Blesok no. 69, November-December, 2009

The Night Is Darkest Before the Dawn

Igor Isakovski

Bucharest 5 ½

Bucharest at five –
my new shoes
are at the door.

Bucharest, five and a half
seagulls liberated from weight
sun bashfully undressing

Bucharest, replete and beautiful
shamelessly colorful, with scented concrete

Bucharest, seven and a half
the last leis before the first flight tonight
and I pour Irish from the bag too:
we should invent an honorable withdrawal

Bucharest, late afternoon
escorts me with a storm –
last night I was sitting at a terrace
and watched the seagulls
lighting up the sky:
white stripes freed of meaning

now I have more Irish than water
and not a fucking dime
we should invent a proud retreat

Bucharest late afternoon
strolls me through Eliade's labyrinths
too much literature in one day

I slowly withdraw
I leave the scene with a gentle bow –
yet another city I will return to

Bucharest in dusk
Bucharest in June
Bucharest in deep necklines
Bucharest with small firm breasts
Bucharest with salmons chased by white seagulls

22.06.2009, 19:35

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska

Dear Sun

dear sun,
you will find me here again
among the drunks, bums
and failed gamblers

you will warm me again
divinely indifferent
full of yourself, full of light
which kills to the bone

dear sun, you will find me
amongst mammas and babyish
not a sign of my wife
(maybe because she sleeps with our children…)

you will warm me again
painfully unrecognizable
as a character broken apart
in the pieces of a mirror

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska

Reclining On Verses

i have verses all around
me, they float through the air
trembling under my fingers
like a fire in front of a cigarette
they shove into my hair
itch me under my nose
they scratch my back

they await me in the bed
like a tender warm smooth woman
they sneak over my legs licking
my chest the verses shove
into my navel and deepen there

all around me verses
on top of me verses beneath me verses
like tender butterflies like golden dust
they run away like a flock of mute fish
in the sky's pond that shines in gold
golden as silence

18.06.2008 15:48

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska

Sultriness Over Mountain Water

look, i said to myself, how
your hand gets heavier while
you lift your glass. look,
how the world is slow,
sluggish as summer sultriness.
look, i mumble, how slowly
the drops pour into your gullet –
like pearly drops over sand.

look at your chest, look
how calmly it lies
under your chin, look, almost
not moving – your chest
is silent, full of clear
mountain water which
sunrise colors pour. look,
slowly something flashes.

look, i say to myself, your glass
is empty as a confused silence,
look, open your eyes wide
and look – how it is to live alone.

11.07.2008 18:34

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska

The Sense of One Night

what am i doing here,
god damn it, why at all
am i looking through some
fucking and unclean window…

what about me, here on the road
of bytes and bits and forgotten meetings…
do you see me in these verses, do you find
me? it's getting harder for me: to look for yourself

through mists of memories and through touches for which
you doubt that are invented, that is too hard
even for me… let me not think about
senselessness. let me not think: it's cold tonight.

the cold sneaks on me like a greedy vulture,
i keep myself warm over images that may have happened,
i linstock with scents that may have had moistening me,
an angel machine from gathered crumbs of time.

i listen to the music of the earth, played
through an orchestra of naked bones and cold winds.
in front of me a road of straightened lines, in front of me
erected stands the world moistened in cold and smiles.

the same question again, and the answers are mute
like empty tombs… the orchestra is at eternal rehearsal
and permanent interrogation. within the words sludge
mould and greenish patina of sediments: simple time.

what am i doing here, what's the sense of this night?
can i feel, or all i can do is to think?
would i know to answer when asked, or
i'll be quiet as an unsound mute ill of memories?

26.04.2009 00:23

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska


alright, let me confess to myself:
i am alone. dot. let's go
on: i am not feeling bad?

alright, let me think:
love is a thought, hidden
in the darkness of the world.


now, let me be quite. For a while.
Your smiles, sunshine.
Your breasts.
Let me elide them.

Alright, let me think:
I dream scarcely but good.
Just as the ad for the booze
that killed my father – drink small,
drink good. Brandy. Cezar. Or ruby.

Dot. Alright.

Now let me go back there:
to the flat at the last floor.
The wasps were building nests in the empty
beer bottles at the narrow terrace.
Besides the inner wall of the terrace
my folks were lining bottles, as for shooting.
He died first, the one that was drinking them one by one:
since he started to drink in secret, quietly.
Afterwards, we started to fall down, to rotten
in his pains, as worthless worms on the road
to god. So, be clever now and explain to yourself:
how can it be, so easily and simple,
that love could be killing you. Dosed, as if on drops.

Alright. Shut a dot. Spit. Cry your tears.
It will not be better: they are just lying.


Let me now ask myself: do I have the guts,
do I have balls, to return. There.
All I do write are dots. And I confirm:
alright. I don't feel like crying. I don't…
Whatever I am supposed to do. Dead. He is.

i: alive. Like a fire alive. Like a water turgid.
Alive, i. unbelievable. Aside that I am crazy.
That's my fucking bonus in the darkness of the world:
I am seeing the hidden light. The love. It hurts.

Alright. Whatever I do, I don't change a thing.
Not at all, not in a long run. I am a sprinter
nevertheless. Fast breaths, fierce fire. If I turn
into ashes, it means that the ash has fallen into my lap.

From my cigarette. Alright.

I couldn't care less…

Alright. Whatever.
Let's be silent.

I don't want to be here. Alright. I don't want to
be anywhere. And I want to be alive.

I am. However I am. Homeless fire.
Gentle. Crazy and inexplicable.

I am. Dot.
It's so easy
that is sad.

07.03.2009 02:11

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska

TV Screen and Jim Beam
to Mr. Koala, after Snežana Bukal's story

it's cold at night
mr. koala
while i have my jim beam barefooted
thinking about math,
bats and all that jazz
blues plays
as usual
nothing more to say
”do you think you can get away with this” she says
as he is led to the courtroom deep down in the tv screen
no, i say, but it's worth of trying

it's cold
mr. koala
but i surely would like to meet you
the branches here are thick and strong
hold on to this thought
while i light another cigarette
i look at my reflection in the window
pour another
sip two more
math, baths and all that jazz
but who cares
as i kiss my wife goodnight

keep on rolling

there is a cross lighten up
i see through the branches
it's been a while since my last poem
few years or so
math, beds and all that jazz
through the tv screen, chopin and all the blues

”i am a very lucky child”, says the boy on the tv screen.
i agree. i am.

How to Write a Poem

you need whiteness
scary whiteness
voracious emptiness
and firm decision
a steady hand
as a surgeon (or a butcher)
relaxed thought with allowed whirlpools
entrances in pictures
without reconciliation on exits
the whisper and shout of the past never sing together
except in some strained poem

say something sad in the poem
everyone likes sad pictures events people
no matter how horrible this truth is
everyone finds comfort in someone else's shits
and wants to see how someone wins
you must have the winner in the poem
otherwise they will think that poetry is indulgent
that the poet surrendered, though they are not always
sure what the poet was going to say

as well as many of the poets
when we heave truths around

we are all made of past
so dig pictures from yourself
the probability that someone else would find himself in them
is rather big
your troubles become someone else's
and the road through buildings of the past
becomes a proper walk through ruins

like war tourism

which is another unavoidable
whether we'd like to recognize it or not
gazed in someone else's shit
filled with sweet shudders
in the spine back chests arms
ecstatically excited that we are alive
not being the others the perished
not being swallowed by the emptiness
26 July 2005

Translated by the author, edited by Elizabeta Bakovska

Gentle Poem

today while unloading new books of poetry
on the counter I saw a book entitled “I’m dangerous.”
while I was waiting for them to take the poesies, I opened it
and took a look: this is dangerous as a fire extinguisher
– it will let you down when you need it most

you’re dangerous, I mumbled, to the art of literature.
god forbid, some kid may take you seriously.

I’m loading books of poetry in my backpack, while dreaming of prose
each dawn awakes me with new pages of short stories
I’m not writing anything down, just asking where’s the bar

dangerous I became to myself, like this, unwritten,
never managing to drink enough in these springs of mine
never managing to be satiated with food, words, and music
– I’ll screw myself with too much love for life

where’s the bar, where’s the ice, do you have a glass for me?

I ask that much, resigned beforehand to any possible answer.
I’m gentle. I drink silently and try to dissolve
the memories. what good are remembrances if I’m not alive right now?
do you have, for me, where’s the ice? this fire must be extinguished
or the world will be set ablaze like a thin unwritten piece of paper…

pathetic words for the bass that beats through me, laments
that don’t mean anything even to me. do you have, for me?
on a solitary shore I’m building a hut: sooner or later, I’ll have to
go back to fishing. the string that connects me with the
deeps: sweat and flesh in the protective water of the world.

pour me more. don’t spare me. don’t spare the bottle.
everything will be alright. just let it flow. let the time be:
we will always be ourselves if we don’t pay too much attention to it.
I am building a hut on my shore. of sunken ships, of
withered trees, building a hut for my thoughts:

if there is no room for them here, we’ll erect a palace of words
– fragile as a tower of cards. I’m gentle, indifferent
to the world. indifferent to myself, but would not refuse
if you caress me. I am lying down, tame, and I don’t care
when I wake up. poesies wake me while I dream my short stories.

Translated by the author, edited by Cliff Endres

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