Two Poems by Claudiu Komartin

From Issue 8 of The Arkansas International

June 11, 2020  By Claudiu Komartin and Diana Manole

“Twelve Lines to Drive Fear Away, Twelve Seconds to the Light’s Disappearance”

I saw the truck’s headlights getting closer from
the southern end of the bridge I calculated
that there was time to make it to the bottom
I snarled at the slippery railing I
thumped the polished board in which I saw
myself all veins and bone shards nothing
between you and me be honest do you still care
I saw myself like a
cold house in which there’s nothing left to
lean on
and the dog started barking again and I thought
that among all of them only he


“Getting Ready for the Centennial of the October Revolution”

Out of scissors and ladles people will be born again.
Getting ready. Seething like lard.
Hunks of fresh meat already hang in the attics, the sign
that someone in the orchestra played the wrong
note at the end of the solemn aria.
What more proof do you need?—there are bloody feathers, eyelids
drenched in polonium.
And at the fish market a scrawny fella who’s not yet guilty
of any wrongdoings
pretends he’s a sturgeon with the mouth sewn shut.
Under Putin’s boot he tried to hide his hands
and the minuscule needle on which it was written Правда.

Alone he did all this, alone he has to bear with it all until the end.

–Translated by Diana Manole


From The Arkansas International (issue 8), Spring 2020.

Claudiu Komartin and Diana Manole
Claudiu Komartin and Diana Manole
Claudiu Komartin is an award-winning Romanian poet, author of five collections and an anthology (Masters of a Dying Art, 2017), which earned the Matei Brâncoveanu Award in Literature. His books have been translated and published in German, Serbian, Turkish, and Bulgarian, while his readings span the world, from Europe and the UK to Israel, South Korea, and the US. Komartin is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Poesis International literary magazine.

Diana Manole is a Romanian-Canadian scholar, literary translator, and author of nine books of poetry and drama in her native Romania, several books of translations, and a co-edited collection of essays, Staging Postcommunism: Alternative Theatre in Eastern and Central Europe after 1989 (Iowa, 2020). Her literary work has earned her fourteen creative writing prizes in Romania and second prize in the 2017/18 John Dryden Translation Competition in the UK.

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