Marius Ianuș, "Lonesome Hearts' War"

Marius Ianuș is the biggest hell-raiser in Romanian literature, a writer who managed to pick a fight with every contemporary writer. He quarrelled with everyone, including his friends or literary companions, and so, almost everyone turned their backs on him, leaving him a very lonesome man indeed. He even picked on street hoodlums, which led to the birth of Fracturism—the most important literary trend in post-communist years. It so happens I was with him the night he wanted to intimidate lowlife scum in Brașov and we both got beat up. We wanted to write a complaint to the police and instead we wrote a manifesto. The Fracturist manifesto. Picking an argument is in fact the engine of his poetry. His poetry is a continuous quarrel with society, with the world, with the city, with history, with the past, with the present, with everyday life, with metaphysics, with himself, eventually. But while in life he has only lost, in poetry he has continuously gained. The uglier Ianuș’s life, the more brilliant his poetry. Probably because he sensed this, Ianuș gave up poetry for a while, and I wonder, did it make him any happier. At the end of the 1990s, we founded Fracturism together, and next thing I know Ianuș promptly starts a grim war against me. However, I can't help but admit that the poetry written by Marius Ianuș is simply the best that’s been created in Romanian poetry since 2000.

-- Dumitru Crudu



There are times when a poem you like seems the most translatable thing in the, in your world. And after several aborted attempts (that may take anywhere between a few hours and months, okay, years) you realize (suddenly calm and wise) that you'll never ever deliver that wondrous baby into the world—the Anglo-Saxon world, that is. And there are times when you quietly type a few lines, reach for your coffee again and some minutes later sit up straight, for the poem is there on the screen, familiar, a demure smile on its lips. Well, most of it. New clothes but, for all intents and purposes, the same entity that you loved at first sight not one hour ago.

--Liviu Martinescu


Lonesome Hearts’ War

Whenever the holidays roll around,
the lonesome hearts wage a grim

who put a hole in the calendar with his cigarette?
who's slept 48 hrs straight
coiled around a smashed tv?
and who stood amid thousands of strangers
in the square quiet as the falling snow
continually processing the unlikely silent film
of his hitherto life?

you meet a lonesome heart
give him booze. though
he's already drunk.
you meet a lonesome heart
take him to the movies
though he's already there,
watching, as I said, a silent film
gone haywire about him and
his pointless life.

i was a lonesome heart on the street
dumitru crudu also was all alone
like a roach on a slice of bread
(darkness  lashing him with tongues
of fire, captured by police blotter pages
as  in the center of a carnivorous flower)

lonesome me and  lonesome  dudu
both  unattached
so we took an  imaginary cab
to chisinau and to cuba
paying not a cent to the driver
because he had seen us on television.

i was lonesome so heed  my plea.
Save the lonesome  hearts,

Give 'em booze, take 'em to the movies...



Liviu Martinescu, a retired university teacher of English, lives in Suceava, Romania. He has translated Edith Wharton, Joseph Heller and Walt Whitman, among many others, into Romanian, and many Romanian poets into English.