Daniel D. Marin


Daniel D. Marin





the incision


I told them I didn’t have a heart

I had a drawer full of my old pictures instead


I picked up the scalpel from the table

and with a steady hand I slit my chest


they gathered around my chest

and looked inside through the perfect incision


curious, they looked at every photograph

they turned it this way and that

then asked me when and where I had taken it

pleased I gave them every detail

and they nodded with admiration

rummaging for hours with febrile fingers

through my photographs until they finally got bored

and left




The Napes


I stop for a moment I breathe in deeply

I look straight ahead

all I see is the nape of a passer-by

I decide to think of something beautiful

but nothing comes to mind

I take another couple of steps

I stop again I breathe in deeply

I look straight ahead

I see the nape of another passer-by

I decide to think of anything else

I close my eyes I visualize

a highway going up to another level

little by little the image loads

into my secret database

I smile my body relaxes

my arms become pliant

my feet seem to be lifting off the ground

as if I’m floating

“maybe I’m actually floating” I think completely relaxed

and at that precise moment a nudge in my back

followed by a “watch where the hell you’re going”

awakens me at once and I see a face

that for a second watches me with indifference

then turns back around




The Voice


He lived in almost complete isolation, his only

connection to reality was a voice he was obsessed with.

He could, listening to it, he could

very easily have gone mad.


The voice followed him everywhere, one could say

that it had infiltrated the maze of secret rooms

in his mind so it had become palpable,

this voice had a shape, color, taste, even

a smell and, like a precocious boy in love, he would follow it

as it strolled undisturbed around his mind.


Slowly, the voice acquired a strong personality

one that gave rise to admiration and sometimes envy,

a personality that little by little gave him an inferiority complex.

Now all he wanted was for it to go away.

He imagined that he killed it slowly.

He imagined scenes of elaborate cruelty

in which he would torture it before he killed it.


He was ready. He had armed himself with all that he needed

for such an endeavor. He followed it with his blood

beating in his temples and with his eyes red with fury

as it walked undisturbed around his mind,

as it obsessed him, as it seduced him anew. Completely

disarmed, he took it in his arms and held it like an experienced lover

close to his chest and, as he was holding it and kissing it

madly, through a strange psychological process,

it lost its personality for good

then its shape, color, taste, smell, and all that

in his mind had had a semblance of connection to reality.




the collapse


he thinks and feels in enormous amounts. in his brain

connections multiply and the information

is transmitted almost instantaneously. in his heart

the blood smashes with energy and fury into the artery walls.

he seems calm. he walks down the street his hands in his pockets


and creates complex rationalizations about everything he sees,

about anything he imagines about what he sees

and about anything he imagines about what he doesn’t see.

his rationalizations are interwoven

exactly like the wires of an invisible network


from his heart flows a wave of fluid blood

that floods his brain releasing serotonin

and oxytocin. he thinks he loves the world

and actually loves it. sometimes he imagines he lives

in a complicated world in need of simple explanations

or complicated ones, then he imagines he lives in a jungle

among tribes of cannibals and everything seems impossible to explain


he opens wide the eyes of his mind and of his body and he sees himself alone

even though he is in a crowd. people

point insistent fingers at him and accuse him. his brain looks for

an explanation, the information is transmitted instantaneously

and he becomes acutely aware that he is far from indifferent.

his heart beats furiously and the very next moment it stops.




the patient


I awake after a long time in a hospital bed incapable of movement

in fear I look at my body and I realize

I no longer have a body I close my eyes again

thinking in amusement that I must be dreaming

I fall asleep and when I wake up and open my eyes the same situation


I try to shout but in vain I don’t even have a mouth anymore

only my eyes are still there I am nothing but eyes

and I see in slow motion how a walrus in a white coat enters the room

he has round glasses with golden rims and a stethoscope

he walks to me analyzes me

with a solemn air he writes something in the clinical report sheet and leaves


terror fills me and I fix my eyes on the ceiling instead of a ceiling

there’s a huge plasma screen on which it is written:

“please calm yourself, you are in good hands,

even if you suffer from an atypical disease our specialists will shortly find

the most efficient remedy” and the screen goes away


I close my eyes again and I tell myself: “wake up, you’re having a nightmare!”

I count in my head until I fall into a deep sleep

and I wake up in the same place same bed

the walrus in the white coat is busy writing something in the clinical report sheet

then he comes toward me with some surgical instrument

that gives me the creeps and with sadistic precision he takes out my eyes




how I killed myself


every day I received a postcard from a European town

from an unknown person probably the guy was touring Europe

and thought it appropriate to send me these sweet mementos

on whose backs he would write with a trembling hand

and in capital letters “I’ll come to you soon, get ready”

it sounded a bit like a threat it also sounded a bit like a message

from a psychopath but just as easily it could have been something harmless


I tried to imagine if by any chance it was someone I knew

who was playing pranks and I burst out laughing then I imagined

that it was someone I didn’t know for whom it would be very hard

to reach me at the time I lived in a neighborhood

on the outskirts with countless little streets even the postman

would sometimes confuse them and I burst out laughing although yesterday I had received

a postcard that said “tomorrow I’ll be where you are, get ready”


and as I’m elaborating these plausible scenarios I hear

the interphone I slowly go to it and ask who it is and a metallic voice

tells me without vocal inflections “it’s me, are you ready”

unbelievable I tell myself everything is so damn real and not quite

like a joke “no, I’m sorry, I’m not ready”

I say to the guy in a stern voice meant to disguise my fear

“tomorrow at the same time I’ll be back, I want to find you ready”


I’m shaking and wondering what he meant by finding me ready

This means something is awaiting me or rather someone

I don’t feel like playing charades at all so I pack my bags

I take the first train and go to my secret cabin

in the heart of the mountains and walk in taking a breath of relief when I see on the table

a postcard I freeze I turn it and read on the back “be ready,

today I’m coming to you” impossible I tell myself and put the gun to my temple




Translated by Liana Vrajitoru Andreasen










Daniel D. Marin made his debut with the volume Oră de vârf/ Peak Hour (Geea, 2003), which received the Poetry Prize at the “Duiliu Zamfirescu” National Festival in 2003 and it was nominated for the “Mihai Eminescu” National Poetry Prize – Opera Prima (the most prestigious literary prize for a first work in Romania), in 2004. In 2008 he published Aşa cum a fost / As It Was (Vinea), and in 2009 L-am luat deoparte şi i-am spus / I Took Him Aside and Told Him (Brumar), which received the “Marin Mincu” Prize (the most important literary prize in Romania for authors under 35) in 2010 and was praised as one of the best books of 2009 by many writers and literary critics in Romania. In 2014 he published Poeme cu ochelari, which received the ”George Coșbuc” National Poetry Prize in 2015.

He is the editor of the anthology Poezia antiutopică. O antologie a douămiismului poetic românesc / Antiutopian Poetry. An Anthology of the generation of the 2000s (Paralela 45, 2010), the first retrospective anthology for the 2000 generation in Romanian literature.

He was in charge of poetry columns, interviews and literary inquiries for several cultural journals in Romania, such as Viaţa românească, Luceafărul, Cuvântul, Poesis, Oglinda literară, Cafeneaua literară, Acolada, and he participated in public readings in Spain, Germany and Italy. He is currently Associate Editor at the journal Zona Literară, where he initiated a section for contemporary Italian poetry.

He currently resides in Sassari (Italy).





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