End of Day

 

Every night death enters the houses of those who sleep.

Through the corridor, the kitchen, the livingroom, with silent steps,

Between the desk and the sofa, he'll walk and peep,

Touching the open novel, the complete collection of stamps.

 

He'll smooth the tablecloth, tighten a pipe leaking gas,

And free the extra notch from a belt that's too tight.

He'll line up pieces on the chessboard, and his hand will pass

Under the armchair—where he finds the missing knight.

 

Cirrhosis

 

A wasted life, cirrhosis, death drawing near,

An invalid at twenty-seven, all cash spent.

My sense of humour's dead, my brain's gone sere,

Nothing written for ages, and I've less and less talent.

 

Now, when I return to poems I'm like a shadow

Doing forced labor, with no excitement in my mind;

Trying to complete what was begun a long time ago

So I can end my life and leave all hope behind.

 

I'm clumsy as a novice, and what's more

I keep looking for the right word all night long,

Hoping for an image, music, a metaphor.

Crutches, please help me while I draft my song.


Translated by Dennis Vulovic and  A. Corn




To Leave

 

To leave like it’s for ever, the human kind, the credit,

To cover up to the chest under the white sheet sand bedit.

 

To stare at the ceiling for days, of thought sand will not a thread,

To eat the soup from a cup, from the saucer – bread.

 

All guests thrown out, all books disposed of in a box,

Keep in touch with the world by having chicken pox.

 

Nothing but flu, jaundice and tuberculosis.

Rheumatism, fatigue, inflamedbrain’sallth at poses

 

As a testimony to the season that looms.

To put down all the blind sand not to air the rooms.

 

Of all people out there to only see the doc –

With no calendar and without a clock.

 

 

Trash

 

 

Removed from the pollution of woods and of plains and of waters so far:

From cans and plastic carrier bags and the broken bottles of wine,

We are inhabiting the housing tenement blocks that sterilise dare,

But around here only life is grime.

 

The spit, the shit and the leftover food. Nature indeed finds it so hard

To put down its foot, to hide its track. Trash piles to every one exposed.

To decay in laboratory conditions, just like before the God,

Lifeless, senseless, into nothing decomposed.

 

Beer Festival in Marshal Biryuzov Street

 

Living in Marshal Biryuzov Street

I had animpression that centar of Belgrade

Was exactly in my bedroom.

I lived quietly and dully:

Wouldn’t go out for days on end,

Not interested in charms of the capital,

Theatre plays or literary events.

Just lying, reading and drinking beer.

When I get up out of the bed

And steptowards the kitchen or toilet,

It seems like I move towards the suburbia.

 

Ragged Trousers

 

 

I hateit when after making love

You go to the bathroom timidly,

Hiding your nudity.

I love it when you go proudly

Like a labourer in ragged trousers

 

All slogans of ourfatherland

 

 

As a seven year old I had a fight

With an older bloke from the neighborhood.

He had a very strong jaw and a sneering glance.

Rushed towards him with my fists and my nails.

Struck me down and started to hit.

We wrestled, pulled our hair, bit each other

Until a passer-by broke us up.

I went home, ashamed, mucky,

My mouth was full of grass,

And my t-shirt streaked with illegible stripes;

As if on it were written

Classifieds, advertisements, notices

And all slogans of our fatherland.

 

Girls on Bicycles

 

 

If he could see them, Pythagoras would be delighted,

Young and strong, they co-ordinate their body movements

With the symmetrical circles of tires and pedals,

They compare geometries and claim precision

Of youth, birth giving and natural disasters.

 

Blue Plum

 

 

By the crossroad near Zeleni Venac,

In the shadow, behind the kiosk

A small wild plum grew.

During the day its presence

Is unnoticed by the passers-by,

But when night fall sand streets get deserted,

Clearly it is in cahoots with the traffic light

That directs an invisible traffic.

 

Intimacy

 

 

A well known sound of your footsteps

While you walk up the stairs.

Keys that jingle in your hands –

You enter, my heart beat speed.

The ripple of flush tank and tap.

You use the same toiletries

As I have a little while ago.

You spend too much time in there.

Removing make-up, taking a shower,

Applying cream and what-not.

Men don’t have a notion

Of the many ways in which

A young female body could be used.

Then you look into the mirror long,

Comparing your face to the one

I compared mine in the morning.

You flush the water once more. You exit.

You switch off the light; and, after some time

A quiet snoring noise comes from your room.

I can fall a sleep at last.

 

 

Dice have been rolled

 

 

Our small destinies,

Uncertain, every day decisions.

Over the cities of south Europe

The night falls and millions of people

Await their tomorrow’s fate;

But chance is being missed

Within the big numbers’ law,

And new day only brings a coffee and a sandwich,

A first cigarette and a morning paper,

With ever the same number of pages

Reserved for the crime column.

 

 

Sun

 

 

Fields of wheat are to blame

For our religious delusions.

All tales of kingdom come,

Of immortal spirit are underlined by belief

That afterlife is only the beginning

Of yet another in this world,

In the breeze, in the sun.

 

Citizen of the world

 

 

I don’t feel like going to Paris.

I dread the thought

Of having to drop by the Louvre,

Look at the paintings, revise

The history of art, have an opinion,

Be ready to answer the question

What was it like in France.

Don’t care about the opera or literary events;

If I loved art, I loved it

As something I could find in my room,

Dig it out of the shelf,

I loved it because I didn’t like to go out.

I’m trying to avoid the Notre Dame

And climbing up the Eiffel Tower.

Don’t need to be reminiscing the past.

My thoughts are even inept before daily problems.

Even if I go to Paris,

I’d like to find a quiet hotel room,

Far away from Champs-Élysées and art and the hubbub,

To lie down and close my eyes.

I’d comeback from a trip,

Knowing that I’m a citizen of the world

And that for a moment

I felt in Paris like at home.

 

Anathema

 

 

Well if there is no new life,

Let me not descend into the kingdom of shadows as a man;

Let me join the dead as a cat or as a rat;

So if some acquaintance meets me and shouts:

“What are you doing here, how was your life?”

I will meow, I will squeak.


Translated by Dennis Vulovic