Blesok no. 58, January-February, 2008

In Poems It Always Looks Different

Zvonko Maković


In poems it always looks different.
When I read sentences written by others,
everything seems clear and easy.
Like a sheet of paper which still resists fire,
which hardly feels the signs of ash
on it. In my yard
ash is so comprehensive.
Like an illusion, like a picture that inspires.

Many write about lost beauty,
about misfortune that comes suddenly and creeps
into a silent, abandoned heart.
However, I would like to say something
about my yard and about the big river
which you should see from the window.
About an ash-tree and two lime-trees which
disappeared the other day.

The mechanism of the fairy-tale has suddenly become
completely inconceivable to me.
The ash that falls from the window,
that black soot that only yesterday
used to be a table, a bed or books,
somebody’s life about which nobody thought very much,
that is stuck in my throat and blurring my sight.
When I wave with my hand,
will I still be able to feel anything?

Translated by: Miljenko Kovačiček

Did I Ask For Something

Love was born but nobody had noticed
how terrible it was. They shower it with gifts
every day without understanding that it is ready for a program.
Love is placed on the walls like a painting.
On the houses, like flags for the Republic Day.
It is a cold bowl at first, cold since
it is made out of porcelain, fragile and displaced.
Between the bed and the phone it finds
a tiny space that favors it,
that will protect it.
I drew it and it looked like an enclosed circle.
I engraved into it all the faces
I knew, I touched
and laughed at them. I am faithful since I know what it is like
to see oneself in the eye of another.

The hollow pupils are senseless.
They are marked by victims,
by trivial deals.
Love sneaks into the belly, into the meat –
then it echoes and we recognize it as words.
I stretched myself out on the floor and stared
at the spot on the ceiling.
The nuances have evaporated from that state,
that state is cruel and unscrupulous.
It should not be expected to yield some
particular desires, or complete revelations.
Did I ever ask for something?
There is shadow on my face that feeds
on the blood vessels and leaves wrinkles around the eyes.

I know that here I can reach the ultimate
heights, transform myself into pure energy.
Now I feel that it is dawning,
although I am not yet able to see that.
But the time will come when we will
relax, get rid of the dreams.
When we will be as light as the scent.
I feel nameless and that apparently
liberates me from responsibility.
I would rather be a torrent which
floods indefinite motions,
which describes forebodings and devours fear.

I speak in the first person. Therefore I am not just
an instinct, an accidental voice.
And my sentences are keen like a heart of a flame.
I know that, I see and hear that.
I have read somewhere:
bread, silence, memory, zenith, eternity,
overwhelming unease. I knew that those are the words
that would not remain unspoken, that I would
take them up some day. That I would spill them
like a seed feeling then something more than
pleasure, more than a joy of spawning.
Now they still tremble, because I tremble.
Love trembles. Before it is spoken,
the word is only the air, the trembling air.

Translated by: Tomislav Longinović

An Imprint of the Pen

Whatever I touch,
time touches me.
As well as patience, care,

intolerable closeness.
Soft objects become
characteristics, while characteristics become matter.

Only matter.
In my notebook, I suddenly
wake up like a supple hand,

or, more precisely – a motion. I wake up
in fluid. Like
a melody that echoes in

sleeping newlyweds’ room.
I float and exist always
escaping. Because I am a sigh.

Just think how good
nature is to change me like
money. When in each

of my grains it sees consistence,
devotion. Precisely:
consistence and devotion.

Translated by: Miljenko Kovačiček

Porgy & Bess Band

to lie, why not, words are
arbitrary anyway; words which aren't things,
words which aren't words. to lie, why not:
through words. I get up, go to the table: I didn't get up,
didn't come to the table, a radio switch
cannot pop out: if it's pressed, well, then yes.

words are words, to lie and not to lie. why
shouldn't I lie? why shouldn't I utter any word
that obsesses me and not think of it -
while uttering it - absolutely not think of it. why:
(I do not want to) and speak and not
. in all three cases to “speak” is a lie.

to lie, why not lie. I started to say something
and already lied: the past perfect is not the present.
the present is the past perfect. words are not words.
words are words. to lie, why not? I positioned
my lips as if to say: attic. but I didn't, my mouth
got cheated: to lie, why not. to lie to words,

to do words into a lie. turn them around. spit
on them. acting out tenderness. words aren't words.
the bastard of a lip. the smoke of an oral cavity,
residue of a blabbing memory. words (to lie, why not?)
to transfer them from a tongue to teeth, then to a palate,
finally to a whirl: to lie, why not?

Translated by: Mario Šuško

The Infinitive

When things are shifted,
only shadows remain.
Enforced silence,
cold air.
I told you I was a rose, a whiff of night
reaching the nostrils.
I said: things, well coordinated
relationships. I said: shadows,
the excess of love that once
was only an unknown desire.
Small, untouchable flames
touch my heart - incessantly,
with no distinct reason.
Like a fallen petal, like someone
staring at a glow-worm on a fragrant June night,
like an inaudible emptiness
behind tightly shut
There in that wet gaze
our poorly concealed evidence
lies dormant,
our meager hopes,
hardly tacit betrayals.
Blessed touches that are now
a sheer passage of time.
Other shadows hide among shadows.
A shift will easily trigger another shift.
I am the silence:
hidden letters cover my forehead.

Translated by: Mario Šuško

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