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They’ll Invent a Substance or a Machine, Ervin Hatibi


Soon they’ll invent a substance
Or a machine, who knows, women will succeed,
And men will, too,
In slimming magically, “butterflies of some tragic drink
That go blind inside the chalice of youth,”
In losing weight, their exact dimensions will scorn us.
The sweat of the architect physician will drip, like a compass,
On that boiled rose,
That bourgeois French revolution
Which divides the bum from the back – the panting of the girl
Whom I loved for eleven years.
In short, the erotic erosion of fat will appear in the headlines
The tests, the reactions,
Extremely precise, no trauma, the slimming machines
In clinics will exorcize all that fellow’s culinary excesses,
His belly filled with savings for a subscription or a yoga course,
And the lady, sighing, will melt her rigid breasts
And will yet return with regret to the machine,
Perhaps to put on or to lose a few more pounds,
At the same time, she will firm the calves of her weary legs.
The world will be filled with the delicate creations of Rodin,
Which do it quickly, their copulating cocks like the talons of sparrows
On the high-voltage wires.
Then, they say that other machines will be invented,
That other substances which, buried in bright-coloured phials
From the slimming labs,
Will carry off the daily
Of fat,
Cart it down to the Third World,
To the Somalis with ribs protruding from deep beneath the earth,
And inject it into their black skins, to the arid beating of drums
Under the palm trees,
All the bums and thighs and protein-filled throats,
Bequeathed on boring Swedish afternoons in Europe,
And thus all races will become brothers and equals
And all men will be happy tattoos.

*Translated from the original Albanian by Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck (1994)

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