The Romanian Riveter: POEMS by Eugen Bunaru, translated by Antuza Genescu, Agnete Emanuel and Marion Emanuel

(Post-Trans-Humanist Gloss)

Another day settles down
in the almost outdated tempo of the evening. It lies already
       musty in the album of history.
It sprawls in the books on the shelves stinking of praises and
       cannon fodder.
Somewhere in the world death spreads methodically: step
       by step,
body after body, explosion after explosion. Piles of hacked
       bodies –
wherever you look. Blood mumbles indistinctly
on the wide metropolitan boulevards, flows into the gutters
irrevocably. Sliced-up bodies run mechanically here and there screaming in all the languages of the world. Even the terrorist
       and his death car
vanish, fading into the anonymous world of globalism, into
       the black-and-white chasm
of the surveillance cameras.
On the big screens, death is broadcast live, in full colour.
Frantic journalists from all over the world report on-the-spot
‘that may impact you emotionally’. World leaders
express their indignation, their solidarity, on Facebook. From
       their bunkers
they send their deepest sympathy to the grieving families.
They know everything about what we have to do from now on: Together we shall overcome! Europeans of all countries,
Little by little, like dancing a waltz or going on a march
(a Radetzky march?), they show us the path to political
the only path to victory from now on ...
Other than that, the war, the hybrid war, goes on, the experts
warn us, the strategists teach us. Weapons are still sold
like there’s no tomorrow. Here and there, death is
       compensated for with a decoration,
a posthumous promotion in rank, gun salutes,
the national anthem enriching the funeral performance
       beautifully and
pre-dict-a-bly. Alas, who died singing ‘The show must go on’?

By Eugen Bunaru

Translated by Antuza Genescu


Each of us carries baggage
loaded with nothing
We carry it attentively we carry it
with obstinacy with prudence,
precipitated, beaded
with effort sweat and hope
We carry it with grace
we carry it ridiculously
each one at his own haste
with an assumed air of indifference
with a vague air of preoccupation
we carry it each in a different direction
in order to arrive (sooner
or later)
at the same destination.

By Eugen Bunaru

Translated by Agnete Emanuel and Marion Emanuel


For these poems
I sold – for two hundred German marks –
(really, for nothing!) –
       the gold watch of the family,
passed on from generation to generation.
Now I remember eaten up with remorse
the solemn figure of my grandfather
his imperial moustache
his hair of soft snow
combed with a side part.
I see him
how he takes out from the pocket
of the waistcoat with calm-ceremonial gestures
that – for the child me – fabulously shining object
and holds it a while, in the strange wax air of the room.
Afterwards he places it on his calmly breathing belly
so as to see several times a day
what time it is ...

By Eugen Bunaru

Translated by Agnete Emanuel and Marion Emanuel

Read The Romanian Riveter in its entirety here.

Eugen Bunaru, a poet and journalist, has published seven volumes of poetry. For two of them, An Air of Nobleness and A Shadow’s Youth, he received the award of the Writers’ Union of Romania, Timişoara branch. He is the coordinator of ‘Pavel Dan’ Students’ Literary Society of Timişoara.

Antuza Genescu (b. 1968) is a freelance translator, teacher and writer. Besides several volumes of Romanian poetry and art albums, which she has translated into English, her work also includes translations into Romanian of various poets around the world (Sudeep Sen, George Szirtes, Fiona Sampson, Jean Portante, Alice Notley, Erkut Tokman, Kama Sywor Kamanda), as well as science fiction authors like Gene Woolfe, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Vernor Vinge, Orson Scott Card, Robin Hobb, Stephen King.

Sisters Agnete and Marion Emanuel were born in Timișoara, Romania. Both of them studied English Literature and Linguistics at Ben Gurion University, Israel. They now live in Be’er-Sheva where they teach English as a second language.

Category: The Romanian RiveterTranslationsSeptember 2020 – The Romanian Riveter


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