Night Visas to Be Lifted

by Chris Tanasescu translated from the Romanian by Ilya Kaminsky, Elizabeth Myhr

and the author


As if you placed Romanian Christian icons under my piano keys,

says the keyboard player,       

I need curved sounds to go for what’s underneath—I’ve no brakes:


for the piano counts on language arches in the hall


the people and the TVs are there– still speaking of

used car prices, exchange rates, construction jobs in Italy , the Romanian-Moldovan border traffic and the word-for-word clutter of fake

dictionaries of my country’s absent language only the politicians

believe in

and quote: ex-commies conning commoners to screw their own ex-


public image… which doesn’t mean they’ll play

in a different key or take their hands off the Mega

Image super-market chain, the guitarist chuckles. The guitarist chuckles. The guitarist


turns the lights out. A white coin

drops under our eyelids, a small window

through which we share the moon like a cigarette-butt – the pebble

still there in the backing vocals’ stockings – silence:


a mouth glimmers, the mouth is a kidney stone in the dark.



NOTE: word-for-word…  and fake dictionaries… this is about the ludicrous Romanian-Moldavian dictionaries that the Communist leaders in Moldova ordered to be published in order to prove those are 2 different languages and thus have grounds for political division of one and the same people into two nations.


Chris Tanasescu is a Romanian poet, academic, critic, and translator. His poetry-performance / action painting rock band Margento won the 2008 Romanian Gold Disc. His third collection Hermaia  was published by Vinea Press.