Jo,

I think the only reason they call this a war still – is fear. Those of us who survive, we will never be the same because of it. Not us, not them, not the earth we all walk on, or the steel we make our weapons of.

Now, we do not fight any more, we just prepare and quell our fear. I believe something is at stake now that makes all our reasons to fight fade and seem meaningless.

I had another dream – I saw a child, a new born, being put on a scale and weighed, like they do in hospitals. I strived to recognize the child, and a very fast film of human faces rushed by my eyes. I woke up, still uncertain. I think I had a revelation, that, with me, the Universe woke up, equally uncertain of that child’s identity. I have an interpretation, if you’d like to read it: the child is de billions we were before the war. The boundless identity, the infinite chance to become anything.

We were all born like that, same size, same limbs. How spectacular the transformation into an athlete, a violinist, a steel worker, an astronaut. What tremendous power that child held.

And what we have lost. With each man who dies beside me, there’s a terrible question growing in my mind: are there enough of us to carry on? Not with war, but with life -

With all my love,

Mikhail Borodin
To Joconde Abraham, September, 7th

My love,

I’ve been having a dream, every once in a while, ever since we retreated from Moscow, two years ago. Ever since I left you behind.
It’s the image of a silent city, in ruins, smoking still. I am present as a spirit in another man’s body. I see what he sees and move with him. He comes out from an underground shelter and looks around, while his eyes become accustomed to the light of the sun. There’s a car crashed nearby, with the player still on, and a sound of old jazz. Behind the man there is a woman, I cannot see her because he doesn’t look at her, but he keeps talking to her, showing her things. They don’t seem to share my horror, beholding the charred city.
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Dear Joconde,

We returned safe and sound from the action, though, God is my witness, I went there as I go to sleep at night, putting my soul in His hands. We got plenty of ammo and most importantly food. I filled a cart with warm clothes and rallied a couple of cows to pull it back to camp. We hid them in a bear cave in the woods. The colonel said he used to hunt here and the bears don’t hibernate until late November. Hopefully we’ll be back to collect the clothes till then. He won’t let us eat the food yet though and we keep everything in a secure container, because he got it into his head that the mission was to easy, we didn’t meet the expected resistance, so it might be a trap, perhaps a locating device, or poison, or who knows what. I think they are just sick and tired of this war, but the colonel doesn’t listen to me.
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Dear Joconde,

It’s Mikhail, the boy you used to chase with a Chinese paper dragon, when we were kids. I write to you now – two years after me and Ivan went to war. One year has come to an end since he died.
Tomorrow, our division will be dropped for the seventh time behind enemy lines. This battle seems to never end. But I think the colonel has become desperate. We are out of ammo and out of clean water. If we don’t break through, we’ll be overrun. So, he told us, for the first time since I can’t remember, to write to someone dear and say what we need to say. And I write to you. Because I love you.
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autoportretul lui Pablo.

De fapt…
E un punct
Ce incetineste iarna.

Un univers
Care parcurge urmele zapezii sub pasii mei.

Pentru cei care citesc aceste randuri, cu dragoste, cu nadejde si cu credinta. Dar mai ales cu dragoste.
Pentru cei care ma indragesc si pentru cei care nu ma au la inima. Pentru oricine si-a atins vreodata haina de haina mea, privirea de privirea mea, mana de mana mea, buzele de buzele mele, sufletul de al meu, chiar de nu au stiut asta.
Pentru cei ce-mi vor rosti numele azi, cu bunatate sau cu rautate, in ziua lumii noastre Septembrie, doisprezece, la 2008 ani de la nasterea Mantuitorului, cu simplele noastre cunostinte astrologice. Dar fie si in alta zi, fiindca nu e dupa voia mea sa aleg timpul potrivit lucrurilor.
Pentru toti cei al caror nume nu-l stiu pentru a ii putea chema langa munte, sa asculte Predica.
Pentru toti cei pe care as fi dorit sa-i cunosc si pentru toti cei pe care as fi dorit sa-i pastrez. Pentru toti cei cu care ma voi intalni candva, intr-o alta viata, sau intr-o alta lume si voi face asa cum in aceasta viata si in aceasta lume nu am putut.
Pentru cei care au pasit inaintea mea si pentru cei din urma mea. Pentru cei care au visat sau au dorit ceva si in visul ori dorinta lor m-am aflat si eu.
Pentru cei ce au nevoie de rugaciune. Pentru cei ce si-o doresc sau nu.

Cititi. Ascultati. In taina, fara sa va stie nimeni.

Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur Nomen Tuum;
adveniat Regnum Tuum;
fiat voluntas Tua,
sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
Sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a Malo.

Jo, darling,

I limped into the improvised bunker, to write this. Commercial transmission is still online, but probably not for long. We have a couple of hours till the first armored columns arrive. Earlier this morning, the 7th and 12th army regrouped a few miles behind our position. We thought they were massing for another assault, so the captain signaled our position and required med-evac. The answer was negative. They said, if possible, clear the area pending a full scale engagement – and join the paratroopers. They left me and two other men behind, in the entrenched houses and they went east, towards the enemy line, where the para division would drop later this afternoon.
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One – “Politics”

‘Tis hurtful to have such a life
As poor I : to be born before my fathers
In caves with not a light or whisper
And then rejected as a fool -
Then once more hammered into might:
A sound for starvlings, in their slumber
To rise and steel their sickle arm
The best of animals to reign
Over the mild and peaceful farm.

Two – “Number twenty”

This is a game of numbers
For lumber counting beavers
In feverish condition.
Its mission is to lock
A line within a zero
Then add the title letter
(And there’s no laughing matter)
For, firmly as a rock
Of the Olympus falling,
I love the answer dearly
If it should find the answer.

Three – “Opposite from the beautiful queen”

Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder – is it far
To be half a world around
And so pretty on the ground
Folding on the slightest touch.

Carry swiftly all my faith
On the starry sky across
Lined around my loved one’s neck,
As a fairy, weary arm
Of the twinkling silver cross.

Four – “Among the people”

This place, that I want you to guess
Is where I created the world.
A grandmother to all of my people
A weaver to challenge the Gods
I live in metamorphoses.

And slowly, with patience, my place
I’ve built with noiseless wonder.

Five – “The foolish Ignis”

Oh she’s no fool, but with her light
I was left blind – and quite unseen
Guess who put fairy dust on me.
For that, you see – and for luck’s sake
Oh dear, I should pay a mere night
And for the five a’riddle here
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

If you were a cowboy I would be
The prairie, ’round you, unfolding.

If you were a piece of wood, then I would be a stone
A safer place, alone, for you to sleep.

If you were a sailboat I would sail with you
The gentle waves that vanish when you’ve passed.

If you were a river I would hold you,
Under my breast of silk and air.

If you were a house I would fill your windows
With days you’ve never lived before.

If you were a preacher then, in years
I’d slowly turn to be your sky.

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Sunrise and Sunset The sun dawns, with lavender
And it sets, with sand -
Our faces, all colored in summer petals.

Litanie impotriva ranirii celor dragi

Eu sunt un caine.

Daca ma lovesti cu piciorul, ma voi abtine si voi marai: Mrrr rr ARRRrrrr. Nu esti suficient de puternic incat sa-mi provoci suferinta.

Daca ma ameninti, daca patrunzi in spatiul custii mele, voi face ce-mi e caineste posibil sa te avertizez.

Intai te voi latra vesel: Vaf! AfAFAF! RrrrrVaf! si voi da din coada. Astfel, iti voi spune ca ma bucur sa te vad si astept sa-mi ceri voie sa te las sa patrunzi mai departe.

Daca iti continui drumul, voi sta in fata ta, astfel ca orice pas mai departe va trebui sa treci peste mine.

Daca totusi nu te opresti, te voi trage cu grija de pantaloni, astfel incat sa intelegi ca nu vreau sa-ti fac nici un rau, dar ca am colti si sunt deja scosi.

Daca-mi esti dusman, urmatorul pas te va costa o muscatura zdravana. Daca-mi esti prieten, iti voi lasa locul meu. Va fi al tau. Daca-ti propusesei sa-l ocupi, al tau sa fie. Ai castigat, eu voi latra: Uaf! Af! Chiau! si voi pleca.

Voi falfai mereu din coada. Sunt un caine. Viata mea e usoara. Nu te astepta sa car dupa mine tot Universul.

Hold me still, flourish for me
Swing with me lean as a free
Butterfly breaking in flight,
Shimmering deep in the night
As bright as sea stars can see -

Lavish, with feathers and tea,
Watch from the shade of a tree
As I live on – and when time feels right
Hold me still.

Riddling and small as a flea,
One life too early to be
Half beat too late for this light -
I’ll whisper on, as a white
Spell from the stars to the sea:
“Hold me still…”

FairyToate le-asculti de pe coltul tau tainic -
Zumzetul verii, taratul planetei,
Leii in iarba, cu susur si geamat.
Toate-ti sunt blande si-aproape-ti stau toate.
Trupul ti-l dai pentru-un strop de-ntuneric
Vaii si umbrei de-afara, din lume.

Vinul, cu-un tremur usor, in pahare
Ora tarzie o lasa in urma.
Pasul tau, spini semanand in odaie
Lumea mi-o-nnalta, tu, singura-n lume,
Stai in genunchi si cuprinsa de mine
Toate le-asculti de pe coltul tau tainic –

Roi mi-esti albastru, si geamat si piatra,
Foc alb, maiastru, mi-esti zborul si-izvorul
De unde cresc, peste coapsa ta cosmos;
Marea si umbra-mi, sub nuc, in gradina -
Vesela-mi razi cand, pe piele, iti tulbur
Zumzetul verii, taratul planetei.
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Nopate
O noapte ca un duh hoinar
Sa-ti poarte har si veselie.
Sa dormi cu zambet si sa-ti fie
O stea alaturi, felinar.

De raza ei sa-ti prinzi in vis
O ruga lina de iubire
Sa-ti fie-n umbra si-n sclipire
Culcus din lemn de paradis.

Si in odaia ta, usor
S-auzi cum ma strecor cu gandul -
Un strop, pe altul cautandu-l
Prin ploaie, cand i-e frig si dor.

De-un ceas se zbate-n colt de geam
Un varf de-argint din semiluna,
Din dezmierdari sa-i fac cununa -
Cum ieri in brate te strangeam.

Unu

Cununa
Pe-o vaza chinezeasca, un dragon
Isi infasoara trupul peste flori
Sa le-nfloreasca, la lasat de seara.

Zarea
Asa cum, peste lume, se lasa usor
Pe cand era dragon ceresc, odata
Sa o dezemierde-n rasuflarea lui.

Duhul
Si-i e de-ajuns o clipa de lumina
Sa dea iar viata lumii din petale,
Din valea cu maci rosii sa-si ia zborul.

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Printesa Sabah inchise portita dinspre gradina interioara si urca scara spiralata cu pasi usori, pana in iatacul luminat de luna. Acolo, deschise usita paravanului inalt, sculptat cu o broderie fina de lemn, se strecura in cel mai intunecos colt si se aseza pe o perna, privind prin sita paravanului, cu respiratie calma, egala, pandind.

Dupa cateva clipe de asteptare, din balcon, isi facu aparitia Rais, leopardul. Trecu incet prin usa intredeschisa, strabatu camera cu pas rar, maiestuos, apoi, dupa o scurta pauza, se lungi langa paravan, la cativa centimetri de nasul printesei, care nu-si putu retine respiratia si inima sa-si inteteasca zgomotul. Rais casca si incepu sa toarca, jucandu-se cu ghearele in broderia sculptata a paravanului. Sabah era gata sa scoata un strigat, cand, din intuneric, din spatele sau, se auzi un zgomot de pupatura caraghioasa, si Rais se ridica, maraind fericit. “Fugi, raule. Imi sperii printesa! Hai sa te pupe tata…” Leopardul ocoli ca o naluca paravanul si se repezi in bratele lui Subhi. Cei trei ajunsera astfel mai de voie, mai de nevoie, imbratisati in coltul stramt si intunecos din spatele paravanului, vanzolindu-se care mai de care, unul sa se dea la scarpinat, alta sa scape, altul sa-i fure un sarut printesei, la invalmaseala.
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Dear Jo,

I was wounded by a shrapnel from a stray missile. There’s no pain, due to the anesthetic contained in the express bandage, but I can’t feel my right leg. I can barely walk – fortunately we are still hiding, so I spend my time on the watch mostly.

Almost two months passed since the assault on Moscow, but neither side has yet gathered enough strength and courage to mount another offensive. It feels funny – to take all the heat of the battlefield and survive without a scratch and then take a hit from thin air, because it was just your time to take a hit. But no matter, I was lucky – almost half a million people died at Moscow and around. When it was over, I felt a small victory, my own victory – being alive.
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one. this is for windwhisperer. i owe this riddle’s answer to her and i’m the ungrateful dirt on the back of a dog’s toes for not uttering it earlier. :)

’tis but a simple spell
that every giver gets
for every welcome gift.
(it’s easy, oh, so easy,
and it will cause a smile).

two. this is for kalila. she thinks she’s good with numbers. ;)

add a third of our days
to the petals of an apple,
take out one, to end the counting:
just so many are the monkeys
playing catch-me on the tree -
though i’m tiny as a flea
and as fast as fast is measured.
now, a kanji cross of monkeys
leave my game to chase bananas;
if i tell you that those left are
half yours, half your lover’s
and each monkey makes a sign,
(a funny sign, that is)
tell me then, wise chronomancer:
which is your funny half of monkeys
and which is your lover’s?
and for a moment’s sake,
who the clock am I?

three. this is for when, anonymously, the moth met the spider. the noiseless, patient spider.

i’m a kid
who chases a dog
who chases a cat
who chases a bird
who chases a butterfly
who chases the smell of a flower
who chases the nose of a young girl
who chases a prince on a white horse
who chases a dragon
who chases an Olympian God
who chases an earthly prayer

and the prayer is mine.
who am i? – if I am the alpha and the omega, not the means to the end of the chase, but the chase itself, the purpose.

Unsprezece locuri in lume
Sa fie pustii, mi-as dori:
Sa fim doar noi doi si o noapte
Cu unsprezece mii de lumini.

Unsprezece brazi si-un nor ne cunosc
Alesi sa se-aplece spre noi intr-o zi
Cand ne iubeam -
Si-mi e-atata de drag
Ca trupul mi-as face deasupra ta cer
Si-oriunde ai fi, te-as privi.

Si-as petrece
Viata toata
De-unsprezece
Ori deodata -
Sa-ti fiu luna
Si cununa
Sa-ti fiu zare
Dimineata
Si cand doare
Sa-ti fiu duh
De vindecare.

Unsprezece-s pasii ramasi de pasit
Si basmele de soptit langa somn.
Unsprezece vorbe rostite-n ureche
Si unsprezece culori
Pe-o campie cu flori.

Unsprezece ghemuri de blana
De neam pisicesc
Sa-ti mianue toate
Ce mult te iubesc. :)

Read something in the end of every evening,
In fleeting galaxies, revolving on their ring.

Discover, for each dancing step, a finish -
Daring and sly, as death upon your foe.

Lower the sky, down on the tips of your fingers,
Easing the howling paths of stars.

Find out what’s yours from my riddle,
Our shared gift that’s read plain in reverse.
Rewind and wind its ticking Universe
And make of it the silence in your song.

Marvel and live through my delirious planet,
In silver fields, watching the moon at war.

Love me in sunny days and in the days of cholera,
Old as the sand that makes the glass of wine,
New as the soul that finds new faith.

Give me the wind, to let be swept away
And your sweet voice, to linger in my room.

Cand iatacul printesei ramase in intuneric, frumoasa Sabah deschise larg usa de sticla a balconului inmiresmat de flori cataratoare. Luminile noptii patrunsera impreuna cu parfumul si camera se umplu de sclipirile giuvaerurilor de argint ce impodobeau patul cu baldachin. Printesa trase aer in piept cu un oftat, apoi, intorcandu-se sa se cuibareasca in matasurile patului, tresari speriata, vazand printre sclipirile colorate, petele verzi, fosforescente, ale celor doi ochi care o pandeau. In spatele lor, jucand usor, se deslusea blana de pe spinarea leopardului, cu muschii incordati, pentru salt. Simtindu-se descoperit, animalul dezveli coltii si marai incet. Printesa se lasa intr-un genunchi si trase de la brau pumnalul incovoiat. Atunci, leopardul se avanta scurt, pana in mijlocul patului, de unde se pregati si sari pana pe balustrada de marmura a balconului. Acolo ezita o clipa, se uita indarat, apoi se facu nevazut in noapte.
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– Minunata mea stapana si imparateasa, preacinstita Sabah, ingaduie-mi ca in aceasta noapte sa-ti imbii somnul cu povestea tanarului si nesabuitului Kahil si a frumoasei sale Anbar.

Se intampla in vremea luminatului vizir Abdul-Hakim, cel ce a facut din gradinile Mir-Hranni, din jurul palatului sau, o minunatie a intregii Arabii. Atat de frumoase erau gradinile vizirului, incat s-ar fi inverzit de invidie chiar si califul Bagdadului, daca vizirul nu ar fi avut intelepciunea sa le faca publice, astfel ca toti drept credinciosii sa se bucure de florile cataratoare si tufele luxuriante si frumos mirositoare, intru slava lui Allah.

Din loc in loc, havuzuri cu apa calda alimentau bazinele din bucati de stanca aduse din departatul Caucaz, si, in fiecare anotimp, cate un soi de flori isi scuturau petalele in apele limpezi, parfumandu-le si colorandu-le.

Si nu era loc in gradina vizirului, care sa fie lipsit de frumusete, asa cum nu e loc pe cerul senin, care sa fie patat de umbra. Si in fiecare zi de sarbatoare, vizirul insusi iesea, impreuna cu doi imami, si predicau drept credinciosilor morala si buna cuviinta, spunandu-le sa se bucure de frumusetile vietii lor asa cum se bucura de culorile si mirosurile din gradina, fara ganduri rele, fara lacomie sau invidie.
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(o poezie cu versuri lungi, intretaiate de respiratii si patrunse de apa sarata de mare; se poate citi ascultand in cochilia unui melc)

Este altfel de fiecare data planeta – uneori albastra, uneori in culoarea florilor de cires; mirosind a gheata topita in palma, sau a primavara, undeva departe;

Te indrepti catre ea fara nici un gand; te apropii, in vesmantul tau rosu, lipit pe langa miscarile ude, de purtatoare a sagetii otravite; arunci in largul galaxiei dantela ta alba, in graba picioarelor tale goale, prin iarba.

Astepti o clipa si iti azvarli trupul, prin imensa atmosfera a planetei, cu prea multa respiratie in piept pentru atat de putini atomi in Univers; te ascunzi o clipa, apoi te faci lumina si izbucnesti ca o vorba de dragoste pentru tot ce e viu in tine.

Ii rasari.

Un pumn de raze, deschizandu-se incet, in jurul orizontului crescand, nemarginit.

O imbratisezi si trupul tau se face durere si se face vraja si se face lant de electroni ce strabate lumea razand si cantand Zorba.

O imbratisezi pana cand bratele tale sunt bratele ei si coapsele tale sunt coapsele ei si inima ta este cea care-i misca oceanele si continentele si soarele si luna; si atunci tu si planeta va rotiti impreuna peste tot cosmosul.

Si bratul meu te cuprinde, in deplina iluminare; si din tot ce te inconjoara, iti extragi alchimic frumusetea; si chipul meu prinde contur la tine, limpede, in ochi; si e senin si e pace.

(planeta, asemeni tacerii, daca-i rostesti numele, nu mai e. omnia vincit. in desavarsirea credintei si darului de a citi viitorul, planeta nu este din aceasta lume, insa se intrepatrunde si se dizolva in ea, legandu-i firele nevazute si pictandu-i artistic vesnicia din vopselurile ei cele mai fericite.)

Un soricut
Umbratic si micut
Si desenat din ata si carbune
S-a catarat
Pe un nasuc de fata
Culcata in culcusul unei zane.

Si cu ochi mici
De nici nu se vedeau privind -
A cautat locsorul de pe frunte
De unde cresc minunile in somn.
Si, mirosind cararea printre vise,
S-a strecurat
Cu coada lui, ca un arcus maiastru -
Un astru nevazut in loc ceresc
Sa-i spuna fetei mici cat o iubesc.

De la stanga buzelor, in jos, am calatorit, prin abur si intuneric, zile in sir -

Pe partea cu un ceas si cu o cruce
La gat, ramasa – un tais de aur
Pe trupul tau de zana si balaur,
Umed de drag, lasat luminii sa-l usuce.
Si-oriunde-ai fost, din umbra ta cuminte,
Te-am tulburat, soptindu-i sa te-alinte
Oricarei flori si-oricarui strop de apa.
Parfumul zorilor sa-nceapa
Din pasul tau, cand cea din urma raza
A noptii, adoarme imbratisata
Cu urma ta pe calea-mparateasca
Si urma mea pe iarba nestemata.

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