Blesok no. 89, March-April, 2013

The Daylight of History
Translated by Bela Gligorova

Risto Lazarov

Affluence for Hire

Potemkin unplanted yet seeding:
Bakeries bursting with breads, candies overflowing stores;
An image which cannot be forgotten – Jews enjoying all rights

All have more than needed
On top of that, orchestras are playing, choirs are singing:
Until the moment the Red Cross’s visit ends.

Affluence for hire
So that guests leave envious
And then all goes back to normal, with furnaces burning down pain

Be as it may, what will be is not asked about
What you’ve seen you’ve not really seen
How poison too makes glass

A marching parade of vicious worms and wolves
A celebratory dance of sweltering hopes
As if death is never intended for the innocent

Thieves bargaining for pure and unblemished souls do not stop
And heaven, powerless to their prey, stands stupefied
Life, for better or for worse, would count as a gift

Later on, tourist guides would tell us
That behind the barbed wires
The nightingale continuously celebrates the joys of victory.

White Star Whitely Bright

Suspended at the gate
A garland made of child’s tears
Defies the law of gravity

Within the white wreath
Tinkles the white bell
White horses in feathered white dreams

Dungeons too come in a shape:
White star whitely bright
With a white rose for a tail

White strokes
On white silk, from the first night
To the last white dawn

A white bed of roses planted in the heart:
Loneliness impedes love
Fullness admonishes anger

White-washed walls
In them, lightness is confound as a victim
A burning swallowed amidst a dry throat

And here death adorned a white hue
And loved to smolder
Red rose petals.

The Daylight of History

Even before we came here
We knew the past for what it is
While dreaming of freeing the future from the clutches of peril

In the middle of the field of broken wings
Trembles the poplar tree, a warning right out of history
Right out of a Bertolt Brecht poem

Here, memories claim their permanence:
They are written into the victims’ glances
They are read without a lamp, by the daylight of history

During the early morning rubbing of the eyes
Some memories become musical
Like the eternal trembling of the Laba poplars

Thoughts wind up
The childhood music boxes
Filled by silent sounds

The silence weighs down
Sometimes as a first glance between lovers
Sometimes as a parting sigh accompanied by darkness

The silence almost always
Is the starting point of a return to self:
Marked by bits of anger and hope, marked by hope.

Shadows of Verdi’s Requiem

When wings are ready to take flight
The nest of one’s private pain
Is easily reached

You lick the lost joy
Right out of your own palm
Keeping death at bay through the sounds of a violin

The night shadows fly right out
Of the accords of Verdi’s Requiem
Wiping the audience’s brow

The notes pouring out
Jump throughout history
Sweating inside the conductor’s shoes

The sounds of life
Like bats thump
The walls of eternity

From a dry mouth a nut’s shell
Springs towards the river,
Verdi’s glass of wine

On the other bank of the river:
The last communion and shells on dry land:
Winking at the tired musicians.

Little Hana Brajdova’s Suitcase

Whilst it doesn’t get fully dark
It is necessary and needed to spend a smile or two
And twirl a pirouette right out in the infinity of childhood

Certainly, there will be time
To wipe off the dust
Right off the little white shoes

So that all timid glances
And playful daydreams and fancies
Be tucked away as clothes inside a suitcase

There are suitcases that swell with smiles
Before, one last time, they stand
On the platform of dire uncertainty

Thirteen year-old little Hana Brajdova
Gasps thirteen times before mounting
The train with a single final destination point

Little Hana turns thirteen times
Looking at the honey locusts, which almost, out of habit,
Await a new booming season

She casts a glance at her favorite little white cloud
Whence the dove tirelessly perched itself
On top of the seat of unambiguous smiles.

A Sisterly Tear Jar

Adolfine, Pauline, Maria, and Rosa:
One more than Chekov’s sisters
All written out of their brother’s, Sigmund Freud’s ledger

Ottla tells Adolfine
That they were taken to the camp at Terezin
And that it would be best if they could stay there, the longer, the better

Ottla tells Adolfine
That the food was bland, each day leek soup
Mentioning in passing that she has a brother by the name of Franz Kafka

Adolfine has already started to imagine Kafka for herself
Struggling to fit his bachelor’s misfortunes inside a hat:
In the pregnant women’s barrack misfortune goes by a different name

In the eve of death
Without the light of the moon, it is clear
That black milk is not a poetic discovery

Under the black sun in the veiled darkness
The four sisters of Sigmund Freud
Patiently await the black train to no return

Early at dawn they fail to notice their brother, Sigmund
As he nervously fidgets, going to and fro on the platform
Before sprinkling his conscience inside the sisterly tear jar.

No Rain, No Sunshine After the Rain

Still at dawn
Light needs to be drained
From the wells of memory

And to be careful
Not to have the left leg’s big toe smoldered
By the boulder blooming with pain

Mornings are usually congested  
But the wet nodes of life
Cunningly crawl after the last rays of sunlight

As a snack, a piece of bread and a tad of butter
A smile, here and there, always mandated
As death’s companion when it finally comes

The black locusts at the gate
Have been astonished since the Middle Ages:
The city air was freeing, then.

The hoe does not plow through
The furrows of redemption
As they consume past and former joys

In the highest echelon of cynicism:
Arbeit macht frei

So there is no rain, for there to be sunshine after the rain.

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