Work in progress

Here is another translation, this one a bit more difficult. Albo-English speakers, please give your suggestions on how faithful the translation is and how it flows. Check out Postings for the Albanian version.

English speakers only, please give me an idea of whether this flows well in English and please learn Albanian. It is good for your brain. LOL.

Sister’s Saturday

by Ervin Hatibi

This Saturday

Love opened her gauzy chemise

The buttons rattled on the ground

We delved to bite her enamel breasts

We panted, not sure that we really wanted this

Some kisses with echoes of alcohol

While fingers tumble-panic in the quagmire of your panties’ elastic

We’ve shut our eyes (occasionally seen)

Shut, no idea of how I suffer

Pleasantly amazed, you managed not to despise me,

We act drunk so as to forget

The buttons are poorly undone like the lights turned on

We call out to the love taxis, what do we call it today?

Kill fatigue

This is what love is

What I give you for the sake of love

You draw your belly in,  expel the last breath

Stop the hand that edges in the needles of your stubble

Yes, there at your not quite forsaken Death Valley 

Where the cowboy ranges rumble

I would like to be you

Stop and keep the other’s hand The fingers

Like olives on their stems

And after we’d untangle, you’d play my sweat drops

Like flute keys

From my heart’s splinters in your lap, the holy water would rekindle

Saturday

Love’s bell fell

Fell as in “felled down”.

From its perch to the ground.

The gnawed rope fell too

And the bell ringer followed soon after

Diving head first

His  hands swollen, with other people’s celebration.

47 thoughts on “Work in progress

  1. quagmire of your pants elastic band
    bog(?!) of your panties elastic
    (check the word at webster, it does not need the “band”)

    you manage not to disgust me –
    the true meaning is that the girl succeeded, managed not to despise him, this is what he wonders at
    which would make your version ” you manged no to be disgusted by me”…I don’t know if you are pleased at this.

    Valley of Death – Death Valley is actually a true geographic location, it exist with this name.

    this is what I immediately saw…in general it is better than mine, which surprises me, don’t be surprised!

  2. your suggestions make a lot of sense. i was not sure myself of how it came out.

    quagmire means shifting and moving marshes, the ones who suck in people.

    “in general it is better than mine”-finally a compliment!

  3. I know what it means, “bog” it is a synonym, but yes, quagmire has a better quality sound, with its open, long vowels severed all of a sudden by implosive consonants in plain expansion, and then melting by the end with them, infusing the sense of a muted quarrel and dropping weight…I know I go to far…it’s late, good morning!

  4. thank you, d. i edited the words you suggested.
    i kind of follow the flow of a poem. to me if it does not have flow, it is not good (even when talking about incest!)
    but is interesting to see it explained like that

  5. it is panties not pants

    and please, it is not about any incest, it is only that; supposedly the girl was his friend, and most probably an ex of another good friend…read carefully…’ his hands swollen with the others’ celebrations ‘

  6. and why not “kill the fatigue” – in Albanian the noun “lodhjen” it is of nominal case, definitive (trajtë e shquar)?

  7. i changed to panties. it is just that thinking back on the white cotton armour most girls/women had at the time, i can not reconcile them with panties. lol
    “kill fatigue” sounds better to me. it is shorter, and commands more obeyance. try reading this out loud and see.
    incest was the word the author used, not me. but it is not less good because of that.

  8. consider – pleasantly amazed – yourself. Th idea here is that the wonder goes on. He attempted something and was surprised that succeeded. Than he pursued to further his intention, turning that attempt into a actual fact, into a concluded reality. It happened surpassing all his expectations which mostly were build on fear and libido. The fear of doing something dimensionally wrong, but also of having to deal with a multifaceted failure. When he says – më kënaq habia – it means – second me – that he wants to reveal more than just a superficial feeling of conquest and success, but mostly to throw a more harsh and penetrating light into his own separation – the abysmal but infinitely narrow gap – from a lower, instinctive self, an other self. It is a revelation to us in a sophisticated form of confession. He is seducing us to pardon him. He is pleased by the wonder, he can not believe that he is still there, not crushed by the shame of rejection, repentance, failure, reproach, of the militant libido or the platitude of sexual consensus…we act drunk so as to forget…he is looking as through a dream to his own consciousness! eehuaa… I will never finish!

  9. That is one hell of a poem. There are a couple spots that are a little awkward but I would have to be on the big computer to pull them out. I will check it again next time I am on there.

    I do not think I am going to be learning Albanian any time soon but it is looking more and more attractive. [smile]

  10. Well, probably a lot of egregious grammatical errors made in public, to my chagrin that is one thing I do already in English — best to avoid it in other languages too. [wink]

  11. will only make you seem even more attactive…. that’s all…. will be your trade mark some time…. don’t be afraid, the devil is not as bad as they say… 😀

  12. Peach, you are funny. “Hey, there is that blonde girl, her trademark is mangling verbs and tense, that is so attractive.”

  13. It is a known fact that the broken english and the accent count for sure as a plus in the charm of the foreigners in the US. That is a fact. Thought that would be the case in this great blog, as well.

    A small curiosity: The only Queen Albania ever had was from Hungaria. She never spoke Albanian like a born Albanian, but this has never gotten in the way for her to be one of the most beloved figures of the country’s modern history…. even the communists did not mess with her figure…..

  14. First you have to say “Queen is dead, long live the Queen” and then you can come up with any other hailing that delights your heart.

  15. I looked at the poem again. One of the tricky things with translating literature, especially poetry, is the meaning and connotations cannot be just literally translated because there is ambiguity in poetry that has meaning all on its own. So, you could translate something literally in a poem, and that might not work because it would lose the intention and what the poet wanted to imply through ambiguity and metaphor and tone. If any of that makes sense. I only speak one other language besides English, and that badly, and literature in that other language is very difficult for me because my knowledge is so rudimentary, I have a child’s vocabulary there and cannot interpet things like irony, humor, and satire always.

    All that said, the section here that felt awkward to me is:

    Stop the hand that edges in the needles of your stubble

    This is a love poem, and it would be unusual to refer there literally to “needles.” Which implies metal spindles used for sewing that stab. I know what the poet means to say, but I do not think this is strictly the way the poet would say it in English.

    And:

    Yes, there at your not quite forsaken Death Valley Where the cowboy ranges rumbleI would like to be youStop and keep the other’s hand

    Cowboy has strong connotations and historical meaning in the Stripes at least, dunno about places like the UK or Australia or Canada. It is so historically significant and imbued with definite impressions and visuals, I do not think it is the right metaphor in this poem. Death Valley, same thing. Even though those things may mean something else in Albanian, in English, I do not think they translate well across the language barrier and I would look for something else. Horsemen. Valley without the Death attached, or Death without the Valley attached. See, Death Valley here is a famous desert a lot of people died in during the migration West. Which is how it got that name. So many settlers died trying to get across it. So again, it is part of cowboy and western lore that takes it, I think, outside of this poem’s meaning and somewhere else. [If I am saying anything you already know forgive me I just do not know what you do and do not know so I am tossing this stuff out.]

    There is one other odd spot,

    Fell as in “felled down.”

    That is an unusual use of language. But I think in that unusualness, it works. It may not for everyone. It is not a normal conjugation of fell in that context. But it works for me I thought it was an interesting twist on normal usage.

    So. There you have it. Please do not shoot.

  16. Max, please, I read very carefully what you wrote, please tell me any English poet of any age you particularly read, like, or know, it would be helpful to me for how I have to speak. The translation of this particular author is very important to me, your help is much appreciated.

    And yes, “any of that” do make a lot of sense.

  17. thank you, will correct everything except the ‘fell as in “felled down”‘. i intentionally put it like that and i am happy it works in a weird way. we’re not looking for normal here.

  18. Well. I read poetry by Charles Bukowki, one of his books of poetry is titled “Love is a Dog from Hell.” I like him a lot. One of his poems I have up on my blog at http://celluloidblonde.wordpress.com/2007/02/14/my-favorite-bukowski-poem/

    I am somewhat familiar with the works of Robert Frost. And of course Shakespeare.

    Bukowski is the most current, though he died I think about ten years ago.

    I do not read a lot of poetry, I studied a good deal of it in college. I am definitely not a poetry expert. I am a writer. I understand writing. Poetry is not normally my medium though.

  19. it does not work in a weird way, it works perfectly…anyhow, give me an hour or so…! Felled means chopped down, knocked down…could not be better than that!

  20. Oh yeah, Blete, the effect there with “felled” is really interesting. I like it. The imagery and tactile sensations in the whole piece are really interesting, it paints images and tactile sensations in a unique way. So you feel them from the definite perspective of the person speaking. It is a great poem.

  21. okay, I posted another version here http://babelsyndrom.wordpress.com/
    as for the Death Valley you didn’t but only mentioned the reasons as to the why of that choice. And believe me, Death Valley is very famous. If you could please read the other version, keeping in mind that this is in no way a competition, far from it, it is an act of love and devotion (DépêcheMode). I love the work Bletë has done, and I congratulate her. My question is the same as hers…the comparison from an English reader will help us establish a pattern of translation this particular poet. I can talk significantly about Bukowski, though not exactly my cup of tea (I hate the idiom, but had no choice)…The poet we are talking about uses a lot of conceits (rhetorical figure) very special and dangerous type of metaphor. Something profusely used in English poetry by John Donne and then revived with measure but fully functional and beautiful by T.S. Elliot. ex. “When the evening is spread out against the sky/
    Like a patient etherised upon a table; ”
    This figure of speech is of utmost importance for our author and commands a very careful and nearly literal translations. I will not go into detail, but thought to mention it. As for the grammar and the syntax e.e. cummings have opened few doors for us…though I would never dare to cross boundaries except to cautiously move in neutral ground, this is to say, to let it be easily perceived that this is poetry and the mistakes may be not such but only the expression of an effort to preserve beauty and to be truthful to another…The one who have translated, (deemed the best version) Paul Celan poetry, have gone much further than us.
    This said, I again thank you very much for the time and effort, and if you please, do us one last favor concerning this, by reading and saying which of the versions is more linguistically tolerable…thank you!

  22. I posted here a somehow long comment with significant explanations, but got somehow lost, and I am sorry, I posted a version of the poem at my blog. This is in no way a competition, the idea is to find the best way of translating this particular author. I am very interested in your opinion Max. I am terribly lazy to start explaining again. Writing to me, gives that specific pleasure of […], once finished it will take a bit of time to start over…and here it is http://babelsyndrom.wordpress.com/

  23. I enthusiastically wrote a long something before this, then another, both lost. This is my third muddled attempt, a kind of a washed out, sad and transparent effort.
    I first want to thank you Max for your participation and help. I appreciate it very much.
    I have prepared another version of this poem and you can find it here http://babelsyndrom.wordpress.com/.
    Now, this is not at all a competition, far from it. I am personally very interested in the translation of this particular author. It is all about love and devotion (Dépêche Mode), not more than this.
    I know Bukowski he is good, at least makes for our case; he is not exactly my cup of tea (I hate the idiom but wanted to be true to the introduction) but he is good as a reference. What I was trying to achieve in this other version was an English text that attempts its best to be true to the original, true in the literal sense. This author (E.H) uses as the main vehicle for its poetical expression a certain rhetorical figure that is called conceit, a very daring but a dangerous kind of sophisticated metaphor. In the English poetry it has been used profusely by the Metaphysical Poets, but mostly by John Donne. It has been energetically revived but with much more style, power and sense by T.S Elliot, an example would be When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table;
    In my translations I have strove to preserve such a language. I know about the difficulties that the grammar and the syntax arises, and the strangeness the poetical language might present – but a certain permission it is given by e.e. cummings – however I try not to cross the borders. I move in neutral, hence tolerable grounds. Or this is my hope. A better idea would have been given by the translation of Paul Celan in English, and believe me I have the so called best version of his work in English, and it is quite difficult. Here is an example
    We here, we
    Passage-happy, in front of the tent
    Who you baked desert bread
    Out of camp – following language
    This is to say that does exist a comprehensible leeway in translating poetry and the reader have to recognize this. It is not imported if you a reader of poetry. What is imported is to perceive a text as a possibility, as more than just readable in English, as a conceivable literary work, of course, without degrading the actual message, register, tone and imagery. The comparison, I will stress this again, is not about which is the best, but if my version is good in its own, if it is functional and well. I want desperately to know because I have to decide which way to follow. How this can be done best, and it is not for me is for him.
    As for Death Valley anything you said was the reason of that choice. Death Valley is more famous that you might think it is. At least I have heard and fantasized about it from childhood times as for Patagonia and other deserts and plains of the world.
    Bletë I really thank you for your wonderful work and for the possibility you have created. Max, please if you could this one more time. I am not asking to analyze the poem or anything similar, but only to tell how you feel towards it. Pretty much what our beloved Blete asked in the introduction of her post. I thank you again.

  24. I enthusiastically wrote a long something before this, then another, both lost. This is my third muddled attempt, a kind of a washed out, sad and transparent effort.
    I first want to thank you Max for your participation and help. I appreciate it very much.
    I have prepared another version of this poem and you can find it at the end of this post.
    Now, this is not at all a competition, far from it. I am personally very interested in the translation of this particular author. It is all about love and devotion (Dépêche Mode), not more than this.
    I know Bukowski, he is good, he makes for our case; he is not exactly my cup of tea (I hate the idiom but wanted to be true to the introduction) but is good as a reference. What I was trying to achieve in this other version was an English text that attempts its best to be true to the original, true in the literal sense. This author (E.H) uses as the main vehicle for its poetical expression a certain rhetorical figure that is called conceit, a very daring but a dangerous kind of sophisticated metaphor. In the English poetry it has been used profusely by the Metaphysical Poets, but mostly by John Donne. It has been energetically revived but with much more style, power and sense by T.S Elliot, an example would be
    When the evening is spread out against the sky/ Like a patient etherised upon a table;
    In my translations I have struggled to preserve such a language. I know about the difficulties that the grammar and the syntax arises, and the strangeness the poetical language might present – but a certain permission it is given by e.e. cummings – however I try not to cross the borders. I move in neutral, hence tolerable grounds. Or this is my hope. A better idea would have been given by the translation of Paul Celan in English, and believe me I have the so called best version of his work in English, and it is quite difficult. Here is a random example
    We here, we
    Passage-happy, in front of the tent
    Who you baked desert bread
    Out of camp – following language
    This is to say that does exist a comprehensible leeway in translating poetry and the reader have to recognize this. It is not imported if you a reader of poetry. What is imported is to perceive a text as a possibility, as more than just readable in English, as a conceivable literary work, of course, without degrading the actual message, register, tone and imagery. The comparison, I will stress this again, is not about which is the best, but if my version is good in its own, if it is functional and well. I want desperately to know and to decide which way to follow. How this can be done best, and it is not for me is for him.
    As for Death Valley anything you said was the reason of that choice. Death Valley is more famous that you might think it is. I at least have heard of it from childhood times as for Patagonia and other deserts and plains of the world.
    Bletë I really thank you for your wonderful work and for the possibility you have created. Max, please if you could this one more time. I am not asking to analyze the poem or anything similar, but only to tell how you feel towards it. Pretty much what our beloved Blete asked in the introduction of her post. I thank you again.
    The Sister’s Saturday

    (to my incest)

    This Saturday
    Love unbuttoned her cheesecloth chemise
    On the ground the buttons rattled
    We rushed to bite her breasts of smalt
    We panted, isn’t known if we really wanted this
    Some kisses with alcohol echoes
    While the fingers tumble – panic
    in the eddying marsh
    of your underwear’s elastic
    We have closed our eyes (and looking at times)
    Closed, no idea of how much I suffer
    The wonder pleases me; you could cope to not despise me
    We act as drunk to forget it
    The buttons were poorly undone like when the lights turn on
    We call to the taxis of love, what is its name today?
    Kill the fatigue
    This is what love is
    What I am giving you for love’s sake
    You retract your belly, the breath is ended
    You curb the hand that pushes through the lumber of your hair
    Yes, there, at your not forsaken DeathValley
    Where are rumbling the ranges of the cowboys
    I would have wished to be you
    To halt, to hinder the other’s hand, those fingers
    As olives in a bough
    Then when untangled, to divide my sweat drops
    Like flute keys
    From the sliver of my heart inside the lap
    To rekindle my rare water
    Saturday. The love’s bell struck
    Struck as in “struck down”
    From its belfry to the ground
    So it fell the teeth gnawed rope
    And the bell ringer too, fell
    With his hands bloated
    For the others’ celebrations

  25. I have no idea why – but this -“It is not imported if you a reader of poetry. What is imported “- in fact should have been -“It is not important if your are someone who regularly read poetry, what is important is that…” -and the rest.

  26. D, it is nice of you to ask my opinion but I do not really know what you are asking for. They are different interpretations of the same poem,with some similarities, some differences. Because I cannot read the original in its native language, I cannot say, oh this is closer, or that is closer. It is a good poem. Very powerful. Subsequent translations are not going to have as much impact on me as the first time I read it though.

  27. if strangers meet

    if strangers meet
    life begins-
    not poor not rich
    (only aware)
    kind neither
    nor cruel
    (only complete)
    i not not you
    not possible;
    only truthful
    -truthfully,once
    if strangers(who
    deep our most are
    selves)touch:
    forever

    (and so to dark)

    (poem of cummings as an example)

  28. oh the question is – does it look to weird – is it functional linguistically speaking – can it be understood, again linguistically- do you sense that there is something wrong when you read it – the main question is; Does it work ? The difference is than mine is not an interpretations but quite e literal translation. Thank you though, thanks a lot for answering and finding the time to read all the mess.

  29. this comes after the mentioned exclamation…when the first queen is dead they say those words bowing to the new queen or king…I was vaguely reminded of something I have said in a comment at your blog about you being the queen of the beehive or something similar, death was present there also, I think, in a certain way…this was implied in the comment you are referring to now, here…

  30. I was thinking, why does a queen have to die for another one to come in power? why can’t all queens reign together?
    Of course it is what it is and i am not ready to abdicate yet😉

  31. Unfortunately, there is only one other poem from this writer in English in our Postings page (still in this blog) You can also check Robert Elsie’s site on the interests list on the right hand side of this page.
    keep in mind that we did this without permission, for learning and entertainment purposes only. If you want to propose a poem or a piece for translation please email me. I’d be glad to give my version. Also click on Strangeman’s Blog on the right hand side as well. He has some superb translations in English too

  32. me thene te drejten, dikush tjeter i ka sjelle keto poezi ketu, dhe per mua ishin me teper nje ushtrim per te “mbajtur formen” ne perkthim. faqja e tij eshte http://www.metalepsies.wordpress.com, dhe aty ke edhe menyren si mund te lidhesh me te. ndryshe kliko ne blogroll tek “deep thoughts in albanian”. this man is also a genius.
    do not worry about explanations of ervin as a man and as a poet. he does not need any. i never identify the two. whether such a talent writes from personal experience or for the shock value, it is not important to me. i just appreciate the art that goes into it, in the level i can understand. it just takes more than one reading.
    P.s. me gjere per ervin hatibin tek http://sq.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ervin_Hatibi

  33. I tried translating once one of Hatibi’s poems called “Cinema.” Apart from the difficulty of finding the right words which carry with them the best possible connotations, associations and moods’ static, Hatibi’s way or writing a poem is given to a sort of liberation from punctuation, like commas or fullstops. You can rely on the verse breaks and a good knowledge of albanian, but to my “dismay,” I noticed certain metaphors could be applied to preceeding words, or the following ones. If anyone’s interested, I could post both versions here.

  34. Here they are! Hope it will not get too annoying having to scroll up and down the page…🙂

    Kinemaja “Ali Demi”

    Hyrje

    Ullinjtë nj’aty vërdallë shkërbejnë sheshit
    Me bustin e Aliut në mes, një dasëm të heshtur
    Greke a libaneze, pa nuse
    Një dasëm fotosh
    Ullinj llërëpërveshur, shalëshpërvjelur, në mes të qytetit
    Faqe fëmijëve të shkollës tetëvjeçare
    Muskujplakur-rrënjëkapërthyer asfaltit. Si një grua
    E zhveshur në mes të qytetit
    Është ulliri në qytet
    Dhe nuk të bën përshtypje asnjë ulli në gërxhe
    Si nuk bëjnë përshtypje mijëra
    Gra të zhveshura në plazh apo në ëndërr
    1.
    Ne jemi në rresht për dy
    Fëmijët e shkollës “Mihal Grameno”
    Na kanë prurë me përdhunë, mua po
    Të shohim filmin “Hoselito”. Me pak fjalë ky
    Ishte një djalë I vogël spanjoll, mundësisht jetim
    E kështu mallëngjen gjithë Spanjën
    Me zërin e vet tenor
    Lotojnë torerot përqafuar me demat, damat
    Lotojnë anarkistët
    Përqafuar me mbretin dhe mbretëresha…
    Lotojnë ullinjtë e Ali Demit përkthyer në shqip
    Edhe fëmijët përlotur; një kor syçkash xixëlluese diku në Ballkan
    Drita ik’e vjen
    E re, nga filmi I vjetër tek ne
    Pupthi kërcen si bretkosë nga fytyra
    E gjithkujt fëmijë
    Ekrani gjoksgjerë, veshur
    Me një bluzë atërore pambuku Berati
    Vite e vite para se të bjerë krejtësisht Muri I Berlinit
    Si një striptizë zemërtorturuese demokratizimi
    Ekrani hap gjoksin na ushqen
    Me rropulli drite fytyrash
    Si shpagim, fëmijët e dinin
    Ishin lajmëruar që më parë nga shteti
    Të marrin në shtëpi nga dhjetë lekë të lehta alumini
    E të shpëtojnë nga falimentimi kinemanë “Ali Demi”
    Dyqind fëmijë e ca, me dhjetëlekshin e lehtë prej alumini
    Rreshtuar në stolat e drunjtë si në një tabelë shumëzimi
    Në gurrmazët po aq të lagësht të pëllëmbës së djathtë
    Mbështjellë relievi dhjetëlekësh I Mathauzenit, Odhise Paskali
    Partizani me balluke Elvisi
    Me pëllëmbën e lagësht I mëshon
    Kondakut
    Mbi trupin e lodhur (homoseksual) të ushtarit nazist
    Që na vjen keq të gjithëve, shtrirë në brinjë
    Partizani I dhjetëlekshit, me në bark çokollatën
    E pashkrirë angleze, parashutuar nga RAF-i
    Ullinjtë shpërndahen në formacion luftimi
    Kalamajtë janë të gjithë në këmbë
    Partizanët janë të gjithë në mal
    Fashistët janë të gjithë poshtë
    Nëpër kamiona
    Kujdestari I kinemasë rreket të paqëtojë fëmijët që sokëllijnë
    Herë-herë dhe partizanët
    Kujdestari ndez dritat; pëlhura qetësohet
    Krismat vazhdojnë edhe ca
    2.
    Filmi tjetër mund të ishte vizatimor
    Por në fakt është një film I ri shqiptar
    Me shumë natyrë dhe me pak dashuri
    Plepat lyer rishtas me gëlqere, gjyshet e gjithkujt
    Gatuajnë byrekë e biskota vere
    Pas çdo shtylle fshihen puthje studentore, buzëqesh
    Në ikje e sipër policia rrugore
    Pas çdo tingulli bëhet gati të na mësyjë utopia
    Me brigada të pamata grash të reja inorganike
    Veshur me të çelëta- mjelëse, mësuese kujdestare, aktore amatore
    Shoqe banke të të gjithëve në shkollën fillore
    Një poligami krejt e imja nën neonë të fikur
    Dhe “Ali Demi” ende(t) pa krahë jashtë
    Nën një bronz të derdhur drejt e nga hëna
    Deri sa të bëhet natë
    3.
    Fëmijë vetmuar në terr si kozmonautë
    (I mëshonim karrigeve të padukshme- të vegjël- me këmbët larg nga toka)
    Të vegjël
    Në ditët e zeza financiare
    Dhe kinematografike
    Të “Ali Demit”-kinema e dashur didaktike
    Dhe paksa politike
    E shtetit.

    2002

    Cinema “ Ali Demi “

    entrance

    The olive trees ‘round there, emulate blatantly
    Ali’s bust in their midst: a soundless wedding,
    Greek or Lebanese, with no bride;
    A wedding of photos.
    Sleeves rolled-up, thighs-uncovered, the olive trees
    In the heart of the city,
    Face the kids of elementary school,
    All muscle-aged, roots asphalt-grasping. Like a woman is,
    Naked in the center of the city,
    the olive tree in the city.
    And no olive tree impresses up from the hummocks,
    Just like thousands of naked women do not impress
    At the beach or in dreams.

    1.

    We are lined up by two,
    Kids of “Mihal Grameno” school.
    They coerced us here, me at least,
    To watch “Joselito,” the movie. In a few words,
    He was a little Spanish boy, possibly orphan,
    And thus moves all of Spain
    With his tenor voice.
    Toreros weep, embraced with the bulls, the dames;
    Anarchists cry
    Embraced with the king and the queen…
    Ali Demi’s olive trees sob, in Albanian translated,
    The kids too, teary-eyed: a choir of gleaming eyes somewhere in the Balkans.
    The light departs and returns
    Fresh, from the old movie to us.
    Hops as a frog
    From the face of each child, the chest – ample screen, clothed
    In a fatherly cotton Berati shirt
    Years and years before the Berlin Wall entirely
    Falls
    Like a heart – tormenting striptease of democratization
    The screen bares its chest feeds us
    Lighting entrails of faces
    As payback, the kids knew
    They were notified in advance by the State
    To take each from home ten light aluminum Lek
    And salvage cinema “Ali Demi “ from bankruptcy
    Two hundred kids plus some, with the light aluminum ten-Lek coin
    Lined-up on wooden benches as in an abacus
    In the throats just as wet of the right palm
    Enveloped the ten-Lek relief of Mathausen, Odhise Paskali,
    The partisan with Elvis hairdo’
    Shoves with his wet palm
    The rifle butt
    Against the weary (homosexual) body of the Nazi soldier,
    Whom we all pity, laying on his side.
    The partisan of the ten -Lek coin, with not-yet-melted
    English chocolate in his stomach, from RAF parachuted.
    The olive trees spread out in warring formation
    All the kids are standing
    All the partisans are in the mountain
    All the fascists are down
    In their trucks.
    The cinema’s custodian tries to pacify the kids that scream;
    Now and then the partisans as well
    The custodian turns on the lights: the canvas calms down
    The gunshots linger a little longer.

    2.

    The next film could have been an animated one
    But in fact, it’s a new Albanian movie
    With lots of nature and with little love
    Poplars whitewashed anew, everyone’s grannies,
    Cook pies and summer cookies
    Student kisses hide behind each lamppost; smiles,
    When about to leave, the traffic police
    After every sound Utopia gets ready to raid us
    With endless brigades of young, inorganic women
    Dressed in light colors – milkmaids, school tutors, amateur
    Actresses
    Desk – friends of everybody’s at the elementary school
    A polygamy wholly mine underneath spent neon lamps
    And still, “Ali Demi” wanders armless outside
    Under a bronze poured straight down from the Moon
    Until it becomes night

    3

    Lonesome children in pitch-black like cosmonauts
    ( We sat heavily on the invisible chairs – little kids – with feet dangling
    Above the ground)
    Little kids
    In the cinematographic and dark financial days
    Of “Ali Demi” – beloved, didactic,
    And a little bit political,
    Cinema of the
    State.

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