Weekend Poetry: Four Poems in Translation

I don’t know my neighbours,
I only know one of them plays the piano at noon –
you can hear it right as you enter the bathroom.

I don’t know my neighbors,
I only hear a couple upstairs
hopelessly fight in the evening, tossing stools at one another.

When I get sick of it,
I hit the ceiling with a frying pan.
Then there is peace and quiet for awhile.

I don’t know my neighbors,
I only hear their dog barking.
And their children, who run up and down the stairs.

From time to time I turn up the music so loud,
that I can’t hear any of them,
then they hear me and hit the radiator,
so I turn it down.

That is how we communicate through those thin Khrushchev-era walls.

From time to time I look through the peephole in the door
at the voices that are speaking in the stairwell.

But when I leave my flat, I don’t meet a single soul.

*  *  *

we forget to touch
though there are
hundreds
of unrealized caresses in our hands,
which want to break away,
but haven’t been included
on the list of things to do,
they aren’t urgent,
they can be done
another morning,
when time and place
will free up in our memory.

*  *  *

Crumpled curtains
and sheets
the floor’s been creaking
since the last century
sounds and memories
blow through the window
which lets the air in,
which has yet to be replaced
with plastic frames.
Hanging from the ceiling – three burnt-out bulbs.
The wine is our only light
in this room
everything else is silent.
We don’t know each other –
it’s easier
to love and forget then.
We look for tickets
for never coming back,
but the price is too steep,
and our courage wanes, when,
as the light touches the dark,
morning comes. 

*  *  *

 

 

On tropical summer nights
girls return home
to their men or their loneliness
which sometimes means the same thing.

Their bare feet hold all
steps made furtively,
and their skin keeps caresses silent.

Their hands smell of the sea,
of swimming into the distance,
of returning to the shore,
where there is so much sand –
spilled from broken
hour glasses.

 

  • Inga Pizane. Poems from the book Having Never Met (published by A Midsummer Night’s Press)

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