Journal. by Claudiu Komartin

“(...) death now began not, as we may say, to hover over every one's head only, but to look into their houses and chambers and stare in their faces. (...) People might be heard, even into the streets as we passed along, calling upon God for mercy through Jesus Christ, and saying, « I have been a thief, I have been an adulterer », « I have been a murderer » (...).” (Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year)


i’m slipping noiselessly through spiderwebs of starings
next to me someone stumbles and spills
a cup of expresso over his velvet suit
fluid gestures the horns of dark cars with sirens blaring
ascending a small mountain of voices in the warm air
pierced like a sieve by innumerable faces and arms
stretched toward a psalm that cannot be heard


hallucinated birds dive at your shoulders with half-open beaks
whole flocks hurling themselves toward an asphalt of happiness
and you hear something new for every step you take
everyone speaks sweating in a hurry their faces chewed by rage
shovelling words ceaselessly into burning fiery furnaces
as if working on a grand text like a continuous hum of physical matter
compressed inside the boiler of a huge locomotive


you run through the howl of a thousand hungry mouths
shrivelled up like paper in the blaze of the street
further on someone will be pulverised
crumbling to bone and cartilage and strips of meat
we will slide on trembling exhausted on the brink of extinction
when they say on tv that everything’s all right
a skilled operator will film dogs frightened by visions
whole packs of them begging for the executioner’s charity
as he bears the axe of mercy through thin air
sifting a sieve of burnt faces and arms in continuous
dissipation, without escape.

Translated by Stephen Watts
& Claudiu Komartin

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