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Ulysses and the game of chess

OFELIA PRODAN

Ulise i jocul de ah Ulysses and the game of chess

. Ulise i jocul de ah

Ulysses and the game of chess

OFELIA PRODAN
2011 Toate drepturile asupra acestei ediii sunt rezervate Editurii Charmides Editor: Gavril RMURE Coperta:

Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naionale a Romniei

Ulise i jocul de ah Ulysses and the game of chess

Editura Charmides str. Mihai Eminescu 13, ap. 31 Bistria, 420041, Romnia Tel: 0263 236257 www.societateadeconcerte.org

Traducere din romn de Florin Bican Translated from the Romanian by Florin Bican

EDITURA CHARMIDES, 2011

. Ulise i jocul de ah

Ulysses and the game of chess

Ofelia Prodan s-a nscut la Urziceni, n 12 ianuarie 1976. Debut absolut cu volumul Elefantul din patul meu (Ed. Vinea, 2007), care a primit Marele Premiu Ion Vinea (2007), Premiul pentru Debut al Asociaiei Scriitorilor din Bucureti (2008), Premiul pentru Debut al revistei Luceafrul (2008) i a fost nominalizat la Premiul Naional de Poezie Mihai Eminescu Opera Prima (2008). Au urmat: Cartea mic (Ed. Brumar, 2007); Invincibili (Ed. Vinea, 2008); Ruleta cu nebun (Ed. Vinea, 2008) i n trei zile lumea va devorat (Ed. Paralela 45, 2010), de asemenea premiate i nominalizate la cteva dintre cele mai importante premii literare din Romnia. A fost inclus n antologiile Poezia antiutopic. O antologie a doumiismului poetic romnesc (Daniel D. Marin, Ed. Paralela 45, 2010) i Cele mai frumoase poeme din 2010 (Claudiu Komartin i Radu Vancu, Ed. Tracus Arte, 2011), n volumele de studii critice Doumiismul poetic romnesc (tefania Mincu, Ed. Pontica, 2007), Cititorul de poezie (Gellu Dorian, Ed. Convorbiri literare, 2008), Anticanonice. Cronici stresate (Felix Nicolau, Ed. Tritonic, 2009) i n volumul Memorii ntrziate (Constantin oiu, Ed. Cartea romneasc, 2009). A avut lecturi publice n Spania i Germania i i-au aprut poeme n reviste din Spania, Belgia i Ungaria.

Ofelia Prodan was born in Urziceni, January 12, 1976. She made her debut with the volume The Elephant in My Bed (Elefantul din patul meu, 2007), which was granted The Grand Ion Vinea Award (2007), The Debut Award of Bucharest Writers Association (2008), The Debut Award of Luceafrul Magazine (2008) and was nominalized for The Mihai Eminescu National Poetry Award Opera Prima (2008). There followed The Little Book (Cartea mic, 2007), Invincible (Invincibili, 2008); Roulette with a Fool (Ruleta cu nebun, 2008) and In Three Days the World Will Be Devoured (n trei zile lumea va devorat, 2010) which were also nominalized for and granted a few of the most important literary prizes in Romania. She features in the anthologies Antiutopian Poetry. An Anthology of the Romanian Poets of the Generation 2000 (Poezia antiutopic. O antologie a doumiismului poetic romnesc, Daniel D. Marin, 2010) and The Most Beautiful Poems of 2010 (Cele mai frumoase poeme din 2010, Claudiu Komartin i Radu Vancu, 2011), in the volumes of criticism Romanian Poets of the Generation 2000 (Doumiismul poetic romnesc, tefania Mincu, 2007), The Poetry Reader (Cititorul de poezie, Gellu Dorian, 2008), Anticanonical. Stressed Chronicles (Anticanonice. Cronici stresate, Felix Nicolau, 2009) and in the volume Delayed Memories (Memorii ntrziate, Constantin oiu, 2009). She went on reading tours to Spain and Germany and her poems have been published in Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian magazines.

. Ulise i jocul de ah
Postapocalyptic Loft HiStory

Ulysses and the game of chess

Postapocalyptic Loft HiStory


When I was a child I received at a certain moment the very rst cassette recorder in my life. I was fascinated by the fact that I could record my own voice and, since our access to the western music was at that time quite limited, I took great pleasure at recording short screenplays, along with my friend. Once, I had the idea of commenting on a ctional football match between the class subjects and the historical characters teams. Michael the Brave, Decebalus, Cuza and, of course, Ceauescu were passing the ball, defending themselves, shooting corner kicks and missing them serenely. Without even knowing it, we had instilled life into them, got them back to life: the voyevods showed up right before our eyes, the eyes of secondary school pupils. History lingered for a while in a province room of the 1980s Romania, and in some childrens minds. But there was none to see the poetry in it. Ofelia Prodan could have done it for us, but she wasnt there. Nevertheless, here she is now, in the coat of an artist capable of deciphering the silent speeches of the history of culture, of human typologies, consecrated by time. She gives her own interpretation in this concept-book of poetry, a feigned epic in which epochs, characters and historical gures alike seem grey, lonely and recycled. The poems aesthetics is based on a double operation: the humanization of the historical myth and the reication of the overwrought human. We nd, on the one hand, the characters metamorphosis from beings full of humanity into mechanical rag dolls, as it is the case with the poem Kafka: Kafka produces the documents out of his pocket slightly offended / the policeman is checking them carefully then takes the shoes in custody /for further cross-examination. Here the poetic dimension of Ofelia Prodans texts is rendered by the tension between the characters mechanical becoming and the voice surveying her. Towards the middle of the volume, the free motion of becoming takes the consistency of a concept in one of the hardest passages: ghelasie the hunchback / gets

Cnd eram copil, am primit la un moment dat primul cassette recorder din viaa mea. M fascina faptul c mi puteam nregistra vocea i, de vreme ce accesul la muzica occidental era foarte restrns, cea mai mare plcere a mea n relaie cu aparatul era s nregistrez, mpreun cu prietenul meu, mici scenarii de piese de teatru. Odat, am avut ideea de a comenta un meci ctiv de fotbal ntre echipa materiilor de la coal i cea a personajelor istorice. Mihai Viteazu, Decebal, Cuza i, desigur, Ceauescu pasau, se aprau, bteau cornere i ratau cu senintate. Fr s tim, i umanizaserm, voievozii erau n faa noastr, copii de gimnaziu. Istoria zbovea puin ntr-o ncpere de provincie din Romnia anilor 1980, i-n mintea unor copii. N-avea ns cine s extrag poezia din aceast scen. Ofelia Prodan ar putut-o face, dar nu era acolo. Acum, ns, iat-o n rolul artistului care tie c citeasc discursurile mute ale istoriei culturii, ale tipurilor umane pe care aceasta le consacr de-a lungul timpului. Le interpreteaz n mod propriu n acest volum-concept, o epopee simulat n care epoci, personaje i guri istorice par deopotriv de cenuii, singure i dezafectate. Estetica poemelor se sprijin pe o dubl operaiune: umanizarea mitului istoric i reicarea umanului supralicitat. Avem, pe de o parte, transformarea personajelor ncrcate de umanitate n ppui mecanice, cum se ntmpl n poemul Kafka: Kafka scoate uor indignat actele din buzunar / poliistul le veric atent i i reine pantoi / pentru un nou interogatoriu. Aici, calitatea poetic a textelor Ofeliei Prodan este dat de tensiunea dintre devenirea-mecanic a personajelor i vocea care o urmrete. Spre mijlocul crii, micarea liber a devenirii ia consistena conceptului, ntr-una dintre piesele cele mai hard ale volumului: ghelasie gheboatul / ia un clete de er i cu o micare ndemnatic

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apuc / nimicul de cap i l scoate afar. Tensiunea dintre imaginar (religios n cazul nostru) i particularul reprezentrilor nu e totui marca poetei. Avem aici o tehnic estetic ntlnit n poezia romneasc de astzi, poate n primul rnd la poetul maramureean Ioan Es. Pop. Dac mizeaz pe ea, poeta nu o face dect rar. Departe de investirea lui romantic, trecutul ca timp i ca spaiu din care se hrnete poezia Ofeliei Prodan apare mereu insolitat. Limbajul este cel care l face mereu prezent i comun, ca o mrturie retrospectiv a substanei lui omeneti. n poemul-omagiu adus lui Madame Bovary, Charles i scrie soiei: Vezi c n-am ppat chiar tot, pn mine / mai ai ce mnca, uff!. Pe de alt parte, mitul apare redus la scara uman nc de la primele poeme, vezi de pild Sandalele lui Hermes: Paris se apropie plutind pe la spatele / Elenei care ntoarce brusc capul / i se trezete cu un srut pe buzele / ntredeschise de uimire. Volumul Ofeliei Prodan seamn cu o expoziie de art vizual contemporan. Spre deosebire de culegeri de texte postmoderne prevzute cu indicaia unei lecturi aleatorii, acest volum cere s e parcurs cartezian. E ca o carte de colorat: conturul este dat, poeta vine i l umple cu propriile combinaii de culori. Dar nu poi nelege semnicaia combinaiilor cromatice dect dup ce n prealabil ai neles contururile pe care le umplu. Avem astfel o prim parte antic, o a doua parte oriental i medieval i o ultim parte modern, iar evoluia registrelor de limbaj depinde de miturile culturale vehiculate. Dac pentru antichitate, ceea ce insoliteaz cronotopul este banalizarea i detaarea vocii care povestete, n seciunea oriental, populat de guri care ne spun nou, europenilor, mult mai puin, deja poeta este cea care leag re epice n noduri dramatice. Despre poemele din ultima parte a volumului ei ar putea vorbi Peter Sloterdijk, cel din trilogia Sfere, ca despre o conversie estetic a nevrozei modernitii, ca imposibilitatea de a se gndi pe sine ca limitat, coninut, nconjurat i ocupat. Aceasta este nevroza fundamental a culturii occidentale: s i forat de a visa la

hold of a pair of iron tongs and with an exquisite move he pinches / the nothing by the head and then pulls it out. Nevertheless, the tension between the imaginary (a religious one in this particular case) and the singularity of representations is not the poets trademark. We rather have an aesthetic technique employed maybe for the rst time - in contemporary Romanian poetry by the poet from Maramure, Ioan Es. Pop. If the poet chooses to bet on it, she does it fairly seldom. Far from the romantic investment, the past as time and space on which Ofelia Prodans poetry feeds, always seems defamiliarized. It is the language which makes it present and ordinary at all times, like a retrospective testimony of its human essence. In the poem in homage to Madame Bovary, Charles writes to his wife: I do have to tell you I havent quite nished my food, / will your food last until tomorrow, ugh! On the other hand, the myth is pared down to human size right from the rst poems, see for instance Hermes Sandals: from behind her Paris is hovering closer / Helens turning her head without warning / and out of the blue a kiss is alighting upon her lips / agape with amazement. Ofelias Prodan volume looks like an exhibition of contemporary visual art. Unlike the anthologies of post-modern texts that provide indications for a random lecture, this volume asks for a Cartesian reading. Its like a colouring book: the outline is given, the poet comes and lls it in with her own colour combinations. But one cannot understand the signication of the chromatic mixture unless one has previously understood the signication of the outline to be lled in. We have, thus, a rst ancient part, a second oriental and medieval part, and a last modern part, and the evolution of the language registers depends on the revisited cultural myths. If in the case of Antiquity, what refreshes the chronotope is the trivialization and the detachment of the narrative voice, in the oriental section, peopled by characters who dont mean a lot to us, the Europeans, it is the poet who weaves the epical threads into dramatic nodes. Peter Sloterdijk, the one from the Sphere trilogy, may speak of the poems in the last part of her volume, as of an aesthetic conversion of the modernity neurosis, as the impossibility of thinking oneself as limited, contained, surrounded and lled in. This

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un subiect care observ, numete, posed orice fr a se lsa el nsui coninut, numit sau posedat de ceva1. Exist dou efecte de antropologizare n literatur: efectul romantic, cel criticat odat de Alain Robbe-Grillet (care voia s termine cu suetul romantic al lucrurilor), prin care impersonalul este investit cu fantasmele absolutului i cu intensitatea dorinei. Asta face orice bard, orice poeta vates. i mai exist efectul modern (pe care nu l pot numi nici modernist, pe care ezit s l numesc postmodern), prin care orice reprezentare codicat univoc, orice imagine ateptat i orice sens de la sine snt proiectate ntr-un decor lingvistic neobinuit. De la Victor Hugo ncoace, care-l punea pe un rege s ntrebe ct e ceasul, n celebra pies Hernani, modernitatea se denete, n arte, prin resemantizare. Modernul i arog puterea de a oriunde i oricnd, tocmai pentru c prezentul lui a ieit din Istorie i el nu mai poate , nu mai este nicieri n particular. Cnd vorbete despre Ulise sau despre Kafka, despre ieromonahul Ghelasie, despre Mike sau despre soldatul D, Ofelia Prodan are o voce egal, ca i cum n-ar acolo, ca i cum de fapt aa i este singura raiune a prezenei acestor personaje este aceea de a gura semne de recunoatere a unei umaniti care i-a ncheiat povestea, pe care nu o poi privi dect dintr-o margine, singura n care poezia se poate spune fr s se dezvluie ea nsi ca un mit ruinat. De la nceputul destul de recent al carierei de poet, Ofelia Prodan i-a construit o voce lipsit de accente dure, de ideologie determinat sau de vreo art poetic sever. Propriul poetei este un aer detaat, care o ajut s strbat locuri dintre cele mai diferite, transformndule n locuri poetice, fr s spun nimic despre eu. Despre aceast poezie s-ar putea spune c e postapocaliptic nici modernist, nici postmodern, iat aadar scrupulele mele nominaliste dintr-un motiv simplu de formulat: la distan egal de voina de dominare manifestat de avangard, ca i de delitatea fa de tradiie a unei literaturi conservatoare, versurile Ofeliei Prodan deschid o lume ambigu, n care
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is the fundamental neurosis of the western culture: to be compelled to dream of a subject that observes, names and possesses everything without letting itself be contained, named or possessed by anything. There are two effects of the anthropologization in literature: the romantic effect, once criticised by Alain Robbe-Grillet who wanted to do away with the romantic soul of things by which the impersonal was invested with the phantasms of the absolute and with the intensity of desire. This is what any bard does, any poeta vates. And there is also the modern effect (which I cannot call modernist, which I hesitate to name postmodernist) through which any univocally encoded representation, any expected image and any simple meaning are projected into an unusual linguistic scenery. Since Victor Hugo who, in his famous play Hernani, got the king to ask the time, the modernity has been dened in arts by resemantization. The modern arrogates the power to be everywhere forever, just because its present got out of History and it can no longer be, it is nowhere in particular. When she speaks about Ulyses or Kafka, about the hieromonk Ghelasie, about Mike or the soldier D, Ofelia Prodan does it in an even voice, as if they werent there, as if and it is actually the case the only reason for these characters presence were to represent tokens of a humanity whose story ended, at which you can only look from the outskirts, as it is the only way in which poetry can be told without revealing itself as a ruined myth. Since the very beginning of her rather recent poetical career, Ofelia Prodan has build for herself a voice devoid of harsh accents, of determined ideology or of a certain severe poetical art. What makes her singular is a detached perspective, which helps her scour different places and turn them into poetical topoi, without claiming any I. One may call this poetry post-apocallyptical neither modernits, nor postmodernist; behold, thus, my nominalistic scruples on account of a simple reason: at equal distance between the will to power manifested by the Avantguard and the delity to tradition vowed by a conservative literature, Ofelia Prodans stanzas open up an ambiguous world, where nothing good or bad can happen in a decisive manner. A world which,

Peter Sloterdijk, Bulles, Spheres, p.58, Paris, Pauvert, 2002.

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nu se mai poate ntmpla nimic bine sau ru n mod decisiv. O lume care, nu ntmpltor, se situeaz dup Antichitate, Orient, Evul Mediu european, modernitate i prezentul nostru hipermediatic. De la primul poem, Ulise i jocul de ah, pn la ultimul, Klingonianul, piesele acestui volum concentreaz o ntreag istorie antropologic. O istorie care nu are defel aparena muzeului, i n care nimic din ceea ce o alctuiete nu sugereaz ideea de tezaur. De ce spun asta? Pentru c poeta alege si construiasc poemele n jurul unor semne decisive ale patrimoniului cultural mondial, fr nici o parad i fr nici o desfurare livresc. Ea trece agale i cu capu-n nori prin Istorie cu majuscul, i o simpl privire aruncat, lui Ulise, Afroditei, unor zei nordici sau, pe msur ce vine nspre zilele noastre, unor personaje din ce n ce mai banale sau devenite mituri culturale de mas (Adela sau Klingonianul), ajunge pentru a le transforma n membrii unei fratrii anonime. Socrate, care sforie de se crap zidurile / temniei se mic agitat prin somn / i vorbete fr noim nu apare ntr-o fotograe cu nimic diferit de Marx, Malraux sau Rachela, evreica de la Auschwitz. n loftul Ofeliei Prodan, scriitori, lozo, nelepi, personaje de cri snte, de mitologii, de roman sau de lm triesc laolalt ntrun spaiu care, dei are o identitate conform cu Istoria, nu iese dect arareori din cotidian. Despre Rachela, bunoar, putem citi aceast mrturisire: dar noi tim de la strbunica / multe lucruri despre Rachela / i tare am vrea s-o vedem i noi / s ne povesteasc i nou / cum au ras-o nemii n cap / n lagrul de la Auschwitz / i au fcut o peruc minunat. Dar toat aceast lume pe care Ofelia Prodan o poetizeaz nu st n devlmie. Dac avei n fa nu o culegere de poeme, ci un volum atent structurat, dac poezia Ofeliei Prodan nu se opune lumii, ci o ntrebuineaz ca materie prim, asta se ntmpl pentru c nu putei descifra obiectul numit Ulise i jocul de ah dect parcurgndu-l n ordinea n care a fost conceput i realizat. Dincolo de poezie, s nu trecem cu vederea efectul estetic al delrii rapide a unei ntregi istorii n faa ochilor privitorului neimplicat. Este de altfel singurul punct de

not by chance, is located after the Antiquity, Orient, European Middle Ages, Modernity and our over-mediatized present. From the rst poem, Ullyses and the Game of Chess, to the last, The Klingonian, the pieces of this volume concentrate a whole anthropological history. A history that looks nothing like a museum and in which, none of its parts suggests any idea of thesaurus. Why do I claim this? Because the poet chooses to build her poems around some landmarks of the world cultural heritage, without any parade or bookish deployment. She strolls, head in clouds, through History with capital H, and a simple glance cast at Ulysses, Aphrodite, at certain Northern gods or, as she is getting closer to our days, a look at certain characters ever more trivial or transformed into mass cultural myths (Adela or the Klingonian) is enough to turn them into members of an anonymous brotherhood. Socrates, who is snoring so loud cracks appear in the walls / of his prison hes thrashing about in his sleep / and he raves, is not portrayed in any different manner than Marx, Malraux, or Rachela, the Jewish woman from Auschwitz. In Ofelia Prodans loft, writers, philosophers, pundits, characters from sacred books, mythologies, novels or lms live together in a space which, though in accordance with historical reality, rarely sticks out of the ordinary. About Rachela, for instance, we can read the following testimony: but we do know from great-grandma / a lot about Rachela / and oh how wed like to see her ourselves / and nd out from her / how the Germans shaved off her hair / in the Auschwitz concentration camp / and made a beautiful wig. But all this world that Ofelia Prodan poetically renders is not chaotical. If you have before your eyes not a mere compilation of poems, but a carefully structured volume, if Ofelia Prodans poetry does not stand against the world, but uses it as a raw material, it is simply because the object called Ulysses and the Game of Chess can only be deciphered by scrolling it in the very order it was conceived and put together. Poetry aside, we should not overlook the aesthetical efect of the swift deployment of a whole world history before the detached seers eyes. It is, as a matter of fact, the only common point with what has done

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convergen cu ceea ce face de vreo dou decenii, n proza francez, Michel Houellebecq. Dei mai greu de prelucrat poetic, abisal este efectul nsui al acestei imagini: din viitorul ndeprtat / apru la o oarecare distan / de centrul sistemului solar / nava Enterprise la bordul creia / mai era un singur supravieuitor, unde sfritul apare de dincolo de el, ca n Posibilitatea unei insule, de pild. Postapocaliptic, spuneam. Alexandru Matei

in the French literature, for a couple of decades, Michel Houellebecq. Despite the obvious difculty taken in the poetical processing, the effect of this image is stunning: from the distant future / the Starship Enterprise materialized / some distance away / from the centre of the solar system / with one last survivor on board, and the ending occurs beyond it, as in The Possiblity of an Island, for instance. Like I said, post-apocalyptically. Alexandru Matei

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pe cnd zeii nc se mai iubeau cu muritoarele

back in the days when gods would still love mortal women

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Ulise i jocul de ah Ulise joac ah cu sine nsui de aproape 24 de ore i nc nu s-a plictisit ntre timp nu mai tie dac Ulise cel cu piesele albe are cumva mai multe partide ctigate dect Ulise cel cu piesele negre cnd trece dintr-o parte n cealalt a tablei de ah privete gnditor cu un deget la tmpl piesele calculeaz urmtoarea mutare att de precis nct prul i barba i se ncreesc iar sandalele devin brusc prea strmte pe picior Ulise zdrngne sabia enervat i de teama sabiei barba i prul se descreesc iar sandalele revin la forma iniial cnd d ah mat Ulise sare ntr-un picior de bucurie cnd face remiz se uit ndelung la tabla de ah reaaz piesele i reconstituie nalul partidei atunci parc aude suspine de admiraie din partea privitorilor ns Ulise nu-i face iluzii: Ahile i Menelau sunt cam perzi uneori iar deseori beau pn i uit rangul i se cred simpli pioni

Ulyssess playing chess against himself hes been at it for some 24 hours and still no sign of boredom by now he cant recall whether Ulysses-playing-the-white-set has chanced to win more games over Ulysses-playing-the-black-set as he moves round the chessboard from one side to the other he thoughtfully takes in, one nger to his temple, all the pieces he computes the next move so precisely that his hair and his beard curl up while his sandals suddenly shrink on his feet Ulysses rattles his sword in a temper and for fear of the sword his hair and his beard uncurl while his sandals resume their initial size when checkmating a king Ulysses is skipping with glee; when the game ends in a draw hes looking at length at the chessboard resets all the pieces and replays the end of the game at such times he seems to make out admiring sighs from the audience yet Ulysses entertains no illusions: Achilles and Menelaus are occasionally slick and more often than not they drink till they forget their status believing themselves to be mere pawns

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de cnd joac ah cu sine nsui Ulise crede c poate ctiga orice btlie aa a uitat gustul mncrii al buturii i mai ales a uitat cum s stpneti o femeie lucru oarecum neimportant n economia jocului totui un fapt incredibil de real a rmas consemnat n istorie: Ulise a jucat ah cu sine nsui x 24 de ore i nu s-a plictisit deloc

since playing chess against himself Ulysses believes he can win any battle so hes forgotten how food and drink taste and more to the point hes forgotten how to master a woman a matter of lesser importance in the games economy a fact, nevertheless, and incredibly real at that, is recorded in history: Ulysses once played chess against himself For 24 hours exactly and he never got bored

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Hermes sandals

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Sandalale lui Hermes Paris i-a terpelit sandalele naripate zeului Hermes pe cnd dormea cu gndul s zboare pn la Elena s-i fure un srut Elena st cuminte n gineceu i brodeaz o cma pentru Menelau n timp ce brodeaz cnt ginga i ofteaz din cnd n cnd Paris se apropie plutind pe la spatele Elenei care ntoarce brusc capul i se trezete cu un srut pe buzele ntredeschise de uimire Elena se nfurie i cnd Elena se nfurie niciun zeu nu tremur Elena arunc broderia i i arat cu un gest hotrt ua bietului Paris care abia dezmeticindu-se de frica Elenei zboar direct pe fereastr gndindu-se cu groaz c ntre timp Hermes s-a trezit i i caut mnios preioasele sandale

Paris lched the winged sandals from Hermes the god while he was asleep planning to y off to Helen and steal a kiss from her Elena sits quietly in the gyneceum stitching a shirt for Menelaus as shes stitching shes humming alone to herself ever so softly and sighs ever so often from behind her Paris is hovering closer Helens turning her head without warning and out of the blue a kiss is alighting upon her lips agape with amazement Helen ies into a temper and when Helen ies into a temper not one god dares to tremble Helens inging her work to the oor and then points to the door with a resolute gesture poor Paris barely comes to his senses ies away straight through the window to avoid Helens temper terried at the thought that meanwhile Hermes might be awake and is angrily searching for his precious sandals

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Styx

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Styx Ahile nu mai are nicio drahm Ahile este falit toat noaptea a jucat intar cu Ulise i a pierdut partid dup partid Ahile e convins c Ulise a triat se nchide mbufnat ntr-o cmru i plnge n hohote poate vreo zei mai cumsecade se va nduioa i i va alina cumplita suferin optindu-i secretul vreunei comori ascunse ns Olimpul rmne impasibil e ora la care zeiele se mbiaz apoi se gtesc pentru a duce n ispit bieii muritori Ahile se oprete ruinat din plns i privete clciul curios ntinde mna dreapt i se apuc bine de clci inndu-se suspendat deasupra rului Styx Ulise alearg ca un centaur dup Ahile se jur pe toi zeii c n-a triat nici mcar o partid Ahile nu l crede deloc intr n atac de panic i i d drumul la clci

Achilles hasnt got a drachma to his name Achilless broke all night long hes been playing Nine Mens Morris against Ulysses and he lost game after game Achilles has no doubt Ulysses has been cheating sulking he locks himself in a chamber and blubbers hoping some charitable goddess will be moved to succour his torment by letting him in on the secret of some hidden treasure the Olympus however rests largely unaffected it is the time when goddesses are bathing and then make ready to seduce poor mortals slightly ashamed, Achilles gives up crying hes curiously watching his own heel he reaches forth his right hand and takes hold of his heel dangling above the river Styx Ulysses runs after Achilles like a centaur he swears by all the gods hes never cheated, not even in one game, Achilles wont believe him he succumbs to a panic attack and lets go of his heel

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Plato and Socrates

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Platon i Socrate Socrate sforie de se crap zidurile temniei se mic agitat prin somn i vorbete fr noim Platon intr tiptil n temni i st cu urechea ciulit lng gura lui Socrate s nu piard un cuvnt are cu el o tbli veche de cear i un stil cu care zgrie srguincios ecare cuvnt rostit prin somn de Socrate n rstimpuri Socrate se oprete din vorbit i-i njur groaznic de nfocat pe toi atenienii Platon se oprete uimit din scris i rmne cu stilul n aer gndindu-se cu fruntea ncruntat dac este sau nu un lucru bun s scrie asemenea njurturi grozave pe tblia lui dar cum Socrate ncepu s vorbeasc din nou Platon hotr s se gndeasc la aceast problem important n cu totul alte mprejurri ba chiar hotr c ar o foarte bun idee s ncerce maieutica pe bunul su maestru nainte ca atenienii nfuriai la culme s-i fac felul

Socratess snoring so loud cracks appear in the walls of his prison hes thrashing about in his sleep and he raves Plato steals into the prison and lowers his ear next to Socrates mouth so he wont miss a word hes brought along an old waxed tablet and a stylus; hes diligently scratching every word Socrates utters in his sleep at times Socrates makes an end of speaking to swear with utmost fervour at all Athenians Plato breaks up his writing in amazement stylus poised in mid air debating in himself with furrowed brow whether he should put down such frightful oaths upon his tablet but as Socrates takes up where hes left off Plato resolves to deal with that momentous problem under entirely different circumstances he even resolves it might be an excellent idea to try out maieutics on his excellent master before the Athenians, piqued to distraction, might just do him in

28

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down in the glade

Ulysses and the game of chess

29

n lumini Atena are cel mai ruginit scut n scutul ei nu se oglindesc nici mcar sandalele Atena e cu nervii la pmnt coboar ntr-un lumini ia o lance i bate zgomotos cu ea n scut de prin pduri de pe cmpiile Eladei din ruri i din muni coboar se strng dintr-o suare n lumini nimfele i faunii voioi dnuiesc goi n jurul Atenei se mpreuneaz cnt i benchetuiesc pn-n zori Atena abia i mai amintete cum cretetul lui Zeus s-a despicat n dou iar ea a nit triumftoare n lume nici bucuria nimfelor i a faunilor nici nelepciunea nu o mai ajut cu nimic Atena cade ntr-o stare ciudat niciodat parc n-a mai fost aa st apatic n mijlocul lor i privete din cnd n cnd cu ochi goi scutul ruginit Atena e depresiv i e desvrit cnd e depresiv

Athenas the most tarnished of all shields her shield wouldnt reect as much as her sandals Athenas nerves are frayed she descends to a glade gets hold of a spear and starts banging it hard on her shield from the forests and elds of Ellada from the rivers and crags they come down they converge with one breath in the glade the merry nymphs and fawns theyre dancing naked all around Athena they mate they sing they feast till day breaks out Athena can hardly remember how Zeus skull was split in two as she was thrust upon the world triumphantly neither the mirth of nymphs and fawns nor wisdom are any more help to her Athena falls into a weird state shes never felt like that as far as she recalls shes languishing on in their midst casts the odd glance at her shield her eyes utterly empty Athenas being depressive and when depressive shes perfect

30

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in blindness

Ulysses and the game of chess

31

n orbire pe cnd zeii nc se mai iubeau cu muritoarele Oedip cutreiera cetatea Tebei cu un toiag noduros de lemn n mn picioarele i sngerau prul lui lung i alb utura n vnt orbitele lui goale vedeau acum lucruri tainice tot mergnd Oedip vorbete de unul singur oamenii cred c i cere iertare chiar Iocastei lucru ntrutotul neadevrat ei n-au deloc habar c asear Oedip a vizitat o tavern mizer unde a ntlnit o preafrumoas hetair care n doar cteva ore i-a dezlegat misterul naterii sale Oedip a plns apoi a rs apoi iar a plns i a nceput s mearg pe toate drumurile cu pletele albe-n vnt continundu-i absorbit discuia cu preafrumoasa hetair pe care n grab o uitase goal i prad poftelor trupeti n taverna mizer

back in the days when gods would still love mortal women Oedipus roamed the city of Thebes a coarse wooden staff in his hand his feet were bleeding his long white hair was waving in the wind his empty eye sockets were then able to see secret things as he walks Oedipus is taking to himself people think he is begging forgiveness of Iocaste herself which is entirely not true and little do they know last night Oedipus patronized a lthy tavern where he picked up a beautiful hetaera who took not many hours to unravel the riddle of his birth Oedipus cried then laughed then cried again and started following all roads white hair teased by the wind fully engrossed in the discussion with the beautiful hetaera whom in the fever of departure hed left behind all naked and a prey to carnal lust down at the lthy tavern

32

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Aphrodite

Ulysses and the game of chess

33

Afrodita Afrodita e teribil de nfuriat de la o vreme dup ce se mbiaz n apa mrii se privete cu mare atenie ntr-o oglinjoar i i se pare c chipul ei nu mai este aa de proaspt ca altdat Afrodita arunc oglinjoara ct-colo se ghemuiete ntr-o scoic i plnge cu lacrimi albe sidei ca perlele muritoarele trec cu braele ncrcate de ofrande ctre templul ei muritoarele se roag n templul ei luminos ard tmie i danseaz goale pentru fertilitate dragoste i multe alte treburi tainice Afrodita vede totul cu ncntare se ridic din scoic primete ofrandele primete rugciunile le ndeplinete n funcie de dispoziie sau prioritate apoi se arunc n apa mrii plngnd amarnic cu lacrimi albe i sidei ca perlele

Aphrodites been terribly irritated of late after she bathes in the waves of the sea shes carefully watching herself in a pocket mirror and gets the impression her face is no longer as fresh as it used to Aphrodite ings the mirror away in disgust curls up in a shell and starts crying with pearly-white tears mortal women pass by bearing armfuls of offerings on their way to her temple mortal women are praying in her brightly lit temple they burn incense and dance all naked for fertility love and lots of other secret things Aphrodite is watching it all with delight stands up from the shell accepts the offerings accepts the prayers answers them according to mood or priority then casts herself into the waves of the sea bitterly crying pearly-white tears

34

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Nevermore

Ulysses and the game of chess

35

Nevermore Odin pornete sub chip de ceretor cu Hugin i Munin pe cte un umr la drum lung prin lume nimic nu mai este aa cum tia oamenii s-au schimbat mult de cnd n-a mai fost printre ei i dac le cere cu glas sfrit civa bnui sau un codru de pine ei l prind i-i toarn o vadr de mied pe gt apoi l alung n batjocura copiilor dar nu asta l supr cel mai tare ci mai degrab eroii ngmfai i nevolnici care trndvesc din zori pn-n noapte ciocnesc cupele cu mied i zarurile chiar sub ochii lui Odin bulbucai i nroii ca para focului de ciud i de mnie nici mcar fecioarele care danseaz noaptea pe malul rului sub razele palide ale lunii pline nu-i mai domolesc erbineala sngelui ele sunt cu mult mai fragede i ademenitoare dect nsi puternica i tcuta Frigg

Odin sets out in the guise of a beggar with Hugin and Munin perched on one shoulder each on a long trail through the world not one thing is the way he remembers people have changed a great deal since he last was among them if he as much as asks them in a voice faint with hunger to spare some small change or a dry crust of bread they get hold of him and pour a pailful of mead down his throat then chase him away while children are mocking yet that isnt what piques Odin most but rather the heroes as cocky as theyre puny who do nothing but slouch from dawn till late at night clinking mead cups and dice right under Odins very eyes bulging and glowing red like unto live coals with resentment and rage not even the maidens dancing at night upon the riverbank under the pale light of he full moon can still the fever of his boiling blood theyre tenderer by far and more enticing than Frigg herself, the powerful, the silent

36

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Ulysses and the game of chess

37

cu minile furate de miedul cel dulce Odin pndete fecioarele din umbra unui copac btrn visnd nesfrite nopi de desfru prin cele mai tainice locuri din vzduh cnd Hugin i cu Munin croncnesc deodat: Nevermore!

his senses drifting freely with the sweet mead hid by the shadow of an ancient tree Odin is prowling on the maidens dreaming of endless nights of dissipation in the most secret corners of the heavens when both Hugin and Munin croak out in unison: Nevermore!

38

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three camels

Ulysses and the game of chess

39

trei dromaderi nici Tora nici Coranul nu-mi vor mai alina inima ngreoat de mrlniile vameilor i blestemul fariseilor cci trei drahme am dat s trec darul meu dincolo de Iordan i ce-mi vzur ochii: chiar pe mal, o mas ct rul de lung unde mpreun chefuiau i beau vin pn cdeau ca porcii n Iordan, pngrind apa unde s-au botezat n pruncie! apoi toi sreau din ap ca petii zburdalnici i toi aveau deasupra capului o aur de lumin alb cereasc i prooroceau n toate limbile, nct barba mi s-a ncreit pn la bru de ciud nenorociri fr numr prooroceau ns inima mea s-a oprit din lucrarea-i nentrerupt numai cnd blestemul fariseilor s-a pogort ca un duh neltor asupra darului meu: trei dromaderi ecare cu cte ase desagi pline cu tmie nvechit pentru care n van trei drahme am dat vameilor mravi!

neither the Torah nor the Koran will ever sooth my heart nauseated the uncouthness of the tax collectors and by the curse of the Pharisees for it cost me three drachmae to cross with my gift over Jordan and what did I see: right out on the riverbank, a table as long as the river where they were feasting all together drinking wine until they tumbled just like pigs into the Jordan, deling the waters where theyd been baptized in their young days then they would all jump out of water like just as many nimble shes and all had above their heads a halo of white heavenly light and all would prophesy in all tongues so that my beard shrunk up to my waste with frustration theyd prophesy misfortunes without number so that my heart ceased from its constant labour only when the Pharisees curse descended like a deceiving spirit upon my gift: three camels each of them bearing six saddlebags bulging with ancient incense for which Id paid to no avail three drachmae to those unworthy tax collectors

40

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Merlin King Arthur sits on his own at the Round Table writing a letter to Merlin Merlin sits on his own in a cave mixing magic potions though hes old and fed up with it all

Ulysses and the game of chess

41

Merlin regele Arthur st singur la Masa Rotund i scrie o misiv ctre Merlin Merlin st singur ntr-o peter i prepar poiuni magice dei e cam btrn i mult prea plictisit Guinevere i Lancelot stau singuri ntr-un pat iubindu-se printre cearafuri mototolite i nu le pas de nimic regele Arthur erbe de indignare aa c misiva lui e scris cu snge otrvit Merlin primete misiva o citete simte cum sngele otrvit i intr n venele btrne i se uit ntr-un cazan plin ochi cu ap limpede apa se tulbur cteva clipe apoi se face ca oglinda i Merlin o vede cu uimire pe regina Guinevere la pieptul lui Lancelot Merlin mormie blesteme n barb deschide o carte veche d pagin dup pagin cutnd cu nfrigurare o vraj mpotriva dragostei n timp ce Merlin rostete vraja cu vocea lui rguit

Guinevere and Lancelot lie on their own in a bed making love in a tangle of sheets and dont care a straw king Arthur is beside himself with rage so his letter is written in poisoned blood Merlin gets the letter and reads it he feels the poisoned blood as it enters his old veins and looks in a cauldron lled to the brim with cold water the waters troubled for a spell than gets as clear as a mirror and Merlin beholds in amazement queen Guinevere upon Lancelots breast Merlins muttering curses under his breath opens up a grimoire turns page after page after page in feverish search of a cure against love while Merlins reciting the spell in his hoarse voice

42

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Ulysses and the game of chess

43

Lancelot se transform n Merlin Guinevere se transform tot n Merlin i toi trei bolborosesc mnioi c nu mai sunt bune de nimic crile astea vechi de magie

Lancelot turns into Merlin Guinevere in her turn turns into Merlin herself and all three of them mumble in anger about them ancient grimoires being no good anymore

44

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Ulysses and the game of chess

45

sub smochin

under the fig tree

46

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the most terrible miracle

Ulysses and the game of chess

47

cea mai cumplit minune ghelasie gheboatul este ucenicul sfntului ghelasie cel drept. el car n ecare noapte o imens psaltire de er n spinare pn n vrful muntelui unde se a chilia sfntului. n psaltirea de er sunt scrise cu litere mari de er rugciuni de er ncins. ghelasie cel drept citete cu glas mocnit din psaltire. ghelasie gheboatul i deschide urechile mintea i suetul ca s primeasc aa cum se cuvine rugciunile. cu ecare rugciune mintea i suetul lui se ntresc ca erul scos din ap rece. tot cu ecare rugciune spinarea lui se gheboeaz i se ntrete pn cnd ghelasie ucenicul devine perfect rotund i din er forjat. atunci, sfntul ghelasie cel drept i d un ghiont cu dosul minii drepte din vrful muntelui. ucenicul se rostogolete din vrful muntelui i se izbete de oameni scond scntei de rugciune ncins. oamenii l binecuvnteaz, dar ghelasie gheboatul se rostogolete nestingherit pn n iad, unde se topete n cteva secunde i abia atunci se ntmpl cea mai cumplit minune n tot iadul se ridic aburi erbini de rugciuni de er.

ghelasie the hunchback is the disciple of saint ghelasie the straight-backed he hauls every night on his back an immense iron Psalter to the top of the mountain where the saint has his cell. the iron Psalter has written in it in big iron letters red-hot iron prayers. ghelasie the straight-backed reads from the Psalter in a glowing voice ghelasie the hunchback opens his ears, his mind and his soul in order that he may receive the prayers as he should. with each prayer his mind and his soul harden like iron plunged into cold water. and also with each prayer his back is bending double and gets harder until ghelasie the disciple ends up perfectly round and forged of hard iron. whereupon saint ghelasie the straight gives him a shove with the back of his right hand from the top of the mountain. the disciple rolls down from the top of the mountain and bumps into people shooting off sparks of incandescent prayer. people bless him but ghelasie the hunchback rolls on undeterred all the way down to hell, where he melts up in a matter of seconds and thats when the most terrible miracle happens all over hell the hot steam of iron prayers is rising.

48

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the church made out of salt

Ulysses and the game of chess

49

biserica de sare n centrul lumii, ghelasie cel drept a nlat o biseric din sare. ghelasie gheboatul nu mai doarme de mult, ci plnge n ecare noapte. lacrimile lui se transform n timp ce cad n granule de sare care se atern strat dup strat peste biserica de sare. de cnd nu mai doarme ghelasie gheboatul biserica de sare a crescut att de dreapt i nalt, nct a ajuns chiar lng limba lui Dumnezeu, i Dumnezeu, cu mare ngduin, gust din biserica de sare. dar, pe limba lui Dumnezeu, sarea se transform la loc n lacrimile lui ghelasie gheboatul. Dumnezeu se nduioeaz i l ridic ntre palme pn la marginea raiului, unde, peste msur de ostenit, ghelasie gheboatul nchide ochii i adoarme, sforind att de stranic, c ntreg raiul rde i se minuneaz.

right in the centre of the world, ghelasie the straight has raised a church made out of salt. ghelasie the hunchback has long since ceased to sleep and cries instead each night. his tears change as they fall into salt grains coming to rest in layer upon layer on top of the church made of salt. since ghelasie the hunchback ceased sleeping, the church made out of salt has kept growing so straight and so high that it reached all the way to Gods tongue and God, in his innite mercy, tastes from the church made of salt. however on Gods tongue the salt changes back into the tears of ghelasie the hunchback. God is moved with compassion and lifts him upon the palms of his hands up to the edge of heaven where, utterly tired, ghelasie the hunchback closes his eyes and falls asleep snoring so loudly that the entire heaven laughs and marvels greatly.

50

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the nothing

Ulysses and the game of chess

51

nimicul sfntul ghelasie cel drept s-a smintit. n loc de rugciuni, din gura lui ies blesteme groaznice i hul. ghelasie gheboatul ascult i se apuc de treab ia n mna dreapt un ciocan i n stnga o dalt, apoi cu strduin mare i deschide pieptul sfntului. se uit cu atenie nuntru i vede nimic. n pieptul lui ghelasie cel drept, se pare c nu mai bate nicio inim, ci i-a fcut sla nimicul. ghelasie gheboatul ia un clete de er i cu o micare ndemnatic apuc nimicul de cap i l scoate afar. l ine bine n mna stng i cu dreapta face o groap mic unde pune cu grij nimicul. n ecare zi stropete locul cu ap vie i se roag. dup 40 de zile, din locul unde ghelasie gheboatul a ngropat nimicul, rsare inima vie a sfntului ghelasie cel drept.

saint ghelasie the righteous ipped his lid. Instead of prayers his mouth spews terrible profanities and blasphemy. ghelasie the hunchback is listening to him and then gets down to work he grasps a hammer in his right hand and a chisel in his left, then with great effort he carves open the saints chest. he is peering inside and sees nothing. within the chest of ghelasie the righteous it appears theres no beating heart anymore its the nothing that dwells there. ghelasie the hunchback gets hold of a pair of iron tongs and with an exquisite move he pinches the nothing by the head and then pulls it out. He holds fast in his left hand while with his right he digs a small hole where he lays the nothing carefully. every day he sprinkles the spot with living water and offers up prayer. 40 days later, out of the spot where ghelasie the hunchback has buried the nothing, up springs the living heart of saint ghelasie the righteous.

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lui Gnter Grass

Ulysses and the game of chess

53

Apolodor cel limbut i preoii

Apollodorus the loose-tongued and the priests to Gnter Grass Apollodorus voice is divine he barely utters two, three fractions of a word and wonders occur the only thing is Apollodorus is loose-tongued and at the rate hes talking wonders occur on a permanent basis in the land Apollodorus comes from people got used to those wonders to such an extent they cant tell apart any more wonders from everyday things. the priests are at the end of their tethers they convene non-stop councils and hold heated debates on the matter until they reach the conclusion that the best they can do is cut off Apollodorus tongue from the root they take along a butchers knife and in the dead of the night tiptoe into the house of Apollodorus who sleeps like a babe they tie his hands behind his back Apollodorus wakes up and struggles to scream as if on cue a priest grabs up his tongue lops it off, drops it into a small sack

vocea lui Apolodor este divin e sucient s rosteasc dou-trei silabe dintr-un cuvnt i se petrec minuni dar Apolodor este cam limbut i la ct de mult vorbete minunile se petrec fr contenire n ara lui Apolodor oamenii s-au obinuit att de mult cu minunile nct nu mai deosebesc cu niciun chip o minune de o ntmplare obinuit preoii sunt exasperai in concilii peste concilii i discut aprins problema pn cnd ajung la concluzia c cea mai bun soluie este s-i reteze de la rdcin limba lui Apolodor iau cu ei un cuit de mcelar i n miez de noapte intr tiptil n casa lui Apolodor care doarme nentors i leag minile la spate Apolodor se trezete i vrea s ipe dar imediat un preot i apuc bine limba i-o reteaz i o pune ntr-un scule

54

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Ulysses and the game of chess

55

limba se zvrcolete se rsucete de durere vrea s vorbeasc i chiar vorbete dinuntrul sculeului i iar se petrec minuni fr ovial preoii aprind un rug scot limba din scule i o arunc n cri privind satisfcui cum limba se face scrum acum preoii i toat lumea ateapt o minune orict de mic dar degeaba Apolodor e mut ca un pete

the tongue writhes and wriggles in pain it essays to speak, speak it does from inside the small sack and wonders occur all over again without a moments hesitation the priests light up a pyre they take out the tongue from the sack, cast it into the ames and then watch contently as the tongue turns to ashes now the priests and the rest of the people all wait for a wonder no matter how small but in vain Apollodorus is as mute as a sh

56

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Lainic

Ulysses and the game of chess

57

Lainic pe rmul mrii n hruba lui clduroas doarme de o mie de ani Lainic cel nebun i sfnt doarme cu un ochi deschis n lumea aceasta s vad ce mai trebluiesc oamenii i cu un ochi deschis n lumea cealalt unde nu este linite cum ne-am putea nchipui ci o ncrncenat glceav Lainic vede mult ticloie prin somn i-n lumea asta dar i-n cealalt se mnie grozav i-i ceart cu glas smintit cnd pe oameni cnd pe mori o femeie milostiv are grij de el oamenii vd cu ochi ri strduina ei se gndesc s-o cumpere cu bani i mtsuri ne Lainic se mnie i mai tare deschide ambii ochi n lumea aceasta se ridic n picioare ca un uria i le trage cu toiagul lui sfnt o mam de btaie pe care oamenii au inut-o minte nc o mie de ani

Lainic the mad and the holy has been sleeping for one thousand years in his warm cave by the seashore hes been sleeping with one eye open into this world to see what the people are up to and with one eye open into the next world where, contrary to what we might imagine, there is no peace but strife without relief and Lainic sees great evil in his sleep both in this world and the next he gets terribly angry and he scolds in a crazed voice the dead and the living by turns a charitable woman looks after him people frown on her efforts theyre planning to buy her with money and bolts of ne silk Lainics anger ares up He opens both eyes on this world stands up tall on his feet like a giant and with his holy staff gives them a thrashing people are bound to remember for the next thousand years

58

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those wonderful things

Ulysses and the game of chess

59

minunatele lucruri pe minunata insul a lui Clenci se nvrt i se tot nvrt de secole minunatele lucruri inventate de Clenci el inventeaz pe ntuneric minunate lucruri crora le gsete cel mai potrivit loc pe minunata sa insul piraii l urmresc piraii cruzi i nestui piraii nepricepui nu neleg nimic din ceea ce inventeaz Clenci piraii narmai pn-n dini distrug ecare lucru minunat inventat de Clenci n timp ce Clenci tocmai inventeaz un lucru nemaivzut i cu mult mai minunat pe minunata insul a lui Clenci toate lucrurile minunate inventate de Clenci sunt praf i pulbere numai unul singur cu mult mai minunat dect toate st n centrul insulei i se nvrte cu o precizie astronomic n jurul Pmntului

on Knacks wonderful island all the wonderful things Knacks invented have been spinning and spinning for ages he invents in the dark lots of wonderful things and then nds their most suitable place on his wonderful island the pirates are after him cruel and insatiable pirates the no-good pirates understand not a thing out of whatever Knacks been inventing pirates armed to their teeth destroy every wonderful thing Knack has ever invented just as Knack is inventing a thing yet unseen and more wonderful still on Knacks wonderful island all the wonderful things Knacks invented have crumbled to dust all but one more wonderful by far than all the others it stands right at the centre of the island and spins with astronomic precision around the earth

60

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the moccasin

Ulysses and the game of chess

61

mocasinul o cluz are un mocasin. ea este cluza cu un mocasin. dou cluze au doi mocasini. o alt cluz are tot doi mocasini. dac sunt 3 cluze, atunci au 4 mocasini. dar dac sunt 4 cluze, m enervez la culme i le fur toi mocasinii. gata! i-am furat i sunt foarte trist. ce s fac eu cu atia mocasini? m duc la aman, iar amanul mi d nite ciuperci. le halesc pe loc de foame. ncep s vd tot felul de animale i s am tot felul de senzaii dubioase. amanul mi spune c el este cluza cu un mocasin, iar eu sunt cluza cu 5 mocasini i s nu uit cumva s-i dau un mocasin napoi cnd m ntorc din lumea bunilor strmoi. dup un timp, m ntorc hipnotizat i i dau hipnotizat mocasinul napoi. plec mpcat. n drum spre saloon, m dezmeticesc de tot i realizez c sunt cluza cu 5 mocasini, dar am doar 4. mi ies din re. beau 1 litru de ap de foc, apoi m duc s l bat mr pe aman. numai c amanul s-a nlat la cer i se strmb de acolo la mine. face bclie. eu i art pumnul. el mi arat victorios mocasinul.

a pathnder has a moccasin. he is the pathnder with one moccasin. two pathnders have two moccasins. another pathnder also has two moccasins. if weve got 3 pathnders, will consequently have 4 moccasins. but if weve got 4 pathnders, I y in a rage and steal all of their moccasins. there! Ive stolen the lot and Im utterly sad. what am I to do with all them moccasins? I go to the shaman, and the shaman gives me some mushrooms. I gulp the whole lot on the spot out of hunger. I start seeing all sorts of animals and I experience creepy sensations. the shaman tells me he is the pathnder with one moccasin and I am the pathnder with 5 moccasins and warns me not to forget to return one moccasin to him on my return from the world of our good ancestors. after a while I do return hypnotized and hypnotized I return the moccasin. I leave feeling at piece with myself. on my way to the saloon, I recover completely and realize I am the pathnder with 5 moccasins, Yet I only have 4. I am beside myself. I gulp down one litre of rewater, then I go beat the daylights out of the shaman. only, the shaman has ascended to the sky and pulls faces at me from up there. hes mocking me. Im shaking my st at him. hes victoriously shaking the moccasin back.

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harem

Ulysses and the game of chess

63

harem baiazid are un harem tare mito la care rvnete n tain nsui mircea cel btrn deghizat n ienicer mircea cel btrn ptrunde n miez de noapte n harem i i face de cap cu toate cadnele a doua zi baiazid tun i fulger i execut pe toi eunucii i-i transmite ocial lui mircea cel btrn c unde-i stau picioarele i va sta i capul mircea cel btrn i transmite tot ocial lui baiazid c se simte ca-n raiul lui Allah i c nu-i mai face griji pentru cap c oricum i l-a pierdut n noaptea cu pricina baiazid ascult rspunsul lui mircea cel btrn i cu un ochi rde n hohote iar cu cellalt plnge de-i sare turbanul

Bayezts got himself a really cool harem which even Mircea the Old secretly craves disguised as a yenissary, Mircea the Old steals into the harem at midnight and has his way with all of the odalisques the next day Bayezt ies into a rage he executes all the eunuchs and sends word to Mircea the Old on ofcial channels to the effect that his head will be joining his feet in the dust Mircea the Old replies on ofcial channels as well to the effect that he feels just like in Allahs paradise and no longer worries about losing his head since hed lost it anyway on the night in question Bayezt takes in Mircea the Olds reply and hes laughing in ts with one eye while with the other hes crying till his turban falls off

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under the g tree Sancho Panza sits under the g tree eating gs

Ulysses and the game of chess

65

sub smochin Sancho Panza st sub un smochin i mnnc smochine fr pic de sal Sancho Panza i imagineaz cum o rpete pe Dulcineea i face dragoste cu ea sub smochin n tot acest timp Don Quijote sforie att de aprig nct din smochin cad smochine Sancho Panza i Dulcineea se iubesc fr sal sub smochin sub smochin sforie cumplit Don Quijote nct din smochin cad n cascad smochine priponit de smochin cu ochii ei mari i umezi Rosinanta privete totul cu ngduin

having no qualms about it Sancho Panza imagines himself abducting Dulcinea and making love to her under the g tree all this time Don Quixote is snoring so ercely that gs constantly drop from the g tree Sancho Panza and Dulcinea make unrestrained love under the g tree under the g tree Don Quixote snores ercely so that gs tumble down in an avalanche tethered under the g tree Rocinante, eyes dewy and large, watches everything with acceptance

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Joan of Arc

Ulysses and the game of chess

67

Ioana dArc grozav fat Ioana dArc cic vine de la ar nu tie o boab carte spun unii c aude voci divine ei i ce dac aude voci muli nebuni aud voci i nu-i bag nici dracu n seam dar de Ioana ascult toi de la ultimul otean pn la rege care o doamne secretul ei are curaj mai mare dect orice brbat cine e n spatele acestei fete nimeni i nimic n-o oprete ceva necurat e la mijloc unii spun c aude chiar vocea Fecioarei dar asta e prea de tot aa ceva noi n-am mai ntlnit ia s-o prindem noi i s-o lum la ntrebri c prea o ascult toat lumea prea ctig btlie dup btlie i nou chiar nu ne convine treaba asta

this Joan of Arc gal, shes, like, great they shes just a country gal as rumour has it, shes hearing divine voices so what if shes hearing them voices lots of loonies hear voices and no one gives a bloody damn yet everyone pays Joan good mind from the last of the soldiers up to the king oh Lordy, Lord what might her secret be shes got guts more than a man whos behind this girl no one and nothing will stop her theres something shy about it Ive heard it said she even hears the voice of the Virgin but thats over the top never saw anything like it why dont we get hold of her and ask her some questions for everyones paying her way too much mind for she keeps winning way too many battles and we dont really like that

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Robespierres dream

Ulysses and the game of chess

69

visul lui Robespierre asear am visat c eram un pduche locuiam sub peruca unui nobil franuz care mai apoi a fost ghilotinat eram carevaszic un pduche de lux mergeam mpreun cu nobilul franuz la amantele lui nobile i perverse care mai apoi au fost ghilotinate i studiam atent i admirativ tehnicile de seducie ne desfrnam mpreun ne mbuibam cu cele mai delicioase bucate mpreun tot mpreun pierdeam sau ctigam bani la jocurile de noroc aadar aveam un trai fr griji e drept c din cnd n cnd nobilul meu franuz se scrpina cu o andrea de lde nct m scotea din srite dar nu asta a fost problema cea mai grav problema cea mai grav a venit odat cu Revoluia cnd bietul de el a fost prins apoi ghilotinat n piaa public n uralele de bucurie ale mulimii iar eu, cuprins de groaz sil disperare i multe alte sentimente confuze mi-am luat avnt i-am srit direct n capul clului un ran desvrit cu o groaz de pduchi

Last night I dreamt I was a louse I dwelt beneath the wig of a French aristocrat subsequently guillotined I was, so to say, a luxury louse Id accompany the French nobleman to his perverse aristocrat lovers subsequently guillotined I used to study closely and with due admiration his seduction techniques wed be indulging in debauchery together wed be gorging ourselves on the most exquisite fare together and together wed lose or wed win money gambling my life was therefore carefree true, from time to time, my French aristocrat would scratch himself with an ivory knitting needle which bugged me no end yet that wasnt the worst of it all the worst of it all happened once the Revolution began and the poor fellow was caught and subsequently guillotined in the public square to the crowds happy cheers while I, overtaken with terror disgust desperation and a variety of suchlike confused feelings, took the plunge straight into the executioners hair the executioner was a perfect yokel with plenty of lice of his own,

70

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Ulysses and the game of chess

71

srntoci i revoluionari setoi de sngele meu albastru i care n furia lor neao m-au ncolit i fr prea mult vorbrie m-au ghilotinat

all of them dirt-poor and revolutionary and thirsty for my blue blood in their straightforward fury they cornered me and without further ado had me guillotined

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winter missive

Ulysses and the game of chess

73

rva de iarn Dragostea mea Emma, mai ateapt i tu puino noapte doar! Sunt nzpezit cu trsura n drum. Vezi c n-am ppat chiar tot, pn mine mai ai ce mnca, uff! ce frig e i lupii mi dau trcoale. Vezi s nu te ncurci cu desfrnatul de Baudelaire. Adic bine, pentru o noapte ct lipsesc eu ai putea s-o faci, rete cu ngduina mea. ns te avertizez c uneori, cnd are cu cine adic, face dragoste ntocmai ca un vampir. tiu c tu nu crezi n vampiri, oare cine mai crede azi, ns deseori draga mea Emma m nspimni mai ru dect un vampir adevrat. S ai mare grij s nu ae chiar tot satul. Mine ajung i eu. i s mai ai grij s gsesc toate aternuturile curate, altfel jur: o dau afar pe servitoarea aia lene! M nclin i dulce te srut pe fruntea-i pur, ntotdeauna al tu, Charles Bovary.

Emma, dearest love, do wait just a little bit longer just one more night... my carriage is snowbound on the way home. I do have to tell you I havent quite nished my food, will your food last until tomorrow, ugh!, its so cold and the wolves are prowling about. and dont you take up with that lecher Baudelaire. well, come to think of it, for one night, while I am away, you could do it, with my permission, of course. yet I do have to warn you that sometimes, when hes got the right company, he makes love just like a vampire. I know you do not believe in vampires, who does, after all, yet many a time, dearest Emma, you frighten me worse than a real vampire. and please do your best so that the rumour wont spread all over the village. Ill be there by tomorrow. And please see to it that I nd the bed sheets all clean, else I swear: Ill kick out that indolent servant. I bow to you and sweetly kiss your purest brow, yours for ever, Charles Bovary.

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Freud there were two of us in one body and we got on so famously too so well did we get on no one ever suspected there was two of us sharing one body and so unlike each other at that

Ulysses and the game of chess

75

Freud eram doi n acelai trup i ne nelegeam de minune ne nelegeam aa de bine c nimeni nu bnuia c suntem doi ntr-un singur trup ba chiar complet diferii cnd aveam chef de vorb ne cedam bucuros locul unul altuia cnd pofteam vreo mncare mai delicioas aveam grij ca ecare s e satisfcut dac muream dup vreo femeie gseam ecare cea mai elegant soluie s ajungem ntre coapsele ei treaba naibii a fost ns cnd ne-am ndrgostit atunci am devenit brusc agresivi certrei ngrozitor de geloi nu ne mai suportam deloc ncercam s ne furm locul unul altuia pn cnd trupul stul pn peste cap de mofturile noastre l chem pe Freud i Freud ne-a luat fr nicio remucare locurile i a rmas ntr-un mod trist i banal singur ntr-un singur trup

when we felt like a chat we would gladly make room for each other when wed crave for some exquisite dish we made sure each of us had enough if we happened to lust for some woman wed work out the most elegant way to get into her pants the trouble started when we fell in love then we both got aggressive and bitchy and jealous like hell we just had enough of each other wed try to steal each others place until the body pissed off with our tantrums and moods called on Freud and then Freud with no hint of remorse took our places and was thus left mundanely and sadly alone in one body

76

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Kafkas shoes

Ulysses and the game of chess

77

pantoi lui Kafka Kafka i privete cu duioie pantoi pantoi ncep s mearg ncet prin faa lui Kafka Kafka se apleac i ia pantoi n mn i iese n parc s priveasc lumea pe o banc n parc Kafka i blngne picioarele goale i vorbete tot felul de chestii intime cu pantoi un poliist gras ntr-un costum ponosit se apropie de Kafka nvrtind amenintor bastonul i l ntreab unde locuiete i dac are acte pentru panto Kafka scoate uor indignat actele din buzunar poliistul le veric atent i i reine pantoi pentru un nou interogatoriu

Kafka is tenderly watching his shoes the shoes start slowly pacing to and fro in Kafkas sight Kafka stoops to pick up his shoes and goes out in the park to look at the world as he sits on a bench Kafka is swinging his bare feet and talking all sorts of intimate things with his shoes a fat policeman in a seedy uniform walks up to Kafka threateningly swinging his truncheon and asks him where he lives and whether he has documents for his shoes Kafka produces the documents out of his pocket slightly offended the policeman is checking them carefully then takes the shoes in custody for further cross-examination

78

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the hangover

Ulysses and the game of chess

79

mahmureala vine Marx cu o mutr lung i zice miorlit biei nu- cum dracu da n-am dormit prea bine azi-noapte m-o futut un dj la cap vodca i sucul de roii aveau gust de borhot n-avei ceva bun pe aici abia respir Marx i fcu nite ochi de foc umezi de poft n care se reectau snii Katiuei atunci se dezlnui infernul bombardierele nnegrir cerul sirenele o luar razna Malraux privea totul linitit printr-o lunet i mormia ce frumos ce sublim acesta e extazul bi Marx fundul Katiuei e deja arice ia privete aici se desprinse cu greu Marx din ncletarea erotico-eroic i zbier cu barba zburlit du-te dracu Malraux i d luneta aia ncoa s vz i io i ntr-adevr Marx era sublim gol cu luneta n mn privind bombardierele

Marx turns up with a long face and affectedly slurs boys, ah dont know why the hell but ah slept badly last night a dj fucked with mah brain the vodka and tomato juice tasted like watered-down horse piss got any goodies at hand Marx gasps his eyes starting to shine like a seals moist with desire reecting Katyushas breasts its then that all hell breaks loose bombers blacken the sky sirens go haywire Malraux watches everything serenely through a spyglass and mumbles how lovely how sublime thats ecstasy indeed there, Marx, Katyushas ass sbeen blown to smithereens have looksee, Marx pries himself loose from the heroic-erotic clash and cries out his beard in disarray fuck you Malraux an give us a loan of that spyglass to see whats to be seen and sure enough, Marx looked simply sublime stark naked and spyglass in hand watching the bombers

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A letter from Siberia

Ulysses and the game of chess

81

Scrisoare din Siberia Drag mam Drag tat iertare mi cer de v-am greit cu ceva aici n Siberia m ciesc pentru tot crim mi pare s ucid i o musc a mnca ceva mai bun ntr-una din seri simeam cum m roade o ghear de er n stomac aa mi-am prlit la foc mic limba de piele a bocancului i-am mncat-o drag mam s tii c nu eu l-am omort pe Alioa dei l visez noapte de noapte cum se roag n genunchi n faa icoanei i prul lui blai strlucete n lumina lunii n visul meu se ntoarce spre mine i m ntreab voios Serghei cnd vii pe-acas c i-am meterit un pat din lemn de brad miroase frumos i vreau s te mbriez c dor mi-e de tine i Alioa m mbrieaz n vis i eu m zbat drag mam aici n Siberia mi-e team i de mine crim mi pare i-un gndac s strivesc n rest totu-i bine drag tat doar iarna-i a dracu de grea abia mai facem fa numa Ttuca Stalin are mare grij de noi ne-a trimis de curnd un camion cu o grmad de haine groase i hran ce mult ne-am bucurat acum stau nfofolit ca un burghez ntr-o cojoac lung clduroas i citesc pn-n miez de noapte Pukin i Esenin la lumina lmpii cu gaz.

Dear Mom Dear Dad I do beg your forgiveness in case Ive done wrong by you here in Siberia I fully repent for all things in my eye it is murder even killing a y Id like something nicer to eat one of these evenings I felt like an iron claw gnawing at my stomach and over a low re I cooked the leather tongue of my boot and I ate it dear Mom Id like you to know it wasnt me that killed Alyosha even if I dream of him every night praying on his knees to the icon and his sand-coloured hair glows in the light of the moon in my dream he is turning to me and cheerfully asks me Serghey, when you gonna come home for Ive carved you a bed out of pine wood it smells oh so sweet and I want to embrace for I miss you so much and Alyosha embraces me in my dream and I struggle to escape dear Mom here in Siberia Im even afraid of myself in my eye it is murder even squashing a bug for the rest all is well, dear Dad, only the winters beastly cold around here we can hardly get by dont where wed be if not for Daddy Stalin who takes such good care of us hes recently sent us a lorry with lots of warm clothes and good food and werent we glad now Im snugly wrapped up like a bourgeois in a nice long warm sheepskin and read until midnight Pushkin and Esenin at the light of the oil lamp.

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Rachela

Ulysses and the game of chess

83

Rachela pe cnd tria strbunica auzisem vorbe-n oapt prin cas cum c ar dat n mintea copiilor i c vorbete cu o femeie ciudat pe care doar ea o vede vorbete cu Rachela i nimeni nu poate s-o vad sau s-o aud pe Rachela dar noi tim de la strbunica multe lucruri despre Rachela i tare am vrea s-o vedem i noi s ne povesteasc i nou cum au ras-o nemii n cap n lagrul de la Auschwitz i au fcut o peruc minunat din minunatul ei pr rocat cum mnca ea mpreun cu un obolan gras dar ei i se vedeau coastele i genunchii i mpungeau fusta cenuie i Rachela, ne-a spus strbunica ntr-o noapte, l-a botezat pe obolanul la gras Fritz aa ca pe logodnicul ei cel care n ziua nunii a suit-o n trenul cu deportai dar mai nti a srutat-o cu disperare i i-a ipat la ureche, fcea trenul un zgomot infernal, i-a ipat aa Rachela, s nu uii niciodat c te iubesc! apoi a fugit ca un nebun plngnd n hohote i Fritz era foarte simpatic chiar dac era gras acum Rachela vorbete cu obolanul Fritz

back in the days great grandma was alive Id hear whispers around the house to the effect shed gone all barmy talking to some strange woman no one but her could see talking to Rachela and no one else could see or hear Rachela but we do know from great-grandma a lot about Rachela and oh how wed like to see her ourselves and nd out from her how the Germans shaved off her hair in the Auschwitz concentration camp and made a beautiful wig out of her beautiful red hair how she was sharing her food with a fat rat yet you could number her ribs and her knees were piercing her grey skirt and Rachela, great-grandma would tell us, one night went and baptised that fat rat calling him Fritz, like her own anc who on her wedding day helped her up into that train of deportees though not before kissing her desperately and screamed into her ear, the train was making a terrible racket, thats what he screamed Rachela, never forget I love you! then ran like a man out of his mind sobbing his heart out and Fritz was very cute though he was fat now Rachela is talking with Fritz the rat

84

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Ulysses and the game of chess

85

mparte mncarea cu el jumate ea jumate Fritz care o privete n ochi exact cum o privea logodnicul ei cnd mergeau la picnic pe vremuri dar ntr-o zi un brbat mort de foame l-a vzut n minile Rachelei i era aa dolofan Fritz nct brbatul la l-a smuls dintre minile Rachelei l-a omort apoi l-a jupuit i l-a gtit cu boabe de fasole i l-a mncat chiar sub ochii Rachelei care de durere a nnebunit i vorbea singur atunci am ntrebat-o noi pe strbunica de ce nu putem s-o vedem i noi pe Rachela i strbunica ne-a spus c nimeni n afar de ea n-a mai vzut-o pe Rachela de cnd a murit obolanul Fritz

sharing her food with him half and half and he looks in her eyes just just like her anc used to back when they went picnicking together but one day a man starving to death saw him in Rachelas hands and Fritz was so plump that the man pried him out of Rachelas hands killed him and skinned him and cooked him with beans, then ate him under Rachelas eyes who lost her mind out of grief and started talking to herself it was then that we asked great-grandma why we couldnt see Rachela and great-grandma told us no one except her had ever seen Rachela again after Fritz the rats death

86

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kamikaze

Ulysses and the game of chess

87

kamikaze de curnd ziarele vuiesc s-a aat c distinsul i btrnul domn Kentaro a fost pilot kamikaze n al doilea rzboi mondial i a supravieuit miraculos jurnalitii i iau interviuri i pun tot felul de ntrebri indiscrete nct distinsul domn Kentaro se supr i se nchide n cas refuznd solemn s mai rspund la vreo ntrebare singur-singurel n casa lui distinsul domn Kentaro scoate dintr-un sertar fotograa cu el tnr n costum de pilot lng un avion aa cum numai n lmele vechi de la Hollywood mai poi vedea totul parc s-a ntmplat ieri! ofteaz el pune fotograa pe dulap i se aaz greoi s mnnce sushi avionul din fotograe accelereaz toate motoarele la maxim purtndu-l pe tnrul i distinsul pilot Kentaro pn la fereastr de unde poate privi uluit cum se aprind n noapte reclamele uriae din Tokyo apoi zboar chiar pe fereastr

its been all over the papers of late the news is out that Mr Kentaro, an elderly distinguished gentleman, was a kamikaze pilot during the second world war and miraculously survived journalists keep interviewing him they ask him all sorts of indiscreet questions so that distinguished Mr Kentaro gets fed up and locks himself up in the house solemnly declining to answer any further questions all alone in his house distinguished Mr Kentaro takes out of a drawer a photo of himself as a young man wearing a pilot uniform standing next to one of those old-timer aeroplanes now to be seen only in Hollywood war lms it all seems to have happened yesterday he sighs as he returns the photo to the cupboard and sits down heavily to have some sushi the aeroplane in the photo fully revs up its engine taking young and distinguished pilot Kentaro to the window whence he can watch in amazement how the night lights up with the huge advertisements of Tokyo before he ies off through the window

88

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Ulysses and the game of chess

89

n timp ce btrnul domn Kentaro ofteaz i mnnc sushi tnrul pilot Kentaro zboar nestingherit prin Tokyo mirndu-se ca un puti de cte ori vede vreo minune a tehnologiei uitnd astfel cu desvrire cum a scpat ieri ca prin urechile acului de la o glorioas sinucidere

while old Mr Kentaro is sighing and eating his sushi the young pilot Kentaro ies undeterred all over Tokyo gasping in boyish wonder whenever he sees some technological marvel thus completely forgetting how yesterday he escaped by the skin of his teeth from a glorious act of suicide.

90

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Ulysses and the game of chess

91

scaunul rotativ

the swivel chair

92

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e-mail to mike

Ulysses and the game of chess

93

e-mail ctre mike dear mike nici nu tiu cum de n-am apucat s-i scriu dar te cunosc de numai trei minute si 47 de secunde de pe facebook mi-a plcut n primul rnd poza ta semeni perfect cu un terorist arab eu ns ador tenul msliniu i sprncenele stufoase mpreunate ct despre musta i turban mai bine nu mai zic am remarcat ntrebarea ta dac la noi n USA femeile se autofecundeaz i nasc copii cu gene de informaticieni eu ns te ntreb pe tine dear mike (oare sta e nume arab) dac la voi n Irak femeile i dau cu petrol pe gene i se reproduc pe cale natural tiu o s-mi spui c sunt o naiv dar tu mikey eti un naiv simpatic ei bine la noi n USA femeile nu se autofecundeaz ci au regulat fantezii erotice cu teroriti Al Qaeda desigur nu e cazul meu iar n urma acestor perversiuni sexuale reprobabile nu rezult copii hibrizi cu ten aproape msliniu i sprncene aproape stufoase ci rezult nenumrate complexe i tulburri psihice care le predispun pe aceste nefericite femei la hruire sexual la locul de munc de unde ajung direct la tribunal i sunt despgubite cu sume exorbitante ceea ce le ofer posibilitatea unor aventuri extreme n Orientul Extrem

dear mike cant tell how I got into writing to you I only know you for three minutes and 47 seconds from Facebook I liked your photo the moment I saw it you are the perfect impersonation of an Arab terrorist I for one am crazy bout olive-skinned men and bushy meeting eyebrows as for the moustache and turban Id rather not tell Ive noticed your question about the women here in USA whether they fertilize themselves and give birth to children having the genes of informaticians now let me ask you, dear Mike, (is that an Arab name, I wonder) whether out there in Iraq women reproduce naturally I know youre gonna tell me Im nave but you mikey are both nave and cute now then here in the USA women do not fertilize themselves but have on a regular basis erotic fantasies with Al Qaeda terrorists that does not apply to me of course and that objectionable sexual perversion does not result in hybrid children with almost olive complexions and eyebrows growing almost bushy but rather results in numberless complexes and psycho-disturbances making these most unhappy women prone to sexual harassment at their places of work whence they go straight to court and get paid exorbitant sums in damage claims which enables them to afford extreme adventures right in the middle of the middle east

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On the Train To Italo Calvino lui Italo Calvino

Ulysses and the game of chess

95

n tren

Viteazul soldat D. cltorea n acelai tren, n acelai compartiment, cu viteaza i rotofeia vduv M. Soldatul D. se ntorcea cu o ran la picior, o ran pe care o ndrgea i cu care se mndrea, din rzboi. Vduva M. se ntorcea cu o saco burduit cu carne macr la care se gndea cu mndrie i cu un fel de dragoste canibalic, din ora, de la pia. Soldatul D. i arunc o privire furi vduvei M. aranjndu-i pansamentul. Vduva M. ntoarse capul i se gndi c soldatul D. nu poate dect un soldat viteaz de vreme ce are o ran pansat att de frumos. Soldatul D. i ntinse piciorul rnit oftnd i, n treact, piciorul lui se frec uor de piciorul durduliu al vduvei M. oprindu-se chiar lng sacoa cu carne macr. Vduva M. roi n ambii obrjori rotofei, soldatul D. se gndi c vecina lui de compartiment e cu siguran o vduv viteaz de vreme ce se ntoarce cu o aa saco burduit din ora, de la pia. Soldatul D. fu inundat din cretet pn-n tlpi de o ciudat cldur i i puse mna pe genunchi vduvei M. care ncepu s tremure i s asude din cretet pn-n tlpi. Soldatul D. se gndi c a ndrznit prea mult i, rcindu-se din cretet pn-n tlpi, i retrase mna de pe genunchiul vduvei M. Vduva M. se gndi c nu este sucient de atrgtoare, aa c i ridic doar cu o palm fusta neagr deasupra genunchiului. Soldatul D. tocmai se uita pe fereastr, aa c nu a observat

The brave soldier D. was riding on the same train, in the very same compartment, with the brave and chubby widow M. Soldier D., coming back from the war, had a wound in the leg, a wound he was fond of and took great pride in. Widow M., coming back from the market, had a bag stuffed with meat, and lean meat at that, in which she took great pride and thought of with a kind of cannibal love. Soldier D. cast a glance, furtively, at widow M. while he fumbled with his wound dressing. Widow M. turned to look and thought soldier D. was a brave soldier, no two ways about it, since he had such a neatly-dressed wound. Soldier D. then stretched out his leg with a sigh, and his leg accidentally touched widow M.s plumpish leg coming to rest next to the bag stuffed with lean meat. Widow M. blushed with both of her rubicund cheeks, soldier D. assumed that the widow that shared his compartment must needs be a brave widow no doubt since she was returning with such a stuffed bag from the market. From the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, soldier D. was immersed suddenly in a strange sort of heat and rested his hand on the knee of widow M., who thereupon started shaking and sweating from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. Soldier D. thought hed gone too far and, cooling off from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet, he withdrew his hand from the knee of widow M. Widow M. thought she wasnt attractive enough, so she pulled back no more than a handbreadth her black skirt revealing her knee. Soldier D. was looking out of the window at that exact moment, so he failed

96

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Ulysses and the game of chess

97

deloc manevra. Vduva M. se gndi c nu a fost sucient de ndrznea aa c i desfcu decolteul. Soldatul D. ntoarse capul i se nroi din cretet pn-n tlpi. i puse chipiul pe cap, o salut militrete pe rotofeia i viteaza vduv M. i iei pe hol s fumeze o igar.

to notice the stratagem. Widow M. thought she wasnt bold enough so she exposed a more ample expanse of her cleavage. Soldier D. turned towards her and blushed from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet. He put on his bonnet gave a military salute to the chubby, the brave widow M. and left the compartment to light up a cigarette.

98

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family planning

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planning familial Cutam o scuz i gseam mai multe. Alegeam una la ntmplare i o spuneam pe un ton indiferent. De obicei, eram crezut, dar acum femeia asta de vreo 30 de ani m privea x cu ochii ntredeschii invitndu-m parc s continui. Dac a continuat n mod sigur m-a dat de gol. Aa c am tcut i am nceput s-o privesc ntr-un mod care a fcut-o s roeasc puin, dar acel puin nsemna att de mult. Deja m imaginam ntr-un pat imens, mngindu-i spatele arcuit i catifelat. Ceva mi spunea s u totui prudent. Altceva mi dilata pupilele de parc picurasem atropin. Auzeam vocea femeii uor tremurat, dar nu mai nelegeam nimic. Nici cnd palma ei delicat m-a lovit peste obraz din senin, n-am neles nimic. Nici cnd bodyguardul m-a dat n uturi afar n-am neles mare lucru. i nici acum dup ce au trecut 3 ani de zile nu m pot luda cu vreun dram de nelegere, dei suntem un cuplu a spune aproape reuit, un cuplu care iese la plimbare

Id look for an excuse and Id nd several. I would choose one at random and mouth it indifferently. As a rule theyd believe me, but this time around This woman of thirty or so was watching me xedly, eyes half-open as if urging me to go on. Had I gone on she would have called my bluff for sure. So I just held my peace and started watching her in a way that made her blush slightly yet slightly meant a lot in this case. I already imagined myself in a king-sized bed, caressing her velvet-soft, arched back. Something told me, I felt. I ought to watch out. Something else was dilating my pupils as if Id dripped atropine in them. I could hear the womans voice trembling slightly, though nothing made sense any more. Not even when the palm of her delicate hand slapped my face out of the blue, did it make any sense. Not even when the bouncer kicked me out of the place did I make too much sense out of it. And not even now, three years later can I claim things make an ounce of sense thou we do make a couple I could call almost perfect,

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n ecare duminic mpreun cu alte cupluri, a spune la fel de reuite, pentru a gsi soluii rezonabile la plictisitoarele probleme de planning familal.

a couple going for walks of a Sunday alongside other couples I could call just as perfect, trying to nd reasonable solutions to boring family-planning problems.

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I, misogyn

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Eu, misoginul Eti un nimic! a ipat la mine, apoi a luat-o la fug pe scri, mpiedicndu-se, acoperindu-i ochii cu mna. Eu, calm, n pragul uii, stpn al unui teritoriu vast i neutru. Eu, cel singur, mbrbtat de un misoginism crunt, o urmream. Ea, jos, cu mna la ochi, stpnindu-se s nu plng sau plngnd deja. Ce e de fcut? S-mi iau un animal de cas, s citesc toat biblioteca sau mai bine s plec la Polul Nord? i pe cnd ea disprea denitiv din raza mea vizual, m i vedeam eroul expediiei, cu o vulpe argintie dup umeri, o vulpe pentru care aveam s dau seam peste numai un an organizaiilor pentru protecia animalelor, n timp ce ea dela sub fulgii uimitor de mari i albi, mblnit i complet inocent.

Youre a nothing, she yelled at me, then ran off down the stairs, stumbling occasionally, hand covering her eyes. I, calmly standing in the doorway, ruling supreme over a territory neutral and vast. I, the alone, emboldened by rabid misogynism, chose to watch her. She, at the foot of the stairs, hand to her eyes, ghting back tears or already shedding them. What am I to do? Get a pet, read all the books in the house or better still leave for the North Pole. And as she was vanishing for good out of my view, I could already see myself as the hero of the expedition, a white fox skin draped on my shoulders, a fox skin Ill be called to account for within the year by animal rights organizations, while she would be strutting under the incredibly large and white snowakes covered in fur and utterly innocent.

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My neighbour on the ninth oor

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Vecinul de la etajul 9 M uitam la lume de pe balcon i aud vjindu-mi pe lng urechi un obiect de dimensiuni mari. Se sparge de trotuar cu zgomot, n mii de buci nct nici n-apuc s-mi dau seama ce a fost. M uit n sus i l vd pe vecinul de la etajul 9 rnjind satisfcut i frecndu-i palmele. Afar e cald, e soare i fetele se plimb dou cte dou. Aud iar un vjit pe lng urechi. Iar n-apuc s vd despre ce este vorba. M uit n sus i l vd pe vecin frecndu-i palmele bucuros. Aa ceva nu se poate! mi zic n gnd, tot privind n sus i exact atunci vecinul plonjeaz n gol fcndu-mi n cdere cu mna un simpatic semn de adio.

I was looking at people from my balcony when I heard something whizz past my ears a sizeable object. It crashed against the pavement with a mighty big noise into a zillion pieces before I had a chance to realize what it was. I looked up and saw my neighbour on the ninth oor grinning pleased with himself and rubbing his hands. The weather was warm, it was sunny and the girls were walking two by two. Once again I heard something whizz past my ears. Once again I failed to make out what it was. I looked up and saw the neighbour rubbing his hands pleased with himself. Thats not on! I said to myself as I kept looking up and just as I did so the neighbour took a leap into the void waving to me as he fell a cute farewell sign.

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The swivel chair

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Scaunul rotativ Mama, o femeie zdravn de altfel, cu picioare scurte butucnoase i pune ciorapii auai, apoi o pereche de pantaloni. E ger afar i mama nu vrea s rceasc. Merge prin zpad cu pai mruni, merge cu grij s nu alunece cumva i face planuri pentru ziua de azi. Mintea ei ager de contabil lucreaz alert cutnd soluii eciente. Miopia avansat o mpiedic s vad clar persoanele care o salut. Dar rspunde cu o politee aproape englezeasc. n sfrit, ajunge la birou. Se dezbrac de haina groas i o pune n cuier. Se aaz greoi pe scaunul rotativ. Veric actele contabile i zmbete mulumit. Sunt n regul. Azi totul este n regul. Scaunul rotativ se nvrtete rapid de 3 ori i mama ntinerete cu 10 ani la ecare rotaie. Acum este tnr supl i frumoas. Privirea i alunec ntmpltor pe oglind. ncremenete. n mintea ei de contabil caut rapid explicaii logice. ntre timp i pipie cu cochetrie obrajii albi catifelai. i admir chipul cu uimire n oglind. E n culmea fericirii. Nu mai are nevoie de nicio explicaie. De atta fericire se nvrtete de 3 ori n sens invers cu scaunul rotativ. La ecare rotaie mbtrnete cu x 10 ani.

Mamma, to all intents and purposes a sturdy woman, having short stumpy legs, puts on her uffy socks and then a pair of trousers. Its bitter cold outside and Mammas loath to catch a cold. She walks in the snow with small steps, walks cautiously lest she should slip as she makes plan for today. Her quick accountants mind is working full time searching for efcient solutions. Her advanced short-sightedness prevents her to see clearly the persons that greet her. Yet she replies with a politeness verging on Englishness. She arrives at the ofce at last. She takes off her top coat and hangs it. She eases herself heavily into her swivel chair. She checks ledgers and smiles pleased with herself. Theyre OK. Today everything is OK. The swivel chair spins rapidly three times and Momma grows ten years younger with each rotation. Now she is young lithe and beautiful. Her eyes drift unawares to the mirror. Shes rigid with shock. In her accountants mind shes rapidly searching for logical explanations. In the meantime shes patting coquetly her soft white cheeks. She admires her face in the mirror, amazed. Shes as pleased as can be. She needs no explanation after all. Shes so happy she spins three times in the opposite direction with her swivel chair. With each rotation she turns exactly ten years older.

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Nicole

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Nicole Nicole, fat de provincie cu picioare lungi subiri i studii superioare se omoar dup mainile decapotabile. Dar Nicole, fat de provincie ncercat de ispite lumeti are cteodat gnduri pioase. n miez de noapte, oprete o decapotabil i zmbind sos i spune oferului: Du-m, te rog la cea mai apropiat mnstire, cci vreau s m reculeg! oferul, mut de uimire, d maneaua mai ncet i privind-o pofticios i spune cu un nod n gt: Urc! Nicole se aaz ca o domnioar de pension cu genunchii apropiai i minile n poal, ascultnd fermecat cum oferul i povestete cu o voce gutural despre credin, rugciune, post i toate cele snte. Nicole se vede deja la mnstire sub o ras lung i neagr, urmnd calea credinei fr nicio abatere. Decapotabila zboar pe osea n miez de noapte, maneaua se aude n surdin, Nicole viseaz ngeri cu minile ncruciate n poal, Nicole se viseaz n rai, oferul se viseaz n rai, vireaz maina spre stnga i oprete n curtea vilei sale cu piscin i dou etaje.

Nicole, small-town girl with long shapely legs and a degree in something or other, is crazy about soft tops. But Nicole, small-town girl tried by worldly temptations sometimes has pious thoughts. In the dead of the night she ags down a soft top and, smiling shyly, addresses the driver: Take me, please, to the nearest convent, for Im longing for prayer. The driver, gasping with shock, turns down the blare of the car radio and as he ogles her lustfully and answers, a lump in his throat, Just get on. Nicole lowers herself in the seat like a classy young lady, knees neatly together and hands folded in her lap, as she listens enchanted as the driver is telling her in a throaty voice about faith, prayer, fasting and all them spiritual things. Nicole can almost see herself at the convent, draped in a long black soutane, walking the straight narrow path without fail. The soft top shoots forth down the road in the dead of the night, the radios blare dimmed to a hum, Nicole is dreaming of angels, hands folded in her lap, Nicole dreams shes in heaven, the driver dreams hes in heaven, takes a turn to the left and pulls up outside his two-storied villa complete with swimming pool.

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Karina

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Karina Karina merge pe treipe ns e trupe cu snii mari rotunzi dimineaa Karina plonjeaz pe un scaun gol din metrou i-i arunc ocheade lui Cezar apoi lui Molie nu-l cunoate prea bine pe Molie ns i place enorm cum Molie i scutur minile peste oameni i rspndete praful acela argintiu Molie doarme n magazin printre haine de rm sub razele laser ale sistemului de alarm dar nimic nu tulbur somnul linitit al lui Molie Cezar, culturist, lozof, mahmur, cu ochelari de soare i iarna i vara, s-a enervat fr motiv pe Karina i a lovit-o n cap cu Fenomenologia lui Hegel, Karina a uitat dup dou ore aproape tot s-au ntlnit apoi ntr-un spaiu ngust i Karina a savurat cu ochii ntredeschii primul srut Karina vrea s e actri st pe scaun n metrou i scoate rujul din gentua roie, l scap ca din greeal pe jos Cezar i Molie sar dintr-un foc i se izbesc cap n cap

Karina is going on thirteen though shes well-formed and having full round breasts in the morning Karina drops on an empty seat in the underground and eyes Cesar, then Moth Moth she doesnt know well yet shes totally crazy about the way Moth is shaking his hands all over people and scatters that silver dust Moth sleeps in the boutique among exquisite labels under the alarm system laser beams yet nothing can trouble Moths peaceful sleep Cesar, body builder, philosopher, having a constant hangover, wearing shades winter and summer, got mad at Karina with no reason at all and knocked her over the head with Hegels Phenomenology, within two hours Karina had forgotten almost everything about it, then they met in a narrow space and Karina savoured, eyes half closed, her rst kiss Karina wants to be an actress she sits down in the underground and takes out her lipstick from her little red purse, she drops it as if by mistake to the oor Cesar and Moth jump off as if on cue and bang their heads against each other

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Karina rde, iese repede din metrou ajunge la coal, se aaz n prima banc i deseneaz pe caiet o navet spaial apoi un cosmonaut cu zmbetul fermector al lui Kennedy

Karina laughs, exits the underground quickly, makes it to school, sits down in the rst row and sketches a spaceship in her notebook then an astronaut with Kennedys charming smile

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Adela

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Adela Suntem adunai n acelai spaiu nchis. Nicio insect, niciun r de praf, nici mcar adierea aerului condiionat. Unul dintre noi face pase magnetice. Prul de pe mna mea se ridic i se coboar ncrcat de electricitate. Adela e colega noastr i ne spune s ncetm. Doar nu ne-am strns aici s turnm un lm SF. Adela e colega noastr i e foarte bun i foarte blond. Acest lucru total aleator i sporete farmecul. Dar ce s facem cu spaiul? Se dilat la nesfrit, n schimb trupurile noastre rmn la aceleai dimensiuni. Adela crede c o s explodeze ceva. E foarte familiarizat cu experimentele de genu. Adela aduce pompa de vid i toi ne strecurm n ea. E foarte bine nuntru. E i trziu, dar asta nu mai conteaz pentru c spaiul se contract la loc i Adela apas cu delicatee pe butonul eject.

Were gathered in the same encapsulated space. Not one insect, not one speck of dust, not even the breeze of the air conditioning. One of us makes magnetic passes. The hairs on my arm stand on end then lie at charged with electricity. Adelas our colleague and she tells us to quit. Were not here to make some science-ction movie. Adelas our colleague and shes extremely kind and extremely blond, too. This totally random thing increases her charm. Yet what are we to do with space? It keeps expanding endlessly, while our bodies keep to the same dimensions. Adela reckons somethings gonna explode. Shes quite familiar with that line of experiment. Adela brings the vacuum pump and we all creep in. Its extremely pleasant inside. Plus its late but that doesnt really matter any more because space contracts back and Adela presses ever so gently the eject.

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the klingonian from the distant future the Starship Enterprise materialized some distance away from the centre of the solar system with one last survivor on board

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klingonianul din viitorul ndeprtat apru la o oarecare distan de centrul sistemului solar nava Enterprise la bordul creia mai era un singur supravieuitor cum se scobor din nav o ploaie acid i topi scfrlia ns klingonianul, cci se pare el fu cel mai dotat n tehnicile dure de supravieuire, klingonianul pi spre oameni cu pieptul scos n afar fr s se sinchiseasc i se auzir voci instigatoare n stnga i-n dreapta c e o fctur a Hollywood-ului l dezbrcar de haine i jupuir pielea scalpul prepuul l ddur prin miere s-l npdeasc viespile i-l legar la stlpul infamiei s-l scuipe toate muierile i toi copiii sub 15 ani ai rasei umane

the moment he got off a shower of acid rain melted his pate still the klingonian, apparently the most adept at the tough techniques of survival, the klingonian, I say, walked on towards the humans chest out, chin up, completely unconcerned seditious voices were heard left and right to the effect that he was a Hollywood fake they stripped him of his clothes they skinned him alive, scalp and foreskin included, rolled him in honey to attract swarms of wasps tied up at the stake for all the females and kids under fteen of the human race to be spitting at him

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Florin Bican a studiat limba englez la Universitatea din Bucureti, devenind un fervent traductor al literaturii romne n Marea Britanie, Irlanda, Statele Unite ale Americii i Romnia. Traducerile sale din limba englez n limba romn includ The Hunting of the Snark de Lewis Carroll i Old Possums Book of Practical Cats de T.S. Eliot. Cnd nu se ocup cu traducerile, Florin Bican scrie articole pentru reviste din Anglia i America i lucreaz subversiv la literatura pentru copii. Primul su volum de poezii, Cntice mrlneti (2007), este o colecie de rime incorecte politic. Cartea sa n lucru Tropice tmpe este o ncercare de avertizare n proz, la fel de incorect politic. n 2009 a editat i contribuit la Booktria de texte i imagini, o antologie de literatur romn pentru copii. Din 2006, Florin Bican este coordonatorul programului de burse pentru traductori n formare, din cadrul Institutului Cultural Romn. Pn n prezent, aproximativ 60 de traduceri au fost publicate n strintate ca urmare a acestui program.

Florin Bican studied English at the University of Bucharest, Romania, where he became a compulsive translator of Romanian literature. The resulting translations have been published in Britain, Ireland, The United States and Romania. His translations from English into Romanian include Lewis Carrolls The Hunting of the Snark and T.S. Eliots Old Possums Book of Practical Cats. When not translating, Florin Bican writes articles for British and American Magazines and works on subversive children literature. His rst volume of poetry, Cntice mrlneti (A Slobs Treasury of Verse), Bucharest, 2007, is a collection of politically incorrect cautionary rhymes. His work in progress, Tropice tmpe (Torpid Tropics), is an attempt at cautionary prose, and just as politically incorrect. In 2009 he edited and contributed to Booktria de texte i imagini (The Cook-a-Book Pancyclopedia of Texts and Images), an anthology of Romanian childrens literature. Since 2006 Florin Bican has been in charge of the Romanian Cultural Institute programme Translators in the Making, training foreign students to translate Romanian literature into their respective languages. So far some sixty translations have been published abroad as a result.

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CUPRINS
Postapocalyptic Loft HiStory. Prefa de Alexandru Matei / 6

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CONTENTS
Postapocalyptic Loft HiStory. Foreword by Alexandru Matei / 7

pe cnd zeii nc se mai iubeau cu muritoarele


Ulise i jocul de ah / 18 Sandalale lui Hermes / 22 Styx / 24 Platon i Socrate / 26 n lumini / 28 n orbire / 30 Afrodita / 32 Nevermore / 34 trei dromaderi / 38 Merlin / 40

back in the days when gods would still love mortal women
Ulysses and the game of chess / 19 Hermes sandals / 23 Styx / 25 Plato and Socrates / 27 down in the glade / 29 in blindness / 31 Aphrodite / 33 Nevermore / 35 three camels / 39 Merlin / 41

sub smochin
cea mai cumplit minune / 46 biserica de sare / 48 nimicul / 50 Apolodor cel limbut i preoii / 52 Lainic / 56 minunatele lucruri / 58 mocasinul / 60 harem / 62 sub smochin / 64 Ioana dArc / 66 visul lui Robespierre / 68

under the fig tree


the most terrible miracle / 47 the church made out of salt / 49 the nothing / 51 Apollodorus the loose-tongued and the priests / 53 Lainic / 57 those wonderful things / 59 the moccasin / 61 harem / 63 under the fig tree / 65 Joan of Arc / 67 Robespierres dream / 69

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rva de iarn / 72 Freud / 74 pantofii lui Kafka / 76 mahmureala / 78 Scrisoare din Siberia / 80 Rachela / 82 kamikaze / 86

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winter missive / 73 Freud / 75 Kafkas shoes / 77 the hangover / 79 A letter from Siberia / 81 Rachela / 83 kamikaze / 87

scaunul rotativ
e-mail ctre mike / 92 n tren / 94 planning familial / 98 Eu, misoginul / 102 Vecinul de la etajul 9 / 104 Scaunul rotativ / 106 Nicole / 108 Karina / 110 Adela / 114 klingonianul / 116

the swivel chair


e-mail to mike / 93 On the Train / 95 family planning / 99 I, misogyn / 103 My neighbour on the ninth floor / 105 The swivel chair / 107 Nicole / 109 Karina / 111 Adela / 115 the klingonian / 117