Selections from Albedo, Aura, Alchemy:
Selected Poems 1984-2010
Translated by Dejan D. Markovic; selected and edited by Lissa Tyler Renaud
1984 AND ALL THE YEARS AFTER IT...
Tonight the black clouds
have transformed themselves into a map of Europe...
I saw black Italy
the reincarnation of Mussolini's boot...
I saw black Albania,
devoid of any thoughtful eye
I saw black Yugoslavia,
wounded in eight different places
I saw black U.S.S.R.
already monotonous with its forced charisma...
I ran home for some white paint,
and threw it from the balcony into the sky.
The white drops, like children of optimism,
began to evaporate, flying higher and higher,
and then, like tears of the moon,
arcing like a boomerang,
they splashed right back in my face...
Thank you Mr. Orwell,
you were so damn right...
PERHAPS IN THERE
Unselfishness is the law of the spirit,
While selfishness is the law of the body...
You had the endurance to keep on watching while preying mantises
devoured each other,
huge islands sank into the abyss,
the mountains were consumed by clouds...
You had the endurance to observe while the period
of optimism changed into the period of darkness, joyless clowns
on the stage, the work that receives honours
even though it has no substance... but you have always been
afraid to look into your own
soul because perhaps there is nothing in there...
Vukovar - Belgrade, 1989 - 1995
And there was birth.
And there was purpose.
And there was aim.
And there was dream.
And there was suffering.
And there was pain.
And there was unrealized journey.
And there was unfulfilled desire.
And there was creation.
And there was obstacle.
And there was unresolvable enigma.
And there was decadence.
And there was unbearable nihilism.
And there was unbearable cynicism.
And there was Man like any other
guest at the table of Genesis.
And there was chair.
And there was rope.
And there was gallows.
And there was the last spasm.
And there was eternity.
And there was wasteland.
And there was applause!
Vukovar - Beograd, 1991 - 1995
There are no two perfect beings, because
then we would be one... Perfection is indivisible,
an unbroken whole.
So, how do you manage to go on living
with two persons inside you
who cannot stand one another?! The road between two hearts
is never a straight line. The road between two minds
inside the same skull is clenched with the urge to escape.
One should stop and wait for a while until the Messiah
takes his place behind the pilgrim, until inflexibility
is overcome by reconciliation; until the splintered thought,
collapsed like a temple, shudders within itself, far from any
Anacreontic Assumption... To resurrect everything once again,
to bring everything back to its place; the decay of the forest,
the temple, everything...To take the emptiness by surprise,
the gaol wall and, as the final treatment, to continue to knock
on the head, on the chest, over and over again.
To keep on listening to one's own footsteps
all the time in order to be able to recognize
the footsteps of someone else. It is about time to realize
the meaning of this resolve, and when one takes
the second step before taking the first, one should never imagine there is anything noble about this act, because
to be born dead and never to live at all,
is not in the least Godlike.
To recognize the doubts that are imposed, to relieve
oneself of one's fatigue, despair, the disgust of the exhausted self...
After all one's efforts, never to allow this uncertainty to recover
the power of a prison, to give birth to a dependence,
to the abandonment of the will, even of the body.
At that moment, imagine yourself with your arms pressed to your chest, as though you had a fever, deformed, completely losing consciousness, and
with this feeling of liberation
subdue and conquer the effect of heat and obvious intent;
strike with a hammer with all of your might,
the two-headed dog which has been gnawing since birth on the bones of its own skeleton.
Observe without remorse as it rolls
and twists with its pain in the dust,
as white and shining as salt,
so that it becomes the prisoner of your gaze.
Break free from that feeling of hatred that binds
you to it as to a jewel, a precious stone which
regains an indestructible life in you—the life of a
mountain. And, then, strike again with all your
might, swinging on your feet like a giant
pendulum. Its limp body will retain
consciousness only in its thighs and loins;
its life, the hope of the last eidetic image,
the feeling of failure, will turn into a rage
and a grotesque, as it will be truthful to you
for the first time, confessing that never,
until that moment, has it told you the truth.
This confession will make it quiver all over in its
dazed frenzy, release its spirit, relieve it of breath
like a flash. The last words uttered, their loss of
clarity, will induce an erotic convulsion,
common to any prolonged struggle...
Suddenly, you'll stop, bewildered by the altered
sound of your own footsteps. A confused vision,
green and blue, will leave you gasping for breath;
nevertheless, as your eyelids continue to flutter,
a new vision will force itself on you,
more powerful than the vision of everything
surrounding you: a crack!
The sunlight will spread along its length, and the
sculpted part, also visibly cracked, will be seen
lying in the grass
like a severed head. Then you will finally breathe a sigh
of relief, slow and deep, enfeebled and tearful.
The world will regain control over you
as though you were a drowning person,
and an apparently stupid gratitude will reveal
a malign twin in front of your feet. In front of the toppled body,
with a crack when in light, a sudden harmony between you,
the temple and Him personally will be established.
And then, do not fall into despair: become stronger.
Think of three stones placed one upon the other:
two dancers, the most innocent that you know...
they should all be loaded upon a two-wheeled cart...
In your thought, you will be unable to free yourself from them;
when you are asleep they will awaken you and
lead you barefoot to a clearing, to melt you with the light.
THE IRISH PUB
I say: the clarity of the words not said
I find my refuge,
and a hidden passion in it.
Oh, eternal temptation!
I was fondling the aura of a kindred soul,
at a semi-dark Irish Pub,
on Kneza Milosa Street.
She approached the table
like the first breath of a newborn child,
like the beginning of a new life…
There were no variations,
Her whole attitude
was a patient waiting,
a magnetic force
felt by those she was passing by
and the one she was approaching.
Oh, gilded Mephistopheles,
I thank you
in the name of the halo and the charisma
because of everything that we should have done,
but did not;
because of everything that we should have named,
but did not;
because of all the replies suppressed,
but nevertheless given.