KOGAION REVIEW
romanian literary monthly

~Dorin Popa: „Nobody understands nobody“

NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ANYBODY
so many times I had absurd claims
I thought my soul was a perfect radar
for your steps, your breath
your weeping

with ardour and love we could
finally reach in peace the other’ s skin
if we didn’ t discover with disappointment
that we are the prisoners of our epidermis

and your singing, and your weeping, and your look,
the emotions, the incomparable and your dreams
all of them are mine for ever

tearfully, crying, I hold you hopelessly
I embrace you like I’ ll never embrace you again
you exist in me deeper than in your heart
and shaken, I whisper to you from a distance
– nobody has ever understood
anybody !

_________________

MY DEATH – MY LIFE
had things not hit me
with such fury
I might not have seen them
I might have never cared about
them
my sadness – my joy

sometimes I am allowed to see
how evil mingles with good
how from their combination
everything comes to life
my death – my life

I would have never found the way to you
if I hadn’ t wandered about
if so many nights hadn’ t blinded me
if I hadn’ t found comfort in loneliness

sometimes in the middle of the tempest
deep silence overwhelms me
and while I am hit, battered and slashed
I can see in silence
how my death feeds my life

_________________

CONCUBINAGE
after I was cured
I found out how ill I was,
after I did not love you anymore
the need of you
fell devastatingly upon me

after I am not anymore
perhaps
I shall indeed grasp everything
_________________

NOWHERE
I am nowhere present
nor absent anywhere

many a time had I the wish
to cease existing,
although I have never
really lived

nearby the stinging nettle is
in imperial bloom
nearby coloured airplanes
are taking off

I have not been sentenced anywhere
but I can find escape nowhere
_________________

WHAT DO I EXPECT ?
what do I expect, now
when I don’ t expect anything, anymore ?!

I carefully counted
all my malformations
all my helplesnesses
and I happily gathered
my entire misfortunes
in my soul
what do I expect ?

the waste, the loneliness
the ragged and cobwebbed
remains of the puzzle
the infections, the mud, the slag, the confusion
kept me warm, stifled me
and yet …

and yet …
now
when I don’ t expect anything
what do I expect ??

_________________

REVOLVING ON AN UNSUSPECTED SECRET COMMAND
I’ ve always been thriled
by the moment when men lose their little wings,
by the moment when they begin to slowly revolve
around their own lives
with a kind of frenezy
with the same amazement I’ ve always watched
intrigued how my fellow creatures plunge into their lives
with indifference
with indifference and fatigue
with a sweet and sad exhaustion – like a stone
surreptitiously my friends revolve themselves into silence
– some easily, with discrete smiles, as if joking
– some others, resolutely, stubbornly
hasten to shake their flakes off
and in vain do I call out to them, in vain do I shout in despair
and pull them back by their feet …
they have sunk into their lives to their waist, to their ears
they don’ t want, oh, they don’ t want to hear anything but
the nourishing sound
of their revolving around this world, this life, this death
oh, my friends have all disappeared
swallowed by their dull, hungry brown – desperate lives
and I, strange and immature, see how the possible is narrowing
how it turns into a spot, into a trace
into the dim breath of a memory,
and afterwards nobody can remember anything about it

_________________

CONFESSION IN DECEMBER
so many times have I asked the other
to take a right view of things
but I haven’ t done so!

All my condemnations
have stayed in front of me for years,
but I couldn’ t follow them
I didn’ t know to understand them
I couldn’ t see them
to the end
never
anything
have I known to expiate to the end!

my youth only elapses,
joy only elapses,
life only elapses,
my guilt remains unchanged
– never, anything have I known to expiate
to the end;

I’ ve always been harshly asking the other
to take a right view of things,
but I haven’ t done so!

and now, when I am no longer expecting anything
my hope
is stronger than ever.

_________________
SELF PORTRAIT
all that I could touch
and I do not

all that I could understand
and I do not

all that I could be
and I am not

_________________
PROEM
I forgot to tell you that I do exist
I know, this will seem dreadful, dreadful to you
but – forgive me forgive me forgive me ! –
it was much later that I found this out

long after you had left
_________________
THROUGH THE BARS, I PERCEIVE THE DELICATE FLOWING OF DESTINY
hardly had winter come
when spring was gone already

hardly had I begun
to close in on you
when you moved away
for good

and only after death
took me kindly by the hand
have I started living.
_________________

AMEN
I was not
you were not
and we will not be

maybe only this serene moment
of rousing the unbeing within us
over our tombs
it will be usefully
snowing

_________________
DUST AND ASHES

“There is a worm hidden in the Cosmos”
( Constantin Noica )

even though things are stained
in wonder I notice:
they are still getting further stained

no one ever stops,
no one ever advances.

once
very closely
a pure sound passed
those that can still hear it
hasten to forget it

_________________

AN ATTEMPT TO INTRODUCE MYSELF
when you lean
over me
who do you lean on
and when you wait for me
for such a long while,
when you wait for me,
like that,
with a kind of deserted hope,
who do you wait for ?

_________________
POETRY, IN DECEMBER
much more depressing is the world in December
suicide is walking around
much, much more aggressively …

if I get rid of this winter
and of this illness
and of this death,
I know for sure that when summer comes
I shall be longing for
December

_________________
SOME PERSECUTIONS DO NOT EVER STOP
that gauntlet
thrown down long ago
I pick it up
every day

_________________

I AM EMMA BOVARY MYSELF
I wouldn’ t have
dared
to face you
if I had seen myself
the way I am

_________________

PRAISE TO LIFE AND TO THE DREAMS THAT ACCOMPANY IT TO THE END
I’ m slowly decaying
and I’m still making
plans for the future

_________________
JAMAIS VU
I do not recognize anything anymore,
I do not know, I do not remember
a stranger through my life
preoccupied,
I hurriedly pass.

only sometimes do I perceive my trembling,
fearful, helpless heart,
heart – an animal on the brink
of extinction

_________________

A NEW BEGINNING, MAYBE THE BEGINNING
in your eyes, the world looks younger to me,
ill and young, dying and young,
anytime ready to open, in its last spasm
towards beauty

The snowfall of last night
like a fragile shield
which covers the uncertainty,
the impatience of being

_________________

A QUESTION
” Do not drink the waters of death.”
( St. Anthony the Great )
let us purify the place
then let us wisely wait
and will Beauty itself
stop
some day
in front of us ?

_________________

YOUR TEARS OF THOSE DAYS
misshaped, rumpled,
memories put on a new apparel
each season

but, as years pass by,
I remember everything
more and more clearly

I could even touch now
your tears of those days
_________________

FORGIVE ME
if my torment
touches you,
forgive me !

_________________

FEVERISH PREPARATIONS FOR JOURNEY
today, well locked up in myself
I might leave for a deep journey

I know I need a lot of things
but first let me close the window
carefully,
close the drawers, stop the music
and slowly close my eyes

today I think I shall go far,
far away,

there’s a favourable wind blowing
from my memories

_________________
THE CROWN OF THORNS
I love the fissures of my soul
against which I rebel so much

to a never heard tune,
on life and death,
I passionately dance.

_________________
OUTLAW
if I had taken into account
all the instructions,
I wouldn’t ever have reached you
………………………………………………
outlaw
I used to love you
outlaw
I used to breathe

outlaw

I burst into tears

_________________

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
I couldn’t find you anywhere
– you were everywhere
I couldn’t meet you anywhere
– you were meeting me

I was trying to detach my things
neatly from everybody else’s
and late I learnt that I was living
for you and through you

I had come down from adolescence with a guilty look
I was pallidly dreaming of elopements from the Seraglio
I wasn’ t meeting myself any longer
– you were meeting me !

_________________

LOVE STORY

( I keep choosing you )

when I was going down, I thought I was going up
I was sick, bewitched by my boundaries
an inner voice – unknown to me – was mumbling
that inside is outside, that outside is
deep deep inside

then I saw you for the first time
long after I had held you tight in my arms
my memory has chosen you and I keep choosing you
each moment I find myself alive in you, but
I will go away, so as not to lose you

_________________
MY DEATH – MY LIFE
had things not hit me
with such fury
I might not have seen them
I might have never cared about
them
my sadness – my joy

sometimes I am allowed to see
how evil mingles with good
how from their combination
everything comes to life
my death – my life

I would have never found the way to you
if I hadn’ t wandered about
if so many nights hadn’ t blinded me
if I hadn’ t found comfort in loneliness

sometimes in the middle of the tempest
deep silence overwhelms me
and while I am hit, battered and slashed
I can see in silence
how my death feeds my life

_________________
NO WAY BACK
sweet and spacious are all
before they jump
on your back,
full is the breast while
you can see it full
and silvery are the paths
until you take
the first move

sweet and spacious are all
as long as you think
you can still come back

_________________

I AM SENTENCED
I am sentenced
to my own self

– a more severe
punishment

I could not have
imagined

_________________
LOST ON THE WAY
if only just a little weaker had I been

I would have had my way
if only just a little stronger had I been
I would have passed away

meeting you
I only started doubting
your existence

_________________
WHEN WILL I REACH YOU ?
so many gates I had passed through
heavy curtains I had drawn apart
nights and days on my knees I had climbed up
but I couldn’ t reach you

now we are standing next to each other
I’m holding your hand tight
I’m looking in your tearful eyes
and I wonder :
when will I reach you ?

_________________
AFTER MUCH CHASING
sometimes I can’ t hide myself anymore
and I have to face my deeds
with brutality

cigarettes don’ t help anymore
daydreaming doesn’ t help anymore
only the autumn’ s leaves
seem determined
not to leave me

sometimes, after much chasing
I’ m caught, unmasked, humiliated
nothing can ever save me now
nothing will ever come close to me
– everywhere I go I run up against
pitiless walls
everywhere I go I suddenly run up against
myself.

_________________
NOVEMBER QUESTIONS
how long do I have to wait
to learn which things are mine ?

how long can I keep falling down
with no return, with no way out ?

from where do so many frights and wastes
come to my soul ?

which are the boundaries and what is the share
which is the strength and which is the weakness?

where do the tears of the whole world drop ?
and where do the teardrops go ?

why is night falling so soon now
why do all people hide ?

_________________
ONLY LATE THROUGH THE DESERTED TOWN
how closely have we passed today
one by the other
I had raised my white hat
you were smiling from your floating island
the air between us spiky like the nettle

only late
through the deserted town
have I come to long for you
and much later
in my room at the centre of the universe
have I finally arrived
( your scent was dancing its naked heels on my chest
and your fair hair was really making my eyelids heavier )

_________________
ENDLESS IS THE CRUMBLING
I was ashamed
and I have never written
I have never believed
that I could ever touch you

small signs announced you
and hid you all at once

outside of myself
whereto shall I step ?

only on my torn and bloody
paths,
only in the uncertain, hesitating step
only in the undecided gesture,
only in the forced and fleeting smile
only in trembling, only in whisper
do I feel at home

sad
at the close of the millenium
as in Genesis

_________________
PROEM
women pass through my neuroses
they quickly light a candle each
and in their uncertain light
the instant is then revired :
I am my brother once again !

hurriedly, they interlard my body
with possible deaths
: could I fly for good
out of my wild despair ?

women pass.
then everything relapses.

_________________

I AM READY, LET US GO !
I have not cleared the faces of the world yet
– I am ready, I am ready to die –
and the slow moon has not counselled me yet
– let us go, let us go, no more words

I have not spent an evening with you
– let us go, I am ready, I am ready –
my window stays open at night
perhaps destiny will visit me
after my hasty departure

I carry a fleeting world on my shoulders
the uncertain borders of love and hate
are not uncoupled yet
over me kind bewilderments hover
– I am ready, I am ready to die !

_________________
THE MOST SIMPLE STORY
it’s time to tell you
about my casual life
I’ve shot a few times doves
and other singing seasons
several mornings I have stopped
in front of cups of coffee
in which my heart was mirrored
always prepared
for the great crusades
( I will show you on the map the places where I have led
humble epochal battles )

now I love only the sunset
its light in which we melt
like two candles of twin wax

_________________

THE RUTHLESS STEEL OF UTOPIA
I have always believed
in coming back

big boats were harrowingly shipwrecked
and I have believed in coming back

from me all turned away their faces
night and day were the same
bitter and sweet seemed alike
mother had long in her tears
buried me
but I have still believed
in coming back

with my last strength,
I kicked my last strength
my wings and my body
riddled with arrows
I have still believed
in coming back

I was moving away
I was moving away trembling with anger
I am moving away obsessively repeating
that I still can,
that I still can come back

_________________

IF HÖLDERLIN SHOULD COME
sometimes melancholy wins
and beyond all heavens
childhood stretches devastatingly

if Hölderlin should come
the sky will set forth sweet songs
of resurrection
and the eye of the needle will close
( the freight train will run
over my neck no more )

if Hölderlin should come
only the bells
will be heard in the distance
and voices of children in a fervent choir.
all that is elusive will have a shape
all that is unborn …
… will be born,
if Hölderlin should come

_________________
WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING MORE TO OFFER
someone is ringing
but no one answers

nothing can be bound
nothing can be shaped
nothing can keep you
nothing can stop you

you would go out
and climb the statue in the central square
and speak to people
– what can you tell them
what else can you tell them ? –

towards evening, calm,
you lose yourself in the crowd
you do not walk, you just slide
you let yourself pushed, shoved aside
you do not care for anything anymore

anyway,
before it had time to unfold
your life was gone

the curtain ! the curtain !

_________________

SOLANGE
she lit my way
when, eyes tightly closed,
I was in fear looking for a place
To rest my eyes

again she told me
when I lay obediently down on the rails
that only after my hopes
had been poisoned
could I start hoping again

she is my mother and my daughter
– limit and infinity –
she hasn’ t yet been shown to me

her story is by no one told
her story is by no one written
I knew entirely her tale
even before I came out here.

_________________

SUDDENLY THE INFINITE ALLOWS US TO FEEL IT
between me and the one who could love you
sometimes God shows Himself
together with strange things
that darken the world’ s face

between me and the one who towards you is running
there are so many things that stay still,
foreboding …

( fog clims and descends
– I do not want to touch
what I can hardly see ! )

between us, the dead and the living
together are rejoicing
the world is waiting, again,
to start

between me and the one who could have loved you
you can hardly step further,
you can hardly breathe
and you have such a beautiful face
of the past

_________________
GROPING ABOUT IN AUTUMN, AS EVER
It was as if I had come out from an underground tunnel
while autumn flowers left coard for me
I don’t know why, but when it is autumn I remember you
and my uncertain steps seem, suddenly, to have a meaning

far far away a song is heard
that I once used to whisper :
“autumn, autumn, why do you change
so deeply
your slave’ s paths …”

look, peaceful now, I become confident
and I raise hesitation to the rank
of ruling principle of the world

you are near,
you hold my hand,
even if you are so silent,
even if you don’ t exist …

why ever do you change so deeply
your slave’s paths ?

_________________
AGAIN AND AGAIN SOMETHING ELSE
again and again, something else
seems to be more important
than my life

those failed meetings with myself
are as many regrets
as many euphorias for me
and, death in my arms
far away my death
must be from me

more and more something else seizes me,
rolls me up, loses me
again and again I keep turning myself into
something else

so, whatever most profound in this world
seems of another world to come

_________________
IT’ S BETTER THAT YOU ARE AWAY
it’ s better that you are away
I haven’ t written to you and I won’ t ever do
the medicines that you have sent me
I have given them away at once for a cigar,

sometimes I do remember you
in unexpected moments
sometimes, indeed, I laugh all by myself
as I walk down the road
sometimes I feel I could even touch you

it is all right that you are far away
it is all right to have no one to confess to
– it has, anyway, become a little irritating
to tell you everything –

I sometimes do believe
countless contrary things about you
and every single thing reminds me of you
I do have any memory I wish about you
and more and more
I am ashamed of you

indeed, indeed, it’ s all right that you left me
ever since I was born.

_________________

MY DISEQUILIBRIUM SUPPORTS
THE PRECARIOUS EQUILIBRIUM OF THE WORLD

again I had a dream that,
on the brink of happiness,
I took my days
and
sadder than ever
in my life,
again
I went down

more and more often
I choose to walk
through the ruins of my soul
and I always take along
your small bottle of perfume

of course
I step politely back
from all
the others

and thus, stumblingly,
I still believe
that one day
I will know how to serve You

_________________
NOTHING HIGHER UNDER THE SUN
no one else in the world has been born
since Napoleon, Stavroghin and Mîşkin
disabled, we hold the book in our hands
and soil the pages
with our tears

come, sing for me that old song
so I forget my weakness,
so I forget the pits where
I have humbly entered
as if in sacred monasteries !

sing for me that old song
so I forget my lawlessness
so I forget once and for all
that I was not born !

_________________
FOR EVER FOR NEVER
whenever You come,
I shall be Yours,
however late You come

and even if You find me
benumbed,
stiff,
barren,
Yours I shall be
Yours I shall be

Yours I am
only Yours
for no one
else
needs
me

_________________

ALONE WITH THE SEA,
ON THE THRESHOLD OF EVENING, IN AUTUMN

take me, take me, take me
my sins altogether along !

there is nothing close to me any longer
there is nothing left that can save me
there is nowhere I can find my place and my home

sinfully I went near things
my eyes closed, foaming, I went near
God, oh God, my evenings
the weaping, the deaths, the reluctances
sinfully estranged me from my flesh

somewhere nearby, someone is gently crying
a riddled and repulsive soul, clinging to memories
there is nothing close to me anymore
there is nothing left that can save me
take me, take me, take me,
Your will be done, of Lord !

_________________

OF THIS WORLD
what did you do with my days
what did you do with my nights
with my young arms what did you do ?

in momentary sparklings,
amid calamities and curses,
I sometimes do perceive, drunken with fury,
my vanquished, withered and shameful image

my whole shivering
can hardly whimper, can hardly touch
the big wheels

in this world
that killed my world,
in this slanting, disfigured
world
in this world I have to
find my own relief

_________________
GUILT – RIDDEN, UNCERTAIN, TERRIBLE
from the flower suddenly grown in front of me
I turn my look in fear
– I am not prepared for this event …

and I still wonder ” who leads my steps ”
now when my deeds with submission I welcome

– perhaps in somebody else’ s place I presented myself
perhaps I came in a different zodiac than mine
perhaps someone, out-of-his-mind, every night, calls me
and asks for his signs that I sadly embrace
oh, what if there is someone else suffering what is meant
for me to endure ?

perhaps someone does mix up everything
and my blood cries in foreign veins
and I exist, strangely, in a foreign body,
and my whole destiny
under falling stars unfolds …

an awful guilt I bear on my back
there is nothing else outside of it

_________________
MY LIFE
my life is a long string of rooms
that suddenly will not communicate
with one another

my life – a clock
once wound
by a deskmate

my life – a train which crawls along,
no turning back,
on the same old rail …

my life – a bridegroom’ s suit,
torn in the waiting – rooms

………………………………………………..

my life – an unending attempt
to retrieve
what I have never possessed

this paralysing
taste
of ashes – my life

_________________

SOMETIMES LIFE GIVES YOUR SOUL MUCH MORE BEAUTY THAN YOU DARE DREAM
here, after twenty years, you come and tell me
that the ravines, the pits, the swamps that I pulled you along
have been good shetlers to you afterwards, that
you have never seen such a splendour

“sounds, blue and cunning sounds, sawdust freshly broken up
and satin copper – coloured belts are yeasting mixtured not too
far away

for twenty years my consciousness has tried to get the forgiveness
for the loneliness and the misfortune in which I walled you up
and for my wrong act of coming up against you

” on the corner screen the story of the sinking in
alcohol of the very beautiful sadness in string is still on”
………………………………………………………………………………
but you, you thank me for having pulled you along in the mud
for having forced you to look nowhere, you
carefully describe the weird plants that were
madly flourishing in my soul
and you think that their shadow had afterwards guided you
not to lose, not to slide, not to be mistaken

“the small muslin rags, the castor oil and the cork of an old
bottle
hermetically screwd on in the summer warehouse,
will soon blow up”
– but nobody will ever know anything about that

oh, may your life be blessed as you let me turn
my eyes in silence
as, instead of seeing my forehead full of dust, you see it full
of stars

“last year, in an autumn afternoon someone entered
the hollow on the bank of the river and never came out again
and, a few days ago, a strange old woman put a yellow cross of
nut tree there…”

may the guardian angels watch over you, my strange lover, as you
let me see a deep invaluable sign in my life’ s futility
now, my strange lover, I’ ll pray for you till the end of time

_________________
IN THIS COUNTRY FULL OF CONFUSION
sometimes you appear like a blessing
in this country full of confusion
you still show yourself, test yourself
though the misgivings have forgotten you

sometimes I don’ t expect you, either
absorbed, I catch sight of you like of a wonder
I catch sight of you like of a story
about what it might have been
and will never be

late, at night I draw near
the white page
and I write to you, panting, breathing hard, with shyness
I jerkly write to you in haste, with the fear
that I shall change my mind
the next second
I write short halting lines to you
I write to you like this, with a slight hope
which is much stonger than me

_________________

FORBIDDEN IT IS TO ME
I have fallen down again.
as time passes by, this happens to me ever oftener
– it is ever harder forme
to keep my balance !

these things I catch sight of, bite me
and those I cannot see
keep piercing me
and my panting, often interrupted path
is hunted by glidings from
all over the places

I’ ll never taste again
the tea
sipped
in a man’ s house

DORIN POPA

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