Category Archives: Societate

Is there still…?

Is there still…?

Is there still time?
Is there still time to be human?

this storm of separation, this vertigo,
this howling and this yelping, this moaning, this plea 
to end the pain,
this trumpet of the angel of death, of the angel of bleakness, 
this abandon to isolation, this anguish, this torment!

In every house,
in every home,
in every garden,
in every hallway,
in every painting or photograph suspended on a wall
that never protected anyone from anyone else –
this bleeding!

The eyes and the faces,
the trees and the boats and the potted plants,
the discolored fruit on the tables in picture frames – 
exploded, detonated, turning to ash:
singed snowflakes trickle to the ground in piles,
left and right.

disintegrating into swarms of wingless butterflies,
blown up by this clashing of easterly and westerly gales,
blown away – 
not to fly,
but to fall.
And accumulate.
And cover the earth.
Like merciless hail the size of balled fists, 
like rot and like locusts,
this earth where our lives used to grow
all fresh and immediate and full-bodied and zesty…
And fragile.

And all the poets now sleepless or haunted.

Is there still space?
Is there still space to be human?
‘Here begins eternity,’ reads a big sign
above the entrance to the cemetery.
Here, where people turn into quiet bones,
or maybe up on a hill, in the middle of nowhere,
where violent indigo storms are brewing
amid endless fields of pure yellow grains,
and weak, so weak,
the fragrance of the lonesome linden.

Is there still…?money to be made and lives to be lost,
answers the echo.

And as we shore up empty spaces, 
and as we run into ourselves and disengage,
and as we move away from each other’s mess, each other’s weakness, and each other’s pain,
we miss each other, don’t we?


Wie Teelichter auf einem Fluss der Vergessenheit
entfernen sich die Wörter
sanft schaukelnd.
Langsam aber sicher
entgleiten sie uns;
unmöglich das Verweilen.
Im Streit der Gewässer
eilen sie flussabwärts,
sie geraten ins Schwanken,
manchmal erlischt das Licht, es riecht
nach flüssigem Wachs,
wenn sie umfallen 
besiegeln sie ihr Schicksal,
stummer Rauch steigt auf
und sie ertrinken.
Die Vergangenheit hat der Gegenwart
nichts zu sagen.
Allein die Zukunft glüht noch,
brüchig und schön wie das Unerreichbare.
Wie lange bevor sie in Dunkelheit versinkt,
weiß niemand.
Ein Kiel voller Löcher.
Von weit her nimmt man ein schwaches Flimmern wahr,
man sieht ihre flackernden Geister erleuchten
immer noch.
Wir bleiben zurück.
Manchmal kommen die Lichter an einer ruhigen Bucht stehen:
Dort, wo der turbulente Fluss einen Bogen macht
um eine riesige alte Eiche,
dort summen sie noch, die überlebenden,
dort geben sie Laute von sich,
sich gegenseitig suchend und gegenseitig
Ich sitze hier am Ufer und zähle
die kalten Sterne am Nachthimmel,
die vielleicht so gar nicht mehr existieren.

Quote of the day


“The good life involves much beside virtue—intelligence, for instance. And conscience is a most fallacious guide, since it consists of vague reminiscences of precepts heard in early youth, so that it is never wiser than its possessor’s nurse or mother. To live a good life in the fullest sense a man must have a good education, friends, love, children (if he desires them), a sufficient income to keep him from want and grave anxiety, good health, and work which is not uninteresting. All these things, in varying degrees, depend upon the community, and are helped or hindered by political events. The good life must be lived in a good society, and is not fully possible otherwise.”

Bertrand Russel – What I Believe, 1925

Any thoughts?

Quote of the day


“In all stages of education the influence of superstition is disastrous. A certain percentage of children have the habit of thinking; one of the aims of education is to cure them of this habit. Inconvenient questions are met with ‘hush, hush’, or with punishment. Collective emotion is used to instill certain kinds of belief, more particularly nationalistic kinds. Capitalists, militarists, and ecclesiastics co-operate in education, because all depend for their power upon the prevalence of emotionalism and the rarity of critical judgment. With the aid of human nature, education succeeds in increasing and intensifying these propensities of the average man.”

Bertrand Russel – What I Believe, 1925

So damn useful!…


Anyone else out there feeling guilty about doing what they like? Anybody else afraid of indulging their needs, constantly second-guessing their decisions and sabotaging themselves? Anybody else under the impression that they have to be productive at all times, useful to all, monetizing every opportunity, mentally enslaved to duty every waking moment, anybody feeling that they need to ace everything to prove themselves worthy of their time on this earth?

Yes? Well, then this articles is for us:

Ok, I’m not saying get being useless down to an art, but can we please break this overpowering utilitarian cycle? (“…at least once in a while…” squeals the timid voice inside my head).

When you chase a goal obstinately, you become its instrument. We are more than tools. Can we remain fully human without leisure, joy, and time to reflect?…


Die Kirchenglocken haben eine Weile geläutet.
Jetzt nicht mehr.

Die Leute essen zu Mittag hinter
geschlossenen Türen,
jeder für sich oder
in ganz kleinem Kreis,
kein Gesang hörbar.
Über die Auen und Felder, 
die Einsamkeit schwebt wie eine Nebelwolke,
saugt alle Gedanken auf.

Allein ein Vogel durchsticht das Grau, 
wie ein Friedenslicht leuchtend.

Heal, heal, heal

It’s that time of year again,
time to crawl under my blanket and set out
on pilgrimages of forgetfulness.

North of here is the tomb of simple goodness – vandalized.
South of here is the mausoleum of easygoing fun – in a pile of rubble.
I mourn them both with a solemn bow,
angry visitors pass me by with their bows 
and their arrows, pointed, pushing.
Their eyes overcast, not a drop of kindness trickling down,
just a grey drizzle of me, me, me…
Maybe we simply mourn in different ways, I tell myself
and I turn on an old Romanian Christmas folk ballad.
It fills me with sorrow.
It fills me with loss. 
It is like listening in on paradise past.
When was the last time we sang to each other and felt
like living matter that needs
to be kept warm and fed – 
fed as in nourished?...
Nothing but machines, now, between us
nothing but machines between us and everything
coldly feeding us
to their anger.

I close my eyelids and let the tears roll,
roll on down,
until I’m drained and the pillow is soaked
I drift into visions of the vanished,
I forage through conjured-up hereafters
I dream things of glory
I sleep, sleep, sleep…

Quote of the day – A possible link between Romania’s COVID disaster and its communist past?


“Totalitarian propaganda perfects the techniques of mass propaganda, but it neither invents them nor originates their themes. (…) Everything hidden, everything passed over in silence, became of major significance, regardless of its own intrinsic importance. (…) Mysteriousness as such became the first criterion for the choice of topics. (…)

They (the masses) do not believe in anything visible, in the reality of their own experience; they do not trust their eyes and ears but only their imaginations, which may be caught by anything that is at once universal and consistent in itself. (…)

What the masses refuse to recognize is the fortuitousness that pervades reality. They are predisposed to ideologies because they explain facts as mere examples of laws and eliminate coincidences by inventing an all-embracing omnipotence which is supposed to be at the root of everything visible. Totalitarian propaganda thrives on this escape from reality into fiction, from coincidence into consistency. (…)

The masses’ escape from reality is a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist (…)

Before the alternative of facing the anarchic growth and total arbitrariness of decay, or bowing down before the most rigid, fantastically fictitious consistency of an ideology, the masses will always choose the latter and be ready to pay for it with individual sacrifices (…)”

Hannah Arendt – The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951), Penguin Classics pp. 459-461

A possible explanation why Eastern Europe is rife with conspiracy theories and a distrust of the state and its official communications, especially during this pandemic. Communist regimes have always played the game of blaming their failings on some Western or world conspiracy against them, “fitting reality to their lies”. In some parts of the world, this has become a reflex.

Short prose in Romanian on


Dear friends,

Romanian online publisher has graciously accepted to publish my latest short prose (a travel-cum-anthropological report of sorts) in their Atelier section. The three pieces of this feature will appear on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and can be found here:

A big thank you to Razvan Penescu, founder and coordinator of!

In case you’re curious what else I’ve been writing and publishing on Liternet over the years, have a look here:

(spoiler alert: it’s all in Romanian).

I hope you like it.