Blesok no. 91, July-August, 2013

What an Awful Pleasure
Translated. from the Bulgarian by Kristin Dimitrova

Rumen Leonidov

At 8 O’clock

Sleep has lifted its eyelids,
and now gapes:
the tradesmen, wide awake, are talking in their dreams,
calculating profit
(and prison bars),
the first pancakes of the day
have long been sugared and are snoozing
in the mysterious entrances
of city stomachs,
Sofia girls – who danced in men’s embraces
throughout the night –
now sweetly sleep it off…
The dumbhead
churns his tongue queuing for tripe,
the shouter shouting “Long Live Labor”
is at his desk already
(in front of the desk of the tongue-tied one)
the bullies have put on the innocent eyes
of submissiveness,
the gossip machine has not been switched on yet –
its winders are still yawning – the cafe is closed…
                              too bad!
Who says
our weekday poetry has been depopulated?
Who says
the poetry of weekdays is unagitated?
At this hour
no one knows yet
if righteous Paul and righteous Peter
are not at last turned rightfully
into apostles,
no one knows yet
if the notable of yesterday
will wake up as a notable,
no one knows yet
if the rosary of conscience
disappeared from the office safe
last night,
no one knows yet
if the person’s personal chauffeur
has finally remembered he is a person too…

No one knows at this hour
why I envy the eight for its two zeros,
why I don’t envy the zeros.

At Central Station

At Central Station
in the center of the snack joint
the drunk railwaymen
are drinking their twentieth beer…
Boys that hang around
are hitting on Diddy
once again,
Diddy, the beauty behind the buffet;
time and again they raise their glass trumpets
blowing them ardently,
then at the cash register
they search their pockets for small change…
At the end of the workday,
at the endlessness of the workday
the clock stands astride
the NO SMOKING sign.
A cloth cap – downbeat and dejected –
cups a cigarette and blows
the smoke down his sleeve
after a day of glorious, dignified labor…
The militiaman on duty doesn’t drink –
responsibilities, you know.
He shrugs, refusing to kiss either Diddy
or the bottle…

Comrade Yoncho Vulkov Yonchev
is lost again –
he is requested to appear at the dispatcher’s desk…

Failed actors
become spokesmen,
well-to-do bumpkins
become despots,
and the dinosaurs are no different –
part of the universal mutation: Mankind…

Big deal!

Outside, in the moon’s clean plate
the scraps of doggy-bliss salami
are radiating…

The establishment will be swept, comrades!
Time to leave!

The escalators disperse everyone…
And all can move –
down, to the dishes of heaven,
up, to the bell of life.

A Stone in the Swamp

The stone’s finely wrought parable
ends with a plop!
And the circles of life start rippling
and dissolve in the silence.
The stones finely wrought parable!
The water turns over in its sleep,
rolls from its shoulder onto its right
ant some flying from lies down in its bed of slim.

Another Stone in the Swamp

The stone
I threw in the swamp
turned into a frog.
And started to sing
with the rest of the frogs –
former stones too,
by another naïve soul
into the swamp.

Under the Creed's Mantle

it's cozy, safe and warm.
So they say.
Something like a sanatorium
for fanatic manikins.
But I don't buy this.
Both my eyes have seen
this mantle trailing
on its own.
No wonder
it's the choicest tablecloth
for stains.
I can hear them humming underneath:
“The creed is part of the particular.
What's common is the sum of stains.
The sum total of all soups makes
aesthetics out of hunger.”

Who has spat in my bowl?
Who has walked in my soul?
Who has slept with my dreams?
Who has crunched the twilight's glass?
Who has swallowed my hope?
Who has shoved his hand down the bird's throat?

Who has fed with flesh my angel?

The Tip of My Tongue

Every morning I tear away the tip of my tongue
so that I can lick
so that I can lick
and I lick
and I lick tranquilly
the fishbone of tranquility.

Who can keep me from licking
I was ordered to lick my lips
I was ordered to lick my lips
like the cat that generated
the cat that generated herself

I have degenerated myself
I am my father and mother
and I am the newborn
a blind kitten a little bitty shitty kitten
as much as possibly a kitten
a half-mouse,
but still a kitten


Because my straitjacket armor was a bit too short
they shod me in a pair of knights' boots,
they pulled a helmet over my eyes, my hands
they chopped off, just in case.
And because it's only knights I’ve met since then,
I rush to handshake them,
rush to handshake them,
rush to handshake them.
And sometimes I survive.


I fear my laughter.
I've got no guts to laugh my head off,
so I head off to someplace else.
And only my thick lips
are smiling thinly.
A most serious of citizens
choked yesterday
on an unchewed smile and died.
I fear my laughter.
Laughter is health only if
the spirit is healthy…
But those
suffering from laughter walk about grinning.
I fear my fear.
I do not shake with laughter.
I shiver.

What an Awful Pleasure

awful pleasure
thinking is.
Even if a person thinks
whether it's worth thinking.

It's awful when one reclines in repose
and doesn't want and cannot
think about one's brains.

It's awful that homo sapiens
doesn't think.
And there comes the homunculus
and there comes the homunculus
and with what an awful pleasure
what an awful pleasure
the thugs march in throngs.

Wow, Jeeeeeeeez!
What an awful pleasure,
what an awful pleasure is
to have somebody think instead of you.

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