Houston School of Music, September 30 2018

by Shane Monds, Ruxandra Cesereanu & Andrei Codrescu

Submarinul Iertat (Forgiven Submarine) was written in Romanian by email by Ruxandra Cesereanu, a well-known Romanian poet, founder of the Oneiric Movement (Dream School) and Andrei Codrescu, an American poet born in Romania who emigrated to the U.S and started writing in English at the age of nineteen. The two poets explored a language that was both current and forgotten by means of this mysterious "submarine." When it was late night in New Orleans it was daytime in Transylvania, and vice-versa. The poets wrote in a trance of insomnia, alternating voices as "woman" and "man," often switching genders. The lush imagery and unusual method resulted in a book first published in a limited de-luxe edition in Romania by Editura Brumar, then in English in Andrei Codrescu's translation, by Black Widow Press. This unique experiment across languages and time-zones was highly praised and awarded in Romania, and it is often cited as an iconic fin-de-millenium experiment.

Having been drawn to this work for nearly a decade, I considered setting it as a collection of songs. However, because the language is so unique and independent on its own, I found that I was better able to capture its atmosphere in an instrumental medium. I opted to create an orchestral work (similar to a tone-poem) wherein I channel the series of tableaus where small threads of imagery morph kaleidoscopically before the reader, evoking a sort of mythological (and psychedelic) delirious trance state. I hope to successfully render this poem’s distinctive surrealism; its dreamlike and often disturbing illusions; its strangeness, splendor, depth, and seductive power; and its rapidly shifting worlds that are tethered with complex and mysterious visions.


for some time now I felt the need to dive down to a submerged submarine

         to willingly lose myself inside of it not alone but with a drunk fool in tow

         to feel clothed in angels bleeding from their lips

         to feel my hair electrified by a hurricane a mystery of curls

         with a drunken fool in tow we’d make of this a forgiven submarine

         but forgiven by whom for chrissakes

         by god by animals by creatures stinking of something nameless

         I had no idea but I kept humming about this forgiveness stuck in my throat

            panting for wanting to lock myself inside this submerged submersible


wounded lame wet filled with one another’s atoms martyrs of incarnate


they touch each other’s hands though the rags of the sub torn by salt and


rescued abstractions stand forgiven in smoke circles as if in a museum

but neither god nor the devil can cut these raver’s hair or trim their nails

the submarine was a fetus curled inside another curled fetus

the depths had shiny teeth of fantasy like a Russian doll

in was the curled DNA of salvation opened by two key words whispered

twice by each one of them too easy for a safe-cracker

too sweet for a techno-savage with the dust of cities on his drum

even the torn zipper of feelings could not redeem

only the poetry of ave maria could pierce into a howl

throwing her piano from the eleventh floor so the wolves could hear

summoned under her balcony precisely at the time the piano falls

two endangered species protected by myth poets and wolves cannot

destroy each other to reverse the landscape like a dada sketch

too bad we buried tristan tzara in a sealed container

maybe we could have kept him alive with the amphetamine of a love song

fountain in a mosque this is happiness a pouncing splashing

balm and tar on the two wandering monks with hands full of paper


cut from a grey bible in which slumber centuries shipwrecked on poetry’s


dream on until you can sing of love or waste yourselves until the warm-bread

  paddy-wagon comes

a misunderstanding a sea-turtle falls blindly on us

with lipstick on our eyelids we renounce blood soul and prayer

in vertical sleep two pilots stand by the fissured night embraced.