The Merchant of Time

laura lamberti the merchant of time poesia

A poem by Laura Lamberti

In the space between what you say and what I hear,

In the gap between the words you know and those you can’t reach,

In between the stories recounted and those withheld,

I find the reassurance of buying time.

Like a merchant bartering down until the last grain of coffee, I trade time with words unsaid, fiercely defending every second.

Time is a hard currency to hold onto, and yet doing so is the only way of dissipating the first, shy, pale curls of smoke rising from a flame that must not burn just yet.

Like a merchant postponing a deal he fears he might get the short hand of, I dig, I scrape and burrow down, looking for a vertical escape from the unrelenting horizontal advance of time, and the execution it can lead to.

But then you fish words from a stream I know the taste of,

not because it runs through my hills but because I’ve long wandered across borders to steal sips from its banks, in a desperate search for its source.

It is then that the merchant’s fear of forgetting how to negotiate, the fear of the Merchant of Time being incapable of buying any more of it, washes over me.

Could the swim between my loose tobacco and the straights you claim to have repudiated be at once too treacherous and too pleasant? 

As I stand behind the stall of the Merchant of Time, I see ghosts of past wounds and shadows of conversations that loom above, dancing through the alleys of this market, grimacing in the dark, waiting for the merchant to fail.

An unusually cold place to set up stall this is.

A market where the sounds of people are so different from what came before; unknown, and louder because of it.

And yet, while untranslated words of that intoxicating stream steal away precious minutes; it is the ease with which the clamour of this foreign market becomes muffled when you use no words all, when it is your hands and lips and eyes and skin to bridge the distance between, that halts the clock altogether.

What becomes of a Merchant of Time if there is no time left to buy?

Laura Lamberti, napoletana di 23 anni, ha studiato scienze politiche, diritti umani e giornalismo fra Sciences Po e la Columbia University. A breve inizierà un tirocinio presso l’Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe a Vienna, nel dipartimento di libertà di stampa. L’interesse per la poesia è stato un naturale risultato dell’amore per l’arabo. La sua prima poesia, scritta in arabo e  selezionata fra i pezzi vincitori di un concorso di poesia in lingue straniere presso la Columbia, è stata scritta in tributo a questo amore. Appassionata di Medio Oriente e Balcani, Laura studia arabo e bosniaco, parla francese, spagnolo, ed inglese, e quando pensa alla poesia pensa a Gerusalemme e Sarajevo, a Darwish ed Andrić. 

A Vivid Memory, la trovate qui.