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The Starting Line

Elena Stefoi

translated by Adam Sorkin and Liana Vrajitoru

And what more do you have to learn

change yourself change!

darkness takes root
in the boiling of a pupil

preliminary studies reveal that for Easterners
the lust for life of someone who's dying
still weighs more heavily on the scales
than a coat of arms inherited at birth

stand straight with a pretty smile
with conviction obedience and correctness
describe the traditional menu not even the devil can
    surpass you at
instead of light sauces with exotic herbs
a cheap concentrate of schizophrenia sarcasm somnolence
unfathomable hatred for the system
unfathomable love for the Home
where the system itself placed you

so exactly what must you refuse to learn

history has broken its neck a disgusted multitude
waits to ambush it on Mount Gethsemane

no, don't stop when you cross the finish line
your twin brother is standing right there he holds out his hat

Berlin, 17 August 1995

Elena Stefoi, Alineierea La Start (The Starting Line),
Bucharest:Cartea Romanesca.
Translation © Adam Sorkin, 2002.

Alinierea La Start

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An Anthology of Translations

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