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Poems by O. Nimigean

translated by Chris Tanasescu & Martin Woodside

the first.  the second
(“primul. al doilea” from weekend printre mutanţi, Pan, 1994)

god doesn’t
give you the first that you look for
alone
straying step by step
from your fellow of flesh of blood of word—I look
alone—for this
they call me the stranger call me
the enemy but then I can barely feel
gusts of words on the back of the neck
from beyond the woods, the gritstone mountains, the lakes
–their curse almost a caress

further still on a narrow path
a path of air gradually forgetting
the colors because there is only light is only
darkness—only my straw-red blood
seen fearfully through transparent hands
seems different—and then
I cry without thinking

further still on a narrow path
but never far enough
god doesn’t give you the first that you look for
alone and if you find it
can’t be written            the second
is always a stutter

a house a fence a tree a bird
(“o casă un gard un copac o pasăre” from adio adio dragi poezii, OuTopos, 1999)

I’ll never travel America
I’ll never ride Brooklyn’s steel rails
follow echoes of Whitman only in mind prairies and
factories steam rising from rivers    with Crane’s eyes
I’ll watch the water, its devouring jellyfish flesh

I won’t wander the boulevards of Paris
under statues in bird shit coquettish as snow
I won’t go drowsy into bistros won’t be brothers
with Nicholas the dog I would hardly live in a book
lemonade yellow (here kitty, kitty, into the sack)
or in an attic make love to Zazie
and then
Anna’s tomboy face

won’t appear to me anymore in the foggy evenings
somewhere between the Pickwick Club and Buckingham Palace
(only the girl you would kiss by Spaski Tower
will whisper my name in Trafalgar Square)

farewell, farewell, roads on which Wilhem apprenticed
fair-haired Kriemhildes on trains from Berlin to Potsdam
farewell crazy Bavarian king

I’ll never see Rome
stretch my arm from the top of Trajan’s column
I will not kneel in St. Peter’s
won’t bequeath my laundry in my last will
in Palermo where
Prince Salina sleeps his eternal sleep
on a sunny terrace

(and you Isonzo won’t shape me like one of your stones)

I won’t turn towards Zaragosa either
to shatter the lies of apocryphal books
my dear barber my beloved student
I won’t send Sancho to Toboso
and I won’t sniff the fungus air of Sagrada
except from dusty fliers
(soledades, soledades in tomes glittering gold
from the Golden Age in books trickling
the mixed blood of bull and matador)

on the banks of Bahluiu I will wait
for Ligheea to surface from the muddy waters smelling of the Mediterranean
(but she’ll never surface maybe a fat
drunk school girl will curse in demotiki)

(may Oedipus’s tomb in Colonnus stay forever unknown)

country of no fatherland
I watch your invisible walls
drawing clumsily on them with chalk
a house a fence a tree a bird
and myself among them
playing with a ring of smoke.

Zombie Zone (their country)
(“zombiezon” from nicolina blues, Cartea Românească, 2007)

I’ve had it up to here
of having to deal
with all these crap talkers
Today I stay silent
lying
in the near darkness
a generic go fuck your mothers

They won again and here’s my lot
another half century of reeking rot
the fat turd lingers in their toilet mouths
no matter how much chlorine I spread about

They chew the cud with a bulging fat
stalactite of steaming scat
mouth like an old whore’s worn out ass
a long tongue licking up with a splash
vast as Balkan and Carpathian snows
can’t cover up their massive shit hole

or cool down the stagnant miasma
that even the 3 color flag stinks of

out of the great merde sea a fecal rush
with a last fuck you one final fuck
I bid farewell embracing an absence
which remains untouched by pestilence

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