Blesok no. 103-104, December, 2015

Translated by Dalibor Krnetić and Igor Cvijanović

Alen Bešić


     Soundless, the sun clock’s shadow trembles.
     You sneak out of house, driven by something
     more peculiar than a lack of inspiration. It might be
     unbearable shame, tearing you apart every time
     you wish to shout your poems to the friends across the street.
     Or it’s something earthier, sheer hunger, perhaps.
     Just like insects’ tentacles do, your eyes warily feel
     the world, barely touching the indifferent horizon.
     For a second, closing the gate behind, you forget
     the exhausted pattern of your scarcely woven letters:
     a long-gone summer, a ripened day, the balance of elements,
     the absent sea whose livid atoms, brought by a breeze
     through curtains of times, decompose in your mind
     to the rhythm of your breathing and leave behind
     brittle husks of desire, pebbles of a few survived loves,
     bloodless poetry craving for the sunlight of precious late insights.
     You descend to a deserted beach and, as if for the first time,
     roll a shell in your hands, taste a fig, take off your shoes.

a noon

You are cautious to whom you speak of yourself
     and of those who witness you. Because, with every word that
     passes to Others, less of you remains. You perceive how,
     in the darkness of cold chambers, the letters of the forgotten
     chronicle peel. You bury pictures like exotic plant seeds,
     patiently waiting for them to leaf out of the herbarium.
     Mortally alone, you drink a dewy glass of Riesling, and
     you think how Real Poetry doubtlessly dwells in simplicity
     to which you just cannot rise: in our daily bread’s prominent slice
     on the table, the enchanting ordinariness of an olive bowl,
     the undeniable warmth of a stone bench upon which you lay
     your palm. Suddenly – noon. And, really, how can you not envy
     the eye on its Pure Annunciation, on the boundless-blue sky
     carving out the circuits of the belfry in which the silence amasses?
     The flight of the pigeons like a black constellation in a wild helix
     disappears from sight, consciousness, memory. And one silver
     balloon, released out of fear, drifts down the agony of echoes.
     Voiceless, the shadow of the sun’s clock shivers.

the golden ratio

You turn a shell in your palms, taste a fig and take your shoes off.
     But already grey and languid, the sea rubs out your traces on the sand,
     washes the fragmented circuit of those millimeter-long wanderings,
     from the room to the beach, from letter to body, from self to self.
     From me to you. Cypresses burn in the early Midsummer Night.
     The harsh braying of a donkey shudders through the muddled stars, as the
     last pulses of the daylight wane. You weep on this ever familiar shore,
     but not because the world might appear more gentle and dear, shrouded
     in a fine sheet of tears, but because of one verse that someone recited to
     you some several centuries ago, and which has finally found you:
     Long have I lain here before thee and after thee long shall I lie
– through
     the mossy velvet shines forth an epitaph from a chipped tombstone, burns
     the epistle of the Dead, the whisper from the rock, the voices without pictures.
     You are Pure Stillness in this shortest of nights, as you search for the Word’s
     Golden Ratio, which won’t tear up the sky like a burning arrow, surpassing
     with Logic the geometry of the fall, rather with the pace of the turtle’s crawl
     from the lost memory and a dream, surfacing from the endless ocean of Time,
     and quietly curling up in someone’s wasted heart.


You’re surpassed by the truth about yourself,
     this sum of big and small dark moments. Stretched
     across the room, like a clothesline in a poor hovel,
     a torpid wish: you should come to terms with your childhood.
     You should let the vicious memory be said: you gather
     yourself around hollow summer holidays without the father,
     the void mercifully filled by uncles and grandparents or
     the bland taste of tulumbas in the local cake shop. Around the
     subdued breathing of a four-year-old who goes down the steps
     into a bar full of cigarette smoke as if into the purgatory, and
     tries to make out a familiar face among the backgammon players
     from a low-angle perspective. And his prickly embarrassment,
     as he comes back alone, mission unaccomplished, telling
     his mother a made-up message. “He said we should walk a bit more.”
     You and him – and a whole language between. It’s May.
     In the rib creel, a splashing heart.


Your tongue-tied mouth reaches for the world
     serene in its otherness.
Leaning on your elbow
     on the porch, in the discrepancy of the heart’s
     dull throbs (as if someone is pickaxing their way
     through the decrepit mines of your body), you watch
     dusk swallowing linden crowns. From somewhere,
     deep in the room, a gloomy chorus thrusts at your nape:
     I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold…
Childhood is a long
     shadow, carelessly touching you on the shoulder and
     whispering: How much do you owe to the dead? Behind
     closed eyelids, like a smothered wax candle, golden letters
     flicker: Blaupunkt. Your father’s father, his back
     in front of you, does a crossword. Your tiny fingers change
     stations on the tuner of the ancient tube radio and you navigate
     through the language disarray. From this boisterous hive,
     out of the blue, a sevdalinka rises crackly. About a barn,
     a tomb and the clatter of wooden slippers. About tears.
     You know these words. “And what’s the gift from the heart?”
     you ask. He turns off the radio. Silence pulsates. Summer is
     cracked open like an orange by the feeble fingers of a child.

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