Dream no 1 (in a hotel room)
He was sitting clad only in his white boxer shorts
which fell to his knees on his bed in a hotel room
while speaking to his mother on a phone.
A naked woman was dancing behind him.
A voice from the receiver announced: The depth of detail
is of the utmost importance in writing…
The voice from the receiver had only resembled his mother’s voice.
His mother knows nothing about writing, she is rather illiterate/
The voice from the receiver has continued: You simply avoid female characters,
You are fascinated by the mashines. Your father was away and travelling
When I gave birth to you.
The woman behind his back snatched the phone from his hand and ended his conversation.
She told him: We should not write about death, we inhabit the culture of happyendings…
He closed his eyes and when he opened them again he realized that he was sitting in a luxurious
Apartment full of strippers.
The phone had rung again and he heard his mother’s voice again.
The voice over the receiver had said: The lack of boundaries is an impediment in arts.
He hung up.
Two high-heeled blondies had staggered towards him, then they wrapped his neck with the telephone cable and started suffocating him with it.
The third one had approached him as well and pressed her huge silicone breasts against his face so
That he could not breathe.
He did not start panicking though.
He did not defend himself either, and moreover he was sort of helping them suffocate
him further along.
He kept tightening that cable around his neck but he had a terrible impression that he was
Tightening some kid’s weak elastic, a sort of loose gelatine ribbon
Which could not hold…
DREAM no 6 (Where all of this would come to?)
He says: Almighty, give me strength to become what I am.
Give me strength to renounce evil forces. Give me strength not to sway
From my intentions.
He asks: Almighty, why am I so weak? Almighty, why don’t you show me the road,
And then he throws his long leather coat and hides a gun behind his belt.
His fishnet stockings get loose under his leather pants while he’s making his rounds through an insane wind and through the barrage of flying newspapers.
His hair’s net supporter slides down his leather hat while he’s chasing through the mad gigabytes
Of the daily papers’ virtual pages.
The tasks would multiply: Censoring the inapt folks! Hitting the disobedient! Giving scares to the uncertain!
He should not be bothered – the world has seen worse than that.
And then he goes again: the morning wake before a crucifix, shedding tears, whispering prayers,
The forlorn prayers.
And his sad face at exiting his house.
A list of people who should get busted up his pocket, a gun behind his belt, he’s off to work, to his
File cabinet with a label „Trafic“ on it.
It feels warm inside of it, and it is dark.
The liquidations which he performs in the name of love- tend to be easy and painless.
Why would he put up with all that if not for the name of love.
A Short History of a Treason
He stood among gondolas
Like a ghost.
He was lost.
How come he appeared all of a sudden?
And all that barks coming from the dark?
And that howling of the wind
Coming through his fist
Tightened a while ago?
Perhaps it was not him.
The one I thought of
Was a tree, a cypress
A pine tree with its pine leaves.
The one I’m thinking of
Does not like sunlight
That neon hypermarket sun.
I lowered my gaze.
I could not resist him.
My past has followed me
Surrounded with shadows.
Those which do not give up.
I saw him walking
In search of fire,
I saw him expose his chest
To the bullets shot out of future,
I saw him go to war
Followed by the clouds
Of dense black spots
These could have been poetry verses.
Just in a second
I had seen it all.
And behind the curtains
The tongues patrolled
The erogenous zones.
The green hills swishing by
From one side of carglass
Each new Thursday
After another one.
I could not explain to him
This game of days which
The days always the same like
The others, the running hills,
The wipers, the windows, the tongues.
All of them belonged to yet
I wrote the history
Of my love life,
To the detail, to the last vice.
Nothing remained unsaid.
And if he had read it,
I don’t think he would have felt happy about it
Just like a man with one arm
Who has suddenly got back the other one,
Like a man who’s got one ear only
And suddenly has grown yet another one.
It was a Hell of a job
To resist the descriptive.
I was exposed to an overall radiation
Of words, an incessant postponing
Of the information which
Caused the scabies of curiosity,
Then the waiting for
The present moment turning to a blast
To a mashed gruel.
Everything. Everything. Everything
Has turned against me.
I was supposed to find my way home.
I had to escape the shadows.
Had to wake up.
Then fall asleep.
Then turn blind for a second.
Then open them wide.
He had asked:
Have you really eaten the plasticine clay?
The truth is very palpable, I replied.
The truth is an incessant fire,
I said. I said what
I said to myself while
Pushing a cart full of
acetone flasks and atropine eye drops.
I passed by him
Pretending I did not
I did not see him
I did not know him.
And what could I
Tell him? Really?
Is not aware of his deeds; he’s an angel.
This family is the lair of dogs.
The heaviest battle will be the one waged with our
Eyes, I read in the Holy Book.
I could not imagine that it was to take place
In front of the frozen vegetables window.
I was not able
To predict a thing.
I ate the plasticine clay,
Kept the urin samples in the refrigirator,
Scratching the tin window sill
With my fingers,
I was whispering to myself:
Long live Liberty, Fraternity and Equality!
I would change the bed linen for the dolphins.
I had to leave him behind.
The years rush by
And turn everything upside down.
This much we all know.
Translated from Serbian
By Nina Zivancevic
Zvonko Karanović is a poet and fiction writer born in Niš, Serbia in 1959. His writing bears the influence of Beat literature, pop culture and Surrealism. As a writer of distinctly urban sensibilities, for many years he was an underground cult figure. He has published thirteen collections of poems and three novels. His poems have been translated into sixteen languages. His book Sleepwalkers on a Picnic will be published by Dialogos Press in Louisiana in December 2019. He lives in Belgrade and he is the editor of a publishing house, PPM. Enclave.