Exquisite Corpse - Issue 4
HomeSearchSubmitCorpse CafeArchivesCorpse MallOur Gang
issue 4 home | ec chair | broken news | critical urgencies | burning bush
ficciones | secret agents | stage & screen | letters | gallery
by Eugen Jebeleanu (1911-1991),
translated from the Romanian by Matthew J. Zapruder & Radu Ioanid

This thing
so many despise
but everyone wants to make.
This thing
which so many people
want to catch
so they dress up in the sirens of cars
which can go 100 miles per hour,
and in pressurized bottles,
and in dresses with patterns or with no rhyme or reason,
in dresses no less shiny
than neon on those evenings in summer
when I don't know who
high above us
is quietly
the crops.
This despised thing
envied by all
because it cannot be seen
but exists,
because it is wolf and bird
and nation of lambs,
high, high where it rules
the moon
without saying a word.
This thing
so precious
it costs almost nothing,
which reveals itself to only a few,
giving itself to all,
wolf, bird, lamb
(without tail! without end!)
belonging to all
(if they can catch it)
which cannot be fashioned
by hands with flint finger bones.
This thing which sings,
which bites if it's needed,
which keeps you warm
breath of the Invisible.


Now more than anything else
I believe in grass.
It gets paler during the night
in such a natural way
with transparent bees
that temporarily leave me.
Tomorrow they will tremble again
in their vestments made of sky.
And into the room you long ago abandoned
enters the chirping of meadowlarks pecking
the last scattered grapes of the stars.

My tired eyes, my heart of 19 years ...
Everything is possible.
And I passed, and I'm passing,
and I shall pass.
Forever I find myself in everything.
From my eyes I brush
the happiness of those who are gone,
happy that they remain in me.

I am a clearing.
I am full of the bluish flapping of sunrise,
cool going through me.
My forehead and lashes are frosted,
all the missing ones sing within me.
My blue lids are closing.
I will reawaken always.


Just before I would set it on fire,
I would yell, Get out of the houses!
But don't take anything with you!

And I would stay motionless --
and sign of light,
how everyone would come out running,
dressed only in skins,
in their own skin.

Winged, they would leave
furniture the landscape of so many quarrels,
kitchens the site of so many shortages,
those same walls with their boredom
all those little shelves of books unread
for lack of time,
and time the color
of cold bread.

Now fly! I would shout,
blowing in order to lift them,
and they would fly, all of them,
without ever looking
over their shoulders.


With a shout I resurrected silence.
From silence, I gave birth to the word.
A feather balanced in the sky,
a rabbit hid from the shout.
But I wasn't able to bring you back,
not even for a moment.

And all night the wind blew
a whistle in an endless tunnel.


Here I am with No More and No Less,
and with one more bag on my back.
After this you get a strong handshake,
the seal of nails in the arch of your palms,
and some drops wrung from geranium.

Their embraces are tearing the buttons
I myself sewed last night.
Mechanized lightning illumines my face.
Nadar has transformed me into eternity.
My wrinkles will all be retouched.

I went over there to the other side.


Without any torment, without any torment,
only a weakness. And even that
was no longer mine, like
a few liquid branches
from a former oak
in a forgotten, faded, photograph.
One branch was summoned this way,
one summoned that way,
the others were all summoned other ways,
and the oak was now a sort of water,
a sort of sea of piano keys,
every key a transparent spade,
and every lip of water
indifferently murmuring
the spade, and the shovel.
And I overheard two leaves whispering
Look, father is dying.

Not being a purebred dog
and not having a good name,
Krantz is kept on a dirty balcony
in the rain and wind ...


issue 4 home | ec chair | broken news | critical urgencies | burning bush
ficciones | secret agents | stage & screen | letters | gallery

corpse home | search | submit | corpse cafe | archives | corpse mall | our gang
Exquisite Corpse Mailing List Subscribe Unsubscribe

©1999-2002 Exquisite Corpse - If you experience difficulties with this site, please contact the webmistress.