TheCondemned Apple: Selected Poetry, by Visar Zhiti, translated by Robert Elsie (Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2005)
That will remember the leaves,
It is the leaves that will remember
When the window as like a sun
And in that shady room, summer came in from the garden,
And you lounging, your blouse undone,
With nipples, burn-clay-colored,
And the clock counted the passing of our lives,
Where is that afternoon
That has lingered in my memory, lounging
Like an Etruscan terracotta?
yourself: on the throat of your neighbor, or on the buttocks of the other fellow’s wife.
Seated, huddled around the coffee table, how can you greet anyone without
Jabbing someone else with your elbow? How can you pay a compliment deafening
We can see one another in our spoons, and we are warped.
Your road is good:
The Parcae area the ugliest faces
Of classical myths. You did not write of them,
But of stone slabs and of human brows
Covered in wrinkles, and of love.
Like those of other poets,
Though under seven layers of skin
Light (What is this twinge?)
At the edge of the chasm
What lure and temptation,
Can’t you see how I teeter?
Because I had ancient sand, archaic dew
In my eyebrows, wine in the throat of my bird and because
One and one are two, like two guns, two women,
Two white stones above the head of very wise man,
Because there was no wound on this side of the river,
There were bridges, healing herbs and peace, and because
I kissed the luscious earth with my thick Neolithic lips,
Because I got my reed pipe out of hell and played it
To my light, scaring the clouds and crows away, because
I early sowed my shadow in the sun and because
I had fire on my spear, rye in my hair and strands of grey
On churches, on ages, on graves,
Because I had blood, and my leaf flute had language, they damned me.
Fowl or flower,
Which are secretly treading
On the mute murmur of things.
May this night bring us
Peace and innocent darkness.
This is not a poem, it is lines of verse,
The parchment of our fourth
Skin, as if to say
An age has withered, another day wasted away.
Throw it at the feet
Of the officer at the gate,
In charge of the watchmen,
And say: “count it, are we all here?”
Take the jacket
And shield Albania’s trembling shoulders.