Trad. Clare Azzopardi
It-tifel Jixħet kappell
It-tifel jagħlaq għajnejh
Il-kappell jibqa’ nieżel bil-mod.
Jgħollu armarju ġugarelli
Ftit ċentimetri ’l fuq mill-art
Biex il-fekruna l-ħoxna
Basket imqatta’ mimli suldati tal-plastik
Biex jokkupaw qasrija.
there must be a breast cemetery somewhere
a last resting place for sliced off
teabags 34Cs or DDs
a place where mothers sisters and wives
can go to suffer phantom pain
or delight in phantom pleasure
where brothers fathers and sons can bow
their heads not at the loss of life
but at the loss of a bit of life
a place where breasts wait
to be reunited with the rest of the body
they were a part of
or in tiny urns
there must be a cemetery somewhere
for our women’s glory
a last stop
on a pilgrimage of milk
desire and grief
Ġisimha jqum f’forma ta’ poeżija
li tistenbaħ bil-lejl għal ftit imħabba.
Ġisimha qam, dar lejja biex nisimgħu:
irrid il-baħar kollu melħ ġo ħalqi;
irrid il-baħar f’kull por illi għandi –
irridu, irridu kollu għalija.
“Logħob bejn tnejn”
Hemm drabi li ndaħħal id-dinja f’bozza
sakemm tasal int u b’subgħajk fuq is-swiċċ
titbissimli u titfiha
titfiha tixgħelha titfiha tixgħelha –
sakemm, paqq, tinfaqa’ f’elf biċċa
kull ma ridt nara d-dinja sewwa
kollha kemm hi
u int frixtli baħar ħġieġ
u tlaqtni ħafja.
Nofs tużżana mqaret,
qassatat, tużżana rkotta;
ħobż biż-żejt inixxi
statwa tal-qaddis merfugħ bl-idejn,
rasu xxengel ‘l hawn u ‘l hemm
qed tmiss mal-wajer;
omelija vintage patrimonju tal-UNESCO,
żgħażagħ jiġġerrew promiskwi
waqt il-brejk mill-kors ta’ Kana,
tfajjel f’estasi bil-birra ta’ missieru,
murtaletti jisparaw fis-sema jmissu ‘l Alla,
pulizija bil-ġelat u b’abtu mxarrab,
raġel oħxon liebes flokk ta’ taħt imtebba’,
martu eħxen qed tisraqlu ċipsa,
puxċer b’rota mwaħħla f’nofs ta’ triq fi trinka,
from Omul de unică folosinţă / Disposable People (Galway Print, Ireland, 2009) | Translated from Romanian by Florin Bican
I’m afraid of the sea,
of her mouth,
of her treacherous mouths
pretending to kiss the soles of your feet
yet ready to bite …
The sea’s constantly slobbering
over our feet.
from With the Kisses of His Mouth
The night before, for the first time, we’d talked seriously about splitting up. For months there’d been stalemate: rows followed by long silences, followed by rows. We’d even tried counselling together and then he’d started seeing a therapist alone, a bad sign. One by one, in sworn secrecy, I’d confided in my closest girlfriends about our problems. I’d even told my mother what was going on – a very bad sign. Even so, facing the reality of the loss had brought on as onslaught of gut-churning dread and anguish. It was, after all, my fault. I knew this. It was me who’d ruined it all, months back, by admitting, finally, that I was restless; our relationship had been mostly celibate for some time.
from In Praise of Hatred
It was butterflies that saved Marwa as she waited for Safaa, who never came. She missed Safaa especially on the nights when the death squad fell from the sky on to our plants (which occurred on an almost daily basis), showing off the skull emblems on their chests. They were disturbed by our contempt for them, for attacking a house full of women watched over by a blind man and lying in wait for the wanted men who had evaporated into the sky over the city. They tore up the rose bushes, which were Marwa’s favourite flowers; like a madwoman, she ran from room to room, choked with tears and looking for somewhere slimy to shelter in, like a large snail.
when she hears the hand on the handle behind her
the spring in the cellar door stretches the blue
mouthful of meths splashes back in the plastic
belly of the bottle still not mixed with her spit
her heart falls again her face blushes red
she screws the lid tight and wipes the wrinkled
back of her left hand over her mouth and only
starts to breathe in the gentle eyes of her daughter
from “Daħlet Qorrot”
Water has a long story. As does my soul.
It narrates it every day to the silent rocks,
an avalanche of memories falling fast
to mix itself with this patch of damp sand.
from No Knives in the Kitchen of this City
She showed photos of female protesters who looked like unpicked cotton fruit, bright white under a setting sun. She continued to praise the past, to bring it back to contrast with her humiliated life. She would describe the old sun, and how she longed to smell the old soil after the first rain. She wanted to make us feel everything had really changed, and how miserable we are because we did not live in that period where lettuce was more tender and women were more feminine.
The avarice of destiny never created the abyss
that shall swallow all dreams and hopes; and
the avarice of wisdom otherwise created Vertigo
in the soil full
of all kinds of manifestations on
the electromagnetic stripe
to be visible as slides of the past moments and
never got a lesson
the spring was in charm
I was in it for a blast of the moment and
this… never made a difference
from “A Coloured Pin”
may resemble Christ
I am not a woodcutter
To make a crucifix
out of my bones
And hang my body
like a dirty laboratory coat.
I will empty my mouth
and trample on them
Just as a child would trample on a terrified breath
U forsi għandek raġun. Arani, iżda, xorta
ħierġa, riflessjoni għarwiena, bla ma missejtek –
b’subgħajja sodi fuq ir-ramel ta’ madwarek,
nittraċċja mappa ta’ kontinent maħkum.
dormo a filo
mi cucio il sonno agli occhima non tienemia figlia fuma nervosale labbra strette come sua nonnala montagna dietro il colloil freddo addossocome dovremmo parlarcicon questo nodo nella voce
Illejla kwiekeb feġġa.
Għamilt xewqa:jalla jaqgħu
fuq xi ħaġa ratba.
Sparawlu lil Bastjan,
għal darba, tnejn,
tlieta, erbgħa, ħamsa,
daħħallu litri, glalen sħaħ
u xoroblu ruħu.