[good god! I’m no longer] by Emilian Galaicu-Păun – translated by Adam J. Sorkin, Lidia Vianu, and Raresa Galaicu

good god! I’m no longer an obstacle even to my own blood. it burst out

through my nose and mouth, leaving me behind like a wall, rather rougher and

wetter than white like chalk. “Rise up,” I commanded it, “and

walk!” it looked like it was out of a book, an anatomical

diagram: vein aorta artery... 5 liters of blood from

the circulatory system stood at attention (I’d write “stark

naked” if they hadn’t renounced the body altogether), while the vein and the radial

artery were trying—instinctively—to cover the sex as if before a military

enlistment board. it suddenly made an about-face and I could tell

that it was departing since its shadow of air woven by nuns in văratic monastery grew smaller

on the wailing wall that remained. there followed

a dozen guys (he gave them to drink, he said: “drink, all of you, for this

is my blood...”), just as the cinnabar majuscule is followed by

uncials in identical long dark soutanes, from deciphering

which you, mon semblable mon frère, will learn that

not a drop of his blood

remained uninscribed

Emilian Galaicu-Păun, one of the leading Romanian-language poets and novelists writing today, was born in 1964 in the Republic of Moldova (then the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic). He has published ten books of poetry, including two in 2019, and three books of prose; in 2020 Dalkey Archive Press published an English translation of his novel, Living Tissue. He is also a blogger, translator, editor and cultural radio personality. His poetry has appeared in Adam J. Sorkin’s co-translations in the anthologies Singular Destinies: Contemporary Poets of Bessarabia (Cartier, 2003); A Fine Line: New Poetry from Eastern and Central Europe (Arc Publications, 2004); New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008); Born in Utopia: An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Romanian Poetry (Talisman House, 2006); and in literary journals: 3:AM; Absinthe; Connotation Press (nominations for Pushcart, Sundress Best of the Net & Dzanc Best of the Net prizes); Asymptote; and in the UK Orient Express, Poem, Turbulence, and Poetry London.

Lidia Vianu is Professor of English at the University of Bucharest, and Director of the Centre for the Translation and Interpretation of the Contemporary Text. Vianu and Sorkin have translated nine books of Romanian poetry and drama, including Marin Sorescu’s The Bridge (Bloodaxe), which won the 2005 Poetry Society (UK) Prize for European Poetry Translation, and served as the basis of the libretto for the recent opera by Michael Hersch, On the Threshold of Winter.

Rareșa Galaicu, co-translator of this piece, is the author’s daughter.

Adam J. Sorkin has published 60 books of Romanian poetry in English translation and won the Poetry Society (UK), Kenneth Rexroth, Ioan Flora, and Poesis Translation Prizes, among others. Nora Iuga’s The Hunchbacks’ Bus, (Bitter Oleander, 2016), translated by Sorkin and Diana Manole, was longlisted for the 2017 National Translation Award (US) in Poetry. Most recently Sorkin published, in 2017, Syllables of Flesh by Floarea Țuțuianu (translated with Irma Giannetti–Plamen Press) and A Deafening Silence by Magda Cârneci (translated with Mădălina Bănucu and with the poet–Shearsman), and in 2018, The Barbarians’ Return by Mircea Dinescu (translated with Lidia Vianu–Bloodaxe). Sorkin is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Penn State Brandywine.