Feature > Poetry
Wayne Miller

Wayne Miller

Wayne Miller is the author of three poetry collections--most recently The City, Our City (Milkweed, 2011)--coeditor of New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008), and translator of Moikom Zeqo's I Don't Believe in Ghosts (BOA, 2007). He lives in Kansas City and edits Pleiades.
Anastas Kapurani

Anastas Kapurani

Anastas Kapurani is the author of The Myth of Lasgush (Upfront [UK], 2004), a critical study of the Albanian poet Lasgush Poradeci. Kapurani lives in Athens, where he teaches for the London Institute City and Guilds program.

Zodiac (3) (English Translation)

God's Angel replaced Isaac with the ram;
Abraham dropped the knife from his hand.
The thunder was there to witness
(though God himself was absent).
What if we change the fable?
What if the ram decides to replace
Isaac with the Angel?
Then what should Abraham do?
Or if Issac has to sacrifice
both the Angel and Abraham
to save the ram . . .
The names of myths crumble
while the moon continues to remake itself.
God: the absence of flesh
becoming, suddenly, flesh.
How can I breach the protoplasm
to find and hold
my grandparents again?
Music carries the substance
of a dream's narcotic,
and centuries bear the congealed wisdom
of the air's sensory experience.
The sea's splashes are bites in a vast blue tree trunk
chopped down by the axe of the moon.
Beauty that's passed us by
is an empty tunic
removed one evening
by Helen, who now stands naked.
She wanders the Mediterranean
with her winged, golden-fleeced ram,
lured by Colchis across the Black Sea.
They see Medea—
enchantress of snakes
and birdlike flies. It's the oracles
of the temple who slay the ram,
and the golden fleece hangs in the air
like some mysteriously appeared meteor.
Now Medea realizes that Helen
is, in fact, a lesbian;
from the shards of seashells
Sappho is remade as well?
and there they are: the three sisters of fate
meddling in the destinies of mortals
with computer viruses,
roulette wheels,
drugstores selling Viagra.
I sit at my desk of moonlit wood,
sit in my chair, which is muscled like a horse,
sit before my parchments of oaken glass
in my room of viruses
and Onufrian1 hash-blood—
and I become the pen of Jehovah!
I look at the calendar—a mosaic of peacocks—
I hear the beat of the turtle's biological clock,
I drink my tea from Solomon's eyecup.
The hoofbeats of horse-Psalms thunder in the Dinaric Alps,
neighing forth their sudden bolts of lightning.
O vegetarians,
vegetarians,
bite into me—
have me as your food!
The Spanish Inquisitors
would burn my heretical metaphors,
would turn my restless magic into light.
The Pope himself,
with his lion-wig, would preside over my trial,
while I'd imagine the rope numbing my limbs.
With a torch, they'd burn off my hair and beard.
The executioner, showing mercy as he flays me,
would steal my ram's skin;
with his knife, he'd cut off my balls
(which, by the way, are Jason's)
and then the golden fleece would be revealed to the dinosaurs.
The monks would hold it up before Voltaire:
"Voila! The proof!
The mea culpa
of God Himself!
The restlessness
of meditation
and the Great Nothingness!"
O Hebraic Ram of a darkened Easter,
O ceremonial knife of God's penis,
O bewildering speed of blind angels,
O petrified music of the wind and our dreams,
O wormlike metamorphosis of sexual eros,
O skyscrapers of Atlantis, full of premonitions,
O earthquakes that foreshadowed Homer's voice,
O Holy Jerusalem of extraterrestrials,
O mortal robots with wounds that bleed,
O penguins of Einsteinian brilliance,
O tiny creatures ensanguined by the Behemoth,
O elephants, you sentimental Buddhas,
O giraffes wearing the flames of Dali,
O Nimrod, Babylonian King with your tongue cut out?
you eunuch of a language lost forever?,
O Mjeda2, your death sealed inside Loka's body
as she searches for Tringa in the heavenly pastures,
O Lasgush3?you pelican bringing us food,
your blood that nourishes us,
we cannibals of language?,
O Christ, Good Shepherd
that protects us inside the corral of utopian morality,
O wolves that have fallen in love with the sheep,
O enslaving reconciliation of death . . .
And me? I've failed to identify myself:
the knife melts away?.
I'm the ram of an Easterlike resurrection?
Please! Hear inside my bleat
the voice
of Rimbaud.





Notes

1Onufri is an important 16th century Albanian painter.

2Ndre Mjeda (1866-1937), Albanian poet and Catholic theologian. Loka and Tringa are characters from Mjeda's "The Dream of Life."

3Lasgush Poradeci (1899-1987), Albanian poet known for his pantheist mysticism. With Migjeni, he is generally considered one of the two fathers of Albanian poetic Modernism. An important work is the Kamadeva.

(Original Albanian)

Engjëlli i Zotit e zëvendësoi Isakun me dashin,
Abrahamit i ra thika nga dora e vendosur.
Bubullimat qenë dëshmitarë,
po vetë Zoti nuk qe.
Sikur të ndryshojë subjekti?
Dashi të caktojë për flije
engjëllin për Isakun?
Çdo të bënte vallë Abrahami?
Ose Isaku tíi sakrifikojë
engjëllin dhe Abrahamin
për dashin?
Emrat e miteve thërmohen,
por Hëna ribëhet.
Zoti është mungesa e mishit
që befas bëhet mish.
Si ta kapërcej protoplazmën
të më përqafojnë
stërgjyshërit?
Muzika është substancë
e narkotikëve të ëndrrës
dhe shekujt janë dija e koncentruar
e shqisave të ajrit.
Stërkalat e detit janë ashklat e një trungu blu
prerë nga sopata e Hënës
Bukuria e mërguar
është tunika e zbrazët
nga ku iku
Helena lakuriq.
Helena endet mbi ujërat e Mesdheut
me një dash fluturues leshartë
të ndjellur nga Kolkida e Zezë.
Shohin Medenë,
magjistaren e gjarpërinjve
dhe mizave të mëdha si zogjtë.
Dashin e therrin shortaret e tempullit,
lëkurën e leshartë ia varin në erë
si një kumt misterioz meteorësh.
Medea zbuloi se dhe Helena
qe lesbike
Nga gocat e detit
e ribëjnë dhe Safon
dhe shfaqen si tri Moira
në fatin e vdekëtarëve të paditur
dhe mbi viruset e kompjuterave,
roletat e kazinove
dhe në farmacitë, ku shiten VIAGRA.
Unë rri në tryezën time të drurit hënor
rri në karrigen prej muskujsh kali
me pergamenat prej qelq lisi,
rri në dhomën time prej virusesh
dhe hashash gjaku onufrian
dhe kam vetë Jahovain penë.
Shoh kalendarin prej pallonjsh të mozaikëve,
dëgjoj tiktakun e një ore biologjike prej breshke,
pi çaj në filxhanin sy të Solomonit,
trokojnë psallmet kuaj në Bjeshkët e Namuna
me hingëllima verbuese rrufesh.
Vegjetarianë,
vegjetarianë,
kafshomëni
dhe ushqehuni me mua!
Inkuizitorët mesjetarë spanjollë
míi djegin metaforat heretike,
míi zbulojnë magjitë e ankthshme.
Vetë Papa
me parukë luani më gjykon.
Litari i pamundësisë míi enjt jgymtyrët,
me pishtar míi djegin flokët dhe mjekrrën
dhe xhelati i mëshirshëm ma rrjep
lëkurën time të dashit
míi pret me thikë
koqet e mia të Jasonit,
Lëkurën leshartë ia tregojnë dinosaurëve
dhe murgjit ia tregojnë Volterit:
"- Ja dëshmia
Mea Culpa
e vetë Zotit
dhe thneglave
të meditimit
dhe Hiçit të Madh!"
O, dash hebraik i pashkës së Fshehtë,
o, Pashkë e Shqisave të Humbura,
o, thikë rituale penisi hyjnor,
o, befasi e shtangur e engjëjve të verbër,
o, muzikë e ngurrosur e erërave dhe ëndrrave,
o, metamorfozë e krimbave në erosë të seksit,
o, grataçiela atlantidase plot parandjenja,
o, tërmete, që i paraprini zërit të Homerit,
o, Jeruzalemi Qiellor i jashtëtokësorëve,
o, robotë të vdekshëm me plagë gjaku,
o, pinguinë të menÁur si Ajnshtajni
0, pelivesa me gjak Behemoti,
o, elefantë budistë sentimentalë
o, xhirafa në flakë të Salvador Dalit ñ
0, mbreti i Babilonisë Nembrot gjuhëprerë
eunuk i gjuhës, që síe di më askush,
o, Mjeda i vdekur brenda kurmit të Lokës
kërkon Tringën në kullotat qiellore,
o, pelikani Lasgush, që na ushqen,
mëkon me gjakun e tij
kanibalët e fjalës
o, Krishti, Bariu i Mirë,
që na ruan në vathën e moralit utopik,
o, ujqit e dashuruar me dhentë,
o, pajtim skllavëror i vdekjes!
I vetëm nuk identifikohem,
imazhi i thikës humb
jam dahsi i Pashkës së Ringjalljes
blegërimën ma përktheni
me zërin
e Rembosë!
Moikom Zeqo

Moikom Zeqo

Moikom Zeqo (b. Durrës, Albania, 1949) is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry and fiction, as well as numerous monographs on Albanian history, literature, and culture. His book I Don't Believe in Ghosts (BOA, 2007; trans. Wayne Miller, et al.) was supressed in Albania from 1975-1995. In the mid 1990s, Zeqo served briefly as Albania's Minister of Culture, and for many years he directed the National Historical Museum in Rirana.

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