The Soul of the Village by Lucian Blaga

Little girl, put your hands on my knees.
Eternity I believe was born in a village.
Here every thought is more slow
and your heart pulses less frequently,
as if beating not in your chest
but deep in the earth somewhere.
Here the thirst for redemption is met,
and if you have got your feet bloody
you can rest on a clay bank.
Look, it is evening,
The soul of the village hovers around us,
like a shy smell of cut grass
like a drift of smoke from thatched roofs
like the frolicking of young goats over high graves.

translated by Peter Jay

only a memory now

he can’t remember the song
just the image
her naked dancing
candles the only light in the room
he’s sitting on the floor
leaning back against the couch
the dog asleep above him
and her hips sway
the light playing shadows
where lust lives
and he will bury his head soon
immersed in shadows himself
and hips will be joined
on that floor
that rug
lost in what should have lasted forever
but is only a memory now

these roads of life

there were roads taken
miles and miles of track
Ohio winters
NY summers
autumn nowhere
and everywhere
leaves turning color
dropping in my path
with memories of you
I remember hair length
mine and yours
there was Anthony
our first shared hair stylist
who transformed me into someone
even I didn’t recognize
and you sold your waist length hair
to a wig maker
what did you use the money for
those acting lessons
the vocal coach
to buy presents for the men
in your life
when I was not quite in it
I remember sitting on the curb
in Hollywood
discussing Franny & Zooey
later listening to Henry Miller
talk movies
with your teacher/lover
in between drinks
and deep dish pizza
with Alex and Vimal
who didn’t drink
but liked to watch me
in case I fell down
and I came pretty close
on several occasions
those days/nights
when you were breaking my heart
you sang Without You
to me in some club on Melrose
before you went home
with someone else
and those 2am visits
to my place in Malibu
the door never locked
just in case you came
from that strip club
where you did lap dances
in a g-string and tassles
to pretend there was still a chance
that what we once had could work
there were the stories
even you weren’t sure of
the truth
the deceptions
that guy from your acting class
hiding in the loft
when George Bellenich came to call
and what happened that night
on 85th Street anyway
when I was away
you were always a bit vague
in your recollection
just like the time you called
for me to save you
from date rape in Santa Monica
you never could explain
what you were doing there
in the first place
there was that tryst
on the floor of a classroom
with an instructor
the first time I cried
the lies you said
years later in counseling
all mingled together
why I even tried
I’ll never really know
the Calabrese in me
stubborn to the end
believing in vows
words of honor
even when it’s obvious
to everyone else
you can’t go backward
on these roads
of life
just forward
regardless of potholes
toward whatever future
lies ahead


poem written during WWI by Dimcho Debelyanov

At daybreak on the dusty meadow road
a swift horse shakes its ferocious mane–
a young lad’s returning his home again.
Ah where’s the nook where I was born?

In the meadow waste, ey far in the dark
a flickering fire–travellers settle for the night,–
‘mid laughter’s din they’re going home.
Ah where’s the nook where I was born?

It’s been three days, the rain doesn’t stop,
sullen autumn lowers over the earth–
pain and darkness squeeze my heart.
Ah where’s the nook where I was born?

translated by Christopher Buxton

Spring of Night by Lucian Blaga

My beauty,
in the evening when you hold
my head in your lap,
your dark eyes are the spring
from which night flows over valleys,
mountains and plains
to cover the world
with a sea of darkness.
So black are your eyes, my light.

translated by Andrei Codrescu