Blesok no. 98, September-October, 2014

Translated by Scott Stewart & Luke Crane

Gjoko Zdravеski


my grandad enclosed his courtyard with a fence
and thus won a plot of land,
though he lost the world.
and then he started to partition
that plot of land and
name the gardens.
I was a child and I loved most
the little connecting doors.

we stake in poles – bounds,
we draw maps with some boundaries
and place people there
that scan through our bags
asking us where we are going
as though it really mattered to them.

where are you heading, gojko?

the border holder asks me at five o'clock
in the morning, and I, still not fully awake, say to him: home.
while thinking to myself:
back and forth the earth
or up and down? in space
or in time? now
or always and for eternity?

we are centuries away from freedom.
for we still set ourselves free from
other people's chains. and we do not feel
in the guts the key from the cell
in which we are locked.

we forget that the coffee we drink
to wake up is contained
in the residue at the bottom of the cup.

every day we talk about it. we even dare
sing about it. it's just that,
we do so ill. full with
fear, instead of love.

4. soil. red.

I descend to my subterranean chambers.
to the foundations. where back in the days
my folks buried something.
I descend stealthily, hiding from the world. I steal
the key from myself.
it is gelid down there. even fire is burning
from the chill. it burns as char on bare skin.
and goose pimples. because of the ice, fear, foreboding.
I reach forth with a candle in my hand.
I search through the jars of sweets,
bitter, slightly liquorice.
I sift through all that has passed through me.
all that passed before me.
I let the air out with a knife
so that the stench may leave.
I remove the mould spreading on top.
I take a deep breath. get a taste with my finger.
jar by jar I open. I remove the mould.
I take a deep breath. get a taste with my finger.
jar by jar.
until I find why it hurts so much.
and until when.

our looks are homeless

we know nothing about each other.
we know nothing about the foreboding and the flaw
hiding in the wrinkle
from the petrified smile
of the person on the other side. in the sweat
of our palms we cannot tell
fear of dying and all other
temporary goodbyes.

to „how are you?“ we answer
„fine, thanks“, and inside we continue
to tell the story
that has plucked us from our dream.

our looks are homeless, begging
for bread from passers by.

the body remembers everything

one should sit still for days.
be quiet with his eyes closed. but
be awake and observe.
for days on end one should, bit by bit,
patiently sharpen up the mind.
not let even a scratch under the nose
fly off, not even a dimple
along the back, a shimmer of the nerve
from the top of the head to the heels.
one should stand on the side and
observe. bereft of passion of a supporter.
free of judgment. no stone cast. no wrath,
but no joy either. free of yearning. just as is.
prostrate. without the space and the time.

and only then can one start.

for the body remembers everything.
even the fear of your mother
as you were turning in
her womb.

departing from the temple

night in night out someone would enter the temple
and slurp with a teaspoon
the eyes of the saints

thinking that he would thus be able to see

for a long while I was departing from the temple
I'd go back to every corner
every crack
over and over round in circles
with my palms I'd stroke
the walls
I'd close my eyes
and imbibe the fragrances
so that they will stay within forever

I'd go back to it for days on end
for months
moments grew into centuries
outside of it

for years I'd enter it
I'd go back to it after my travels
for years I'd pray in it
and confess
I'd lie on the cold stone
and with my ear to the ground
and listen in
every time
I thought I'd hear
something new
that I don't know

and as of late we no longer are
either the temple in me
or I in the temple

Translated by Lazar Popov


sometimes I am empty
like the last bus
skopje – niš

only two or three cops
that officially travel
to kumanovo


the bus smells of shoes
and morning yawns of
canned beer

smokers shift in the cold

new arrivals
wait nervously for the number
for their baggage

those that are leaving
hang around
they fear
they accidently left something behind

the driver leans drowsy
on his palms
and waits for the sign
to cross the border

house for migratory birds

my left shoulder
is the swing
from your dream

you sleep in and miss
the morning silence of old men
who drink coffee on terraces

the high-rise that obscures
the sun
or we hide from it

uncovered are hugging
in the bottom of the bed

the window wide open
swallowed rag sky
torn from
happiness counted to ten

in the corner
a spider, shipwrecked,
stitching plans
for a new home

ours is
a house for migratory birds

we are
boats of paper in a middle of a flood
longing for ground


silence is learned in the womb.
n. madžirov

we make a house
from a chair
putting a thick blanket
over it.

we create a world
only for us,
there is nothing else,
only the silence
of our breathing.


when I was a little boy
I practiced my own sloppy autograph
on the foggy glass
of the old red car

today in the glass of the shower
I pen marks with my index finger
that I cannot understand

I know only that they come
from an even more distant childhood

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