Nicolae Coande

August 13, 2015 Nicolae Coande



The most beautiful Russian girl in the world lives in Germany
tucked in a safe with a Cyrillic cipher. The Germans still bang their heads
against a wall over it. Even so, her hands weave a bridge to me, her blue eyes
break the code that holds her hostage. The sapphire holds its breath
awhile. An epidemic of kisses.
Her mouth drinks in the white wine left in a glass on Böll’s veranda,
in forests where the bear cuts honey with a crosscut saw,
those hands still search for me, as on New Year’s Eve, 2004,
when I went through three endings and as many rebirths.
Solzhenitsyn regards us pensively from a photograph: our Russian comrades
remain the world’s most prodigious drinkers.
She is Rasputin’s woman, but can’t forget me. Her heart
is the grass in which reindeer’s graze
then eaten in the finest restaurants in Paris.
The art, of course, is to bind together three countries that can’t stand each other.
Her dancing lights up the hidden warheads in Siberia, but her hands
quickly choke everything. For her it’s winter, when the meteorites fell.
For an entire night I watched her smoking and singing
for two years. A Bundeskanzlerin with Romanian moving
in her hips,
her back the bow dropped from Rostropovich’s hand
in a room where the heart listens back turned hears how
the Baikal’s sphincter begets crises in Asia.
I sit in a cellar and write how I can miss
a bridge
the Volga beneath and a ship pulled downstream by two tiny breasts.

(Translated by MARGENTO, Martin Woodside, and Lia Elena Boangiu)





Cea mai frumoasă rusoaică din lume trăieşte în Germania
într-un seif cu cifru chirilic. Nemţii încă-şi sparg capul.
Chiar şi aşa mâinile-i ţes un pod până la mine, ochii ei albaştri
sparg codul care o ţine ostatecă. Safirul îşi ţine un timp
răsuflarea. Epidemie de săruturi.
Gura ei bea vinul alb uitat într-un pahar în veranda lui Böll,
în păduri unde ursul taie mierea cu joagărul,
mâinile mă mai caută, ca în noaptea Anului Nou 2004
când am trecut prin trei sfârşituri şi tot atâtea renaşteri.
Din fotografie ne privea îngândurat Soljeniţîn: kamarazii ruşi
sânt pretutindeni cei mai mari băutori din lume.
Ea este femeia lui Rasputin, dar nu mă poate uita. Inima ei
e iarba pe care o pasc renii
şi-apoi e mâncată în restaurantele scumpe din Paris.
Arta, desigur, e să ţii împreună trei ţări care nu se pot suferi.
Dansul ei aprinde focoasele pitulate-n Siberia, dar mâinile-i
sting repede totul. Pentru ea, iarna, a căzut meteoritul atunci.
O noapte întreagă am privit-o cum fumează şi cântă
timp de doi ani. Ea e Bundeskanzlerin cu mişcări de româncă
în şolduri,
spatele ei este arcuşul scăpat din mâna lui Rostropovici
într-o cameră unde inima întoarsă cu spatele ascultă cum
sfincterul Baikalului naşte crize în Asia.
Stau şi scriu într-o pivniţă despre cum poate să-mi fie dor
de un pod
pe sub care trec Volga şi un vapor tras de sâni mici.

This translation of Nicolae Coande’s “Podul” has been included in Moods & Women & Men & Once Again Moods. An Anthology of Contemporary Erotic Romanian Poetry, edited by Ruxandra Cesereanu and forthcoming from Tracus Arte Press (Romania) and Calypso Editions (USA).





Lia Elena Boangiu (b. 1989) translates from English into Romanian and publishes interviews and book and theatre reviews. She is a constant collaborator to SpectActor—the cultural magazine of the “Marin Sorescu” National Theatre in Craiova—, but has contributed to other magazines as well. She has worked as translator and editor of the Program Book for the International Shakespeare Festival in Craiova (2007, 2010, 2014). Lia has translated into Romanian poetry by Ezra Pound, Wole Soynka, Robert Creeley, and Bernhard Widder, among many others.

MARGENTO (Chris Tanasescu) (b. 1968) is a Romanian poet, performer, academic, and translator who has performed and lectured in the US, SE Asia, Australia, and Europe. His pen-name is also the name of his multimedia cross-art band that won a number of major international awards. The recent recipient of a 2-year SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) grant, MARGENTO will continue to develop his graph poem project and other related computational applications in poetry at an academic level together with Professor Diana Inkpen and the latter’s graduate students as an Adjunct Professor in the Computer Science Department at uOttawa. MARGENTO is Editor-at-Large for Asymptote.

Martin Woodside (b. 1972) is a writer, translator, and a founding member of Calypso Editions.  He’s published five books for children, a chapbook of poetry, Stationary Landscapes and an anthology of Romanian poetry in translation, Of Gentle Wolves. Martin’s full-length collection of poems, This River Goes Two Ways, has recently appeared from WordTech Communications.

Nicolae Coande (b. 1962) is the awarded author of 7 poetry collections and several other books of essays, literary reviews, and selected journalism.  The recipient of a number of major literary prizes and grants in Romania, Germany, and Austria, he has been included in anthologies and publications in the US, Belgium, Germany, Serbia, Turkey, Albania, and Slovenia.  Nu m-au lăsat să conduc lumea (They Just Wouldn’t Let Me Run the World), his new book, is forthcoming from Max Blecher Press 20 years after his debut collection.  He lives in Craiova in South Romania where he regularly hosts widely covered literary readings and poetry events that, as he says, “help keep the taste for literature and friendship’s flavor alive in the city.”