Translation Tuesday: Poems by Felix Nicolau

"had no idea literature is about what you drink / with whom and where when I found that out I was already too old"


the tapping july hail

puts me in mind

of how this salsa dancer used

to break my windows twice a month

with the stiletto flipped off her lil left foot

I Love Fashion TV

the same need to be slim the same need to be gigantic

anorexic goliath

my life is a catwalk thrusting a long way into the crowd of

fans and binoculars

and I spring forth with a sashay of hips pelvis

and serpentines

being a snake one second a goose the next goose-stepping byzantine new fashion

style my bishop’s frock bathed in camera flashes

raise your foot up! straighten your knee! bristle your moustache!

eins zwei drei Deutschland Deutschland über alles! über alles in der Welt!

worship me hollow me I’m a goddess mother Russia on 10 inch high heels

picture my Bengal tiger bikini

I don’t even exist for ya I’m an off-limits-to-tourists Siberia


as of today you childlilix me babelix

you don’t get to see an invisible seam as often as a smashing forehand

I could bring you versace

I could bring you dior

I could birth you federers schumachers maradonas


hotel victoria

and all of a sudden while speaking of his poetry

I realized he instantly got wasted his eyes falling

into the cleavage of a she-jellyfish at the table

next to ours

we stood up and staggered towards

the subway station his bag on one of

my shoulders on the other himself huge

hair blowing in the wind and belly full of


my new poetry how cute and

nobody’s aware of it mark this but you

listen dude what time is it will I catch that train

on time mark this you’re the one accountable my wife

will kill me if I don’t make it back home tonight!


but it was still him the damn girls made

eyes at as he kept swinging perched

on my shoulder his eyes covered by hair

crying happy tears over being a genius


the critic also showed up at the railway station also

younger yet so collected so


so glad to meet you I started


wish I could say the same

and while my tongue was rolling

back into my stomach the train took them away

it was only then that I noticed the poet’s legs

were as knock-kneed as an X, uppercase


all I wanna do is get drunk here with you

had no idea literature is about what you drink

with whom and where when I found that out I was already too old

to even have the patience to have sex let alone

sitting on one cheek and then the other

at the literature museum garden pub


on guarding the ears

before the service the priest shall not feed the chickens work around the farmstead check on the horses in the barn paint the joinery or count his money

it is not good for him to read the papers get his head full of politics gossip reportages advertisements watch tv violent movies or family violence talk shows

or watch sexy comedies that will make him get on top of his presbytera and pour his semen into who knows which of her body’s hollows

it is preferable for the priest to walk get a wagon ride or take the trolley to church and not drive his own black car which always gets him all worked up to pimp it up 100w rms speakers red spoiler on the trunk and neons under

being thoughtful about all of the above

the priest shall be guarded from the devil appearing as pamela anderson during the liturgy and

and shall not throw the censer off into the choir singers’ heads like dice at the


yet mozart he’s allowed to hear for that old nagging wisdom

tooth he always says will get pulled out first thing after lent


Felix Nicolau defended his Ph.D. in comparative literature in 2003 and is the acclaimed author of four collections of poetry, two novels, and six books of literary and communication theory. He is on the editorial boards of Poesis International, The Muse—An International Journal of Poetry, and Metaliteratura, and he serves as associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Communication at the Technical University of Civil Engineering in Bucharest, Romania. He has recently been invited to launch his forthcoming poetry collection—I Love Fashion TV (Vinea Press)—at the Salon du Livre, Paris, 2015.

Translated from the Romanian by MARGENTO (Raluca & Chris Tănăsescu). Chris Tănăsescu is Asymptote’s editor-at-large for Romania. He is a poet, academic, translator, and poetry performer whose pen-name is also the name of his poetry/action-painting/jazz-rock band, the winner of a number of significant national and international awards. See his work in Asymptote here and here.