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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 28 | volume V | September-October, 2002



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 28September-October, 2002
Poetry

Medea and Her War Machines

Translated by Adam J. Sorkin and Alina Carac


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p. 2
Ioan Flora

Medea and Her War Machines
The Mare Danube

_______________________________________________________________________

The Mare Danube
To Gellu Naum

Contractions, convulsions, solitary confinement in broad daylight,
Free – fall as a form of survival, effigies
of an Alexandrian age.
Oh, I itched for cleansing rain, a raging flood,
a cloudburst on the map of Romanian poetry, rivers
rampaging out of their beds,
with bridges of ice collapsed in rye fields.

Look, Epimenides, I've come! says Gellu Naum
(in the meantime Victor Brauner had disappeared from the walls,
and the surrealist seem to have acceded to power);
I was wandering through Siberias of the future, I'd already halted on the Bug,
but by sheer happenstance I traveled the road back home
astride a mangy mare cut in two,
the Appaloosa mare called Danube.

Another moment gone by, another century past, Medea
(certain the rickety mare was lame) ordered me to stab it, to shoot it.
My bowels were in knots, my tongue staggered on my thoughts,
I developed a limp in my writing hand,
I couldn't live with myself any longer, or others.
What's more, the cauldron of the sky slipped and fell, sticking halfway
into the soil of their mute, tricolor homeland.
Then a couple of slick boys showed up, from Valcea,
from Teleorman, and in less than no time took her crippled life and skinned her;
her hide they draped over the withers of a white horse beating a retreat,
and my march to the tail of my homeland became
a forced and singularly glorious one.
By now, the Bug was far behind, to say nothing of the Kurils
or Vladivistok.

Look, Epimenides, I've come! says Gellu Naum
(Epimenides of Crete sleeps during stormy weather
in the hollow of an oak and stays there
the space of half a century),
my mare Danube
is now a glove or a boot, my war -
a forest of wolves.

Epimenides! Epimenides!
(Here intrudes an image, the story of Father Cleopa
one autumn some years ago,
with the steward Haralampie following on his knees, step by step,
and an eagle that issued forth from the pulpit, then into the churchyard,
then into the wide world of the monastery,
taking flight high into an elm and singing.
O Lord, how it sang!

Father Cleopa became convinced that this steward Haralampie
had beheld Heaven while listening to
the eagle singing and that he had returned
to the holy edifice after an hour and something rather more, which
in our rustic measurement means at least a century
and a half.)

Epimenides, Epimenides!
Look, Epimenides, I've come! says Gellu Naum.
Your skin is speckled with letters.
My mare Danube is lost now,
lost in its skin
in steppes and railways stations;
the grande dame, the creature, the ghost called Medea, confesses to the four corners
of the earth that man is a sample broth of herbs.

Epimenides, I've come!
Here are the morphological limbs of my mare by the name Danube,
here is my commune, here is Comana
where I learned to fish for bream, barbell, words, words, words,
here is the hide of the mare called Danube,
dressed with sand, with salt, hanging from the back
of the white horse beating a retreat.
Epimenides, I should go away, your oak hollow
is no longer a hollow and no longer shelters the sleep of the dream
after so many decades on end.
(For three years in a row I didn't utter a word, I'd go to the pond -
I'd fish, ever silent.
Silent like the fish, you might say, but that's not so.
In breathing, I spoke, though making no sound.)

I've sunk deep in an armchair.
Semidarkness, thunder outside,
lightning.
Nigredo and C.G.Jung, the quatrain of immemorial signs,
gamma, yin and yang,
automatic writing as patriarchal staff, the clock that chimes the hours
lost somewhere in the house.

(I'm writing this poem on the border af a catalogue of the painter maxim D.
bearing the title Garment, dwelling – cuckoo. That is, I dress my poem
in the trappings of twigs, in clay, in chart, the poem is that cuckoo;
Garment
, 190x60x80 cm;
technique: twigs, clay, chart, gold leaf;
material – woven wattles, clay, manure, synthetic resins, pigment;
dwelling
as the capacity of lodging both cuckoo and poem;
the cuckoo
which by definition denies location,
the cuckoo of feathers and flight, the cuckoo
of clay, of enamel,
Garment, dwelling – cuckoo,

the poem of woven wattles, clay, manure
and synthetic resins, the poem collapsed into cuckoo,
clay, enamel.)

Look, Epimenides, I've come!
The hide of the mare Danube hangs sideways on the nightstand,
the poet stubbornly refuses the alphabet's letter;
Medea and her broth of herbs, Medea and her war machines -
gesturing in the air, the surrealist patriarch goes on writing
his quatrain of immemorial signs,
in clay, in enamel.






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