Mariana Marin



Red and Black

Ten Thousand Gallows 




O Lord,

if only I could rest in a sanatorium in the mountains,

among pink pills and blue pills,

a sanatorium with the bracing scent of fir trees

and plush carpets,

with stylish, neurotic ladies

suffering pleasant little matrimonial conflicts.

If only I could enjoy a trauma like measles,

the patter of a summer shower,

a silken neurosis

after which he loves you so much more;

a neurosis like the steam of chamomile tea,

after which you’re more dazed,


after which the tide of your femininity lays siege to the world,

cures it, makes it thrill for a treasure known so secretly.

If only I could rest in some life scenario,

in simple, out-of-the-way nooks, honest,

where there’s a bed in which to sleep

and a bucket in which to vomit out

every last thing that, while giving them to me, Lord, you took away,


vomit without end. 



                                                            translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Daniela Hurezanu




Red and Black



I can no longer reread my old poems.

the self who wrote them has fled far away,

banished by my own hand.

I couldn’t have stood watching her careen aimlessly

about this reality with no churches

and no God.

I replaced myself with someone else,

but when it’s time for evensong

I retrieve a greensward hidden in my mind

or the bark of a tree

and make the pagan sign of the cross.

Sometimes reality surprises me in the act

and shoves down my throat its red, five-pointed stars.

I barely make it home,

then vomit them out one at a time,

flushing the toilet again and again.


And all that exists (it’s been bruited about since ancient times)

flows into the vast black sea.



                                                            translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Daniela Hurezanu




Ten Thousand Gallows



One fine day you look back, stupefied

by your own life.

you retouch a hand,

rearrange a smirk

under your bedcovers, and no one knows.

you pour another shot of misfortune in a glass.

Lucidity shouldn’t surprise us this way,

exposed to the world’s bleary gaze.

We should pay closer heed

to our secret skeleton

so we can trick a reality that flexes its juiced physique

and intones daily requiems over us.

But who can say what’s best?

Maybe I should just

keep staring at my own life.

This, too, is a kind of anesthetic,

only slightly different from any other.

It humbles you with love,

it whispers of milk and honey

from a country not meant to be yours.

It arrays you in the crimson shroud of a pomegranate,

sucks a few more drops of your blood,

then slaps your face again.


In childhood I used to eavesdrop

on everything that was forbidden

—a prophylactic nostrum for a comfortable maturity.

Today I gather information about a truncated old age

that long ago began to crease my palm.


Even ten thousand gallows

erected alongside the great literatures

would be less frightening

than what my ears cause me to hear.


One fine day you look back, stupefied.



                                                            translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Daniela Hurezanu





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