The vibrations of an Aeroflot in an imaginary land crossed by the NGOs of Mother Russia in a landscape with birch trees mega-buildings far away in the forest oblique-eyed women a mixture of olive and pale cheeks soft look scented honey in cups apples oranges and fog hot aeroplane tickets having a melody a thousand kilometres away from the fringes of the ex-Iron Curtain The abrupt conversations all in one breath with the soul on the lips flashing in the strong smells of rooms painted recently and thickly Huge candlelight-trees projected over the internet two women posh dressed in black trying to merchandise cosmetics on the stairs of the conference hall in the academic city Andrei Tarkovsky saying something not necessarily for my ears A few treacherous words like democracy institutions legalno reformo niet and a bottle of unopened champagne in room 99 of a 12th of September so familiar indecipherable paper reams and the human tide of the former empire blasts of some massive men dressed in leather clothes with immense shoulders tossing their mobile phones from one hand to another in Moscow airports cigarette smoke and bottles of beer laughter slow fretting cool air torn by the night JETs corks from bottles of champagne celebrating a poor world toasting in the camera flash and the tinfoil of Siberian chocolate peeling off from the enormity of the ‘sleeping’ power of Mother Russia the suburbs of our world the fragrances of Asia and the Georgian wine the translators and the wooden houses and tiny gardens aligning two three rows of cabbage heads among which heads with long straight cut beards are sliding slowly and ancient Volgas and Japanese automobiles with the wheel on the right the structure of a new world and of a new way of accounting in the buttresses of intelligentsia hidden in the middle of the tundra from an antique shop a tiger eye ring rolling along my past to the end, brother Vysotsky for I heard that ‘God is right within us, at most one prayer away’ brother Vysotsky For I have seen you brother Vysotsky galvanising the flashes of the discotheque in a fabulous endless marble hall disguised into ghostlike pairs who go arm in arm and hit the air with their roiling blood Brother Vysotsky the disease of your anxiety is grinding harshly as I clench my fists and wipe the wine flowing from my eyes with my sleeve while shrieking in Russian curses imagined but never understood I cry brother Vysotsky in your imperial language because I can speak with my soul about the same cureless torment that pulls my mind under the birch trees in search of what you have succeeded in finding now I am crying brother Vysotsky with my lips cut by the glass with my inept language and the memory of imaginary touches while you are spiralling in disguise through the marble hall of the discotheque of the Siberian core through the tens of comrades who will disappear and die for ever tomorrow morning when a loyal gigantic white Aeroflot swimming in the ‘foams of eternity’ will rock me into another world in which I will carry under my tongue the new drop of venom to spit it in anguish into the cataract of the New World’s eyes like a poem from an apocalypse at the end of 20th century ...
By Petru Ilieșu (Novosibirsk–Timișoara 1997)
Translated by Dorothy and Stuart Elford
Read The Romanian Riveter in its entirety here.
Petru Ilieșu is a writer, artist and social activist. He ran an experimental theatre before it was closed down by the authorities and was one of the dissidents under the Ceaușescu regime. Ilieșu has published more than twenty books of poetry, essays and historical studies.