Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Error message

  • Warning: Creating default object from empty value in panels_renderer_standard->render_pane_content() (line 553 of /home/prairieschooneru/public_html/sites/all/modules/panels/plugins/display_renderers/panels_renderer_standard.class.php).
  • Warning: Creating default object from empty value in panels_renderer_standard->render_pane_content() (line 553 of /home/prairieschooneru/public_html/sites/all/modules/panels/plugins/display_renderers/panels_renderer_standard.class.php).
  • Warning: Creating default object from empty value in panels_renderer_standard->render_pane_content() (line 553 of /home/prairieschooneru/public_html/sites/all/modules/panels/plugins/display_renderers/panels_renderer_standard.class.php).

The Fifties

The Fifties

Damir Šodan

Pedesete

after Adam Zagajewski

Father and his father
stomp down the gravel road
all the way to the town to see a football game.

High noon buzzes through the young summer air;
the roar of cicadas is in the pine trees...
Glassy hoppers glint in the grass:

the Mediterranean
as we once knew it

—is still there.

A bit further to the north
the airy crowns of convicts
melt under the belting Sun;

dripping like the sweat underneath
their sleeveless white T-shirts
as their sad and bitter sigh

carries itself all the way to the grey Maltese docks
then echoing out into the icy mountains
of the Altai region in the far east.

Somewhere behind Žrnovnica,
grandfather, like an ancient lizard,
suddenly scowls his fissured face;

wincing from his tight shoes
that are killing him,
that damn pair of footwear

he shares with his first cousin,
a locksmith who compulsively steals rusty pliers
and steel nails from the dusty workshop

of the local power plant,
absolutely unable to explain to himself for what
purpose in the devil's name he needs them all.

Simultaneously, in a Dedinje salon in Belgrade,
Tito cracks jokes as comrades
from the Central Committee laugh raucously

while he tries out his new metallic
polished as a dog's balls
light-duty lathe machine.

All across the country
generations with pointed chins, much like Modigliani's,
are busy building Socialism

with a human face; the system
that would gradually, like mean drops of vitriol,
burn a deep hole in their souls.

But in father's head
the world still bubbles unexplored,
floating like a translucent jellyfish across the unsailed sea,

as he daydreams of a new DKW motorcycle
as black and shiny as Silvana Mangano's high heels,
as powerful as Mons Jerko's untied robe.

So in my thoughts
—for I can't help it—
I worry endlessly about that boy,

because I know his ride
will be an uncertain and long one.
I wish I could tell him not to worry,

to relax and take it easy for everything will
more or less someday fall into place.
But words fail to leave me:

perhaps I have no mouth to speak them yet,
perhaps I'm not around as much as I should be,
perhaps I'm still only—slowly but surely—just getting there.

po Adamu Zagajewskom

otac i njegov otac
grabe makadamom
u grad na utakmicu.

uokolo titra zvizdan.
cvrčci cvrče u smrekama,
u travi bljeskaju staklasti skakavci...

Mediteran
kakvog oduvijek znamo
,
još uvijek je tu.

malo sjevernije
sunce robijašima trga zračne krune
i rastače ih

u znoju bijelih potkošulja
sjetno udarnički raspjevanih
sve tamo

do sivih malteških dokova
i ledenih vrhova
Altajskog gorja na istoku.

negdje iza Žrnovnice
djed polako kao stari gušter
nabire suho ispucalo čelo

i žmirka
jer žuljaju ga tijesne cipele,
taj prokleti par obuće,

što dijeli ga s prvim rođakom,
alatničarom
koji iz prašnjave radionice hidrocentrale

opsesivno otuđuje
hrđava kliješta i čelične čavle
(mada ni sam ne zna koji će mu đavo!)

istodobno
u salonu na Dedinju
Tito se šali s drugovima iz CK

dok oprobava novi, niklovani,
kao pasje mudo uglancani
tokarski stroj.

izduljenih lica
kao u Modiglianija
pokoljenja diljem zemlje izgrađuju socijalizam

koji polako ali dosljedno
kao kaplje vitriola
razgrađuje njih.

ali u očevoj glavi
svijet i dalje pluta i bubri nedorečen
kao prozirna meduza

dok on snatri
o novom DKV motoru,
crnom i sjajnom

kao štikle Silvane Mangano
i moćnom
kao don Jerkov raskriljeni habit.

u mislima
- jer ne mogu si pomoći -
neprestano bdijem nad tim mladcem

budući da znam
da je pred njim dalek
i neizvjestan put.

rekao bih mu da se opusti
i da će sve kad - tad doći na svoje
(il' bar na moje),

ali stvar mi jednostavno
ne polazi za rukom:
možda baš zato

jer još ruke i nemam,
jer ni mene u dovoljnoj mjeri nema,
jer nisam − tu.

the author and Majda Bakočević


Translation