Bucharest

 

“It was worse than 1984!” I was told

“Icicles on the inside – that’s how cold!”

Early in the morning a wagon turning

down a back alley my eye discerning

the gypsy ironmonger

 

“You’ll see a cow in the middle of Burcharest, I swear!”

“I think I had a happy childhood” he said with care

The poet has a country villa by the Donau,

A neat turning of the back on Lenin and Mao,

Where he entertains friends

 

If you touch this lamb, it’ll bring you good luck

You touched it, so pay! – and I’m stuck

Little piles of sunflower seed shells on the train,

Inchishi Ushile the ethereal refrain,

In the corners where people stand

 

Old folks, like silent gnomes, stand at attention

They can’t live on their pension

Some sit on a ledge here and there

Others get in the way on the metro stairs

but they don’t put out their hand

 

The grime and the gray of the blocuri

Have a poetry and allure

Old Nicu, in the wheelchair, worked in a pretzel factory

I listened to his story

and changed his euros into leis

 

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