Robert Serban







What’s left of life


people are convinced

that nothing ever happens in poems

that they should be read

after death

when you shouldn’t have lusts



people don’t open thin books

and if they do

they notice immediately that inside

are few words on a row

few words on a page

the rest

is white all white

and they close them quickly


nobody tells them

but people know that

poetry is what’s left of life

after you’ve lived it






a woman alone

another with a child

another with a dog

another alone

another with a man

another alone

another alone

another alone

another alone




It seemed to me


I killed the pig

cut out its hams and salted them

put its meat on smoke

drained its belly

and from the lungs the liver the intestines and the spleen

I made sausages


I killed the pig

ate from it all year long

and seemed to me

that life is really beautiful




The Mare the Heart

to Ioan Flora


each time my left benumbs

I think of the heart

and wonder if it has all that she needs

if I don’t trouble her too much

with my cigarettes and my coffees

with the women that want more that they’ve ever had

with life that badly damages health


questions go one after the other

until I’m left alone:

I feel my hand lesser and lesser

my heart stronger and stronger


together with fear

the palm of my right

grabs me

and its fingers

go up and down

clench and loosen

sting and redraw

from the skin the flesh the bones of my inert arm


as if half my body

heartened the other

as if my heartless half

harboured my soul




We’re back


we’re back plastered with earth and blood

with broken knees and rolled-out eyes


but never knowing each other’s names


we stand on a row shoulder by shoulder

and each gets his trophy:

a melon on which the face of the guy killed with the pike or bare-handed

was inlaid


a yellow juice drips of the enemies’ faces

like a melted wax


we stand shoulder by shoulder and

every now and then

one of us walks his finger

over the enemy’s face

than puts it into his mouth and smacks his lips
















Robert Şerban was born in Romania, on October 4, 1970. He is writer, journalist and editor. His debut volume was called Of course I’m exaggerating (poems, 1994, awarded with the Romanian Writers Union Prize for Debut). It was followed by Odyssex (poems, 1996), Pepper on tongue (interviews, 1999, for which he received the Prize of the Romanian Writers Union, Timişoara branch), On the trail of the Great River/ Auf den Spuren des grossen Stroms (coauthor, poetry and prose, 2002), Timişoara in Three Friends (coauthor, poetry, 2003), The Pink Book of Communism (coauthor, memoirs, 2004), The Fifth Wheel (interviews, 2004; Prize of the Romanian Writers Union, Timişoara), Feathertales/ Annus dazumal (prose, 2005), Home Cinema (poems, 2006, The Prize of The “Observator cultural” Magazine for poetry, The Prize of the Romanian Writers Union for poetry, Timişoara), Athenee Palace Hotel (coauthor, theatre, 2007), The Eye with Eaves (press articles, 2007), A carriage loaded with nothing/ Ein Karren beladen mit nichts (coauthor, poetry, 2008). His most recent book is called The para-fine death (poetry, 2010). In 2009 the German translation of Home Cinema (Heimkino, bei mir) was issued in Germany by Pop Verlag, and in 2010 the bilingual volume Биоскоп у мојој куђи/ Home Cinema appeared in Serbia (at Meridijani Publishing House). His poems have been translated into several languages (German, Serbian, Polish, English, French, Dutch, Yiddish, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic etc.) and published in numerous anthologies and literary publications in Romania and abroad.


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