Poems by Ştefan Bolea


translated by Joan Michelson & Andreea Banciu [MTTLC student]

I do not fear hell, but the purgatory
I have survived – the deafening fires.
I even had my faction.
we called ourselves the bloody ones
because the waking nights burst in our eyes
and inside the umber iris.

an ascetic can create his own hell
from a probe to his character.
I haven’t felt the need to probe,
not this curiosity. I was simply
thrown into hell like meat from a slaughter house.

I managed as I always do.
So they failed to break me.

they tried to choke, muzzle, suffocate.
It was a proper training.
Then the desert created a different me, small and disgusting.
It took my strength away and my voice.
I wore the face of a rat,
recoiling from life,
hiding in canals
feeding on spectres and dirt.

this was more difficult:
to overcome my squeamishness
to jump down his throat,
and fight against an enemy
so soiled and poker-faced.
But at the equinox, I succeeded.
I defeated him and filled with loathing
and your face reflects only when
you have subdued the shadows,
wandered from the wilderness.

I have graphed the putridity and rigidness
beyond the broken mirrors.
Angels guard the gates of self,
another stair, a new abyss.
I step on my numbed self
and hurl it to the vortex.
I shall not stop
until my tanks assault the mythic Shambala
and I light my fat cigar on the world’s roof.


translated by Merryn Williams & Adriana Boagiu [MTTLC student]

a sun exploded just beyond my eyelids
and there is only parching in my ears
while in my throat is an atomic silence
I’m choking
from my chest they’ll peel a kamikaze’s uniform
from my skull they’ll gather flames for a grenade

a red flame
and a black flame
and my soul will break in half
and my spirit race through bulletproof vests.


translated by Merryn Williams & Adriana Boagiu [MTTLC student]

into the madness of my soul
you stare with X-rays

no corner of my psyche can escape
there’s nothing that you miss.

And you suggest:

1) Go for a moonlight stroll. Look at the roses.
2) Expand the jihad. Get outside yourself.
3) Set free the demons whom you took as hostages.
4) Postpone attacks. (Heaven can be assaulted
only in the last quarter of the moon).
5) Feel sympathy and sorrow
for shadows, who are dying under torture.
6) Keep studying. More presocratic physics
and less Descartes.
7) And rest. Until the fiery eyes
rake over me once more.

Poems by Ştefan Bolea

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