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
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.