Transitions №3

Author: Nadia Delaland

Translated by Nina Kossman

The object of poetic reflection,
if you retell the whole thing,
turning yourself
inside out,
is not required
although it lies
within reach.
But the reader wants a biography —
to the foaming at the mouth,
to convulsions,
to tremors,
and he seeks it in verse,
a when a biography is found at last,
he exclaims sweetly and slyly:
“Ah, the author is so exposed, how brave of him!”,
meaning “how foolish”.
…While the author stands aloof —
fully dressed, wearing headphones, not even looking.

“Vers libre,” the oar gurgled,
plunging into the water, and
climbed out freshened up.
The air was filled with sounds,
and phonemes
and also words,
which could act as the simplest of sentences,
although they consisted, frankly, of only one morpheme.
Simply take my hand,
let the damn paddle drown,
let’s stop in the middle of the lake
and never get out of here.
And your glasses — vers libre — will follow the oar.
Just take my hand, you idiot,
instead of rowing, choking, toward the shore
only to bump into the shore,
up to the —
— what does a boat have instead of a nose?
— and, finally, take my
my hand
my vers libre.

I will crawl out into the water,
neglecting the shore,
smiling stiffly,
sucked into the sand and silt,
spitting the vers libre,
while you’re not watching
paying off the Charon-like
grandfather, who became a rentier
of his own fragile boat
and who made a buck with
a dozen more, no, there are only four of them,
and things are bad —
it’s fall, no one goes here to ride,
we must now return these boats
and leave,
leaving the vers libre to whiten
like a crumpled
badminton ball.

Well, here I go walking one evening
by the shore of the lake with Rex,
and he brings me
a crumpled piece of paper,
so what can I do
but turn it around and see
a madman’s delirium,
a vers libre.
Well, I folded it carefully and hid it
with other garbage in the right pocket of the windbreaker,
and then I bring it — yep — to Lucy in the kitchen,
that is, to my own wife
who’s cooking dinner.
That’s how it went.
She wiped her hands on the apron,
no, just on her belly,
she was a slob;
so she took the note,
smoothed it, and
turning white,
fell down,
her temple
hitting a corner.
But I didn’t do anything.
I simply wanted to amuse her.
She used to love such things.