NELUTA neluta buried grandpa in the ground neluta ate grandma’s days away neluta swung his knife to the left and to the right, stayed hidden. kissed gypsies on the mouth broke their instruments neluta played the leaf lute on the hardest nights he angered god yelling in the rain under the apricot tree in front of the house lord you’re a brother of mine when god struck the tree down neluta took it on his shoulders as you would with a drunk friend neluta stole from the c.a.p from his neighbours from his parents neluta sank the axe between the calf’s horns and finished him off to amuse foreigners at the fair stuck his sickle in a watermelon lifted it to the sun then let the juice trickle down his face neluta smoked bare chested in the shed and spat out the blood from his gums neluta never had a woman and never wanted kids neluta drank water just once in his life neluta slept in the fields with wolves when he came home drunk he got beaten with a wet rope and growled at grandpa if you weren’t my dad i’d slit your throat neluta buried grandpa in the ground neluta ate grandma’s days away he’s old now he’s alone knows that he was always alone and whines about the pain laughs at the chained dog soon he’ll plant his fork in him cause he doesn’t have any more food to give neluta will plant his fork in everything and will talk between the cracks of the earth with grandpa and grandma neluta asks me if i got my baccalaureate he knows that i got my baccalaureate ten years ago now he’s old but he still keeps his mouth away from water grabs his phone laughs and yells dreadfully i called you this morning why didn’t you answer i called you boy but the world knows neluta is alone lord you’re a brother of mine neluta sticks his fork in the ground neluta talks through the cracks with grandpa and grandma he knows he’s alone and that no one hears him
*** born in the countryside dead in the city i once had a truly beautiful day woke up at dawn drank brandy on an empty heart and started watering the garden at noon the buckets were half mud half water my feet sinking in sludge trousers lifted to the knees i looked into the well it seemed like i’d loosened the collar on the dog poured in his broken bowl half mud half water drink i told him the sun had disappeared the snow had settled quickly it covered the rope with which the animal was tied a white cow snowflakes melted on its hot muzzle i took the shovel and loaded the burlap sacks with snow from the front of the house threw them on my back carried them to the pit 44 i counted by the end one by one i emptied the sacks in the dry mouth of the well it was already dark out when i rolled up my trousers to my knees again that night the dog slept outside
By Marius Aldea
Translated by Ilinca Gradea
Read The Romanian Riveter in its entirety here.
Marius Aldea has published two poetry collections and co-created the award-winning ‘The writers are on Facebook’ anthology. A physical theatre play based on his poems and directed by Andrea Gavriliu premiered in 2020 at the National Theatre Marin Sorescu.
Ilinca Grade was born in France, but has lived in a number of different countries, including Singapore, Canada, Scotland. She translated the play, The Snake’s Outfit, directed by Andrea Gavriliu, into English. She is currently working on the translation of Sinistra by Marius Aldea into English and French. She currently lives in Bucharest.