Blesok no. 65, March-April, 2009

A Warm Quiet Place

Igor Isakovski

10 March 2009, 22:50

I was postponing for a long time starting this diary on the Apocalypses. I didn't want to mix prose and web codes, prose and tender specifications, prose and applications… And these latter ones pressured me to finish them. I even mentioned it to Primož that was late, that I was over the deadline, that I had not started to write yet. He didn't want to give up on me. So, here I am, I started. Although I wrote some poems these last days (I might attach some of them here), something pulled me to prose. A bit of prose, nothing pretentious, nothing significant. A bit of auto-therapeutic prose. To clear up my thoughts and get some breath.
    Hans wrote to me on 5 March. I only saw the message this evening. It got lost somewhere in the fucking junk folders. Hans wrote that Triztan Vindthorn had died suddenly. And that he was sad. Hans. That's it. I stare at the screen and I think that I shouldn't think. I should press delete and I should call Triztan. Ask him how he was, whether we'd meet in Norway or in Macedonia. Or somewhere third? At some warm quite place… And I know that Hans is right. Triztan is gone and we're sad. That's it. What more is there, once you think of it?
    These last days start unrolling. What do I have to write? What happened to me? What would really interest anybody? Nothing. Peanuts, as Giovanni would say in his next book of poetry. He sent me his final manuscript yesterday evening. I read it, we spoke a bit on the phone. I asked for more poems. He sent me some of the ones that had removed. The first one took me in immediately. We need to rework the book, remake it. It will be another good book. Giovanni is good. I like publishing good books. Even if they are not sold as the junk that they push under my nose. Let them. Those specifications, applications and other paraphernalia would cover for another book. Only one thing scares me: would I know how to be happy with them, from my heart and with a sip in my mouth? I published two in February: the third haiku book of Josip, the second book of poetry of Sash. I had so many things to settle that I did not even look at them. Sash's book has smudges on its cover. I was arguing with the printer for several days, then I simply told him what was to follow if he would not fix it. I should have told him that the first moment, fuck my nice self… And Sash is nice. We sit at Krug the next day in the afternoon, we drink slowly, and she says: “It's OK, Igor, we'll do it like this.” She's very nice. If I were her, I would look for a new publisher. Seriously. Although some of my books were published with mistakes on their covers, with mistakes in the printing. My heart aches when I think of it. And I don't think that some of them will have a second edition. But, who knows, miracles can happen… And Ljupčo, who made two long photo sessions for the cover of Sash's “Barbie's Aquarium”, he's nice too. We drank with him late at night, the light was not good, but he also said that it was OK. So that's it. I'm the only one who's not OK with it. Fuck it.
    Then they took me to some other place. They took me out of Krug and then out of Jethro, I don't frequent these places. And I rarely go out. I drink at home, I drink sometimes and I drink a bit. I'm quiet. It's warm here, at home. Doesn't matter that I work like a dog, sometimes something succeeds. The second place was packed, the music was awful. The Jamie was OK. I drank all the money that I had and when they called the last round I went home. Just like 10-15-20 years ago. Except that home is now really a home. And I know that I'm not alone. Always when I return home I look at the girls, tuck them in, switch off the TV, pick up the books. That's how my three girls sleep, with a pile of accessories, ready for each bit of sleep. And when I see them asleep like that, I calm down. It's easier.

For several days, we clean up the lower apartment with Kalina. We spent some good years there. We love that apartment a lot. That was where Sara started to walk. That was where I made Babylonia. There… It's OK here as well. And there is more space. Both here and there the places are warm and quiet. Ours. I don't know what I would do without her. If I had not found Kalina I would have been in hell by now. An alcoholic, a junky, who knows… I should remind myself of it more often. I should be happy with what I have. A damn fool…

Well, after I had come back home after the last round, I wrote a poem. It's rare that I don't immediately know if the poem is good or not, how deep it is and has much it tells. But, in the last 2-3 years, more and more often I know if it's gonna be OK at first. This one was OK. It wrote itself. Who knows where it slept within me, and how long it waited there. The next day I woke up early, a bit dizzy, as if I had had sex all night long. Full with light, warmth… All from a poem, I didn't even remember the Jamie of last night. Only the poem. “Alright”. That's how it's called.
    Lately, I have been waking up early. Then it's strange when I think it's five at one PM. I sleep for 3-4 hours, I rarely dream, I wake up sober. For ten days already. The only smart thing that I started to do before going to bed is ask myself what I did during the day. Let it do itself… I need to relax, you can see it from a helicopter.
    I read somewhere that workaholism is similar to alcoholism. My ass. Work never made me fly. Alcohol did. Not very often, but it did. With respect to how much I had drunk so far, I'm a good and experienced flyer.
    It would be better that I pour myself a drink than rattle about drinking.

I pour myself a drink, I take a bottle of cold water. Feels good. It slides. And I have been coughing like a chimney, for three weeks already. Nothing helps. No cigarettes, no cold water, no antibiotics… Today, my doctor put me on some inhalation. It helped a bit. But then I was all dizzy. Who knows what she put in the solution, but I was high. And I rode my bike, slowly, as if floating. There was some cold, north-north-west wind. It penetrated under your skin. And I was slow. I did not look at my watch for a long time. I arrived at Brico's, I sat down for a haircut, I listened to him talking, and I did not look at my watch again. And I usually do, because Brico has a talent. He cuts something every minute or two, and in the meantime, he waves his hands while he talks. So my haircuts can last a long time, if I don't control him. Today, I let him be. He talked and talked. Then I was happy that I gave him some of my time. Actually, I gave it me. Inside it was warm, nice. In the pauses between his words, I listened to the wind hauling outside. I looked at myself in the mirror. We had a truce, Isakovski and myself. We coped with each other.

At Žabar's I ordered a tea while there were sausages and beer flying around me. I couldn't take anything more. Robert ordered a Badel brandy (I haven't seen that in a while!), and we as if discussed the book promotion of Sash. And we agreed on that when we put the book on the table. That was it. But it felt good, we spoke a while. His children are younger, and he is yet to buy an apartment. Many memories came back. Isakovski, I told myself later, you're OK, why do you torture yourself? But the truce is sweet while it lasts.

For ten days now, every day except Sunday, I go to a back therapy. It snapped in the middle when I turned to Kalina carrying some bags. The bags were not heavy, and I didn't turn suddenly. But, just like Orpheus, I fucked it up. Good that the trouble was on me this time instead of on my Eurydice. So here I am going to therapy, massages, all that shit. I recover, slowly… The fact that I spend a lot of time in front of the computer doesn't help, but look at the first paragraph and you'll see that I didn't really have a choice.
    In Macedonia there is an election campaign. Local and presidential. A freak show with a bonus program. I don't watch TV. I don't read newspapers, except for the comics and culture. But, it's all in vain when the whole city is flooded with fucking full size billboards, as big as a house. They stalk you wherever you go. Just like in Noddy cartoons: Noddy gets a trip for an award, and everybody's sucking on him. And everybody says: “Choose me, me! Choose me!” That's what's happening around me: a million faces and no character. Too bad. It feels that they made a poor selection for the elections. One of the faces came to my door. He brought a brochure on his program. Kate was visiting me, we had not seen each other for weeks. And we had so many things to finish. We even finished some of them that day. Others can wait. After I saw her off, Fari came to replace the boiler in the kitchen downstairs. Then Viktor came to make an offer for e-commerce site. Then Boban, the printer of Sash's book came. When I finished with all of them, I sat down to look at the brochure. I was surprised by the move. Those guys from SDSM are always so detached. And now, here they are, knocking on doors. So I read the brochure, smoke and puff like a locomotive… It says: youth, future, blah-blah. So I say to myself, hello, why are you nominated then, when youth = future. Nominate somebody young. But really young. And the others are no better. They do not knock on doors. They leave it in your mail box. They guy who wants to be my mayor sent a team to fill in the mail boxes. You think they left brochures? No, it's so, er, passé… In my mailbox there was an audio CD and a shamelessly expensive card for the eight of fucking March. “Choose me!” The kids liked the CD. Sara played it and they danced with Lina on some half-Indian half-Aborigine dances. Who knows what they found in those love pop junk. And they like U2, for several months now that have been playing them out loud. If it's not the Irish, then it's the Stones. Anyway, it's better than any CD with children's songs. Especially when I think of the children's festivals in Macedonia and all the sickly ambitious parents who want to turn their untalented children into stars… Ambitious? They are just sick. Full stop.
    Speaking of the children, I remember Ivce-Pivce, my old radio colleague who now has a daily program on Telma TV. Ivce drives around with some kid and asks him questions. They are on the back seat of some small car and chat. Then he brings the kid to choose a present. Then they go to McDonalds. Or the other way round, whatever. Well, I thought, it's kind of cool that he saves on the studio and the light and they don't spend a lot of gas with this small car. But! My girls' godmother, Basho, decided to take her nephew to Ivce-Pivce in the show. And here comes the fee! One thousand to participate… Fuck it, where did the world go to? Why the hell do you have all the sponsors, for the kids to pay? The next thing is that Santa Claus stars a strike and asks for benefits. I ask that they children are paid, not charged. Fuck the show without children. So, I explained Sara why she would not go to Ivce-Pivce for her birthday. I will spend some time with her in the city and we'll eat somewhere. She prefers barbeque chicken to hamburgers. “Dad, this is kind of rubbery”, she said when I first took her to McDonalds. Then she asked to go for a second time, it was even more rubbery, and now she goes around it. She wants specific meat, well done.
    Three days ago she had a performance, Sara the folk dancer. We were all there, the whole entourage in the Army Hall. It went well. Sara was pleased. We all congratulated her. When the congratulations ended, when she took off her folk costume, she looked me with the eyes that are the same as mine (or at least I see them like that), and she said: “Dad, I don't want to eat at home, I want us to eat out.” So, we sat at Pivnica. Kalina ordered her a chicken, I ate a pizza, we drank couple of beers and we celebrated the eights of March. Pivnica was the only place that was not packed. On the contrary, there were loads of free tables and it was OK. Besides staying there for a long time and then we ran home in order to make it on time. I had an agreement with some people to look at the apartment below. We agreed and we rented it for 17 days. Crazy, but I'm no better either. Then Dragan met us on the street, we told him with Kalina about the 17 days, and he said: “Well, rent it per night, huh-huh-huh!” I took the joke, and I said: “I'll open a reception desk!” and he added “With towels and bed sheets, folded and piled.” As we move on with Kalina, I ask her: “How come he thought of piled sheets…?”
    The apartment should be fixed. I bought a toilet aspirator today, a filter for the kitchen aspirator, a door knob for the entrance door, this and that. I spent two hours with the tools in my hands. I use the left one more and more. Since I broke the ankle on my right one a year or two (how I'm sometimes lost in the years), I have been working with the left one more and more. I'm freer in this way, I don't depend on one hand only. And it felt good doing that. As Kalina was working on the counter, I was about to tell her: “Honey, if it's needed, I also know this trade.”, but I didn't say anything. First, because I know several other trades. Second, because it has been needed for some time, but we manage. I don't know how, maybe it helps that we work like dogs…

As I dig in my recent memories, here comes a letter from Elfi, Triztan's girlfriend. She says he went to the hospital for testing, and he simply fell. Then they discovered that his aorta had exploded, Triztan was big, also as an appearance. That is how one leaves, my Viking brother, with a bang. I will translate you, as I planned. I will only update your biography. I will add 2009 as a figure. No hard feelings, that's it. Greetings to the team up there. Save me a warm quiet place. So we dangle our feet from the clouds

                                    11.03.2009 00:47

Translated by: Elizabeta Bakovska

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