(a wheat field…)
a wheat field
one cannot speak about
without enormous risks
and yet about freedom
save our souls!
upon manly songs
upon the drunken orgy of words
a terrible prosaic cold has descended.
we gathered near the walls
our faces deadly pale
in the suddenly acrid darkness
we offered up our prayer of faith.
Eulalie in the Summer
from the solitary nest of swirling water
the graceful and peerless progresses
directly into the garden.
she presides over
groups of youths unregistered at the office
hence exceedingly free. she presides over
of youths exceedingly saddened by their
freedom. a splash of light falls upon them
whom if first he hadn't met
Ermelinda Tuzzi Musil would have called
Diotima: she discourses with such
about poetry about love and about
other such ineffables in a world
used to physical touch and the exclamation,
as it happens I too
believe in ineffables,
I couldn't not become
close to Eulalie. but
(O Goddess, enhance my
Eulalie had just been
abandoned by her lover.
she would talk little, from time to time
pieces of bread she tore from a basket
set right on the gravel of the garden.
the garden once had been a sea; when the
into the inner ear of the earth
four or five iron tables with chairs which
some contemporary writers were seated in
as well as a few readers
emerged into the light, not far away
a residue of water still remained where
the wind irresolutely herded
the remnants of a civilization of calico
wasn't golden but could take a joke:
it would toss its heads –some private
from left to right and from right to left
keeping the rhythm of the depths of the
Eulalie would tear the bread and
give each of us a piece or two. her gesture
had the force of a conjunction - it bound
so we were all eating plain bread
washed down, with small sips of vodka.
crumbs would gather
in the strands of her white hair shining
on her robe out of a Greek tragedy
but the gesture of shaking them off seemed
impossible as making one's way back home
(while the latter seemed more impossible
than a journey to Siberia).
at the next table Sofian was reciting from
when he stopped
a reader pulled out some notes and read:
"In love, the devil's own part
is purely and simply everything that is
not love. You will also sense his presence,
his immovable power,
behind the eyes
of the being devoid of love".
the question is
(said a reader bluntly)
what right has the unloved
to tell others about love?
the wind italicized the woman's words
with a temperamental blast: our plastic
glasses were blown over. we
shut our eyes, when the gust of wind
had passed we stared at one another:
we had faces of
and in the landscape,
a pair of holes –
out of them a special
light lifted high
apparatus, pitched its tents.
in the afterglow remained a world of
like after the mysterious disappearance
of the gypsy camp
from the back alleys of my childhood,
colored potsherds and broken glass rags
and shells half-burnt
brushwood. - we all seemed circumscribed
between a point on the left and a point on
we seemed fragments
of a stammering elliptical discourse.
Eulalie - oh! Eulalie was so deeply sad
that her lover had abandoned her! we didn't
we'd just bite our bread.
one of the boys at our table-
like her lover the trumpeter –
had short-cropped hair: several times
reached her hand
across the table and stroked
his bristly hair with such tenderness
that tears came to her eyes. we all
suddenly looked away as if
we'd surprised her in the act of love.
out of the blue the boy became furious
and turned to the reader's table: And you?
you who prefer the description of a
to the landscape
and the narration of a drama to the drama -
who measure space in typographical signs
and time by the birth and death of the
who live with Karenina's heart
until you find Susan's more enthralling
but eventually betray it for the throbbing
muscle of a valiant policeman –
whose side are you on? ART THOU AMONG
we went on eating bread washed down with
small sips of vodka.
after a while Eulalie read us a poem
and we ail felt the need to touch her with
only the readers
fretting nervously on their chairs
scoffed at the expression "my red rage".
Eulalie wouldn't give them the time of day.
afterwards with her red rage yet intact
she dragged me along with her through
hugging the bread in her arms:
but nowhere was the trumpet to be heard.
it wouldn't tattoo the warm flesh of the
May night with its shrieks.
Eulalie left me at a taxi stand.
with a hazy glance
I followed her wavering silhouette
(as if she'd forgotten her center
splitting the light showers of the street.
(love is permitted...)
love is permitted
provided that it bears fruit
and doesn't grow all-consuming
(it readily sinks into mysticism).
and withdrawal into oneself
is also tolerated
as long as it's performed
in an appropriate place
according to the proper schedule.
even death is permitted
but only if it comes without a fuss
and doesn't pass by
the city hall.
(from my corner...)
from my corner
like a uterus that refuses me
only death appears
worth the debate.
I cannot laugh
but where are we headed, the nightingale
goes on singing
in the huge belly of black felt.
fingers snap softly
ransacking the molasses light.
here are the tragic slums and the fields of
the blood-red gleam
on distorted mouths. we stare
hypnotized by the gun aimed dispassionately
at the Latvias of the pink and white world
those which exist and those which don't
those whose moan of terror is cloaked
with tender slaps on the buttocks
and songs of praise;
those living under the sign of rape
blazing brightly on the white stars
(down with the pandering of the cosmos!)
I cannot laugh, guilty. I the dreamer
the helpless visionary, the gasoline can
with a beer-foam head. I the avenger
free as a horse
galloping in a text
suffocated by parentheses.
guilty, pink and white
the Utopia of a slit
in the huge belly of black felt.
[poet's note: January 1991 - the
bloody incidents provoked by Soviet troops in the Baltic states.]
(a wind of liberty is blowing...)
a wind of liberty is blowing
stripping our flesh to the bone -
once again nontransparent
we populate the black air of the public
above us a June sky
enamored of metaphor
(the snails in the garden riding
tomatoes strawberries -
an ox-heart tomato freshly picked).
grant us the sky
and faith in you -
may the bountiful breast of hope
prove ample for us all.
(alive and warm...)
alive and warm in my heart is death, only
it fills my cells with blood; it lends
color to my
cheeks flushed with hope; generously, it
me ecstasy; it impels me into the day as
warm sea: a hysteria of golden mud.
only it illuminates me. only its enchanted
always trained upon me, can husk me from my
reason: I am a prey to sarcastic mornings
soft nights, oh, the dreams of flesh and
of nightmare and of snow, emptying me of my
feelings, my exhausting, stupid, natural
the ineffable and the stifling.
made pregnant by dreams, by the measureless
sight, my spirit becomes eternal.
(words are a boundless sky...)
words are a boundless sky.
I could say that all's well in heaven-
but here She comes
a propagandist for love:
hey, look, don't let yourselves be taken in
by the folkloric props.
words are a land
full of too many pledges.
I bathe in it
I send forth roots like a tuber
in the ground. I embrace the sun.-
but She is the sun
She a negotiated word
a rattletrap a uterus with auricles
impregnated solely by syntax.
Poems by Mariana Codruţ translated by
Adam J. Sorkin and Radu Andriescu