Against the Wall
by Radu Andriescu
the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet
is the first time I've written at five in the morning"
a sentence with which I feel tempted to perpetrate a
everyone who knows me would realize I'm far too lazy for
the mirror and stand it against the wall":
magic formula to hide petty matters.
the way things shaped up:
a teenage acne of colossal proportions
I never liked to mention
alone write of
that I ask myself now, what about poetry's soothing
short I was monstrously ugly
it seems obvious to me now, purely out of spite, I'd fall
the bimbos my best friend was in love with,
went gaga over him-
tah-dah! my phobia about mirrors . . .
don't really know what got into me to write all this
stuff but anyway, since I've taken the plunge:
ensued my phobia about mirrors and all the world's
register the image
words, which are more forgiving, as it's widely known
can do with them what you want.
wouldn't be right to conclude that writing became a salve
the wounds of my feelings:
my entire life, I've written only two love poems-
maybe three, all of them steeped in Brumaru's spicy style-
worst among them, worst because most poorly
me the master's blessings; here's what he told me
a long-distance call
I was at the seaside
more or less like this): go to Vasile, the manager
the House of the Writers
wait, the Writer's House, whatever, and tell him that I
digressing. I'm drifting away from the subject:
mirror against the wall.
Cluj, in the apartment of a friend of mine,
of the most off-the-wall personages in the entire city,
would leap from the Arizona Café holding an umbrella,
a finale that might be called
successful landing, and who appeared a perfect replica of a
minstrel, as I imagine one,
broke a mirror that had cost over two hundred lei,
so the story goes,
a day unlike any day I'd ever had in my own
day I'll remember all my life because
day I lost my drooping French beret, in which I looked
consummate bohemian with picture-book tresses,
in a impeccably furnished villa, at the foot
the Belvedere Hill,
I was mistaken for what I wasn't and had no intention
ever being, I'm sure you'd like me to tell you,
it's not hard to guess,
who knows? Such polymorphous monsters
the merciful heavens shelter
all their bounties.
all this because of an irresistible planetary passion,
Slavic derivation, as we know it.
was a joy and happiness from which I couldn't abstain
which would bring me nothing but trouble.
used to show itself the very moment I forgot about
mirror and about myself.
it bothers me only when real faces
into malleable paste, like in Miro's paintings.
artless and confessional tone is risky as hell
it lures you to confide more and more
digress in every line
that I feel I'm almost committing a kind of literary hara-
my friend, far too dangerous,
hard to discriminate among any number of disparate
issues here .
what of minimalist poetry?
try to get on with the beheading but forego the customary
(Harpsichord with Multiple Keyboards)
seeking a "poetic voice"
I believe I'll never realize this ancient and wise
in fact I hope I won't
I'll likely find myself mistaken, as I usually am
they one and all seem innocent and good to me
those whom in secret I hate like poison
I come to realize they're right
I get used to the idea.
don't know, I guess I'm really enough of an ignoramus
for the best in this world
it be, the gondola or the kayak, the canoe or the
river or the murmuring stream, the crystal, the swamp,
or dove . . . )
I'd be brief and I'm terrified to the quick:
this sequence of poems,
I have no idea what to write about
in my life I've never had a particularly
somehow leaves the others in the dust,
as for the mirrors, I'm sure I've already said all I had
even told about that winter in Cluj, what more can I
I stepped into the bathroom, instead of turning
turn it off,
of the mirrors, and also when I telephoned
the phone there was a mirror
big as day,
in the stores, I used to slip quickly through those
there were mirrors,
for the shoe stores, and even there,
it was sufficient for me just to catch a flicker
reflected shoes to . . .
it! I'd rather end this section on a
copy below the very first poem I care-ful-ly re-cit-ed,
first one I com-mu-ni-cat-ed
I was nine years old and still had no idea
lit-er-a-ture was all about,
for whoever doesn't know French it will be an even more
a purer poetry,
the Palazzo della Ragione is in this tourist booklet of
in a Romance
but freer in language
this bouquet of stanzas
their literary complexity.
baroque side, which as yet won't give me a moment's
I was playing badminton in the yard with my father,
some other country,
the war between the Daises and the Roses,
story which turned into a catastrophe when I was prompted
front of a microphone,
a sort of mirror, too, like paper.
it's terrible not to be able to see those words with the
simply keep them to myself.
I'll be riding off along the trail,
regaled you with my tale
its being stale, but without flourishes,
a sweet new style
citadel without women
with, if you will, and all the delights and the freshness of
the skin burns and you dance
end up sleeping it off in a cell,
oh loathsome fellow creature.
Romanian poet Radu Andriescu is the author of three books of poetry,
Mirror Against the Wall in 1992, The Back Door two
years later in 1994, and most recently, The End of the Road,
the Beginning of the Journey (1998). Andriescu is a lecturer
in the Faculty of Letters of the Alexandru I. Cuza University of
Iasia. Other poems by Andriescu have previously appeared in English
in City of Dreams and Whispers, edited by Adam Sorkin, and
are forthcoming in Cider Press Review.