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Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
Poems by Saviana Stanescu
translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin, Jana Rotescu & the poet
one fine day
Florina burst into bloom
each strand of hair
on her perfect
some say firm
others say thrillingly soft
musical and fair
each and every strand
metamorphosed into a petal
yes a petal
in the evening Florina combs
her chrysanthemums dahlias but
you haven't seen anything yet
you should gaze upon her hands
at the fleshy sinuous freesias reaching
mingling blooming opening wide
what fragrance
when Florina dances but
you haven't seen anything yet
because those long legs of hers
some say like a model's
others say
too thin and bony
like daisies
tremble side-by-side in rows

planted in the garden beds of parks
for a long time now
Florina hasn't moved
so as not to ruin
that sister garden
her siamese twin
she stays exactly like that
neighbors come to the courtyard
passersby tourists
arrive to see her feel her smell her
so her parents sell tickets
just to look at Florina
how she stays so still
she has learned to wait
to understand the sun and the rain
to fear hail
young lovers who pluck
her petals and recite
she loves me
she loves me not
she loves me
it's so pretty to see them
the young dandies the mature gentlemen
all the bachelors who line up
to smell Florina's feet
to caress those daisies
sprouted from her thighs
to water
Florina's flowers
with saliva sweat tears
to make an offering
of seed somewhere
maybe some different sort of
flower or something like
a flower or who knows what kind
of petaled witchery
might spring up from the warm hard
smooth sweet earth
of Florina

for a long time
Florina hasn't moved but
old crones gypsies neighborhood gossips
swear that at the very moment
she gave up the ghost
water gushed from her mouth
water kept flowing
and an artesian well
remains right there
in the middle of the garden

Haunting Deep Inside You

I'm not sure I really want
to learn by heart
the landmarks
of your body
to map it precisely
on a 1:1 scale
or 2:1 instead
all your mountains valleys meadows
are occupied territories
condemned to the gallows
by my rebel imagination
that has already committed suicide
in cell no. 102
of your blood
going on a thirst strike
for crazy visions
it hasn't missed much no
not in the slightest
it withered wizened shrank
such a pity
yes quite a pity
reason lamented from next door
it died there
in cell no. 102 of your blood
swimming spasmodically
in your cytoplasm believe me
nothing out of the ordinary
it could have escaped but no
it had to infiltrate your blood
penetrate deep inside you
haunt you
sort of dissolve itself
so as no longer to be
oh poor dumb thing
it has transformed you
into the unwitting king of a world
of slippery fish-images
ever since then you've been
writhing and twitching
as if possessed
by crazy frantic visions

there's no cure
Hunger Strike for You

I sketch spirals and
you slide down the toboggan
of my last spiral
what could these be
what are you doing
leaping twisting clowning
maybe I could too
maybe maybe
but I no longer
even dream
of your laughter
I no longer take my dose
of you-vitamins
I no longer have
you-breakfast in the morning
tonight I promise
I'll throw out my entire you-dinner
well what now do you still feel like
somersaulting head over heels
transforming yourself magically
into whatever
into my pen let's say
so maybe I could
touch you once more
spin you round
press you again
maybe I could maybe

we're sketching spirals


I. The Pail

I told her
mama do my hair
but she wasn't in the mood she yelled for
my father the colonel a former
colonel with his grenade case
and he rolled my curls
around the fat green grenades
their rings stuck out
on the left on the right
you've got the most beautiful hair
he told me and put his hand
on my head his fingers slipped automatically
into the rings of the fat green grenades
I don't want to mommy no
I jerked away boom boom
my heart was beating
the clock struck six
mommy mommy bring a dustpan bring a broom
sweep all the pieces of me into your hand
father hurry up guests will be coming and we
aren't ready I'm not
fully inside yet I won't fit
push me push me in I feel
your hands oh father
it's all right
I never really knew
it was so green inside

II. The Chute

father why
am I falling where's
my left thigh going
hey potato peel be careful
you're half strangling me
knotted round
my artery number l00
or 50 or maybe 205 I've lost track
stupid arithmetic book my eyes
are snagged on your graph paper
three cockroaches
probably our next-door neighbor's
killed with insecticide thanks
mama thanks
for pouring those five liters
of sour milk down here
really it's so wet
and so white inside

III. The Dump

my gums
got lost
under the nostril of an almost putrefied dog
no more than a glimmer a twitch
mama that meddlesome
Mercedes wheel has fused
with my temple
you know mama
sex is something else here
when you wake up and it's warm
then you give birth
you and the pieces of anything
near you in this way we multiply mama
look at
my windpipe-proud grandpapa
of a slimy mollusk with skin
scales seeds plastic
and now
these gums
have begotten a purple tooth
as purple as it's big
oh so purple

IV. Yellow Gray

it grew up fast
turned into
a purple dog
with a disgusting fang
an icky tooth sticking out beneath its chin
mother father
yellow gray is spilling
on the new stone floor
yellow gray
the dishrag can clean it up
don't wipe us away
the purple tooth
bites everything
everyone's on a skewer
a skewer
one after another
this horrible glue
sticks us together daddy
yellow gray


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