Blesok no. 55, July-August, 2007

from “C(o)urt Interpretations”
Translated by: Manja Maksimovič

Aleš Mustar


How shall I not to be tormented
when I – a middle-aged man – am forced to wait
for my verse to mature
while the world keeps turning into science fiction.
I’m so numb
that I can feel the mobile phone vibrating in my trouser pocket no more.
The box, which at a push of a button
can also serve to entertain,
is vulturously broadcasting the funeral of the President of State.
Viewing figures go up when the camera zooms in on accident-charred bodies,
and the meter goes berserk
when the grieving faces of his wife and children appear on the TV screen.
In another country, an earthquake buries three thousand people.
The weight of casualties of war places them mere third.
The computer animation is scratching its head.
Even if we get saved from bird flu by vegetarianism,
from AIDS by sexual abstinence,
and from SARS by becoming stays-at-home,
we shall not escape one-track-mindedness.
I receive an e-mail,
I hope it’s not virus-infected,
saying that the promised land
has just embargoed the import of literature from so-called non-democratic countries.
Shall I start building my musculature in fitness centres?
Shall I turn into Super, Action or Spider Man,
are you willing to become my Xena
so that together we could save the world?
Is this becoming to a poet?
How much virtual decency this indecent world requires!
I’m not sure whether I should give in,
climb the nearest hill
to watch the freshly fallen snow,
or change the channel instead,
that’s why today, my dearest,
I’m so goddamned depressed.

Review by Robert Simonišek: Poetry That Values Revolt

At the Red Snake

Gypsies grown dumb,
the bear beer is not on the menu
but they serve an excellent house specialty:
grilled Pushkin.
The chef carves him painstakingly.
There are no manners at the Red Snake, you can eat with your fingers.
The poet sentenced to silence is brought innards.
The hungry ad designer bites into a juicy leg,
and to me the waiter serves the heart!
I keep chewing and chewing.
How tough post-post modernism is!

Crime and Punishment

I murdered myself of all people.
Killed my illusions, my dreams,
and fell asleep like an angel.
On the third day I resurrected as a court interpreter.
Where are you, Fyodor Mikhailovich, old chum,
where are you so we can get pissed on vodka together?
My brother from the early age
who got me high without illegal substances,
stole my nights away, and caused psychosomatic disorders
back when I was still a little bear who wanted to see the stars up close.
Resurrect, get yourself by the bar,
bring along your imaginary bunch of criminals,
and I’ll bring along my real one
so we can have a vodka-drinking contest
competing as equals,
and draw the lines.
We are strong, born winners,
mine are not the kind to be conscious-stricken, I know them inside out.
I smell their sweaty palms in courtroom docks on a daily basis, and
I flirt with prostitutes, the only advantage of my profession.
Conscious belongs in novels.
Verdicts in the name of the people – which people? – my dearest,
are inefficient, they don’t cause internal struggles,
and conscious only exists in a poor TV adaptation of your novel.
Everything is an illusion, a cheap theatre play with even cheaper actors.
I know I’m going to beat you, old chum,
I only don’t know,
which one of us is better off?

Happy Birthday to Me

Congratulations! Condolences!
Greeting cards are always ugly in the same way
regardless of the design: a bunch of flowers or a black ribbon.
Clichés in sentences cut through the heart like surgeon’s knives.
A complaisant company dealing in catalogue sale
presents me with a gift coupon.
A well-read marketing expert hasn’t forgotten to include lines from Wordsworth
closely followed by good wishes
for a nice celebration and much joy in the use of the discount.
As soon as the fax machine gets as smart
as mobile phones
and starts responding with the Happy Birthday tune
I shall commit suicide.

Family Tragedy

Today I’ve been abandoned
by my only daughter – the scarecrow.
She left my apartment decidedly, puberty-driven,
and moved to be with her aunt – a genuine puppeteer.
She says she’s fed up with everything,
that playing with round stamps
and computer games no longer satisfy her
even though I’ve bought a flat screen.
She’s not happy with her name – Cassilda.
She’s fed up with the parties I throw for her birthday.
She is mad at me because I refuse to understand her and keep inviting to the bashes
neat Little Red Riding Hood and Princess with her pea.
“I’d rather sleep in an ashtray under the sink at my aunt’s
than in your computer room.
Her place smells of paint and old rags,
You’ve got three hard disks and only one daughter
and you still couldn’t choose in life.”
She refuses to enrol at a university, she earns her own money now.
She makes a living scaring passers-by through a book-shop window.
“A book every week – of your own choice!” she snaps at me:
“You’re a doctor of literature but you can’t cure even a common cold!
I earn so many books I get digestive disorders!
Doctors say a change of scenery would do me good.”
And indeed she left – with Yurymury to Africa –
happy forever.

Christmas Poem

The singing of Christmas carols
in a hundred-year-old yet vital church.
Gregorian chants give
wings to singers
and they take off.
And then it strikes,
the earthly superpower strikes
and transforms the alter into a Coca Cola can,
wrapping the church in red paper with golden snowflakes,
and binding it firmly with a festive tie.
Red hoods are flying through the air,
Father Christmas turns into Mother Christmas,
angelic singers with sodden wings –
a proof that carbonated drinks aren’t refreshing –
are jumping out of the can and falling helplessly to the ground
singing Jingle Bells.
A petrified bishop, engraved in a church pillar,
splits in two.
Angels expelled from Eden take each other’s hands and form a semicircle,
doomed to eternal singing about the dreams of a white Christmas.
God’s punishment has no effect though,
holier-than-thou church ladies continue to lie only outside the church walls.

Randol Poem

Grandpa, as I was looking for the grill today
which was concealed behind the proud gas burner tripod,
I laid my eyes on the walnut tree which Grandma in her will
had never left to my self-publishing uncle.
Do you see how deep folk wisdom is?
As I’m replenishing the fire with dry twigs and everything smells so nice
I can see you again in the coffin lowered into the ground,
while Grandma, unaware of being a patron of Art,
was incinerated against her wishes.
I’m burning dry walnut leaves in the memory of her.
Today it’s only the smoke that makes my eyes water.
My lyricism has gone under with you.
It dripped away during those three days
while I was watching your dead shriveled body
which didn’t swell one bit.
This left village slanderers without their favorite subject,
and coffin-bearers with no need to exercise their muscles.
I don’t know what it was that flies found so dear on the ossified body.
Grandpa, when Grandma was buried
I was wearing sunglasses,
but she never got to where you are,
since a hole no deeper than thirty centimeters is enough to bury an urn.
The last time she could hold your hand was on the catafalque,
and this was the last melodramatic scene that brought tears to my eyes.
I’m not going to attend the mass held on the anniversary of your death,
I’m going to grab hold of a chainsaw,
cut up the walnut tree, build a bonfire and disinfect the air,
burn up all the excessive words, destroy the last buds of lyricism.

In Search of Inspiration

Loaded with the complete opus
of Shakespeare the Great,
I’m searching for inspiration in a sterile Eastern metropolis park
which is tarnished here and there by little Gypsies,
mutilated for the sole purpose of
increasing their market value,
by dislodged grandmothers whose grandchildren have stormed West
and forgotten to send in rent and bread money,
and by some more similar atrocities on show.
Cheeky pigeons are flying just above my head,
inside it sparrows are shrieking,
an old man to my left and I are turning our heads in unison
to observe sparsely dressed young women,
fledgling dandies in moccasins with laptops on their shoulders,
legless and armless cripples.
An overdose of inspiration, I say to myself,
you better do a good deed,
I turn around and talk to the old man,
I feel immense self-satisfaction,
Caritas personified,
I’ve opened a book of wisdom on two legs,
I keep listening and listening…
Too many motifs! Too much inspiration!!!
It’s not that I’m picking blueberries!

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