Claudiu Komartin in translation: Domestic Circus

Domestic Circus

I write only at night due to a painful disorder
urged on by a premonition of disaster
my voice soft as a millstone,
grinding words in vain
before they can ever reach my hand.

Now that the paper has shrunk before my eyes
i’m writing in small letters disregarding punctuation
disregarding my body and the say filling up my larynx

I lie in wait
my life is pointless
if anything eludes my scrutiny

my father was an officer
even now his militant shadow terrifies me
crawling along the walls at daybreak

he’s almost an old man now
he’s still in good shape
he hardly ever scolds me these days
for being clumsy and undisciplined
it drove him nuts
that I didn’t produce
that I poured my soul
into matters beyond his comprehension

I write only at night and this emboldens me
my cheeks searing
as if I’m lying in the snow
in Constitution Square

and watching Parliament burn

Translated by Christopher Bakken
with the author

Black Butterfly

I refuse to think about people
for them, love is a black butterfly
that alights with widespread wings
on the brow of a paralysed gymnast

it stays there days on end
looking him tenderly in the eye
while it jabs its proboscis in the softest tissues
and enjoys itself like a child

it jabs in its proboscis and laughs

it jabs in its proboscis and laughs

under the dazzling sun.

translated by Stephen Watts
with the author


'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.


Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.


At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.