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Poems by Sorin-Mihai Grad

Surrogate Memory

translated by Nigel Walker & Alexandra Sârbu [MTTLC student]

light was falling and breaking on the ground

where I had spread grass and maize-flour rolls

we were listening to rammstein on the quiet

drinking from half grapefruits

what we had squeezed out of them

and debating the price of vegetables

turnips are more expensive than onions

you told me

I replied something incoherent about the cabbage and the eggplant

strangely, I wasn’t hungry, you went on

about pods which only matter in a group

and then throw them in the soup as fast as you can

and the potato, oh the potato

not stuffed is just an ordinary tuber

 

I want a rabbit, I don’t remember whether I’ve told you

or I’ve only imagined it

you knew about it anyway

you hadn’t read Tom Thumb and I didn’t want

to listen to you anymore

I was hunting pieces of light with my eyes

spiel ein Spiel, mit mir

but you saved yourself with whipper snapper

you began to deserve a seal

well, I hit you with that

a thousand years of peace and still for nothing

why not a zebra or a crayon?

had you asked, you were doomed

I would have told you to you and stirred

other useless words in whatever fell around us

you baptised me with leaves

and I switched to parsley again

how many sheets can you get for a bundle?

on them you should write “think you’ll get away with it?” and randomly deliver them

through mailboxes

it would mean something and

do you to remember the figure-of-eight pretzels we used to eat at school during breaks?

you were the one saying you could eat countless…

 

this is how I think you would have told me about that day

if you hadn’t tried to break nuts with the grenade

we had found in the garden under the radishes

 

 

 

Surrogate of a Surrogate

translated by Nigel Walker & Alexandra Sârbu [MTTLC student]

I don’t know what poems are good for

whom and from what my surrogates will save

whether they will brighten days lives nights

inspire tortures and sects

ignore or invade the minds that mess with them

 

but I’ve understood that

no matter how long you avoid a path

that is intended for you to step on

it will take you by the ears

and will scream or whisper something in them

commanding your feet to move

one step another one

you don’t want wheels go on foot

whoever is attentive doesn’t get bored

no matter how slow you may go

it watches over you and throws you a spark

or a word

when you feel lost

 

today I can’t write surrogate of indifference

yesterday didn’t know the most fictional

alphaandomega of a path that had sneaked through me

through what I was and what I also was

supposed to do

seven years of rummaging for

no kind of tibet

 

 

 

A slightly misanthropic Surrogate

translated by Stella Davis & Mădălina Moţ [MTTLC student]

what do you expect to discover now

about me and inside me?

with every word I masquerade

or I mutilate- depending on the case-

an emotion

which I can barely remember

these lines are in fact stories

you will be able to decode

starting with the third reading

you cannot believe that the love and pain

which appear hereabout

did not exist through me

just for you

or that I am not joking when I ask you to decide

which of the perfume seller and the little match seller

will be abducted in the morning by the aliens

or by cannibals if you prefer them

 

I dedicate this poem to you

if you admit that you cannot understand

what’s the use of my sending you

to hitchhike

with a skull in your hand

on the bridge between yesterday and tomorrow

 

 

 

Surrogate on false pretences

translated by Stella Davis & Mădălina Moţ [MTTLC student]

 

in a garden

I plant ash trees with broken wings

and I urge them to die in a stupid war

with the stereotypes of the night

while waiting for them to die I line up my words

in illiterate patrols within the clamour of ideas

which would kill themselves through me

their burning, which is not even cruel, sings at the other chords

with a cloth voice

with no trace of sense or inertia

if some poet reads me he should kill himself

now while he still has time, while he still has veins

the garden begins to consider itself a vice and a drummer

in the same time

I have felt dead for a long time now

and my traces stink like a rank carcass

even among roses or other flavoured metaphors

I’m a limestone angel

with concentric stripes

watching over the insulation of an onion devil

revolted and passive

#
the original versions of these poems, in Romanian, can be read in the author’s recent book SUROGAT

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5 Comments

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