Romanian cigarette pack in the lawn
and sorrow in the heart,
head down, strong sunshine,
I still look young.

Such figures that I had such disdain on
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying nothing remained here anymore,
there is surely none, ever.

It was a nice little station thirty years ago,
heated waiting room in winters, outdoors white
gravel and red-white benches,
many long trains, whole sentences.

Now a ruined building,
concrete platform with cigarettes in the lawn
packs and inaccurate
feeling in the heart.

I used to think I should let things go
get old, weary whatever you want
I let go, it was a mistake
now they come back ruined, in a row,
but well, I stayed the same.

Such figures that I disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying you will see, you will be like that too,
you will be like that, sure, because the character
doesn’t change in a stinky life.

In a lazy meantime,
as if they were coming here from a victorious battle,
eternally losing-looking people
fly along the platform,
little standing, walking up and down,
cigarettes, lots of little time.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
I said they were ugly and ploretarian
I said, they were waiting.

Now a self-destructive feeling,
trampled shoes, mustache, grief,
an almost random gold watch,
head down and an abandoned past.

The past, if it wasn’t cared of from the past,
it knows only revenge since adolescence because
it says every day – on a fine day:
“Look at me: I was at the station in Érdliget
once. And even now I am just that.
Tell me what I care about.
The buggy man died.
Out of his palm
the stag beetle flew away.
The future is a tougher nut to crack. ”
And with that, the past shrugs its shoulders.

The loudspeaker, on the other hand, starts talking,
like the younger brother when he gets a speech,
and promises a future: a train.

Such figures that I had disdain on,
such figures that I pitied,
because they were saying that they were just little
points, but it’s better than nothing,
and that times change.

There will be a sad silence because it is the same
shame to ask the lawn as
the heart as the Romanian cigarette pack.
changing for what?

And a train is coming as scheduled,
once it’s standing here, but it will take you from here,
short trains, incomplete sentences,
I sit down, I look out like a window.
for what.

I don’t pity and I don’t have disdain,
I want a goal and an easy soul
if they don’t go together, it’s good the way it is:
over resounding ore in a passenger car.
But I don’t know.

Translated from the Hungarian poem of István Kemény, “Fel és alá az Érdligeti állomáson” (2004).

Benyamin Bensalah


Chairy tale

Through my life,
Every single scale of the timeline,
Had a different story to tell,
About me and the chair.

In the morning,
As a newborn, growing,
Used to paddle around its four pillars,
Curved up in its shade as caterpillars,
I looked up to the throne of giants,
To the mountain-sized defiance,
Saying: I will climb that once.

In the midday,
My life’s halfway,
I rode daily my chairy pony,
Bouncing on its legs and knees,
Saying: I play on this.

In the afternoon,
Life was no more a toon,
I sat on that chair as that should be,
My hurting back had plea only,
Saying: I really need a walk.

In the evening,
Roped, but breathing,
I’m to kick away the chair,
Saying: I have no more affair.

The life is not a fairy tale,
It was a chairy tale.

Benyamin Bensalah



It bugged me from the very beginning
that I wanted to be wanted,
listened to others who didn’t listen,
nor stopped for a while
to ask: what do you want?

Even so, I never got bugged in the ol’ routine,
doing and doing again and again
what has been said,
and hoping that it led
me, somewhere.

Debugging the truth, it did have led
as well as anything would have
because if I learnt something
is definitely that
it will always be someway.

So, the bug wasn’t in the system,
but rather it was me;
for what reason I would see
elsehow, while no one

This attitude turned me to a big bug
of nihilism and other ism,
anything related to carelessness;
to show up: you can ignore me,
I’m always the one who cares less.

Benyamin Bensalah


Aloha alohomora

To be or not to be – a bee,
day to day just working in a whirlwind
and waiting while getting more weight in;
Is the honey so funny?

Let’s exorcise: no more exercise!
Let’s pull the brake before we break
and declare a pause as if having paws;
Bearing a bear’s power.

It’s the first piece of peace,
to sit up – from the board of boredom
letting your throne and crown be thrown;
Away from the old bad ways.

Don’t stare at the stairs!
Flee step by step in flea-bounces
or rather just fly as a finally freed fly;
No ads will pop up with an extra life.

I know the life is a strife,
like a battle with bottles, not swords,
and like trying to heal the heel of Achilles;
Thou, you still must sort your own sorts.

A bear on a bare desert?
To be in a hive barely alive?
Which knight lives with night-witches?
Switch the channel if it’s full of glitches.

So, to be or not to be a bee?
I say it’s up to you until you feel up,
but if you haven’t fled if you’re fed up;
Don’t try to cut the ties when the tides are coming.

Benyamin Bensalah


Ars Poetica: See Oversea

With the sense of Victor Hugo’s,
For France, I threw out my ages,
In a rat race, no less outrageous
Than the best rat alined in the rats’ rows.

‘No more ratty rivalry! I go!’ said I,
Making sail on the streams of origins,
Marching overseas into Algiers,
Fooling myself going ahead on a try.

I was with my own demons enclosed,
Not a single life-goal having exposed.
There a zephyr came being ma muse,
Teaching me the use of pen to amuse.

I could swim across five seas and an ocean,
Just to write a letter,
Plunging my pen into the sea of inspiration.

Benyamin Bensalah


À travers

The new smell of transportation,
The colors of a new landscape,
The unusual noises and languages;
It’s a must to travel in the present.

While we are lost in past events,
Our brain cells get overheated,
Get burnt with the old memories;
It becomes a must to travel.

The past needs to be cooled down,
Before it takes over the present,
Before it burns the bridges of future;
One needs to move forward.

We are inevitably slowing down,
Doing less motions, actions,
If we are stuck in the same directions;
We need a pushing force.

Sometimes, it’s new places,
A person or people,
Meaning past, present and future;
Making us feel to travel.

Benyamin Bensalah