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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life

by Traian Pop Traian

translated from the Romanian
Heathrow O'Hare

Cine întreaba

cântaretii n-au cântat
profesorii n-au predicat
învataceii n-au învatat
scriitorii n-au scris
pictorii n-au pictat
militarii n-au militat
activistii n-au activat
zelosii nu si-au dat silinta
lenesii n-au lenevit
teroristii n-au terorizat
ceilalti (cum
sa le spui?)
negasind ceva mai acatarii de facut
si-au tras câte un baston în cap
sau pe spate si-au pus catusele si au urcat
în dubele politiei cine
n-a încaput a prins câte un glont
ba în picior ba în piept ba în cap
sa se mire

Exista Ninsori

exista ninsori memoria le programeaza cu nonsalanta
exista amintiri zapada iscaleste polite fara acoperire - din ce
în ce mai des anotimpurile te privesc prin iaurtul oglinzii - strivesti un fulg
incandescent în florarul de gheata - încerc sa fug - "trei minute...îmi spui mi
se pare uneori absurd...asta e felul meu de a fi..."
exista în toate acestea un moment de repaus - diapozitiv rasturnat - clipa
trebuie sa se retraga (ca si cum traficantul de vise si-ar fi terminat abtibildurile
si cuvintele ar fi silite sa o ia razna dezbracate de orice vesmânt) în cleiul
de ger pocneste un colac de salvare - e gândul
dincolo de el nici un pas spre cunoastere
închizi ochii (înghiti o speranta pe inima goala)
iarna e un fel de promisiune rostesti
în nici trei minute

Sa folosesti în fiecare clipa alt sapun alta perie de dinti

sa folosesti în fiecare clipa alt sapun alta perie de dinti
alte haine alt tramvai
sa le simti tristetea alergarii si sa nu faci nimic pentru a le retine
sa se vrea toate interesante adorate iubite - coscovite
în fardul care-ti acopera fata -
(fara a încerca vreodata un sentiment de vinovatie)
sa stai ca o nevoie de aer în mijlocul miscarii lor browniene
sa le probezi la întâmplare si sa te dezbraci înainte de a privi
în oglinda oferita
sa te ascunzi într-o toana de-a ta într-un dor într-o doara
si sa le reîntâlnesti într-o buna zi în camera mortuara a
adapostului antiaerian
din strada talciocului numarul 53

Se traia

soldatul în uniforma trai
împuscat de soldatul în civil care
trai împuscat de subofiterul
în uniforma pe care la rându-i îl împusca
subofiterul în civil pe care (nu-i asa ?) ofiterul
în uniforma si pentru ca ofiterul în civil trebuia
(neaparat ?) sa arunce undeva glontul se nimeri sa
il plaseze acestuia
tocmai între ochi
se traia domnule pe strazi
prin parcuri prin beciuri prin spitale prin crese prin cimitire
pe sub pamânt prin aer peste tot se traia domnule
si nimeni nu parea a avea ceva de spus
de parca
asa ar fi fost (scris? )
sa fie

chipul tau

el pretinde ca scrie biografia amiezii
când fugareste în ploaie o vedenie cu chipul tau
ea se încapatâneaza a-i sterge lacrima albastra
stiind ca-n urma-i va ramâne gândul
nevindecat al noptii de veghe
împartita frateste între o bâjbâiala si alta

ce privea de la distanta cum altii îi lasau în apa
propria-i traznaie si cel cu opchii umflati de plâns
aveau desigur unul si acelasi chip
al tau)

oricât de mult te-ai urâ
esti si vei fi mai aproape de mine
decât înotatorul de ocazie când cuprins de panica
tulbura linistea acestor rânduri
pe care un virus caruia îi e totuna în ce limba sunt scrise
le-ar putea lesne prinde într-o capcana de pânza înmuiata în gips
numai buna pentru rânjetul si spaima tradarii
aceasta ultima tentativa
de a recunoaste ca totul nu e decât o farsa

cum de s-au gasit toate sa împrumute chipul si înfatisarea ta
deîndata ce am început a cerceta
frunzele de lut ale copacului
pe care tatal meu s-a gasit sa-l planteze
tocmai între sprâncenele transformatorului de înalta tensiune

To Whomever Might Ask

the singers did not sing
the teachers did not preach
the students did not do their homework
the writers did not write
the artists did not paint
the military did not militate
the activists did not take action
the zealots did not try hard enough
the slothful did not idle their time away
the terrorists did not spread terror
the others (how
should one call them?)
not finding something outstanding to do
hit themselves hard with a truncheon across their skulls
or maybe they handcuffed themselves and got into
the police vans whoever
could not find room in there caught a bullet
in the leg or in the chest or in the head it did not matter where
just for the sake
of providing sensational stuff
to whomever
may ask

There are Snowfalls

there are snowfalls memory plans them ahead nonchalantly
there are memories snow signs bills without surety -- more and
more often the seasons peer at you through the yogurt of the mirror --
you crush an incandescent
snowflake in the ice flower herbarium -- I try to run away -- "three
minutes ... you say to me it seems
absurd to me sometimes ... that's the way I am ..."
there is in all this a resting point -- un up-side-down slide -- the
has to leave off on its own (as if the dream peddlar had finished his
reserve of transfer pictures
and words would be forced to set out stark naked and with no specified
destination) in the gluey
frost a life-belt bursts up -- it is the thought
beyond which no step can be taken in the direction of knowledge
you close your eyes (swallowing a hope on an empty stomach)
winter is a kind of promise you say
and disperse it
in less than three minutes

To Use Every Moment a Different Bar of Soap a Different Toothbrush

to use every moment a different bar of soap a different toothbrush a
different suit of clothes a different streetcar
to perceive the sadness of their chasing and to do nothing to restrain
all of them wishing to be intersting loved adored
-- part of the scaling makeup covering your face --
(without ever being visited by a feeling of guilt)
to stand like a need of air in the midst of their brownian movement
to try them on at random and to take them off before loking in the mirror
tended to you
to hide yourself in a mood in a yearning in a moment of indecision
and to meet them again one fine day in the funerary hall
of the bomb shelter
on 53 fleamarket street

They had lots of fun down there

the soldier in his military outfit did have a great time
gunned down as he had been by the plain-clothes agent who himself
was having a great time gunned down by the sergeant
in a military uniform who in his turn had been gunned
down by his plain-clothes counterpart whom a uniform
officer (had he not?) and since the plain-clothes officer had to get rid
(by any means?) of his bullet somewhere it so happened
that he lodged it right between
the other fellow's eyes
they did indeed have lots of fun down there in the streets
in the public gardens in moldy cellars in hospitals at daycare centers
in cemeteries underground in the air everywhere
they did indeed have a very good time
and nobody seemed to be upset either
as if that had long been (written?)
or meant to be so

Your Visage

he pretends he's writing that noon's biography
while pursuing an apparition with your visage in the rain
she tries obstinately to dry its blue tear
knowing that in its wake the unhealed thought
of the sleepless night will remain
fairly divided between one groping and another

(the one
who looked from a distance how others had abandoned his own foolishness
in the water and the one with his eyes swollen from too much crying
had doubtlessly the same visage
your own)

however much you'd hate yourself
you are and will remain closer to me
than the occasional swimmer who seized by panic
troubles the peacefulness of these lines
which a virus that doesn't care about the language they are written in
could easily lure them in a trap of wet cloth impregnated
with gypsum

just fit for treason's grin and terror
this last attempt
to recognize that the whole thing is but a farce

how have they all managed to borrow your visage and likeness
as soon as I began to examine
the clay leaves of the tree
which my father had the whim of planting
right between the eyebrows of the high voltage transformer



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