Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016 v15n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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translation from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin and Lidia Vianu

Then Suddenly, in the Little Bar of Your Body, I Overturn the Table

They laugh. And in their mockery slap their buttocks.
Gather and bad-mouth each other in turn.
And using the jugular of the innocent as a straw, they sip their ponds of alcohol.

Their women have spread everywhere like traps.
Their most beautiful women dwell in the nose cones of bombs.
Their little faces are painted. They meow in silky tones.
Their fingers are starving.

You follow them down gravel steps.
And find yourself in the womb of brightly lit rooms.
Drawing rooms stuffed—like turkeys—with music paintings good literature.

Rooms that seem to be sprawling with one leg crossed over the other.
Thus seated,
They chatter, they ask you in jest,
“Well, my boy, where is your God now?”

“Is your God here?” asks the redhead whom you accosted
After a show at the Bulandra Theatre
And who now presses your hand against one of her breasts.

“No. He isn’t.”

“Maybe he’s just shy? Has your God hidden right here too?”

“No. My God’s not around.”

“Of course he is. I can feel him. I’m sure that your God
Also has an assignation with you here in the little bar of my body. . .”

“Be off with you then!” Suddenly
In the little bar of her heart
I overturn the table.

I half sit up and leave the bed.
As I always do from the beds of these women we’re constantly talking about.
Then at once,
My shoulders tower high above the pavement of Vlăhița Street.

At several crucial junctures, I’ve been exhumed
From graves where I’d begun to decompose.

I’ve forgotten simple lessons about emotion
From these dangerous encounters.

I’ve been lured once again.
Kept with my head underwater in a basin.
The bellies of those holes that held me
Were squeezed hard—as you do with frogs—in order to set me free.
How can they ask where my God is?

For years on end I went around with two molehills on my shoulders,
Like a pair of falcons.
I go to the city rarely.
I go to the city very rarely.
Only when,
Steadfast, I need to walk the narrow path
Among the shops with windows wrenched loose.

Against their metal corners
Cave bears and huge carnivorous beasts sharpen their teeth.
I’m immediately recognized and surrounded by natives
Who smirk. And in their mockery slap their buttocks.

I wander through town among all those who’ve become bored with
My trying to raise up my life.
This time
They merely strike my shoulders.

They thrust their shovels deep into the ground
And fling mountains of earth that tumble over me.
They smirk. And handle their tools with derision
as if helping me breathe with extra-large fans.
They urge,
“Tell us again, madman,
Where is your God?”  

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