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from the March 2017 issue

Two Poems

Two Poems

In these two poems by Jovanka Uljarević, words conceal and convey, bind and liberate. 

 

 

The Body of Your Unrest

we spread out through cities
avoiding the fields
rarely dropping by museums

are you counting the buried places
how many are there yet to see
even their names I no longer know

screaming across the mountains
we stop by library shelves
to drink up
a gallon of high quality mustiness

in how many of them will we grow old
is there anything
that deserves your affection

do not stop me now
I have a book more valuable than the Bible
lead me to new cities

I will warm up yesterday’s solitude for you
I have learned everything
I only sometimes cut myself with silence
to find you a reason to complain

bite the spider’s web that connects us
I do not hide my words for safekeeping
chase away the interpreters of my passions
bribe the guides given to us

let the crumbs remain as curtains
of the day in which we will bathe together
wear new suits
lie in a coffin
and cover it

 

Vestibule of Death

this morning the ships set sail from the port
in my defense nobody will stand

in a short time I’ll be left to
the chroniclers of my nakedness

a herald will knock on your door
with news about what is yet to come
offering you enough time to be late

the waves were dying on me
vanishing in groups, steeped in their flight

my whisper reveals secrets
to conquerors from all over the world

I am spread out like the coast

beds beneath me creak
I do not choose the fetal position
lest I fall asleep

with tangled senses they will lead me
in front of buyers of misgivings
lest I ooze longing
and seduce sidewalks of awkwardness

my words no longer bind me
my words will free me
before the dark and a new crime

 

© Jovanka Uljarević. By arrangement with the author. Translation © 2017 by Peter Stonelake. All rights reserved.

Two Poems

Tijelo tvojih nemira

 

gradovima se protežemo

polja izbjegavamo

u muzeje rijetko navraćamo

 

brojiš li mjesta sahranjena

koliko ćemo ih još obići

ja im više ni imena ne znam

 

po planinama vrištimo

na policama biblioteka zastajemo

kvalitetne memljivosti galon

da ispijemo

 

u koliko njih ćemo ostariti

ima li ičega

dopadanje tvoje da zasluži

 

ne zaustavljaj me sada

imam knjigu vrijedniju od Biblije

vodi me novim gradovima

 

podgrijaću ti jučerašnju samoću

sve sam naučila

tišinom se tek ponekad posiječem

tebi povod za prigovor pronađem

 

zagrizi paučinu što spaja nas

ne čuvam riječi u čarapama

tumače mojih strasti rastjeraj

potkupi date nam vodiče

 

mrvice neka ostanu kao zavjese

dana u kome okupaćemo se zajedno

obući nova odijela

leći u kovčeg

i poklopiti ga

 

Predvorje smrti

 

jutros su brodovi isplovili iz luke

u moju odbranu niko neće stati

 

još koji čas i prepuštena biću

zapisničarima moje nagosti

 

na tvojim vratima zakucaće glasnik

s viješću o onome što tek desiće se

nudeći ti vremena dovoljno da zakasniš

 

na meni valovi umiraše

u grupama iščezavaše ogrezli u bijegu

 

iz mene šapat svih krajeva svijeta

osvajačima tajne otkriva

 

raširena sam nalik obali

 

poda mnom kreveti cvile

– ne biram položaj fetusa

da zaspala bih

 

zamršenih čula će me izvesti

pred kupce slutnji

čežnjom da ne procurim

i pločnike tjeskobnosti ne zavedem

 

riječi moje mene ne obavezuju više

riječi mojih mene će osloboditi

prije mraka i novog zločina

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