Thursday, September 19, 2013

iov. iova. iona. ion. ioan es. pop. Translated from Romanian into English by Nathaniel Smith, K Shaver and Ion Cretu

iov. iova. iona. ion

in the beginning was the end. then the agony. then the dry land.
then, on november 16, i saw iova passing stooped
through the intersection of victoria with lemnea. it was friday and it
                                                                                        was evening.
now, listen: i had no money and i wanted to forget. i walked up to
i asked iova for money and iova didn't say a word.
probably he was during his divorce at the time, cause he suddenly took
his crown of thorns in one hand and threw it down as if it were a fur cap.
what are you doing? i said. leave him alone, the owl said,
and passed over his head croaking,
leave him alone, it said, resignation is
his pet name.

today i went in for a scan, iova said. i am
the inhabitant of a hole, they saw it clearly inside me.
forget it, i said, they will pull it out somehow, don't
                                                                 you worry,
they have forceps, they have catgut, they know how to do it,
c'mon, you'd better give me a cigarette.

man, he says, the hole is growing bigger by the day, it has begun to
                                                                           press upon my lungs
and now is moving on into my liver.
c'mon, then, i say, let's go to the bar, to the berbecul, and we'll
                                                                                       fill it up
and you'll have a sea by dry land.

not now, iova says, it's been months since i've written, i'm not
expecting anyone to come from megara any more.
and every sheet of paper is too thin when i write and it tears
look here: i wear gloves not to be be seen, for now
i write straight on my hand – it's my deceased aunt.

i write with difficulty. i jab the tip of the pencil into my skin until
                                                                                               i meet
myself underneath. i write as deep as i feel i should write.
i scratch the tissues, i dig in the veins, i scrape at the bone until i
her coffin penetrated by the graphite.

i'm writing a single letter a day, until i find myself. the rest
is silence. no writing compares with this. then,
until the skin heals above, i write in my palm a mirror image.
that's why my wife left me. writing is painful.

i write until the letter plunges under the flesh. some day i shall be
only from inside out. i shall be a book bound in my own skin.
and impenetrable. and when they open me up
i shall move on the other side of myself. i shall always
remain on the inside. they'll search. i shall laugh.

so, c'mon, let's go to the megara or the berbecul, old pal,
but today is the last time, 'cause tomorrow
can't ever be tomorrow.

ioan es. pop 

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