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Claudia Serea: The System

ISBN 978-0-473-22196-6
Softcover chapbook 40pp
RRP NZ$19.50 US$15.00
Claudia Serea is a Romanian-born poet who emigrated to the United States in 1995. Her poems and translations have appeared in 5 a.m., Meridian, Harpur Palate, Word Riot, Blood Orange Review, Cutthroat, Green Mountains Review, and many other journals. She was nominated twice for the 2011 Pushcart Prize and for 2011 Best of the Net. She is the author of To Part Is to Die a Little (?erven Barva Press), Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, Canada), and A Dirt Road Hangs from the Sky (8th House Publishing, Canada), and the chapbooks Eternitys Orthography (Finishing LinePress, 2007) and With the Strike of a Match (White Knuckles Press, 2011). She co-edited and co-translated The Vanishing Point That Whistles, an Anthology of Contemporary Romanian Poetry (Talisman Publishing, 2011). Claudia lives in New Jersey and works in New York for a major publishing company. The poems in The System draw on her father’s experiences as a political prisoner in Romania in the 1950s and 1960s. Brief, black & grimly humorous they speak out against repression systems everywhere. The only true way to honor the victims of state-sponsored oppression is to tell their stories with clear-eyed honesty.The System presents a panoramic view of a nation and a people stripped of everything but the basic will to survive. It’s a stark, beautiful, important work.
Matthew Guerruckey, Editor, Drunk Monkeys
“Beautiful, moving and brave; Claudia Serea’s poems tell a story of fear and repression, but also one of hope. This strong collection speaks out against systems of repression all over the world, with a message that is vital and a
powerful voice.
Victoria Hooper, Editor of Polluto

The Interrogator

The skin doesnt talk.
Muscles dont talk.
The back doesnt talk.
Eyes dont talk.
Hair doesnt.
Only the bones.
The bones talk.

The Second Witness

I thought I saw
this man
giving food
to a shadow.

I didnt see a face,
only the bread
and cheese.

Everyone knows
he feeds shadows.

Everyone knows.

The System


The small
toothed wheel
and makes
another steel
wheel spin.
They hum,
and click
the machine
that crushes,
makes paste,
and delivers
the new man.


Wherere you going, lamb?
Nowhere, Maam.
What do you remember, lamb?
Nothing, Maam.
Lamb, who slaughters you?
Who skins and sells you?
The masters, Maam.
Lamb, who buys you?
Who roasts your ribs into a crown
and eats you?
Everyone else, Maam.
The whole world, Maam.


Rumors travel
from mouth to mouth.
I hear there are fields
where I can lie in the grass,
press my ear
to the mouth of the earth,
against its clay lips,
and listen
to the thousands of voices
murmur and pray
in the wind.

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