, massacre of nerves and sensations of happiness,

looks taken away by the flow of tears, the soul on the icons

of St. Peter and Paul's Church, in Astoria, on Epiphany day

around the ice cross, the great Orthodox sign of New York

giving signal to God of a second-millennium, remained

lifeless under Mircea's blitz, songs getting still there,

soon I'll be afraid to believe that I shall

live only in the town of my dream, through the glass jungle,

among red houses, stories too quiet for naughty children,

but until then run in Madison Avenue, go into Nelloís restaurant

feast your eyes upon the black women who take your coat                                                                                         

along with your soul too and you think you'll die in their already

sold hands, steal a gesture of love from the stars

in the movie series of New York, waiting any moment for De Niro

or Willis to come in, any ambassador or African king,

everything is so possible so natural that you will forget that

the fear of poverty back home lies crouched in your soul,

the ice bales ready to fall off the anger of the lamps

that you hear yell, forget and swallow the pasta

offered by Nelu from Botosani, well-fixed in New York

on Madison Ave, even if, upon leaving, youíll hear in the pockets

of your people the silver teaspoons rattling, silent between their fingers

used to stick to everything, like on the frivolous womenís ears

the cheap and gaudy earrings, indulge in wishful thinking as long as

reality surpasses any imagination, even your presence here

seems a dream from which you hope to be endless,

you can be so lonely here, in the worldís hub,

in the middle of Manhattan, seen only in films, you feel that

a plaster carcass is squeezing you when thinking of home,

how much sadness wraps you up next to so much happiness,

mortal and defeated in a glassy Eden, a poet abandoned to despair

as a snowflake to eternity in Alaska, I can, of course I can

hunt this illusion too, I say to myself that here on paper

I write freely what I feel as if I breathed

and the words would build me floor after floor up to the sky,

I say and I keep silent suspecting myself of pain, of fear, a similar feeling

to that of separation, Iíll believe and Iíll be there, there

where I believe it is good, from where I think

that goodness can be discarded

and grown in a domestic way in my house back home,

I say, hurray New York! AndÖ

 

 

Hearts And Souls

I

I see up to where you are waving to get nearer

the one you left behind like a certain

silent oblivion, a scarf at a train window that is late

in a bottomed tunnel, up to there Iím looking,

your torn soul like a monkís coat

curved among his things Ė I canít tell your name,

your name is a wound on a flower in a little town

on the Rhine, a rune written at night while

those who were reading used to leave their houses and die

sad to have you born out of their words

like the minnesingers of the Middle Ages in their ballads

sung on the loversí lips ready

to turn into a rock, a lorelei

in the sight of the sad poet banished by the hearts

profaned Ė in turn known by nobody and you didnít know

how to please them, you were wandering in the lonely house

in Woodside, in Duane House, like a hermit in the mountains

near savory flowers and swamp, up to

there I see and I donít believe that you may be the sorrow

I wrote about many years ago,

your step on the promise land walking

in search of the honey and milk stolen at home

by those whose names you want to forget now

and you canít, tired by tomorrow, happy

about yesterday, at the foot of a menade

lost in Manhattan, childwife of some thoughts

from which you can pick up the excrements of the goats from

the isle of Crete, while you could

pass as a breeze over the rocks

reciting from Pindar, as you breathe and believe,

I see where your soul, Nicole,

leaves torment and lies on flowers.

 

II

Maybe you thought, while you were flying

over the Ocean, liebende, euch, ihr in einander Genugten, without

knowing that Rilke was hiding in your soul

when it happens to lovers in autumn

when they remain lonely and loneliness seems to be paradise

unnecessary in wintertime, you couldnít, of course, imagine

the frame of concrete and glass, the little room in Woodside

place of destiny and missing together,

eye over the darkness of those hidden in the thought, pictures

left in the garden in Munich among oak trees and elm trees

birds and wooden puppets taken out of boxes

at feasts between flute music, serenades brought to

the new born, steps of a ballet dancer from the time

when the joys were coming from far, now

you canít imagine the reality of the parish

in which under crosses piled up on your breast you can see

the faces of those in despair and trustful, as in the day of

tomorrow the forgetting of today, after a lot of

bytes that gather trifles to turn

into facts, what facts you wouldnít like to know,

everything must be perfect, the corners of the curtain

shouldnít fall over the tomato soup, Andrei should

sleep in time, shouldnít eat sweets,

shouldnít listen to wrong words in three languages at once,

the garden behind your house should flourish

the grass should stay green all over the year, the quince tree

shouldnít get dry even if every year it makes rotten fruit

on the branch, from home up to the church, from home up to

the playground, from home to Staples, in

the steam of anxieties, happiness, sadness,

Kratten als gotticher Brauch, as the poet said

in the rose garden.


 

III

You can buy flowers from the Russians, itís a free country

and in Rego Park beyond Woodhaven, fruit and sepias,

used to count with your almond-shaped eyes the cents, not the roubles,

away from them you ran years ago from home, the sun was in the west,

the green hills, the nice valleys, the hands

full of lilac in blossom, now under the stretched elastic

gather potato peels, dressings, put needles

in the nerves of the imaginary patients, day after day

with an acrobatic repetition in the concert hall, there

where you could live as flowers in flowerpots,

without the fear of losing tomorrow

even if in its pockets you can hear gentle sighs

of angels, the frolicking of the fingers among vials, syringes,

tablets, rings, like souvenirs since

two arms halted on your shoulders, arms of the man

who was expected incessantly over waters,

you can gather craftsmanship from all the regions of the deserted country,

there in the attic where long ago

spiders used to make a web till now, you can live quietly

in your country and there, far away,

in the district behind skyscrapers, where you hear daily kak tibea zavut,

natasa, spasibo, haros, as if nothing had happened,

you tell yourself, it could be Yiddish, it could be Hindu, Spanish,

anything, in so much freedom it can happen anything to you,

but especially the happiness that opens your window

daily for the clear sky to come in, fresh

like the air on the valley of the Buzau, you can start the same day

without getting bored, with the menthol cigarette between your fingers,

the coffee nearby, the patients at the door, you answer,

doctor office, please!


 

 

IV

Tell me, John, if you turned the bulbs off,

what bulbs are you talking about, Mookie,

those from upstairs, from the labs, from the offices,

all the bulbs, John,

let them on, theyíll know we live here, that itís here

that we receive patients, give them prescriptions, medicines,

what about hope, do we give them, John,

they leave with it from home to us, here the things are different,

donít din everything into their head, we are no longer in the old country,

we donít have a five-year plan, we have just an oath

to Hypocrates, and now let me access my site,

might the Dacians have revived in the Carpathians,

might the Gypsies have found the Cosons, who knows,

well, turn the light off when you fall asleep near Orastie,

under the stones of Posada maybe, in a cave

through those mountains cursed to remain forgotten, barren,

though they are full of gold inside,

here, on Broadway, in Astoria, near East River

nights fall from the sky, nobody puts out the stars there,

nobody counts them, your white hair, violet tomorrow,

your quick eyes, your hands turning upside down the files

of the negroes who will come tomorrow to complain about their pains

which will appear on the monitor, stop,

when you switch the light off, take your pill first,

at night all kinds of chaps may come, some

from far away from the islands where you went,

theyíll ask you to sing for them, and you are tenderfoot

although you could perform at the Metropolitan Opera

arias from imaginary operas, as you do

now, and if you look carefully

tomorrow is already today,

Hector pissed all over again,

forgive him, he doesnít know what he is doing.


 

 

V

If the loneliness is much more oppressive in a metropolis,

then in the villages of Maramures, in every man

thousands of cities live, like in Godís hands

the fire and waters, the sky and land, life and death,

or nothing of what you imagined there

can be fulfilled here, in Queens,

among pictures, among art albums,

between Monday and Friday, job, subway,

on Saturday: visits, shopping,

on Sunday: sometimes church, rest, it would have been well

if you had had a lover, a boyfriend,

your days would have had a meaning, something would have changed for the

better after all, run away from home to be happy

or because the happiness there doesnít satisfy you,

it seems monotonous, as monotonous as life here,

miserable among some dollars, debts, hopes,

with the easel forgotten in the lumber room, the dry oils

thinking of the galleries in Soho,

impressed by the pop-art exhibited everywhere,

by the hazards of Paul McCartney at Guggenheim,

how much ketch-up might he have used for reddening his paintings,

you donít allow yourself any hope, the hills,

the skies, your houses seem to be some memoirs

that nobody turns over, you tell all

these to Nicole in a kind of resignation,

she offers you coffee, cigarettes and the illusion

with which you can go on,

she tells, finally, who can know

up to where, until when, in fact you havenít left anybody,

all live in your soul like the sunflower in Van Goghís eyes.

 


 

 

VI

You are forever seeking the blood thread dripping off

from the thorns of Jesusí crown, it seems to you that

you felt it on your fingers one evening

when you saw his face in a mirror,

he had the eyes of a man whom you loved and crucified

in his soul, left in front of some shop-windows on Steinway,

consumed like a dandelion flower in the nostrils

of a hind brought in the field from the mountains,

maybe it will come again one day, your e-mail

stays open, the blood is still wet on your fingers,

in front of the icons a being like yours

can be the pray itself heard by God,

you are carried by angels,

their flight makes your face pink every morning,

your thought livelier than the step youíre making,

destined to stand still as stones stay in mountain rivers,

as women remain during wars

through the villages without burials, only with funeral repasts,

the next step, the next life, one day

the expected one will come, will carry you with flowers,

will show you a street in Astoria you have never trodden on,

you will love as girls used to love the recruits,

you will be able to run away from home too

as the women who sing in the lectern do on holiday,

in the thrilled menís ears,

you continually look on your fingers for

the blood thread dripping off Jesusí crown

when risen to heaven

hope flourished like thorns in the field.

 

Translated by Liviu Georgescu

 

 

 

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