Exquisite Corpse - Issue 4
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I Tell You True I Saw
by Gellu Naum, translated from the Romanian by Julian Semilian

I tell you true I saw a dead chicken and in hipster poetry there's absolutely no room for dead chickens because we are I regret sir but I have another opinion about the hipster poem

and we talk as though we are talking and we roll them and they're rolling thank you you're welcome you did me a favor like we could really give a damn about the most awesome exhibit of Thales and Hippocrates from Cos in our own times or even nower than that

and Thales I don't think I know him and even Hippocrates I don't think I know him I'd want to laugh if things were like that and they measured even back then the angle of the opening of my Miletus maxillary and I'd want to holler if things were like that and they (plus the others) dragged their tuning fork straight out of their right ear or crooked nostril or moldy mouth

and I got nothing in common with them what could I have in common with some timeless old-timers or with a hypocritus like Hippocrates bent on some scheme or another they come at you and say hey let me explain this or that and the other I'll give you a certificate too you'll feel like you're intelligent even if you're an idiot

I knew this goddam photographer he'd take your picture and then tell the people look you came out looking like such and such a character and he was a goddam witch because they'd feel afterwards like they were stuck for life in that pose and couldn't step out of it for nothing

and my older sister Zoe-Olga Naum would listen to the radio hear the price of milk products and out of that would churn out a prediction more precisely than all the Meteorological Institutes and would wait for you at night on a stool by the gate precisely when you came back from the war after a four year desperate absence but Thales and Hippocrates and the others said she suffered from mental debility

and she was forty nine years old and would rock the neighbors' children and when I told her please go see if I don't just happen to be in the front room she would go and come back to tell me I wasn't there which was absolutely true because I was in the courtyard and had sent her off just for the hell of it and the others said look at her she's got a mind like a two year old

and once I cried for four hours in a row and I was a man of thirty eight and I was crying all by myself locked up in my room and no one knew I was crying like any grown man because I had been deeply offended and I had my watch in my hand and when I felt my tinder soul and flesh (an offended tinder wrung dry) I wrote a hipster poem in which I was talking about something entirely different but which expressed exactly my offended soul and flesh

and I didn't read it to anyone for years and one fine day I read it to a friend whom I loved very much and I read it to him like I was embracing him because he too was a hipster poet and he goddam him listened to me in silence and then spoke to me very magnanimously about some other hipster poems of mine which he said he admired and called them subtle and knew them by heart and goddamit he talked about I don't know what limits about I don't know what zones which should remain strictly intimate and so on

and he said nothing about our natural need to conceal he had the esthetic arguments of a gentleman he'd got frightened in his zones he didn't goddam like it to expose his offended soul and flesh he had his goddam zones and limits and afterwards we discussed quietly about the allegory of the cave or who knows what else and I whacked his muzzle and he liked it

he liked everything (I caught on later about this bent disposition of his) he was convinced goddam him that moving from a communal bird cage to another the size of his lame and indolent mutt wings meant to become free

and he spoke so beautiful about freedom and about love and fluttered his stumps and I was whacking him wham wham wham and wham and I was thinking to shoo him off so I could cry once again like a true grown man once again deeply offended down to the most infinitesimal particle of soul and flesh

but all this happened a long time ago why still talk about it and look I sat quietly in the swamp (I was there since before the sun came up) and now I wrote this hipster poem good for me because my socks got wet see my high tops have some holes in them for the water to get in and good for them

Email: semilianj@NCARTS.EDU

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