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Articles tagged "Eastern Europe"

Czech


An Austro-Hungarian Guidebook

Novi Sad, Thursday afternoon, April 9, 1987 Energy and resourcefulness. These virtues have excited me lately, sending me into a pathological rapture, duping me into rashness and loss of self-respect. I'm sitting on a smugglers' bus, overcome with the contagious cheerfulness of the other travelers, their impatience as they face an adventure. They are in a realm of chattiness, of conspiratorial mirth. The Vegeta seasoning powder is in our baggage, heavy as cement but promising a...

Irreversible Landscapes

Irreversible is the river on whose back dead leaves swirl. Irreversible are words- the dust of roads mingled with breath, warm breath that sticks to our trembling lips like fog to a boat.Irreversible is this cup of tea, irreversible the restrained aura of melancholy after a superficial conversation about books and cemeteries. Perhaps even Routine- the eggcup that keeps half of our round selves in balance- is irreversible.Irreversible are all moments of love even when...

The Island You and I

living on an island far from cities with traffic lights and people.Outside we hear the rustlings of a bed of reeds where the wind with its toothless mouth blows luring in tides.A boat is moored on the shore a forlorn boat rotting in the rain.It seems we'll never be able to use it to sail home.

February Sky

Large, gray, sprawled like an old elephant. Winter is ending. Low, sloping roofs are overturned boats slumbering along the shores of drowsiness.Twenty years of an oak tree's life is burned instantly in a stove. And eyes meet only by accident like suburban roads that intersect in grassy meadows, like streams that swell their banks, like hairs on a pillow after a long illness.The old elephant's hoof tramples the ground sowing poisonous yellow flowers in its path...

The Postman

He comes to me every day with a cruel bounce in his step with eyes darting like little green flames- the town postman in a heavy, damp coat jovially announcing he has nothing for me. I see his blue uniform broaden into form metal buttons flickering in the sunlight as he approaches my desperate shape. How those skillful hands-like the hands of a gynecologist!- maneuver through his bag, revealing nothing.I imagine a great pile of sealed white envelopes lying somewhere: birth...

The Cinema

Without fail Sundays at the cinema were always rainy days big black umbrellas clashing against the ticket booth. The doorman among the torn stubs looked like a watercolor hung crookedly on a kitchen wall. We waited anxiously in the front row until the horizontal beam lit a band of white dust and settled on the screen.Always the same old films soundtrack crackling like handfuls of rice thrown at the newlyweds' white car. Beautiful actors kissed as if for the first...

Theft

In our garden there was an apple tree whose mouth-watering fruits could be seen from the upstairs window of the house next door. Our neighbors, Rade and Jela, used to go to the market to buy apples for their two young daughters--but it was no use. However delicious, other apples were never as tempting as the ones that were visible from the family's window. Each morning, as soon as Rade and Jela left for work, the girls would jump over the garden fence in order to pick the overripe...

Games on the Banks of the Danube

Everybody knows you can't choose your place of birth, any more than you can select your parents. My birthplace is located on a body of water; human hands have altered and straightened the banks so many times that these waters are no longer referred to as a river, but rather a canal. This canal empties into the Tisza, and the Tisza flows into the Danube. My memories of the Danube begin in the summer of 1941. My parents, who had been so inept as to be Jews, were already under arrest...

Ahlem

1 The television room had never been so full and so silent, except for the announcer's voice booming for more than an hour. Nobody added a whisper to his commentary. Nobody made a move to leave. It was the first time that the entire group of political prisoners at Spaç, including the mine workers and the reserves, had assembled in that hut hammered together out of planks and rusty sheet iron. Sitting more closely crammed than ever before on the rows of stools, we were...

Shadows on the Snow

The snow comes late this year. Violet shadows doze like shepherds round a white fire. The swaying shadow of a fence looks like a woman's clavicle- a woman who dreams of her lover's snowy journey home, his late return. Thin trails lead to the doorway. A car parked for hours compresses black earth. Radio signals float just out of earshot. A boat with its eel fishers in luminous raincoats skims by. A child-his little hand trembling- casts slanting trees across the...

Cactus

She was always afraid of missing the beautiful and important things in life. She traveled a lot, but more often she panicked because she was stuck at home. For some reason she always imagined that real happiness and pleasure lay elsewhere. As a result she was forever thinking up new ways of stopping time and grasping that crystal moment when life becomes a dream or a fairy tale. Suddenly, at the end of December 1990, she told me she longed to spend New Year's Eve on the island of...

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