Albana Melyshi Lifschin


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A few words by the author
Yesterday I cut my hair
A Woman’s Love
The Soul of a Poetess
Why do I love you?
I Don’t Know About You
Body and Soul
Summer Morning
I Don’t Know What Happened to Summer
Why Did You Come So Late?
Thrice Bewildered Today
I’m Tired
Daisies in Williamsburg
I’ve Disappeared from Sight…
The Power of Music
Where Are You Going, Beloved?
Toward the Southern Sun
Did You Dream of That Moment?
You Went Away
A magical moment
A Moment
For ELDA
What a Complicated World!
The Bouquet of Flowers at Daybreak
Poetry Remnants
Pecking on the Window
Sounds
Treacherously
My Love
Trinity Church
That’s Life
Won’t you speak to mother?
Don’t Trust the poet
The Awakening
High Tide
A Tiny Sandal
The Unexpected
Your Birthday in the Postal Box
Only a Moment
Let Forgetfulness Prevail
I Miss Our Lost Friendship
Fairy Tales on the Internet
Don’t Say ’Welcome’ to Me
Adolescent Love
The Past
Heart and Pride
I Had Not Left
You Were An Accident
Who Invented Goodbye?
Inspiration
Alone in the Morning
Railroad Tracks
Equilibrium
Don’t Look at Me That Way
A Woman Appeared
Don’t Ask Me to Write Tonight
The Broken Loaf
The Blow of the Past
The Kiss
The Leaf
Sound Effects, Again
Divorce
A Sorrowful Search
Morning
Do You Know What I Long For?
This Poem is for...
Love’s Jacket
The Secret of My Youth
Mommy
Winter Souvenir
The Color of Love
A New Inspiration
You Dont Love Me Anymore
Enough!
Echo
Dinner Landscape
You Who Dont Reply
Dont Search in My Poetry
My 100th Poem
Aches and Longings

About the Author

Albana's Home Page

A few words by the author

I consider the translation of a literary work an artistic job in itself.
But, when it comes to the translation of poetry it is twice such. That’s why it is a privilege for a poet to have as a translator someone who is a writer himself. In this respect I consider myself a lucky one.
It was quite by chance that I happened to work together with Professor Peter Prifti, a well known respected writer and linguist. The Professor lives in California and I live in New York. We haven't even had a chance to meet each other, as yet. We became friends since I published my book “ Një udhëtim në Historinë Amerikane” (A Journey into American History) in 2003. I had given him my book for evaluation.
Recently, during a conversation over the phone, we were talking about the translation of literary works from Albanian into English.
We have been in the USA for years, we have even finished schools here, and we speak English in our daily life, but when it comes to translating literary works, especially poetry, we do not find ourselves well prepared. I illustrated this idea by telling him that I just had translated a poem of mine, but I was not happy with it because I didn’t believe that I had given the accurate message to the English reader as I had to the Albanian reader. I had a feeling that the poem didn’t carry the same weight in the English version as it does in the Albanian version. Something had been lost in translation. Professor Prifti asked me to send him this poem. After he edited it I was pleased. My poem “Yesterday I cut my hair “sounded like the original. After this, the professor asked to see more poems written by me and I suggested that he look at my website www.geocities.com/annamonti
On the eve of the New Year as I was checking my email I was blown away by a surprise: a buquet of my poems sent as a gift to me by the honored Professor Peter Prifti. Along with them, I read this message: "Enclosed is my present to you for the New Year -2007 a translation into English of five of your poems, from your website on the Internet.
“You are a gifted poetress with a romantic soul. How fortunate for you and your readers. It's a pleasure to work on your poetry."
I was speechless. No one had given me such a special gift before. Thanks to his generosity more poems of mine were added to that buquet as time went by, and now you have all of them in your hands to enjoy.

Albana Melyshi Lifschin, Brooklyn, New York, April 2007


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Yesterday I cut my hair

Beloved,
I cut my hair yesterday,
my long, flowing locks
so dear to you –
the locks that sprawled
over your chest evenings,
when I rested my head on you…

Beloved, I cut my hair yesterday
just to forget you.
I saw how the locks got sheared off,
and how they fell.
A broom swept them up
along with other trash,
and cast away…

Today I woke up
without those locks,
with my neck bare,
a strange sight
in the mirror.
An unhappy,
unsmiling,
distorted face
a mockery of myself.
Without you, without my hair,
I am doubly bare…


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A Woman’s Love

A woman needs
only
a moment
to fall in love.
It could be
a moment of
admiration,
sincerity,
emptiness,
resemblance,
exaltation,
confession,
understanding,
regret,
Spring,
renewal,
illusion,
revenge,
need.

Only
a moment
to be caught
in her own trap,
and for the rest
of her life
weave thoughts
about it.


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The Soul of a Poetess

Last night,
I dinned with a poetess

I saw her magically pouring her soul
into her glass of wine

Secretly I exchanged the glasses
and stole her soul

April 13, 2007


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Why do I love you?

Why do I love you?
because
you brought back to me
the treasure of my youth
I had hidden the key,
then it was forgotten and lost.

How did you find it?


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I Don’t Know About You…

I don’t know about you,
but as for me,
my lips are parched
for a kiss,
a kiss from my beloved
who remained there
worlds away from me…

I don’t know about you,
but as for me,
my mother dragged me abroad
by my hair.
The handkerchief he gave me,
yet do I wet with torrents of tears.

2000


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Body and Soul

I have just now begun to believe
this old theory, but with a slight modification.

For while my soul resides within you,
my body wanders in another world.


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Summer Morning

Plastic chairs left in the courtyard,
forgotten since last night,
the lights left burning, as well,
and people inside, snoring.

Alone, I stroll on Avenue N,
with light steps, I turn back
and silently scold the sleeping world,
for depriving me of someone to talk to….

July, 2001


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I Don’t Know What Happened to Summer

I don’t know what happened to Summer,
changing places like this with Autumn.
Today, it visited us with a howling wind
that made the neighborhood tremble.

This Autumny-Summer has shut us in,
we have no will to step outdoors;
we’re left longing for the real Summer
the way we long for old fairy tales…


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Why Did You Come So Late?

Why did you come to me so late?
after the wheat was harvested
and only the straw remained
on the scorched plain?

Why did you come to me so late,
after the very last door was closed
and winter shut you out


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Thrice Bewildered Today

After meeting you today:
I missed my bus stop,
called the wrong number home
to tell them I’ll be late,
drove my sisters mad
when I called my brother by your name!
Do not these three things suffice
to prove that I am crazy about you?


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I’m Tired

I am tired fighting
memories, yearnings,
dreams….
the past, the present,
the future, which I don’t even know
I will experience….

I am tired even
of the notion
that I must not surrender.


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Daisies in Williamsburg

Wow!
I did not realize that last night
I slept in a hotel
surrounded by daisies –
the flowers of my childhood.

Do you recall?
We used to fill our laps with them,
make wreaths with them and place them on our head
as soon as Spring arrived.
Then, giggling, laughing, cheering
we ran care-free down the hill,
with skirts blown up by the wind.

Wow!
I didn’t think that in Colonial Williamsburg
I would find so many daisies!
– the flowers of my youth.
Do you recall?
I would pluck the petals: “he loves me,
he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not….”
as we climbed the hills late in the afternoon.
You kidded me: “Why don’t you turn it around,
so I could love you forever?”

Strange!
I did not expect to wake up today
in this foreign country, in Williamsburg,
surrounded by daisies.
Once again, I felt how
marvelously
Spring came to me!


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I’ve Disappeared from Sight…

Friends complain that I’m no longer around,
that I’ve disappeared, like the morning dew,
because I tell them I’m busy up to my ears
with chores, and have no time even for myself.
I recall a poetess who used to say:
“Even 24 hours are not enough to do it all,”
to keep house, to raise children,
to have a cup of coffee with you, to chat,
to hold your hand, to look you in the eye…


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The Power of Music

God, how strongly I feel
the power of music!
It takes hold of my entire being,
it floods my heart,
it overwhelms my spirit,
it lifts me off the ground
and fills my eyes with tears of joy.
It’s the only time that
I’m not true to you!


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Where Are You Going, Beloved?

Between two worlds,
between two lives,
one left behind,
the other unknown….
Where are you going, beloved?

A mother abandoned,
a stepmother all dolled up,
and you..
a dream in tatters….

You roam the streets like a specter
of godly beauty
yet, the spring-like surroundings
hold no appeal for you….

Left outside
in the middle of the street,
crushed in spirit and joyless,
a face hard as marble,
deathly pale.. Yet, deathless.

August, 2001


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Toward the Southern Sun

So many days traveling
toward the Southern Sun,
crossing many states,
changing seasons,
just to come to you my friend!

What was that moment of rare beauty
(Oh, Lord, how beautiful it was!),
when joyfully you ran toward me
“Oh, my dear, here I am!

What was that great longing
Oh, my friend, tell me!
Strange it is that my heart,
weary from the long wait,
did not let me drop to the ground!

What was that beautiful longing
Oh, my sweetheart, tell me!
The winter jacket all wrinkles,
waited in vain for your return!


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Did You Dream of That Moment?

Did you dream of that moment
when people would leave the two of us, alone?
So that we could tell each other something extra?
So that you could be You, and I could be Me?

The moment came…
You said nothing
And I said nothing.
The hand of the clock raced
on the face of the timepiece,
and our only memory of it
was a gentle touch of our hands.


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You Went Away

You went away
and something broke
inside me…
My smile
lost its sparkle
and the sun hid
behind a cloud …


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A magical moment

How long has it been since that evening,
when your lips gently touched my hand?
Suddenly I felt the magic of love.
How had I lived till then, without it?

Troubled, stunned, I crouch
and search for it in scattered notes.
The thrill I felt that yesteryear
takes me back and robs me of my sleep.


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A Moment

You returned for a moment
only to share tears,
only for a second,
just long enough to lift my spirits.
Then walked away hunched over,
cursing the world.


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For ELDA

A thin scarf I’ll strap over my brow
black in color.
My long locks of hair I shall gather under my hood
to hide them from you.
My hard-heel shoes I shall fling away
so no one can find them.
With leather straps I’ll bind my feet
to amaze you.
Then, I shall rush toward the rocks by the sea
where we used to go,
for my longing for you has robbed me of all joy,
though no one is aware of it.

May, 2001


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What a Complicated World!

The telephone rang yesterday….
Someone called me darling,

Yuk!
I pushed the phone away…

(Why is it that we’re loved
by those we don’t care for?)

Today I call up someone
and feel like saying “sweetheart”
but freeze up.

What if HE rebuffs me?
What a complicated world!


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The Bouquet of Flowers at Daybreak

The bouquet of flowers from you
at five in the morning,
praising my gentle nature,
unwittingly told me that
on that very night,
Ah, precisely that night, my love,
You betrayed me!


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Poetry Remnants

Have you any idea
how many remnants of poems I have?
Poems forgotten in desk drawers,
or left in the computer,
Thrown on the desk,
or lying beneath it,
Stuffed into my handbag
and heaven knows where else….

Isolated verses
Torn from my poems,
Fragments of pain hid in my bosom
Just to keep them from you.

Reproaches for your careless ways
And for hurting my pride;
Words of yours tossed thoughtlessly,
Lips bitten over your name.

They are indignations, falls, vows
For revenges never carried out;
Smiles cut short, ironies,
Suppressed desires you’re not aware of.

You will never know
How many times you distressed me,
How many times I longed for you,
How many times I regretted meeting you


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Pecking on the Window

A little bird pecked on my window
I palmed him, totally amazed
pressed him to my cheek,
hand-fed him…
“I’m off,” he said, all of a sudden
“for I have to fly far”

Next season, to my astonishment
He came back
Chuck-chuck, chuck-chuck
“Nobody, since then
Has coddled me, like you.”

“Dear bird,” I said
“I can’t coddle you anymore,
even if I wanted to.
from your pecking,
are still in bandages.”

1999


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Sounds

What a great gift to me -
this piano and violin concert today.
It drives away monotony;
it casts off loneliness like something outmoded.
It ushers in the voices of Spring,
the flutter of birds on the wing;
the sound of gurgling waters,
the sight of white lilies in my courtyard.
It’s like a magic door opening up,
or a green carpet that stretches on and on,
or the smell of freshly-sprouted grass.
I revel in this spiritual exaltation.
No need for a pillow to rest.


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Treacherously

You told me you were missing
the other half of yourself….
Generously,
I reached out to you.

While I was delighting
in our friendship,
You were treacherously
slipping away…


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My Love

An Autumn leaf remained dangling
alone, in the wet and white Winter;
today, it fell frozen on my windowsill.

Perhaps I, too, would have fallen the same way,
suspended as I was between life and death,
had you not been there for me, my Love!


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Trinity Church

Trinity Church – in Manhattan
across from the American Stock Exchange
(Don’t say you can’t find it)
is like any other church….
Full of graves, lots of flowers,
but unlike other churches
it’s devoid of tears and sorrows.

Trinity Church has graves
of granite, marble, old graves
of couples dead three hundred years,
and benches between the graves.
Statesmen, too, and uncommon names,
noble spirits that defied fear,
fought England to bring forth America.

Trinity Church is like other churches,
but unlike others, in its courtyard
you see youth with their feet on benches
(benches surrounded by graves),
and girls that offer their lips to the sun,
as they unsandle their feet, eyes closed.

If you go to Manhattan, NY City
across from the American Stock Exchange,
don’t fail to stop by Trinity Church.
It looks like any other church,
only prettier perhaps than others,
for on benches surrounded by old graves
you see youth delighting in Spring.


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That’s Life…

(Family intermezzo)

Late in the evening,
lying on the sofa,
I succumb to sleep.
You say, “Get up, go to bed”;
go, and I’ll join you
in a jiffy!

Wobbling
I get up,
enter the bedroom
and leave the door ajar
as always
so you don’t make any noise
when you come in.

I am asleep,
but awaken when you slam the door
as always.
I stretch my foot beneath the quilt
and it feels cold.
Was it the wind that shut the door,
not you!?

Darn it!
I have to get up, because I know
you fell asleep on the sofa
without covers.
The clock struck: One, two!


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Won’t you speak to mother?

I.
Today, mother, I reached the age you passed, once
You were alone, then;
dressed in black, deep in thought
your smile stunted
like morning bread becoming stale.

Someone told me, then:
Give your mother permission to marry.
She is young; you’ll go away,
she will be alone. How can one live alone?

My 40-year-old mother, remarry?
Some joke, huh? It made me smile….
I, who saw myself in bridal gown,
how could I imagine mother in my place,
even in blue vestments arrayed?

That evening, as if dumb-struck I walked the streets
under the watchful eye of a rebuking moon.
Is it true,
that you won’t say anything to mother?

I did “speak” to mother,
while she fixed dinner,
but in a joking manner.
Sit down to eat, she said
and lowering her eyes.

Mother never married again.
She chose rather
a mountain of aches on her back to bear
than troubles with a second husband to share.

II.
It is said that fates resemble or are inherited,
I don’t know what to believe, but a day came
when I, not mother,
a second time married.

And it happened far from my native country,
A joy close to sorrow,
since mother was not nearby
to say one blessed word to me.

My mother-in-law-to-be said:
My dear, you’re so quiet.
I’m marrying off my son, giving dinner,
feeling glad. Aren’t you happy?

While she, at the main table,
enjoyed herself with female friends and juveniles
in colorful garments, and grandpas and grandmas.
Very different….from my mother.

My 20-year-old son, companion and brother
put his hand on my shoulder,
wiped a tear off my cheek
saying:
I know, mom, that you love me,
but don’t worry about me!
Marry, dear mom, marry!
I want to see you happy!

Male and female friends hover around,
crystal glasses clink “Congratulations!”
But my heart and eyes weep
for mother, with joy and sorrow laden.

III.
The sun plays with the silk curtain.
Dawn has come, but I sleep on….
I’m awakened by mother-in law’s call.
She leaves a message:
“Honey, we’re attending a social tomorrow,
you must wear a new dress,
I’m buying a rose-colored one for myself –
do you want yours in gold?”

“Honey, we’re attending a social tomorrow,
you must wear a new dress,
I’m buying a rose-colored one for myself –
do you want yours in gold?”

This cheerful voice makes me tremble
and brings to mind distant memories.
I burn to write
about my mother….
(I owe her so much!)

My hand shakes
What shall I write, I wonder?
That in her heart, mother honored custom above love?
That she remained “strong” and shunned complaints
so, kudos to her for not taking a second husband!?

Oh, Lord, what shall I tell You?
Mother is a great Wound
I want to tell You, but can’t,
Believe me.
My eyes are veiled with tears.


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Don’t Trust the Poet

On the oasis of love
‘discovered for me,’
you used to tell me,
“if some day
I should write about love,
the lines shall be for you
for your hands, your eyes,
your heart, alone!”

A lot of water passed under the bridge
The fountain dried up
The golden plain was scorched
The crops ripened
and were gathered into sheaves
A star shone up in the heavens,
then fell to earth,
yet, that poem was never written.

On the oasis of love,
discovered long ago for me,
you were seen whispering
to another, the very words
you once uttered to me!

2000


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The Awakening

A white pigeon
entered my chamber
and, with wings flapping,
rent my tranquility.

He stirred up everything:
forgotten memories,
hurt feelings,
abandoned poems
and poems not yet started…

All were shaken up,
revived, brought together
and then two by two
came over to awaken you…


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High Tide

“Love – how impetuously it came,
how quickly it perished….”


The sea swelled and grew big
The calm waves got agitated,
and crested up.
The fiery sunset enflamed them
then slowly the sun
dipped completely
into that romantic high tide….

to put out the fire,
to erode the longing
to rob it of its freshness
if any still remained.

Then the tide dwindled, the waters receded
the occupied shore was abandoned,
the wet sand reappeared
the sun was no longer around.

The sea grew cold,
and on the coast, a betrayed
bare-foot girl wiped her tears
a lonely seagull
was looking for her pals…


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A Tiny Sandal

Wet from the evening dew
a tiny sandal
glides over the green grass
and tumbles
into the pond.
I chanced to be there,
and bent over to pick it up.

I recognized it.
I had not forgotten it
nor the little white foot,
with the moist heel,
in children’s sandals fitted.
I loved to tickle her toes
She laughed herself silly.

From the pond I picked up the wet sandal,
and, lo!, behind my back
you showed up, barefooted.
And calmly (Oh, Lord, how calmly!)
you reached out for the sandal
as if you were some other girl,
and I were a crazy stranger.

Wet from the evening dew
a tiny sandal
glides over the green grass
and tumbles
into the pond.
How did I chance to be there ,
to bend over and pick it up!?


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The Unexpected

Something unexpected happened
to us tonight!
It surprised us, stunned us,
left us limp.
Contrary to what people say,
the world is not so big
that you could forget me,
and I could lose you!


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Your Birthday in the Postal Box

You will not be here on your birthday
Your postal box will receive the greetings sent to you:
Greetings, congratulations, hugs
perhaps even kisses.
But will there be room for them all?

They will increase, feel cramped,
get bored from the long wait,
maybe get angry, or quiet down

and make room for one another
and patiently wait until you return,
and leave you breathless!

2000


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Only a Moment

Oh, folks!
Give me a moment of calm,
oh, folks!
Only a moment.
Not like the hundreds I’ve given you,
but my moment, that’s what I want,
so I can tell my eyes to rest,
my lips to keep still,
and the tired thought “Stop” –
for the world, too, stopped
a moment.

Give me a moment,
Only a moment of rest I want
so that I may turn into a tornado
and take you with me, lift you sky-high
then sleep forever!

2000


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Let Forgetfulness Prevail

Emotions grappled in black and red
letters
transformed into endless implications,
into vain dreams that dissolved
by daybreak….
Such were you and I, two strangers
whom the mystery of the unknown
desire, temptations incited –
an endless thirst to weave
spider’s webs on sleepless nights.

Therefore, let the dust of forgetfulness fall
Do not regret that you did not prevail
over dusk and dawn
nor thrust your hands through cyberspace
Do not repent
It’s better to close without pain and tears.

Let the dust of forgetfulness fall
to cover up the crooked letters
and the spider with its entangling web
which failed to entrap and kill us.
Let that fall, too, all torn up…


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I Miss Our Lost Friendship

I miss our lost friendship
Truly, I do, my friend.
“Forget it,” you say?
I can’t.
Anymore than I can forget you.

I feel so sad, my friend,
It hurts me to the quick, it does,
that we can no longer be
the friends we were
At least, not in this lifetime.

Who was it that erred?
But this no longer matters.
I’m willing to take all the blame
if only I could be
with you once more.

It all began with great caring
it was nursed with so much love –
we held it in the palm of our hands
and it was just that….Friendship

How did we lose our friendship,
how?
We shall long for it, for sure
It was too good to be true
The devil himself got jealous.

How sad I feel
for our lost friendship,
how very sad!
I lost so much
and perhaps you did ….too!


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Fairy Tales on the Internet

We neither know, nor see each other.
As if bewitched, we are nailed
to a computer;
you wait for me, and I for you.

Eagerly we weave
an invisible fabric
that fades away mornings
and picks up momentum evenings.

Strangely,
we seem to feel for it
even though it’s a lie,
even though it’s a fairy tale.

impatiently, like children
we look forward to it, nightly;
we can’t sleep without the fairy tales,
with eyes shut, we murmur…I want more.


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Don’t Say “Welcome” to Me

Don’t say “Welcome” to me.
I am not bringing you love,
but the song of abandonment
and a world turned gray.

Let the summer rain pour;
it won’t bother me.
Let Mio’s* Autumn come
to inspire someone else.

Let the varicolored leaves
fall
on the black asphalt.
Persian rugs
I shall not make with them,
nor pull the petals
of daisy flowers
intoning “he loves me, he loves me not….”

Let the wave sweep ashore
to snatch your name.
It no longer exists for me,
I don’t value it anymore.

As I told you –
don’t say “Welcome” to me.
I am not what I once was.
I don’t want your pity,
and don’t speak of me
as “the broken-hearted one”.

*Vangjush Mio - a famous Albanian painter


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Adolescent Love

Beloved, we haven’t seen each other
for three days.
What’s happening with you? Where are you?
Don’t you miss me?

“I hurt my lip, darling
and believe me
I’m going crazy
that I’m unable to kiss you.”

Then let me do the kissing
I won’t hurt you.
Who knows?
I might cure you.

The day you told me you loved me,
I had injured my hand;
with your lips you kissed the wound
and, lo!, my hand was healed!


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The Past

Don’t look for yourself
in my poetry; you’re no longer there;
only the shadow of the past remains,
and may remain a while longer
until time wipes it off.

Don’t trace your steps
in my verses;
the phantom is slipping away.
The heart died long ago
and the lips are silent.


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Heart and Pride

I encouraged you to leave me
thinking it was best for you

Not because you became
a stranger to me.

Now my pride is intact,
the heart is free to suffer.


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I Had Not Left

I had not left, but you couldn’t see me,
with invisible hands,
I set the pillow beneath your head;
like Snow White, I made up your bed
to keep you warm.

Whereas you, in anger scolded me
saying I had left you, pining.

I had not left, I was there, beside you,
in the rustle of leaves and gushing waterfalls,
hovering in the sky like a huge cloud,
allied with the wind, to refresh you.
Lift up your head, believe, and you shall see me….


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You Were An Accident

You were an accident,
I tripped and fell,
hurt my knee slightly
and after brushing
the dust off of it,
got up again
and was on my way.

Now, I know how to walk
and you can no longer
bewitch me.
I’ve learned to spot
obstacles like you.


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Who Invented “Goodbye”?

He who invented “Goodbye”
must have invented “Silence” too

must have invented them at the same time.

Or did he, perhaps, invent “Goodbye”
to draw “Silence” to itself,
and got covered from head to toe
while consuming itself with its own teeth?


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Inspiration

What was that powerful inspiration
you gave me?
Powerful and infinite.
What magnitude earthquake
was it,
that makes my heart tremble
to this day?


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Alone in the Morning

Here is the scene:
You get up one morning
and you don’t see anyone
to greet your awakening.
No coffee aroma to wake you up,
much less the smell of tobacco.

No “Good morning” from the internet, either
from those for whom morning is their day;
only stale news
from the night before.

Where did they all go?
How could they leave you alone
so unexpectedly
forget you, and take off
without saying a word?

You drag your feet to the kitchen,
brew a cup of coffee to drink
alone; it tastes bitter.
There will be days
when you’ll face life alone.
But you’ll get used to it, beloved!


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Railroad Tracks

Like demented trains, feelings
run on parallel tracks
forever.
They draw close, groan, screech and separate
to break their neck somewhere
for good.

Tracks that extend endlessly,
destined never
to meet.
One of them was I; the other was You.


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Equilibrium

Only a thin veil
separated friendship from love.
We were ever so careful not to slip!
Yet, failed.

Now we weep for both of them!


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Don’t Look at Me That Way

Don’t look at me that way,
me, that trusts you like a child
when you know what’s happening with me.
So, don’t look at me that way.
Better hide your eyes
even if you long
to awaken Spring in me.
You, who left me the first time,
will you not leave me again?


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A Woman Appeared…

A day shall come
when you, a gray-headed man,
your wrinkled forehead
shall scratch
and bring to mind
an age in-between;
a difficult
but special age,
when childhood is gone
and manhood not yet won.

Between these two thresholds
a ball of light
appeared
and enthralled you.
You thought you knew so much,
yet, knew nothing at all.
In that light, out of nowhere,
a woman showed up
and, magic-like, left you speechless.
You didn’t make sense anymore
and, like a specter began to
chase her everywhere.
She touched your hair
kissed your eyes
left you breathless
as she avoided your lips.

You faltered, got upset
wept for your childhood,
your agitated throat
tightened up badly;
you wanted to run,
but where to, you poor soul?
You didn’t know how to exit
nor how you entered.
You looked for a door
to bang aloud and close shut,
so you, the trapped one,
could be let out.

Exhausted and dismayed
you bandaged your heart
to muffle its beat
so you would not hear it.
Deep inside you concealed it,
hoping to put it out of mind.
Even so
she found it
(oh, the terrible chest pains).
Then, in her hands
she held it, like a pearl
and laughed over it,
and cried over it…


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Don’t Ask Me to Write Tonight

Tonight I’m tired.
Ideas languish
the line halts.
Better leave, and let me be.

Don’t expect poetry from me tonight
I’m not up to it.
The cat has begun to play
with my notebook.
Let her write, then;
she has my permission.
My eyelids are closing shut.
How I long to sleep!


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The Broken Loaf

…we changed,
transforming into
two separate halves
arising from the same pain;
and for a moment
stood close to each other
to suffer
he last moment
…of separation


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The Blow of the Past

All of a sudden, I had
a heavy feeling in my chest,
a sharp pain
that bent me over,
and made me lie in my bed.
I couldn’t handle it.
It weighed so heavy on my heart
I wet my pillow with tears.
On the screen, I had seen again
the name I had “forgotten”.


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The Kiss

Twice today I sought to shower,
twice I stepped out…dry.
I did not want to wash away
the kiss you planted on my flesh.


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The Leaf

Like an open palm
an Autumn leaf
danced in the air,
wavered,
then on your chest
stopped to rest.

Astonished,
I gazed long
at that Autumn leaf.
How could it do
so easily
that which I, a student,
had dreamed of doing for years?


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Sound Effects, Again

How could chimes
ring in my veins
and fill my heart
with joy?
Like bouncing balloons
my joyful heart
lifts me up, intoxicated,
to dance merrily on clouds.
The whole world below my feet
deep down…and far away,
has turned sad.


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Divorce

“The loaf is broken”, they said
(about a loaf that was never leavened)
“They parted ways in the morning”, they said.
But they didn’t say:
“A child also was divided in two.”


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A Sorrowful Search

Wretched Nature
raining incessantly,
weeping incessantly.
On the table, a bouquet
of flowers stands,
two plates, two glasses,
wine, too, I set for you.
Yet, on your birthday
I sit alone,
alone I wait and wait
in vain.

Evening descends
weighed down, deaf and blind.
Covered with a black cape
I look for you in the park benches.
Late at night….how late, I can’t say
I drag my feet, trailing your footsteps,
stopping here and there, all numb
when I seemed to hear your voice:
“My dear, what are you doing?
you’re all wet, go home,
don’t worry about me,
have no fear.
Tonight I celebrate my birthday with angels;
first time ever that I didn’t invite you.”

Wretched Nature
so greedy for rain,
my tears, too, you took with you.
On the table, a bouquet of flowers,
two plates, two glasses
and wine, as well, for You today.
Alone, in the face of death,
I sit down, and yearn to have you back,
but all in vain, in vain.


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Morning

Have you noticed?
Here morning comes with birds chirping,
not with cocks crowing;
and grass that showers in cold dew,
while excess water is dashed over the balustrades.


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Do You Know What I Long For?

Do You Know What I Long For?
Taking a long stroll in the boulevard
Meeting you secretly from the world
How much I miss that!

To feel slightly cold in the Winter,
and have some buttermilk in the Summer –
oh, how very much I miss that!

New York, 1996


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This Poem is for…

… a forgotten sentiment
that raised its head and came to life,
but before it could rejoice,
it was shamed, because they said,
“You’re no baby, you’re
a grown-up woman.”
So she withdrew in pain
and tearfully hid
in a crevice of the soul
so deep, it can’t be found,
and lets out screams
men can’t understand.
Torches in hand
they start to look for her,
wanting to bring her back,
but bring her back they can’t,
for she grew long nails
and turned into a beast.


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Love’s Jacket

The rain begins to fall on the door frame,
love’s jacket, which now feels cold,
hangs behind the door, asleep and forgotten….

Like an unopened bud, my feelings
died, snuffed out before summer’s end;
never again did I reach out
for love ‘s jacket hanging on the door.


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The Secret of My Youth

It’s no secret, at all.
The “secret” lay only
in my rediscovery of it,
for it was hidden in a nook
of my soul, and forgotten
by me and everyone else.
I took it by the hand
and brought it to light;
blinded by the sun,
it covered its eyes, at first;
then flowed like a fountain,
surprised that I loved it so much.
It lit up my face,
granted me happiness,
and told me “I love you!”
If you’ve lost it, too,
look for it like me.


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Mommy

There you are, my sweet Mommy,
fingers crossed, deep in thought,
looking out the window.
I know what’s troubling you, I know.

Since the day you arrived,
you’ve been imprisoned by snow.
“The snow here, dear daughter,
is just awful, a calamity!?!”

The nieces keep chirping on the phone:
“Where are you, Grandma? We miss you, so!”
On your fingers you count the days and say:
“I’m coming, my darlings, I’m on my way.”

I also count the days, and ask:
How can you get up and go so soon?
You’ve been here such a short time,
I need your baby talk, Mommy dear.

Like times gone by, she hugs me tight:
“You’re my brave girl, big and strong,
but now I must run along,
Xhulia, Ana, wait for me, in Tirana.”

January, 2001, Brooklyn, New York


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Winter Souvenir

The snow, ever so gradually,
covered all things in white,
except the tree stems, which somehow
remained like skeletons, taut and bleak.

I rest my head on the window pane
and gleefully blow on the glass,
and on the vapor write a name, like a child –
just like you used to write my name.


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The Color of Love

Plopped in a corner,
I sit alone.
Rose petals
left from last evening,
cover my lap and knees;
silky petals, the color of crimson
I can neither shake off or throw away.
Memories are so dear
and sweet, like old wine.
Pink roses – they are,
the color of love,
like no other color.


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A New Inspiration

As the Old year gives way to the New,
on this bright night,
while lying in bed, reminiscing
YOU, my first inspiration, suddenly appeared
and kissed my brow, lifted me up
and said that you longed for me….

December 31, 2001


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You Don’t Love Me Anymore…

for you wanted me
to be always lamb-like
and gentle like Spring.
But I couldn’t be that way,
not, if I wanted to be whole.
I’m a lover for all seasons,
like so many others.


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Enough!

“Enough with verses about love,”
you tell me.
“They’ve devoured your thought completely.”
“Stop!”
I tell myself, also
and, behold….
The world stops going around.


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Echo

It’s late now,
and the last show is over.
The stage is empty of shadows,
and over the humpbacked chairs
the omnipotent silence reigns,
and heads bowed with regret,
breathe sighs of disillusion!

March, 2003


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Dinner Landscape

Dinner is over, the guests are gone, dispersed.
On the dinner table, they left bits of watermelon,
a few bunches of grapes that some had nibbled randomly,
empty wine glasses smudged with lipstick,
ashtrays with crushed cigarette butts.

Ah!... me, too, they left slumped in a sofa,
dead tired from exhaustion.

New York, November 2003


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You Who Don’t Reply

I don’t know what you think of me,
but if you think ill of me,
I wouldn't be surprised.
We didn’t know each other well enough
to make me do much for you.
What happened between us
cannot be rectified.
Even if I pray in all churches,
and you pray in all the tekkes!


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Don’t Search in My Poetry

Don’t search for me in my poetry.
You know why? Because
I could be in your future
I could be in my past
I could be in both of them,
on a dissolved borderline
searching for me and you both.

If you like my poetry,
don’t ask for my name, or age,
or where I live, or the color of my eyes,
and don’t start dreaming…
Isn’t it enough that my heart lies open
as if in the palm of your hand?

If you like my poetry
don’t ask who I am.
If you feel it,
simply call me “my mate”


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My 100th Poem

Through my poems, you can now look
into my heart, as through a glass;
perhaps you’ll raise your eyebrows
and, with surprise, ask: Is that you? Really?
Your surprise will not surprise me,
for you always wondered
who was it you shared those feelings with!
With you, I was always shy ,
with you, I never sported
but took care to hide my tears,
while anxiously waiting for dawn to break…


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Aches and Longings

(Emotions from my first visit to Kosove)

Today the boulevard of my youth in Tirana
dissolved and became one with the streets in Prishtina.
Agitated by a double Spring,
warm, nostalgic tears I shed for you.
I realize that you, my brothers,
dreamt of Tirana, as I dreamt of Prishtina!

An apple can be cut in two, to share in love,
the same as a peach,
but a country can never be cut in two, out of love.

They cut our veins, oh, brothers,
we bandaged them up,
to keep the blood from spilling,
or from spoiling, so we would not faint
and fall to the ground,
nor bend down on our knees….

I did not miss you in Prishtina, my Tirana,
what I felt was aches and longing….


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About the author:

Albana Melyshi Lifschin graduated from Tirana University, Albania, as a journalist. She has worked for Albanian television for 15 years. Since 1992 she has been living in New York. She has published collections of short stories and also poetry. Her short stories are realistic. In her last book “Takim me tė papriturėn” (Meeting with the unexpected) the author depicts the life of Albanian immigrants in America, their struggle to adjust their lives to a new and unknown reality.

Her previous works:

  •   Kafe Shkodra e Nju Jorkut  (1999)
  •   Fundjave ne Hillsajd  (1999)
  •   POEZI  (2000)
  •   Chidren of Kosova Stories of Horror  (1999)
  •   Udhėtim ne Historine Amerikane  (2003)
  •   Takim me tė papriturėn  (2006)



Albana's Home Page Children of Kosova Kafe Shkodra e Nju Jorkut
(Tregime)
Poezite e Mia
Udhëtim në Historinë Amerikane
(Përshtypje)
Journey Into American History
(impressions)
Takim me të papriturën
(Tregime dhe novela)
Fundjave ne Hillsajd
(Tregime dhe novela)
Yesterday I Cut My Hair
(Poetry)
Ura mbi oqean
(Tregime)
Disa tregime nga autorja Magjia e një zëri
(Tregime dhe novela)
Ka gjithmonë diku
(Përshtypje)
Vjehërr amerikane
(Novelë)
Intervista Përkthime
Yjet nuk janë të kuq
Saga e Melyshajoe
Photographs Perëndimi Mistik
Publicistikë Letrare