Blesok no. 71-73, March-August, 2010

Breath-hold diving
From “Нуркање на здив / Ronjenje na dah / Breath-hold diving”, Blesok, 2010.

Branko Čegec

The Color of the Bura, the Exuberance of Hair

morris would spray paint the pyramids:
take off his shirt, put on a mask and
fire off with paint against the corrugated cardboard:
in twilight a mob would gather and shout
followed by the fire-eaters, the drummers and restless girls,
when the bura descended violently from the other side of the bay,
beach umbrellas would fly in to the air
together with their concrete posts and terrace guests:

yves and dabo were seated facing us,
like the previous night:
then tanja wanted to change place because she could not control her hair.
that way she fucked up mine, which brazenly flew in my mouth,
in beer froth, cutting off the view of the rare,
shivering female pedestrians on the promenade

morris still spray painted the pyramids,
the wind kept dispersing a multi-colored mist into the on-lookers faces
from the involuntarily anchored ship,
a guest on the terrace across from us ordered
a beer and four sedatives
and a light bulb went off abruptly.
tanja said: that was me;
i succeed each time i really want to succeed.


Translated by: Boris Gregorić

The Island Sightseeing

the repertory unexpectedly worsened.
the singer began to loose his ear and his voice.
the heat was insufferable, the headache seemingly endless;
the tepid beer, the intolerable racket,
nervous and standoffish girls:
god, what chaos in my head!

i should have been clearheaded by now
going round in a little boat,
the island's careless naturists
sun-bathed their wholesome selves,
their pretty, ugly, fumbling, elegant selves:
čedo ogled lone beauties basking on the rocks,
then, importantly picking the binoculars,
he'd examine the details with essayistic care:
then he anchored abruptly and plopped into the sea:
fucking balmy water! –
he said calmly
čedo, a skipper based in hamburg,
today his ship was sent to a scrap yard
but he had not shed a tear,
instead he calmly soaked up the smooth skin
of a young and playful german girl
who unruffled swam past
the anchored boat
and bobbing in the hot afternoon sun,
so naked and unique,
called her undecided boyfriend
who was still lazily taking off
his underwear in a wild and porous rock outcrop


Translated by: Boris Gregorić

Breath-Hold Diving

yves sent me a message:
”a girl from italy watches me under water for the third day,
and i watch her. we are there, naked and alone. above we do not know
each other.” i replied, using our slang transcription:
”bi kul! stej vel!” after that, his next message said he had dived
again, “for it's quiet and uniquely nice down there.” i understood
his cry of suffering at another, distant shore.
next i dived into marguerite yourcenar's
”oriental stories”, went to china, kotor, dubrovnik, came up again,
melancholically, though now that's way out of fashion.
i saw several italian, four czech, and seven pudgy hungarian girls.
i saw a sunshade restless like someone's body.
i saw a pair of blue, anxious, deep-set eyes.
i wanted to suppress my passion for diving,
but couldn't look away, or put on my sunglasses,
not at all: unable to move, i was sinking,
steadily and silently, in the sand.


Translated by: Mario Suško

A Picture

looking out of the window, i see a woman.
she combs her dark hair, long, careful, scrupulous strokes.
gathers it into a top knot and fastens at the back.
she picks up a large, crimson tomato.
bites into it as if it were an apple,
old crone draga would say.
juices drip onto her voluptuous breasts.
go into her big dress cleavage.
she uses her finger to cut the streak.
with the next bite she leans forward.
juicy drops fall on the sizzling stone.
they quickly dry on the smooth surface, become an aquarelle.
abstraction. a structure. a monochrome.
her dress is black with large flower patterns.
the cut at her back goes all the way to her bum cleft.
two cleft halves made to measure.
one half of her back is tanned.
the other half is milky white.
on the stone the tomato changes its color.
in the left corner of the stone cube
a big green grasshopper rests for a moment.


Translated by: Mario Suško

Dramatic Peaks on Fridays after the Fish in the Workplace Canteen

seventeen days later we screwed
against the back side of the armchair:
which slid unstoppably towards the middle of the room,
taking from us even the smallest support and brutally
crumpling the violet carpet: soon we were cramped all wet,
on its legs, in the middle of the fiery hotel room:
the howl jerked the cold ass of allen ginsberg in his grave
on the other side of the globe, and the second one, nine minutes later,
already broke out on the spacious, made-up bed.
i told him of a writer and a friend, of their regular
screwing on friday after the fish in the canteen
at the institute for self-restoration of 'body and soul',
some sort of eastern meting out of fog and primitive narcotics,
after which he, the writer of the populist plays,
would humbly return to is carefully construed
nest, in which each thing without fail
suggested its historical belonging,
even the tiny photos of writers cut from the yellowed magazines.
i took him by the hand, sweaty, out of breath,
freed from the wild energy subdued
by half a century on his back: with an uneven voice
he squeezed: even i haven't known that i can still do it.
i wiped the sweat from his sweaty
brow and pushed the hairdo to the side: in the pit of the stomach
a spring breeze fluttered with the sudden zephyr, then rolled
a spout of torrid volcanic mixture, mowing along
all the other senses, then followed the rumble and after that
through the wider surroundings spread a soothing vibration.
he remained besides, dumb and slowed, he was sinking
into a dream on the healing shores of a near yet numbed body,
mechanically squeezing the left nipple that still burned
with the full intensity of recent developments.


Translated by: Boris Gregorić

Foam of the Day

after a two hour ride over the blacktop
road, still hot from the trip, we've got into the automatic
carwash. from the many nozzles
burst a thick foam, and the view from the car utterly darkened.
i took his right hand and pulled her on my knee.
the picture of the world changed at once: as if he hit
by an adrenaline broom, he sneaked his hand
upwards: the moisture broke through the panties faster than the cascades
that rabidly poured down the bright slopes of the vehicle.
with rapid move he slid the same hand under my bottom,
not moving from his seat, with his thin and nervous middle finger
he began to conduct a military performance of beethoven's ninth,
to me familiar mostly from a clockwork orange: the philharmonic,
the known jewish soloist with a name hard to memorize,
the blinking lamp away from the stage
and the hand that conducts with energetic moves.
with the speed of a jaguar i've leaned over and
opened the way for it. with one jerk i unflowered the zip
on his dark blue bermuda shorts with side pockets
and a jolly, nicely shaped cock already wriggled
in my mouth. i strongly drilled it with my tongue,
until the sweetly spill out reminded me
of the circumstances. according to the armature
clock four minutes have passed, if i remembered properly
the time of entry. big multi-barrel fan dried
the car now shining in the unbearable
light of another hot summer afternoon
the green turned on the traffic light and
with a routine move he pushed into gear.
at the exit the cashier lazily
waved good-bye.


Translated by: Boris Gregorić


i can't stand left-wingers.
i can't stand right-wingers.
Sickles, hammers, swastikas and
the perpetually smiling faces in damned depressing mines.
i can't stand pussies that wait
for me to turn my back
so they can continue their chat undisturbed.
i can't stand those that inebriated
grab their electro-stimulated hearts,
nor those from the croatian tv screen
who drill me with their 'proudly held brows'.
i can't stand the fat wise men
with eye circles made of clay,
nor hysterical, needle-like
reptiles, after whom always remains
a pallid and sleazy trail.
i can't stand the solicitors
of own political past,
i can't stand the distinguished and loyal citizens
of this 'one and only' country who never can
figure out WHICH
i can't stand the media empires
of former party bureaucrats,
in which the aging communists and
young, angry fascists
wash their bloody hands.
i can't stand bright union activists,
who smell of garlic and slivovitz,
whose teeth are rotten,
and whose breath is 'the breath of the faded empire'.
i can't stand blasé leaders.
i can't stand neither skaters nor scooters.
i can't stand mopes and i can't stand crybabies
the phonies with loosened ties
at the base, with stuffy, with gaunt faces.
i can't stand the crowd in between,
in the middle and around.
i can't stand either european bureaucrats
or domestic leaders: the bald, hairy, bearded ones and those others.
i can't stand the president of the republic,
the minister of defense, the prime minister and the entire government
with the attached retinues.
i can't stand myself either, i don't see the innocent ones
not even in my own skin.
and i seem mean to myself, and rotten:
each time i slam-dunk one down
while any normal creature would fire a three-pointer
to those under the opposite hoop,
and triumphantly flutter into eternity
on the plastic 'wings of democracy'.


Translated by: Boris Gregorić


when the right back shocks died above san remo
i haven't stopped, i said: fuck it, we are going to france,
they have many renault services, it will be
easier there.
but after 50 kilometers within
france, no signs of renault anywhere.
after i finally spotted one, the mechanic was not interested
if i could continue with the broken car down the road.
leave the car and wait ten days. if you are in a hurry
go to
renault minut, they are faster than us.
i found renault minut out of third try, but their computer
was broken, so again nothing came of the repair.
i continued click-clacking through the congested streets of the resort town
cagnes-sur-mer and then saw a big, screaming billboard:
SPEEDY 20 % off on shocks. they've replaced all four of them,
because the 'last one went because of the diagonally damaged front one,
and they always need to be replaced in pairs'. meanwhile,
i've sipped terrible coffee on the shore, while one woman began to
choke on her own puke. when the bar called for an ambulance,
she got up, wiped herself with her fist and said: it's nothing! i am used to it.
the greasy sea at the riviera pecked at the pebbles streaked by tar.
the planes furiously dove into the flat coastline at the outskirts of nice.
over the blues of the horizon there was rainbow spilling, broken-hearted line of emptiness.
i pressed the accelerator and firmly ploughed the road to west.


Translated by: Boris Gregorić

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