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Ileana Negrea, translated by Roxana Cazan

I Am Săpoca


I am Săpoca
I am Bălăceanca
I’m Number 9.
The madwoman in the attic,
The woman who talks too much,
The insurgent woman.
I am the black sheep,
The disheveled rebel
Y’all whisper about,
I am the exorcist,
Girl interrupted,
A beautiful mind,
The clown,
I am the bishop on a chessboard.
I’m straps
I’m pills,
I’m the health system,
I’m prophylaxis.
I am the shoelaces,
The Gillette razor,
The butcher knife.
I’m Silvia,
I’m my psychiatrists,
I’m therapy sessions.
I’m a fire eater,
I am corrosive.
I bite.
I’m mad.

Soft as lambs.
I’m a whore.
I’m pristine and immaculate as a ghost.
I’m the talking to myself,
I’m the voices
Of the disembodied, the invisible,
I’m the unfucked hysteric
Who laughs
And laughs
And laughs.
I’m a hallucination,
An electric shock,
A farse.
I’m the shivers,
The willies,
The heebie-jeebies,
The curse.
I’m the cast away woman,
The banished,
The one who walks about the gates of the night.
I am the darkness.
I am the troubling of waters,
The drying out of thoughts,
I am a chemical imbalance,
I am Chernobyl,
I am the washing basin in which the media
Is washing its dirty linen in public,
I am the state’s straight jacket,
I am Pandora’s conventional box,
I’m your disgusted countenance,
I am the spit,
The spat upon.
I lick frothy saliva off my fingers,
I thank you for letting me be
One of the horrors in your list.
Afterall, it’s better to be anything
Than nothing at all.
To be nothing means that I’d be buried
In the margins,
Like a shame,
A smudge,
A stain.

1: Săpoca is a reference to the Psychiatry and Safety Hospital in Săpoca, Buzău County, Romania.

2: Bălăceanca is a reference to the Neuropsychiatric Center for Recovery and Rehabilitation and the Eftimie Diamandescu Psychiatric Hospital in Bălăceanca, Ilfov County, Romania.


3: Voila is a reference to the Voila Psychiatric Hospital in Campina, Prahova County, Romania.


4: Number 9 is a reference to the Alexandru Obregia Clinical Psychiatric Hospital in Bucharest, Romania.




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