from ecograffiti

Ruxandra Novac

r. w. f.                  

here is no place
          for mercy or freedom or desire
it all grips you pulls you farther and farther down
          to the very bottom
it’s all a shriek
coffee-colored water
which does not cease to wash me from which I do not cease to drink
while my women earn money.

Feed for the dead those beautiful
        words they said
thousands of years ago just feed for the dead
yellowed fat of the Human Sea.

It can be a good thing to get all members in order
clothing cut from human skin can also be
a good thing.

I know neither mercy nor freedom nor desire
a smooth hand caresses your spinal cord
                       your bisexual spinal cord
                       extension of your bisexual brain
somewhere below is a country in flames
amid forms that legislate putrefaction.

through a small fence, through metallic lace 

                           Viewed in the bruised light of sunset
Bucureşti seems a dead rat
where are our heroes, great men of the past
those from superproductions, from the golden books
I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance, ginsberg and lenin
trapped in the corridors of some eastern station,
                                                               playful as gods
among drug addicts and women selling tickets
how sinister could time magazine be?
how sinister the current intoxication?

In the raw light everything seems a film for pedophiles
where is our soul-like-a-bird
where is our perfect health
our perfect uproar
where are ecstatic vibrations
where are marijuana and dreams
the delirium and misfortune of small, sweaty rooms
revolt aged like a film about peasants

My sad self crochets a sweater           
                 from the long hair of the 60s’ self
my sad self doesn’t want to be one of the gang
My sad self lands in its field with ravens
                 red as the flags they didn’t see
or saw and called strawberries.
My sad chest fondles the walls of the room where I live
and feels something like an electric current.
Oh, we’ve come to ruin in a matter of years and even this
                 we can’t say with precision and without
                                                   some shame.

Our hand now tremors on the doorknob and what we will find
                                                                           behind it
that we really don’t want to know.

When evening we drink night we can’t sleep
television’s always on
show’s long ended
My sad self licks the screen like in a video clip
and for a moment feels sure of itself
colors fuse on the retina
wires fuse on the retina
like a small fence
like metallic lace
I don’t want nothing more from this din
I’m done waiting for who knows what
I don’t want to live to thirty
I don’t want to live here at all
I want pornography and hygiene
in the middle of a nuclear desert.
And I want money and acid tabs
I want a gas station in a field or a bar
for smugglers.
I want cvt and gc and db to die
as much as I once wanted a tape player.
What I want in fact is money.
And money. And money.

The room slowly fills with water.
Slowly becomes a living swamp.
My sad self writhes slowly towards the screen.

And nestles there as in a living hole.
Among bulbs and circuits as in a living hole.
It opens there sadder than an elephant cemetery
Sadder than a charred train skeleton
like a cat sternum upon red clay, in the sun.

Hands gather unhurried. Night lifts us
in the air like an immense spoon, carnivorous.

In the east all is well                 
In the west all is well
In my left hand all is well
In my right hand all is well

My sad self sees that all is well
death is in fact a broken-down car
thrown into a junkyard
and life is also a broken-down car
thrown into a junkyard 

Bucureşti opens like a giant syphilitic flower
and I know that nothing, nothing can stop the disaster
the fraying of my twenty-three-year-old brain  
Not the sanctity of Tanger, not narcotics, not butterflies
groping blind through slaughter houses, terrifying workers.
None of it
not ringmasters, not little churches, not the city’s sex
raping the night
                           but the quiet of a drowned dog
                           floating down the river, in the sun

translated from the Romanian by Sarah Thompson