From “The Animal-Tree”

Gellu Naum

Translated from Romanian by MARGENTO and Martin Woodside


Generally we cannot know for sure whether it is a good thing or not to speak of that banished thing
of the well-known
strange thing we habitually do when alone
of the migrations to the gentle labyrinths where moans can be of an immeasurable value
generally, they make love day and night and evening and some mornings
following some slightly erroneous calendar
baking bread and bandaging shoulder blades
and we walk great boulevards telling each other our locust memories
walk like heaps of dry cobs our rustle stirring the nostalgia of those who walk with fingers in creoline
speaking that urban-rural language
with a firmness capable of more and more in
the Swimming pool, the rocking cradle, and the birdcage.

Plants grow in the world all-powerful overwhelming
a vegetable world watches us from a distance sending up illustrated postcards and fans
in a searing heat which doesn’t belong in any era
an encompassing heat like a mattress with no memories no dreams just one canopy
urban-rural and we exist each other and the whole
is one single thing
a thing forefelt in bra and petticoat lost and yellowish on rough surfaces

But on those pathways plausible through the garden plots
you can hear the words from words you can see
the hourglasses lost in their nostalgia
your iron rusted in them
The mistress of the universe the girl from the ballet sleeps among us as in a tin can
Heron of Alexandria spins out the principles
on a small table’s corner inside a box of matches
and everything is clear as you leaf through the treatise on the Void
and you walk around in a crinoline dress or on the benches along the fence
with your Ophelia-drowned-in-steam-style hair
and I declare to you the most noble sentiments in a white amphora
in a tower like an apprentice with his feet as wet as the women’s after the lamps
are lit
eaten up in the evening by mosquitoes in an area of total transparency
while a sad parrot gives me geography lessons
without nothing and without nowhere

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