The Black Fire Stoker

Nicolae Coande

You know, men are Moscows ruined by vodka and carelessness
sold sub rosa,
hollowed birches into which the black fire stoker blew,
the Siberian with a shovel growing out of his strength's limb,
the ashes of paradise and the zodiacs of small countries carried
               in their hearts
by the immortal conveyor belts of red capitalism.
Today when I walked home devoid of life I heard my blood
shriek at me:
old buddy, must it be so hard for a man to stay on his feet?
Blood more than six feet high and he still wants to grow.
I think I'm talking to myself like the little bell
of a blind mule on its right temple,
the clouds above me keep telling me something I don't understand
(poor poets are greedy?),
as if asking me to stop
when I make love to a woman who's not here.
Wait for her to show up.
I open the door—no one there.
I sit on the floor in my room and notice an enormous buffalo
spraddled on my clean books.
This year his green dung will make people happy as well as
the stock exchange. One day, the black fire stoker will gather us up
with his hard shovel.
I've never been to Siberia but I swear that I know
someone there.

translated from the Romanian by Adam J. Sorkin and Claudia Serea