Mirela Roznoveanu,"February"

translated from the Romanian by Heathrow O'Hare


An Elegant Manner of Settling Accounts…

I’ve been butchering math formulae and metaphors—
All languages – of both Nature and the World – are in shambles
now. Life looks like an atom
whose particles have been eviscerated.
The Mississippi introduced me
to an elegant manner of settling accounts
during the weary green night
of the hour of the final count.
My spectral self was invited to the banquet
of the New Orleans ghosts, at a moldy palace.
I’m gliding through the Mardi Gras night
alongside the Mississippi
toward seas whose anxieties have been euthanized,
so as to welcome my spooky condition
of body and mind from another era.
My life’s projects have all been fulfilled,
the bottom line was drawn,
all former quarrels fading away into the ridiculous.
That wakeful night I felt at a loss what other lies to tell,
since the bottle of rum, gulped down
in the Montego Bay, had failed to do the trick.
The Caribbean should have reconciled me
with my own self and with eternity.
Yet, here I am at one with the sea,
the Cayman Islands staring out in dismay
at the marine cemetery that has just missed its prey.
My human atom’s charged with more
protons and electrons than it has ever been.
I ride the ruffled waves northward,
hurriedly crossing the Mexico Bay,
gliding over the Mississippi marshes through the drizzle,
striking my name off the spectral list
of a New Orleans night club,
sipping a big coffee,
having a dinner to match,
followed by several glasses of Pinot Noir
at my friend the poet’s place.
She can’t help noticing the discrepancy
between the drained-out discourse of the past
and my present highly enriched human state.
In the French Quarter, on the verge of sleep, I capture
the whiff of its magnolia trees’ electric blossoming.

I breathe the silence in,
aware of the impending storm.

Noapte de Februarie

Măcelăresc formule matematice şi metafore—
toate limbajele s-au terminat.
Viaţa seamănă cu ce rămâne din atom
după ce nucleul şi electronii s-au evaporat.
Mississippi mă iniţiază în formula elegantă
a încheierii socotelilor
în noaptea verdelui obosit
al stării de bilanţ;
fantoma mea a fost acceptată la banchetul stafiilor
dintr-un palat mucegăit
de pe St. Charles Avenue cu Felicity Street
din New Orleans.
Alunec în noaptea de Mardi Gras
odată cu Mississippi
spre mările în care neliniştile trec în euthanasie
acceptându-mi starea de stafie
trupul şi gândirea tot mai dintr-o altă eră;
proiectele vieţii s-au împlinit
linia s-a tras
răfuielile au trecut în ridicol
nu ştiu cu ce se mai poate minţi o noapte albă
dacă nici sticla de rom dată pe gât
în Montego Bay nu-i poate ţine piept;
Caraibele ar fi trebuit să mă împace cu mine
şi eternitatea
dar iată-mă devenită chiar marea
insulele Cayman privesc consternate la cimitirul marin
care şi-a pierdut o pradă
atomul meu s-a umplut
de mai mulţi protoni şi electroni decât a avut vreodată;
îmi mân valurile nervoase spre nord
traversez galopant Golful Mexicului
şi burniţa din mlaştinile Mississippiului
îmi şterg numele din registrul fantomelor
dintr-un club de jazz din New Orleans
absorb o cafea triplă
un dinner pe măsură
câteva pahare cu Pinot Noir
în casa prietenei mele, poeta,
care observă discrepanţa dintre discursul obosit al erei trecute
şi atomul meu uman super îmbogăţit;
mi se face somn în French Quarter
în presimţirea magnoliilor electric desfăcute.

Inhalez tăcerea;
adulmec dezlănţuirea.

• • •

Born in Romania, Mirela Roznoveanu has published volumes of essays, literary criticism, poetry, as well as several novels. She also distinguished herself as a journalist. In 1991, she came to the USA where she continued to write for both American and Romanian publications. Her books include, The Life Manager and Other Stories, and Born Again-- in Exile (Poems), both in the U.S., and in Romania: The Civilization of the Novel: from Ramayana to Don Quixote in two volumes, and Apprehending the World, a volume of poetry. This year will see the realease of a new volume of poems, New York Elegies. For more information about Mirela Roznoveanu, please, visit http://pages.nyu.edu/~mr24/

Heathrow O'Hare is the pen name of a comparative literature essayist and translator whose activity in both his native Romania and the U.S. spans four decades. He has published selected English versions of some 30 Romanian poets among whom Eminescu, Abaluta, Denisa Comanescu, Dumitru Chioaru, Gabriel Stanescu, Mircea Ivanescu, Varujan Vosganian, and Mirela Roznoveanu (the latter three in volume format). He has also co-authored translations into Romanian (with Constantin Abaluta) volumes of selections from the following British and American poets: Dylan Thomas, Wallace Stevens, Edward Lear, Theodore Roethke, W.S. Merwin, and Frank O'Hara. During the current year he hopes to release two volumes of selections from the poetry of William James Austin and Gabriel Stanescu.

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