Translated by Adam J. Sorkin and the poet
I do nothing all day, I’m dying at the university.
The mountains that rule over the city are more luxuriant in the morning,
when the lupines retract after shining like skyscrapers
all night long, when the errant missile
turns everything into Italian hills.
Near them, the music in my headphones reaches
its poorest quality, two seconds of silence from which warm
noons emerge, the pear trees thaw.
I think I’m zoning out because someone’s searching for me
but nobody does anything the whole day, some sort of mist
floats inside my head, and I’m ashamed to look into my colleagues’ eyes.
One girl, Alexandra, is wearing a blouse with a cat across her stomach,
and when she hears the name of the boy who a long time ago fucked her
in the wine cellar, a small hammer hits the kitty’s mouth and she’s out of here,
her eyes infused with green duckweed-filled water.
It sweeps away her transitions.
The other girl has a gold heart, pierced by a stripe
of sweat above her navel. The gold heart hobbles her,
she’s gasping when she gets home, the only thing that softens her is
her own breath – in a temporal, awkward curl that tends toward death.
Safe from the frost, Eva the geranium, of the Angels Group, has rich curls,
and her lemon scent repels mosquitoes.
However, they say Fantasy Hot Pink and Glow in the Dark.
Girls in the first class, why are you torturing yourselves?
Why, when we should conserve ourselves
for later, when there’s a touch of spring,
and we’ll find shelter? That’s where I hid away
the money for presents to make you go insane.
The cold killed the cactuses last winter, only the river winds its way
over the meadow, in asymmetrical arabesques.
May you be my fresh power, frightened girls in the boxwoods.
Far away, huge grass fires, raising smoke on the hills.
Where the image breaks off, long reeds with razor-sharp leaves grow.
Don’t mock me for creeping around you like honeysuckle.
Better that we run through the fields, race after yellow butterflies,
close by the moldy shutters. Round and round the boulders framed by nettles,
let’s suffocate among the poppies at the edge of the wheat field.
Let’s hunt rats, and if we don’t, I’ll find the tunnel in the wild rapeseed.
The path to the little bamboo house, where I’m offering you the tender friendship
of the little brother who’ll pick red fruits for you,
barefoot he’ll bring you a lukewarm bird nest across the sand.
Tell me my thoughts, I thought them a month ago.
“A wave that at the end breaks the sinusoidal curve, it levels out
and calms us because we think we can imitate it.”
Only in the evening should God strike us to the ground
like the green wheat in an intermediate stage.
The stream from the bank should be a counterbalance, so we cannot
steal away, that it can ruin our unhoped for embraces once and for all.
You close your eyes and surrender, thinking that we’ll meet there,
suspended in darkness with the staticky cold of the neon.
But you floating beyond time, with nothing to grab on to,
beyond space, with your lost memory, over a spectral, unvaried noise.
How should I explain what I want from you,
explain the light that draew me into the flow?
Four times you heard the birds singing at dawn,
and you knew that four days had passed.
An armchair with an infinity of positions for the electric dream –
so you won’t break your spine, you won’t crack your knees.
You vanish from a day and you’re ashamed,
terrified by the person who screams to you to return.
Your effort comes to naught since it happens beyond
persistence, beyond description. It’s restless, directed only
to its own center, leaving you powerless.
You wish you could laugh, you’re filthy, stupefied.
And what if four days hadn’t passed but twenty years,
what if you floated off with no memory, with no stimulus, alone
and far away – a thought unattached to any structure?
While I slept, while I shivered, while I danced.
The fissure grows deeper every following day, making connections
during morning walks. This figure with rainbow-colored hair
is not a cyberpunk but a brain scan
of someone captive in their own body, without a remedy in our system.
Come back with me to the obscure objects in your box of surprises.
Step up to the barrier, where you see shining, rare power.
Step up to the sadness of the few kinds of shadows the sun allows us,
the little girls with violent gestures, near the control panel with secret function keys.
I don’t know what to say about my poetry. I think nobody should talk about his own literature in a serious manner – or at least I couldn’t take seriously someone’s opinions about his own literature. I guess these kinds of self-explanatory assertions usually function as arguments for an extraordinary rational mind, the kind of intelligence always able to systematize and objectify, to zoom in and out until the scanned system is reduced and explained according to the purpose. One would say this sort of intelligence should be held in high esteem, given that it is capable of explaining not only the diversity of forerunners’ canonical works but also the internal laws of influence and mechanisms of its own distinctiveness.
I couldn’t agree more. I have an endless consideration for the people who possess this striking analytical precision. Honestly speaking, though, I can’t identify the system that I’ve referred to. Of course I’d like to offer a response that would frame my poetry within the main body of literature and literary mutations that have developed at least, let’s say, after the 2000s, and of course it would be auto-exciting to think that my poetry escapes the general rules of this paradigm. But would it persist, the fun and excitement of writing poetry? The joy of observing the girl near the white birches?
I would like you to imagine the movements of a child in a small town, always mistaken for his fellows, as he is the commonest lad in the group, still as quiet as a mouse. Usually, in this sort of town, everybody gets to know everybody else, but the child you imagine is lost in an interval of confusion where nobody recognizes him. One day, walking home from school, he is encircled by a warm light that lifts him four inches from the ground. It’s all a matter of seconds.
Alex Văsieș was born on 14 June 1993, in Bistrița. After graduating high school, he published Lovitura de cap (“Head Butt”) in 2012 (Bucharest: Casa de Pariuri Literare) and moved to Cluj-Napoca where he has been studying Comparative Literature at the Babeș-Bolyai University. At the moment he is working on a new book of poetry.
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