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Poems

Tzveta Sofroniewa (2020)

Graphic Novel in the 1980s

The lamps of the boulevard are octopi

poking me with dirty light, the shy

lanterns on the alley are mainly broken,

the long sweeping curve from the shimmering glow

of the popcorn machine, the boys’ hair

smeared with lemon and sugar

from a lack of styling gel, his face

disappointed with the dullness

of Halley’s Comet, on sale

shabby Women Day’s tulips, a swollen

belly leads the next couple to the altar,

the pregnant bride might be in love,

a cellophane look dominates the cafés,

a pocket calculator, unfamiliar

in the milkman’s hands, winter

wished it hadn’t been born,

cold overdone fries wait for me at home,

and the sun will rise the next day

most likely the same.

 

 

Pledge

“What do you seek with that dagger? Speak!”
The angry voice challenged him.
“To free the city from the tyrant!”

—F. Schiller

 

Red colors penetrate Malta’s winter.

Cactus blossoms, heather, and peppercorns

scatter among monumental white stones

and brightly painted porches; kbir and gravi,

the mighty fortress never despaired,

a rock and a boat, always hoping for peace

in the Mediterranean’s heart.

In Syracuse Pallas Athena shines

in the cathedral next to Our Lady.

Archimedes and Frederick the Great

haunt. The sea has belonged to Odysseus

ever since. Today border guards prevent

the waves from sending desert dust to land

the winds blow saltier, and we pretend

that we believe in Europe’s beginnings.

 

 

Interference Pattern

There are moments in time

when it pours in waves

and the picture becomes

distinct and clear:

captives, refugees, sects,

homeless, migrants, lonely ones.

But light ripens in our hearts

and brings brightness to the world.

It is the old age of darkness,

blind and dreaming,

not frantic but wise.

Is memory the aging of time?

 

Time superposes and interrupts

as a diffraction pattern of light.

Trapped in its interlaced outline

and afraid to talk quietly I scream.

I feel helpless with the pain of those

who search for paradise

and more helpless against water shortage.

Is there a superlative for helplessness?

I am the sieve that breaks the waves of time

and also the canvas on which they combine.

 

We are responsible for the long distance

from us to us, or you to me,

where time roams

until it self-destructs.

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