song for Agriope

sounds were rising –

chrysalides for the yet unborn

crystalline shivers…

still were the waters,

undead the moonlight –

and aerial was the calling

of the sound-bender…

and all were silent…

Elysium bowed

under salty heaviness

and doubled up with pain,

unallowed to rebirth the lost

yet sounds kept rising –

chrysalides breaking

tracing furrows

in the molten souls that were

listening…

unshed fire caressed

crimson and black and golden

and hearts were born

where there had been none

and all were crying…

rocks blossomed under

the taming ether

exposing the bones of

ancient rainbows

and sounds kept rising –

chrysalides blooming

mourning the morning

never to come…

*Author’s note: for those not knowing it, Agriope is the other name of Euridice, Orfeu’s beloved wife :).

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

Feathery Song

1. The story I’m about to tell,
is much like that of Beast and Belle,
except in mine she was the bête
who made all those who saw her sweat.
So take your drinks and gather round,
and hush – make not another sound
but listen to the tale of old
remained, until tonight, untold.
***
2. Lang syne, in some forgotten land,
under a mighty king’s command,
up on a mountain, close to skies,
there lived a hermit, old and wise.
He spoke to animals and trees,
to stars and to the evening breeze,
he fed on berries, mushrooms, nuts,
and slept in leafage-woven huts.

3. One morning, in a glade, he found
a stranded hamper, small and round.
Within it, to his own surprise,
he heard a newborn baby’s cries,
so shyly he approached the creel
to hush the little baby’s squeal,
but when he looked inside, he winced
dismayed by what he saw, convinced

4. that only hell itself could birth
such horror on the face of earth:
a shapeless face, with just one eye…
an askew mouth…and limbs so wry
that one could hardly deem them arms…
or legs…not one of infants’ charms…
The hermit wished to run away
but felt within that he should stay –

5. the cries had stopped. The little freak
just stared at him, so small and weak,
and suddenly the hermit’s heart
was thawed, his fears were torn apart.
He leaned over the baby’s nest,
he looked at her, her face caressed
and took her in his arms – next thing
a bird above began to sing.

6. The hermit took the child along
and nursed her, taught her right and wrong,
he fed her, dressed her, raised her well
forgetting of her ugly shell.
The girl grew up, became mature,
her heart so wonderfully pure,
her singing voice unearthly fair,
but looking worse than devil’s heir.

7. One day, aware his end was near,
the hermit called his daughter dear
and told her all: how she’d been found
within that basket on the ground,
how wrongfully afraid he’d been
‘cause of the ugliness he’d seen,
and how his whole life had been graced
by her existence, soft and chaste.

8. He also told her he would die,
and that the scythe of death was nigh,
that she should leave the mountain side
and find a convent where to hide –
you see, the hermit knew too well
that only nuns would not expel
a being such as her, and hence
he wished to shield her from offence.

9. But lassie here was also wise,
and past the hermit’s swift demise
she sewed herself a feathered mask,
determined, should the people ask,
to tell them she would not expose
her face but to the one who chose
to see her soul and not her face,
her heart, and not her earthly case.

10. So down the mountain then she went
and many days indeed she spent
well hidden by the mask she’d made,
but found that people were afraid
to look behind it. Not just once
they acted like some worthless dunce
and sneered at her in vicious ways,
harassing her for nights and days.

11. She kept on trying for a while
despite them being crude and vile,
she hoped they’d change and understand,
but saw she wasted precious sand
on bootless actions. By and by,
too disappointed by her try,
she chose to shut herself within
an old abandoned wooden inn.

12. She locked the gates behind her, cried
and swore to never go outside
again, as long as she would live –
to not forget, and not forgive.
Her heartache slowly grew, and grew,
her faith grew weak, her hope did too,
and only sometimes, in the night,
she sang again, to soothe her blight.

13. Through years, the people from around
bore rumors of the charming sound
that flew, sometimes, towards the skies,
but no one knew who sang, surmis-
ing that there really must have been
some angel from above, unseen,
and oft, the people all night long
stood up, to listen to the song.
***
14. Along the river shores, back then,
there used to walk a blind young man
aside a dog. The folk he passed
by pitied him, sometimes they cast
an eye over the clothes he wore,
for he seemed noble to the core
when talking, but was dressed in tat –
so what could someone make of that?!

15. He heard, like any other chuff,
that song, and one time was enough
for him to wish to find the one
whose voice was like a midnight sun.
So every night the voice would sing
he drew up closer to its spring,
helped by his dog – and whereupon
before the inn he stood one dawn.

16. He knocked, and called, and begged, and prayed,
and at those gates he waited, stayed,
he listened, doubted, hoped and feared,
until one day the girl appeared,
the mask upon her face again.
She looked at him all silent, then
she asked him what he wished to speak.
He said: “It’s you the one I seek.

17. I know it’s you who sings at night,
though, as you see, I have no sight.
I have no knowledge of your name
it wouldn’t matter all the same
if I knew that. I also won’t
attempt to lie to you – I don’t
have money, riches, treasures, gold.
I had them once, but then I sold

18. entirely my wealth, and spent
up to the last dime when I went
all blind. So, as you see, I’m poor.
The only blessing and, for sure,
the only friend I have as yet,
is this old dog. So please, don’t fret!
The only thing I want would be
for you to let me stay with thee!

19. I only need a nook to sleep
and that the dog you let me keep.
You need not worry ‘bout my bread
or anything at all. Instead,
I want to listen to your voice
whenever singing is your choice –
because, you see, it’s in your sound
that I my bliss in life have found!”

20. She let him say his say, all still,
while he appealed for her goodwill,
and when he finished she replied:
“Do you, at least, know why I hide?!
I’ve been rejected by the folk.
In front of me they simply choke
because I’m ugly. I’m a freak!
They fear so much they cannot speak

21. a word to me. So after tries
and tries while being in disguise,
I realized I couldn’t live
‘mongst ones who’ve nothing else to give
than hate and scorn and wickedness.
They value much the face and dress
and I have none of those. So why
should I believe that you don’t lie?!”

22. “Some can be sly – but don’t you see
How beautiful you are to me?!
Cannot you tell, from all you’ve seen,
That I’m as true as they are mean?
I have no eyes to view your face.
To me your song’s the only grace
I need to deem you queen of mine,
as bright as all the stars that shine.

23. I do not care what people say.
You’re ugly?! How much fairer they?!
You’re poor?! How rich their empty souls?
How maggoty their social roles?
You’re free to cast me out, I know.
I have no other way to show
that what I say to you’s sincere.
I can but hope you’ll keep me near.”

24. Persuaded by his strong resolve
she thought that things may not evolve
as badly as she held first glance,
and brought herself to take her chance.
A while it all unfolded well,
at least from what they both could tell –
they ate together, talked and laughed
she sang, he knit the words with craft,

25. they seemed to dovetail, all in all.
But one day, something did befall:
at dawn, when getting up from bed
upon his eyes a warm light spread,
and suddenly he came aware
that he could see again quite fair,
and ran to her without delay.
Alas though! to his own dismay,

26. she wore no mask when he came in.
He felt the earth around him spin
and though he feigned detachment, she
could feel his nausea flowing free.
She smiled a bitter smile to him,
aware his love was growing dim,
then turned and left him in that room
and walked away. Despite the gloom,

27. she somehow felt she’d been released,
freed from the bane to be a beast.
A sudden calm laid hold of her
and all the prior acrid stir
dissolved within a moment’s flight.
She sensed that things were setting right,
and then a little voice inside
spoke soft that no more she should hide.

28. She donned her mask and hat and coat
and on a piece of paper wrote
a line or two, to let him know
the vicinage where she might go.
Then out the door she went, aware
that people all around would stare
with awkward eyes – for how could they
ignore her presence in their way?

29. They could, to say the very least,
refer to “beauty and the beast”
when whispering of “him” and “her” –
how could they not?…A subtle blur
wrapped up her gaze…She felt the sting
of doubt…but more than anything,
she knew she had to face her fears
and take that step. Too many years

30. had passed since she had hid behind
those walls, so that no one could find
the path towards her wounded core…
But she won’t hide there anymore.
So, hoping he would understand,
she firmly took herself in hand
and slowly walked outside the door –
so says the tale from times of yore.

31. She paced with measured steps the trail
that led to people in that vale,
ignoring bushes, shrubs and trees,
the birds, the sun and morning’s breeze.
Her heartbeats knotted in her throat,
she wrapped up better in her coat,
pretending that the thrills she sensed
were just her flesh’s thrust against

32. the early hour’s frost. Quite soon
the path with painful flashbacks strewn
enwidened at the hamlet’s gate.
Another step…the seconds’ weight
felt like a rock upon her chest.
The memories she had repressed
were coming back to life again –
the people’s horror and disdain

33. though passed, kept harrowing her soul.
She stepped again…her body whole
refused to move ahead. She sighed,
she blinked to push the haze aside
and stepped inside the village. Then,
in front of her, a few old men
put down their work and raised their eyes
to look at her with raw surprise.

34. Around her, space began to form.
Just like the calm before a storm
the people fixed her, silent, cold,
since there was nothing to be told
to hide how they could not but feel.
Each glance of theirs – a new ordeal…
She slowly walked amidst the crowd,
their glares as sombre as a shroud,

35. and then she wanted to discard
the mask. Her figure, sorely marred,
appeared then in the morning’s light,
but thrilled with horror at her sight,
the peasants cringed away from her
and in the middle of the stir
they tried to knock her down. Appalled,
she ebbed away, then fell and crawled

36. unable to resist their thrust.
But when her blood caressed the dust
she turned her gaze towards the sky
and mutely prayed that she would die
thus being spared the slashing pain.
And lo! Her plea was not in vain,
for in the very eyes of men
she changed into a bird, and then

37. she flew into the forest’s shade.
The people, suddenly afraid
of what they did, fled from the place
and ran towards their homes apace.
An awkward silence grew instead,
and on the ground, now stained with red,
as if to mark the very spot,
remained the mask as bloody blot.
***
38. Back at the inn, and later on,
our lad, when seeing she’d been gone,
felt guilty and ashamed again
when grasping the amount of pain
he’d brought on her. Abashed and bleak
he quickly went outside to seek
her out, he searched the place around,
but she was nowhere to be found.

39. Aggrieved about her having left,
among the trees he rushed bereft
and shortly reached inside the vill.
Along his spine an icy thrill
crept snakishly and made him twirl
and all his thoughts began to swirl
when finding fallen on the ground
the feathered mask she’d worn around.

40. That moment knowledge came to him
that something violently grim
must have occurred.. He looked about
and saw that people didn’t flout
the way they usually did.
Behind each wooden window grid
he noticed eyes that mirrored fear,
and what had passed was all too clear.

41. He threw a silent awful glare
and turned his back on them, aware
that if he were to find her trace
into the woods he’d have to pace.
So wasting not another blink
he parted and began to sink
into the thicket. Off and on
he peered at heavens, pale and wan,

42. foreboding that by even fall
she would be lost for good and all.
Eventually in a glade
he ceased his wandering and stayed,
he looked around again, he sighed
and on his face the mask he tied
to feel her closer. Then, with woe,
he voiced his overwhelming throe:

43. “I know I failed you! I was wrong
to put my fears above your song!
I erred – but now I want to mend!
From now my faith no more will bend!
So please, forgive me and return!
I know your trust I’ll have to earn,
so one more chance I ask of you
to prove myself as being true!”

44. But nothing happened…not a sound
among the trees or on the ground.
A heavy silence shrouded him
and sorrow filled him to the brim,
for time was passing, hope was frail,
his efforts seemed of no avail,
and night was almost there. Resigned,
he wished he could again go blind

45. for although now his eyes could see
his heart was left without its glee
and life seemed hollow, mean and bare,
so to the sky he raised his prayer
to be with her, whatever cost
he’d have to pay, for he felt lost
without her being to the fore –
his heart was bleak, his soul was sore.

46. All of a sudden, in an oak
a small bird perched whereas he spoke.
While he beheld it there aloft
a tender feeling, warm and soft,
took hold of him, and he inferred
that what he saw as tiny bird
could only be his lady fair
who called his presence in the air.

47. He started humming low, arose
and felt a tingling in his toes,
but wouldn’t let her out of sight
for fear she’d vanish in the night.
While moving closer to the tree
the tingling spread within one knee
and then the other one, and soon
amazement made his murmur swoon:

48. a pair of wings, quite small but strong,
replaced his arms. As for his song,
it turned into a splendid lay
that spoke of love fallen astray.
The forest hadn’t heard before
a trill so moving to the core,
and nature hushed to lend its ears
to yonder sound of woe and tears.

49. As night grew deeper, through the gloom
the only thing that bode in bloom
remained that ever richer song,
which filled the forest all night long.
At dawn the sun caressed the trees.
The morning wind – a playful tease –
found not one trace of man or bird
and no more song could there be heard.

50. Since then, the people from that site
could only hear the song at night.
The tale was wiped out from their mind –
the ugly girl and young man blind
remained just “dreams within a dream”
both real and fake, as it may seem.
As for the bird within our tale,
we call it simply “nightingale”.

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

The Presence of Sound

Outside it’s raining (it’s been raining a lot around here lately actually) and my fingers run on the computer keyboard while in the background Yo-Yo Ma is performing miracles on his cello with Bach’s suites. I cannot hold back a melancholic smile, remembering a part of my youth which I put aside for the past ten years, but which lately keeps bugging me to revive it – some of you may know that I used to play the piano years ago, but few know also that at some point I decided to give up music and literally sold my piano.

However, I can’t help missing the flow of feelings through my being while my fingers used to play fragments of the souls of Bach, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev and so many others. As I told a friend of mine at some point, there are moments when the vibration of a piano chord is enough to bring tears into my eyes.

Therefore, today I’m talking to you about music, about this splendid, but still far from being completely understood, part of our life. For what is music, after all? What happens to us when we listen, almost as in trance, to the organized sounds played or sung by someone? Be it classic or modern, vocal or instrumental, music always fascinated people, and they never ceased to strive to comprehend and conquer its amazing language, without realizing that it was the language that was conquering them, and not the other way around. Men tried to subdue this world of the sound, tried to impose rules to it, tried to fit it into shapes, forms, organized it in systems based on various criteria, but in the end, no matter if the rules are respected, if the form is an old or a new one, music transcends all the artificial organization and we find ourselves completely ecstatic in the presence of sounds. Music conquers us, and once it does so, it owns us for life, whether we’re aware of that or not. Why? I don’t know. Some say it’s because music is the language of God. Others say it’s because the frequencies of music resonate with our own frequencies. But does it really matter? The truth is, no, it doesn’t. Music simply governs our hearts, in one of the most splendid ways possible.

Yes, music owns me. It always did. It always will. And I’m grateful for that :).

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

Translating Words into/from Music

This post is actually an experiment. In my work as a translator there is something done sometimes called “back-translation”, which means that you translate a text from a language into another, and then the text is translated back into the original language, in order to see the degree of change suffered by the message due to the process of translating it.
In the following lines, what I did was to take the “translation” into music of Louis Bertrand’s “Scarbo” from his amazing “Gaspard de la nuit”, done by Ravel, and I translated it back from the language of music into that of words, using for that my own perception of Ravel’s splendid fantasy. The original text is this:

SCARBO.

Il regarda sous le lit, dans la
cheminée, dans le bahut;–personne.
Il ne put comprendre par où il s’était
introduit, par où il s’était évadé.

HOFFMANN.–_Contes nocturnes_.

Oh! que de fois je l’ai entendu et vu, Scarbo, lorsqu’à minuit la lune
brille dans le ciel comme un écu d’argent sur une bannière d’azur semée
d’abeilles d’or!

Que de fois j’ai entendu bourdonner son rire dans l’ombre de mon alcôve,
et grincer son ongle sur la soie des courtines de mon lit!

Que de fois je l’ai vu descendre du plancher, pirouetter sur un pied et
rouler par la chambre comme le fuseau tombé de la quenouille d’une
sorcière.

Le croyais-je alors évanoui? le nain grandissait entre la lune et moi,
comme le clocher d’une cathédrale gothique, un grelot d’or en branle à
son bonnet pointu!

Mais bientôt son corps bleuissait, diaphane comme la cire d’une bougie,
son visage blémissait comme la cire d’un lumignon,–et soudain il
s’éteignait.

The piece of music into which it was “translated” and from which I translated it back is the following, in the exquisite interpretation of Valentina Lisitsa.

Scarbo

 

keys
wake up
slowly,
moving like
zombie puppets –
don’t you see? –
they tremble, shiver,
your prancing hurts
their silence,
your laughter bursts much
too heavy for them –
they crash,
commanded to insanity by your frenzy,
fiend jumping – cavorting –
pinching night’s folds and knitting braids from breaths of wind
only to snap with them against sweating walls –
it’s black where you come from –
twisted, mind grabs bits of reality and
shoves them all together
in a bucket of tenebrae –
grim is your touch, swirling within night’s guts,
caustic – your whisper chars the shadows –
it’s dark and slimy where you come from –
your name cloaks inside it
the same slur and vertigo as that
from inside the heart of fear –
strings vomit sounds contorted just like your limbs,
you toss and turn the coins of fate
and upside down the room spins,
keys scream, sounds twitch
and uncontrollable bursts of hysteria erase
the purity of darkness –
sounds freezing their way up to the ears
lash the very shell
meant to shelter their terror,
shades of your grin bend,
like darkling tentacles,
all over the mesh of phantasms
and flesh shudders under the whip of your wicked games –
it’s gloomy and frightful where you come from,
black gnome,
Scarbo, you, who hold on the ring of your name
the keys of fears…

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

prints

.

put your palm on the ground,
press it
until you feel the dirt filling
the space between your fingers,
your striations,
even your pores.
now take it away,
look at that print
and leave.
that print, filled with your gaze,
will have been,
in its (no matter how short) existence,
no less precious or important
than any random word
thrown to a random stranger
on a random day.

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

growth

it used to be simple.

filiform roots spread gingerly,
conquering soil with a tender patience
and smoothing away the dust
grain by grain
in search for water veins.

earth breathed around them,
the odor of the jungle flowing thickly
through the vegetal fragility raking it –
bold filaments
meant to sagely braid themselves
into future wooden snakes
crossing the undergrounds of the forest.

above them eyes blinked,
growing faces and legs,
growing mouths,
hungry mouths and teeth,
perfect fangs,
to which foliage was but a place to lurch,
a momentary den.

sometimes, roots tasted blood,
earth became spongy and red
and satiated beasts catnapped on the bed of stained herbs –
but roots didn’t mind.

lately though,
what water carries with it
is the acid mind of the clay,
burning its path through fangs and eyes and roots
and coagulating life in its very amnios.

it’s not simple anymore.

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

what remains after a tree

and yet, what remains after a tree?
sometimes a root
sometimes a snag
sometimes the sorrow of the grass deprived of shade
sometimes more sky but less blue
sometimes more flight and less rest
sometimes just emptiness

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

Don’t Let Fall Go – sonnet

.

Don’t sweep the fallen leaves, don’t wipe your tears,
don’t let this autumn pass a dream too soon,
don’t mix the joy of yellow with your fears
that it will fade, however, until noon.
Don’t let the scent of misty dawns go wasted
and let the drizzle soak in tired flow
the dust of summer days, that maybe hasted
so you can also feel the autumn’s glow.
For winter’s frost is nigh, and even nigher
the rust that eats the handle of this door
and swallows flying swiftly ever higher
next spring may not recall us anymore.
So don’t allow the sand to flow too fast –
don’t let your fall beside me be our last.

© 2017, Liliana Negoi

levels

once upon a chapter
i was

rubbing your parched lips with sand
while date-trees shadowed your masochism.
you kept asking for water
with a raucous voice,

and camels ignored us.

you died in my arms then,
smearing my cheek with your last breath
and naming me Maya

and i sieved my sand over you
to hide your corpse from vultures.

the next mouldy morning
you grew through me
branching

into basic elements
you split me
seeking my water

ignoring the camels.

you planted a date
between my teeth
and closed my eyes
and taught me
that, which i already knew.

i died
winged by your breath then
and anointing you “unnamed”.

the date rooted in my mouth
and turned me into an oasis.
your oasis.

no camels – just water and date-trees.

and us.
undying.

© Liliana Negoi

from “The hidden well”

On seas, bicycles and whiskey

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

These words belong to Rabindranath Tagore, and they came to my mind while I was actually looking at an over-water bridge that is currently being consolidated in the area where I live. I looked at the bridge this early morning, seeing it for what it is – a connection between the two shores of the river, meant to ease people’s access from one side to the other. And then I realized that the important aspect of Tagore’s quote was not what was said in it, but what it implied: the idea of moving, of doing something. The idea of not waiting for things to come to you, but of trying to reach those things somehow, whether by building bridges towards them, or by getting around the obstructions.

Man learned to cross seas and mountains because of his need for exploring, for moving, for trying to obtain the “better”. Up until now, evolution was not done only by staying still and admiring the circumstances – although, if sitting still means learning and evaluating the pros and cons of an action, it is also called “moving”, in my opinion.

Seas, waters, obstacles, are always in our paths. Sometimes we see them from a distance, thus having time to prepare for them, other times we wake up right in front of them, and we have to make a decision. And most of the time the decision implies moving – either towards our goal, or away from it. Sitting there and not doing anything about it, although a valid choice, is the worst, because you willingly confine yourself into a dead end. And life is not – or at least it should not be – about dead ends.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

The one who said that was Einstein – and the main word in that quote is the last one, because no matter what happens at a certain point in time, in a specific place, no matter how big the pain, the horror, the joy or whatever the experienced feeling, time, as we, humans, perceive it, continues to flow. Things change. Life goes on – with or without us.

And related to that, I’ll end my today’s pondering with one of the shortest quotes that apply here – Johnny Walker’s “Keep walking”.

© Liliana Negoi

no rain

blades of onyx
sharp
cut the umbilical cord
of sounds and tears
flooding the sea of sorrow
with dryness

the eyes of drought
measure with pride
the parched souls
lined up at the gates of the sun

“no water!”

the sponge drips only sour blood
on the lips of light

“no roots!”

echoes of salt
whirl within voices
and sand stays still

“unworthy!”

the earth screams
muddy with guilt and regrets

someone
somewhere
will carve hieroglyphs
in the stones we become
today…

© Liliana Negoi

congregating war

chippy charmed blade in Moira’s hand
cries for blood,
begs for blood,
slashing carmine canopies
for the sake of the flow,
grinning its ivory fang
at the lavish crimson gush
drenching sands and drowning wills.
on the red river
crucified Jesus floats,
watching clouds on skies in flames
twinning the boulders of coagulated sins
crawling along the muddy shores,
wondering if those were the sins
for which he drank the cup.
in the meantime carnivorous swords
keep fueling the flood,
making sure that the river’s level stays always high
enough,
as if that would get the floating cross closer to the skies.
not that it mattered anyway –
after all, there’s plenty of that bloody slime
smelling like putrid faith
to fuel a thousand more crusades…

© Liliana Negoi

faulty darwinism

chopped and chewed and swallowed—
down we go
on eternity’s throat,
one bite of salty clay after another
to be recycled
and become the burnt sienna skies
of some obscure tomorrow.

fate chimes its’ eyelashes
like some odalisque its’ coin belt—
the boatman’s pockets are always full
with tradition’s eye seals.

we are but stairs
for humanity’s pretended
e-volution,
we circle meanings
like eagles circle unseen angels
up-above,
without ever touching them,
we live to ignore
and ignore to learn
the reason why history is repeating—
and talking tall
we show our real essence—

the spoiled mud flowing in our veins
keeps bringing bitter smiles
on god’s resigned mouth:
ever non-grown-ups, these earthlings…

© Liliana Negoi

water

holding in my hands the small tub in which at noon i bathed my children
i look at the water in which float, benumbed by heat,
the dusty remains of their earlier game –
in some other reality, water would be carefully filtered
and then poured at the root of some apple tree whose shade and whose fruits
would be more than heavenly gifts –
in mine
it looks at the sun through eyes of foam
then slowly flows from the tub,
and the games of my children are left to return into the dust of the yard
to water there
the roots of their wings

© Liliana Negoi

december mail

december unfolds its wings, unusually creamy and warm
under a lavender glazed sky, the house’s green walls allow
mild reflections of sunlight to lick them of shadows and
autumn scents, the windows are bored, posing shamelessly
in their entire nude transparency, and a pair of spiders,
having somehow escaped winter’s fangs so far, are
rejoicing upon the bliss of colonizing a dark corner
beneath the eaves, enjoying what in another time of the
year would be called “honeymoon”.
endless phrases cover pages, purposely avoiding periods
that would cut their thread too often, painting complicated
arabesques of meanings similar to some refined sensual
teasing, round and round hot spots but not quite touching
them, like a calligraphic piece of jewelry, and you come to
receive one tiny dot with the same orgasmic gratitude
smearing your smile as if it was a breath of fresh air
caressing your gasping throat.
seconds seem to play leap-frog back and forth, time’s
heartbeats are stuck in the mud and nothing helps with
ignoring the howling silence perforated here and there by
the momentary chirp of some stray sparrow in search for
crumbs, and by the time you’ve reached this line you
realize that all that i’ve actually told you so far is that i’m
alone and missing you…

© Liliana Negoi

from “The hidden well”

call me

call me when you’ll be old
so old that the only thing making sense to your tired hands
will be to open the windows during sunrise
and to latch them back at dusk,
when any name you’d call
will taste round and salty in your voice
when it will scratch the silence
call me when you will have called
all else on the face of earth
and when the only name left to be called will be mine.
call me,
and I will come and curl at your feet and warm them up
and make them remember the cubic stones
of paths we took only in my imagination
and the trickle of water carrying down the road
autumn leaves that never saw November in their lives.
call me when you’ll be old,
so old that eggshells of sparrows will look like coffins
from which death escaped and feeds on earthworms and flies,
and I will come and wonder by your side
of how suddenly water will spring from the wooden doors of cupboards
mirroring the flow of words from some apocryphal gospel
yet undiscovered.
but above all, call me when you’ll be old
when the mere exercise of remembering me will exhaust you
call my name,
as small and insignificant and lacking substance as it may seem
and I will come and finally hold your hands
and nest my breath in them
and I will tell you a story about a love that wasn’t love,
a time that wouldn’t flow
and stardust.

© Liliana Negoi

In time . . .

Against all ponderable odds
the sky is blue today,
a blue as deep as that of God’s
forgotten depths of heaven,
one could say.

You look at me, I look at you
and none of us does speak –
the morning silence (nothing new)
allows a smile to blossom
and to sneak

into the middle of our thoughts,
and suddenly we blink,
and three imponderable dots
of colour and of meaning
let us sink

in memories of youth and lo!
the years have never passed.
We’re young again, though old, and so
the blue above has never
been so vast.

© Liliana Negoi

Bonds

FullSizeRender-9[…] I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes, waiting for the burst – which came almost instantaneously:

– Our talks should be different! You know? Different. Like, when you come to me with that long face and I just know that something’s wrong, you should just talk to me and tell me about it. I mean, for heaven’s sake, I know you since you were a child, since you took your first steps towards me and hugged me. I felt you there, at my feet, a little being with so much potential, looking at me with those big round eyes and laughing with all your heart…you were such a marvel…and you still are, but somewhere on the way you lost your confidence in me. I used to be the keeper of all your secrets – and now you’re ashamed to talk to me, as if talking to me would make you some sort of a freak…Talking to me doesn’t make you a freak. Sharing your inner world with me doesn’t make you a freak. Feeling together with me doesn’t make you a freak. But your fear and shame do.

I opened my eyes, trying to ignore the tears streaming along my cheeks – how I had missed that voice…and how much truth it carried…I wanted to mumble a feeble “I’m sorry”, but then it spoke again:

– I don’t want you to be sorry. I just want you to open your eyes and see me for what I truly am – for what I’ve always been: your friend. And if you don’t believe me, look at me and remember the countless times when you ran to me and gifted me with your tears, your laughter and your thoughts. I still remember each and every moment we shared.

And while I touched the tree’s bark, letting my heartbeats resonate between my palm and the old trunk, its leaves caressed my cheek and it concluded gently:

– Your most loyal friend I am, not just the old oak in your father’s garden.[…]

© Liliana Negoi