Poems by Ştefan Bolea

Translation from Romanian by Merryn Williams and Adriana Boagiu, MTTLC student


I am
the last wave of an avalanche
that wrecked a century
that unveils the sneering laughter of the void;
the universal spirit which, like a shark,
bites the net from his trainer’s glove.
I am alone in the garden of Eden
after I killed my father
and cut out the snake’s venomous tongue.
I manufacture clones of myself in the basement
and I arm them with nuclear missiles
which will take away your breath when you’re eating dinner,
which will amputate the arms
with which you slapped your children,
which will explode in your face
when you kneel in rapt communion with the telly.
I wanted to escape to another world,
I travelled all the way to the border
to demonstrate to you that there is only
the hell which is here and now.
The Christian dreamers have invented a circus
based on fantasies and rewards.
But the only reward is the gallows’ hatch
which I myself shall open.
And I also wanted to tell you
you are thin because your soul pulls you down,
while the spirit is castrated.
They took away your balls like they do with stray dogs
and you pick up another joint
and another dose of really bad films
while riveted to your sofa
like Jesus to his cross.
Drained with a syringe like Prometheus’ raven
you gulp down one more glass of advertisements
and in a catatonic daze, go shopping.
And your life is like the sotto voce remarks
of the newsmen who read jokes from the prompter.
In the end you will be standing
in front of a completely blank TV screen
wondering how quickly a bullet crosses
from the temple to the brain.
Believe me, it may take three hundred years,
and it won’t even be your own death
because your life was hardly yours.


one can easily get lost in the city,
they send the SAS to hunt me down,
at every junction, snipers watch me.
NASA watches me too, through a satellite,
and all wait for the right moment to destroy me.

I walk like a human target
always knowing this moment may be the last one

but my Kalashnikov is well hidden
in the fake cast which I wear on my left hand
the cast which they hold to your neck
when they sweet-talk you
and when they hold you down like the peasant you are.
Shut up, they say,
and listen.

I’ll abandon my disguise
only for my nerves to scream louder

I’ll become a walking bomb

when snipers nod their heads at one another
when the great conspiracy declares
that it’s execution time
the splinters of my brains
will eye the city

for I have quite enough determination
to shine brighter than this bitter sun
to explode at a seven-times-bigger junction
to turn the little tower into Manhattan
and all Romania into Ground Zero
to drive our neighbours mad
because this country has become a museum of terrorism
halfway between Bin Laden and MacDonalds

a nuclear-contaminated Romania
whose vapour, whose outline, whose dead body
you can see all the way from the dark side of the world
like a piranha, spat out of earth’s uterus.


people with lasers in their eyes
pursue me.
I have to duck and dive between the flashes
like a contortionist,
to run, find shelter.
They want to kill me, trap me,
to scorch me with their looks,

but the burned skin, the face engraved with scars,
are only a disguise,
a short-term mask;
when they surround me with their filthy laughter
I shall pour caustic soda in my eyes
gulp down pure alcohol
spit out my mask
as serpents do
pour forth my soul
over these predators
and I’ll assume my avatar’s disguise.

And then the men with laser eyes will freeze
and then the lightning turn them into ashes.
Making good use of time
the avatar has sprung out of the basement
and set the earth on fire.
One day, Death handed him a mirror, hoping
that he’d destroy himself.
He gave it back
and slashed the witch’s throat with spears of glass.

And then – the files got lost
and nothing more was known about his kingship.


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