Blesok no. 34, September-October, 2003
Translated by: Almir Chomor
I try to be busy
not to think of It.
I try to prattle about trifles
about girls, with red dyed hair
who challenge bulls
with a fascinating turn of a toreador,
and flies in a sad horse eye,
and a scent, preserved in a forgotten coat.
In peace pensioners die
as if I have lived too long since the war began,
as if I should have died long ago,
but something is being awaited,
in the kitchen, round the radio,
as by the hearth that has died out.
Return from Guard Duty
A cigarette’s walk away from the barracks
sweet-corn grows in rose gardens;
dead sober, we wheel on the spot
and stagger down the road to the tracks.
He feels his hand in plaster through
the pain, not through another’s touch.
Nor does he notice the hand that places
a cup of hot coffee on the table.
Because the night is bright with explosions;
besides, he’s still got mist on his specs,
and a leaf, out in the yard, under
the raindrops is beating like a heart.
Dawn has erased the city
and there is no one else here
the sky is covered by a swarm of butterflies.
Streets, markets, and stray dogs
everything, except graveyard, has been swept by dawn.
My face, too.
But it has not swept young ladies,
they have been walking since last evening on the quay
and retelling old movies,
in detail, as a patient describes his illness.
It has not swept the orchards, under their dresses.
Nor the silk water, under the bridges.
A frozen moment of the chestnut walk
like a pale photograph from the Jazz Age.
Since there is no one else here
the dead have taken our places.
And you only see me opening my mouth
behind the glass. But my hands calm you down.
Don’t worry, I say, one day
you will hear what I said.
Because a bird flew from out of a smoking chimney
I hid with it among leaves
and watched the two of us leaving
along the street that sprouted from our steps.
No scientist proved
that God does not exist.
Yet, they agree that Universe exists;
therefore, let’s judge them by their judgement.
We can see skies, the moon, and stars
and the Earth, as one of the planets,
galaxies and terrible vastness,
but Universe is nowhere to be seen.
They themselves invented Universe
to give them a false feeling of a whole.
And Universe is the lexicon of God’s speech
and the skies shall fold like a sheet of paper.
(my whole life)
First a blast was heard
Then, a long stretched whistle
while I am counting nineteen on my fingers;
each finer – one year.
Then a roaring thundering blow
against the walls of my house.
From the ruins I will build a new one
but I will never be complete:
dispersed in small pieces of iron,
united in the dust with the crashed walls,
on which, of me,
remained only – holes.
Trench No. 3
In a beat-up shed
in a car-wrecker’s yard
a soldier’s cleaning mud off his boots
with the end of a twig.
Another’s carving a cigarette holder
and a miniature water-wheel for a stream
whose flow has been turned by the rain.
A third’s drawing mosques and naked women
on the wall with a charred stick.
Lads absorbed in serious work
in a car-wrecker’s yard,
and outside it’s sunny –
the season of maggoty cherries.
In ten minutes begins action.
I do not know why I am so sleepy
while shells are pouring soil onto my face.
Through the loophole
I can see: one tree, another tree
— pillars holding clouds
and a veil of mist withdrawing before my eye.
That is the veil over my mother’s face.
The Hadith say: One night on guard
is worth like a hundred years of prayer.
Because one night of keeping guard
like a hundred years of sincere prayer.
Rain drops rustle among leaves
like cautious steps of saboteurs.
In five minutes begins action.
I can hardly see, my eyes are closing.