The Storyteller

Poemul meu Povestașul (un portret liric al prozatorului Alexandru Vlad), tradus în engleză de Gabi Reigh și publicat în World Literature Today. În compania a încă două poete românce. Poemul s-a ivit datorită ceremoniilor narative la care am avut norocul să fiu receptor vreme de câteva luni, prin 1993, când Alexandru Vlad mă poftea la cafea ca să-mi povestească despre cele mai exotice naratoare din secolul XX.

The Storyteller

Just like that, we used to talk together in the café, not sitting down
Standing instead so that the stories could trickle from us
Like streams.
We propped our elbows on the bar
While the coffee in our cups willed us to pry open its secrets
And read the world in its dregs
And peer down at stories through its monocle,
Wherever we might find ourselves, hungry for more,
Out-talking even death and its machinery.

You were the storyteller curling smoke from your pipe
While in the café I could see the burning timbers
Of childhood winters with cakes at my grandparents’ home,
With wolves outside and the moon covering her eyes lest she should be blinded by ice.

You talked with a small candle planted in your teeth
A sun in your mouth
To warm the words so that the stories would grow and multiply,
Biblical, almost.

Women and men and children swarmed the stories like an orderly hive,
Even when the words about them filled with a fear and loss
We couldn’t swat away.
And then you would say – stories are ever shifting shapes,
Benign predators adored and cherished and then released into the wilderness,
And I would say – stories are the tremors of our bodies,

They are orange coloured and they have that we can’t possess,
The power of life and death.

While we talked like this, between interruptions and waiting,
I drained the coffee to its dregs, its cuneiform remnants
A dead end in a road where no-one travelled.

You see, you said at last, stories are objects
We avoid not to disturb and turn in our hands
And do not caress like we ought,
Maybe because they cannot transcribe that something received at birth,
But only pass, ash-grey, into corners, where they will be left alone,
Without anyone haranguing them for being stories and saying nothing needed to be said.



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