Marko Pogačar in translation

Marko Pogacar, by Anahit Hayrapetyan


Honey melts in tea, completely, unlike your ear

and classical music,    

and unlike me in you, the tense telephone wire of the never-ending phone call, a crowded bar, no place for you,

and the elevators that are always broken, the stairs unfold into eternity, like conversations about politics,

and just as someone notices that totalitarianism and democracy

is only a question of numbers, someone pulls the plug,

the picture disappears and everything starts again: voices, disembodied, leaking from walls,

and evening falls into your hands, like a miner descending into his pit, yet still, the shoes left on the doorstep prove

that behind the door life exists. but what does it mean to live

as winter comes rolling like cold breath rising out of your throat,

and builds it’s nest in the dark alphabet; all those hurried unknown

people with familiar names, and afternoons split in two, like Korea;

the tea and honey have already melted, inseparable,

and this viscous liquid is love: how do I get to you; how do I reach you?


It's nice to breathe spring air on the Soča River

without a hangover.

soaking up the drops from the spring and flowing inside them

is also nice.

feeling good is nice. having strength

for any form of faith harmless to others,

therefore not having it.

living in Bosutska Street is nice too,

as well as believing that it really exists.

entering the store every morning to buy bread

and then eating it over newspapers you've found in the post is nice.

it's nice when post finds you and when you can find the post. 

generally speaking finding something is nice.

finding a familiar face when you're passing by a stadium

or a bad university is nice. derision is nice.

finding a point is nice. 

the butter knife you lost a long time ago is still silky. 

the battalion of parade angels lowers their iron ears

and that already verges on horrible. everything already verges on horrible.

however, that's also nice.

peeling off a coagulated piece of chewing gum from the sole of a light leather shoe,

the evil that disturbs your inner balance

explaining the meaning of gravity. 

Newton is nice. Brodsky is nice.

barricades are the very heart of art and that's incorruptible.

hearing perfect punk, seeing Anna Karina

eclipsing the Moon hoisting up banners

parting the Dead Sea. walking is nice. drowning too.

what is nice for me is dangerous for others. 

like breathing heavily because the air is thick with the smell of pine trees.

or speaking Croatian. or skating. vice versa is also true.

windows that can be opened to allow you to touch clouds are nice.

Mount Mosor is nice.

walking is nice, climbing up and believing in the summit, knowing

the year when the war ended and the date of the Liberation Day

observing Women's Day and Mother's Day and loving violets

taking one's clothes off. falling. being sure that you're falling and then jerk suddenly,

waking up. cutting things up. shooting out unnecessarily long bursts of your name,

while being systematically tragic.


There is nobody in the attic

     I know

for above us is a red-hot concrete roof,

a silver support for the sky,

and we don't have an attic at all.

there are so many things

that practically define absence.

    of the attic

   the house

    the world.

the room is strewn with a low and sleepy sound

as if dormice sneaked into the attic, however,

          I already said,

there is no attic.

the coast remains no more. the stable spots have

surrendered their walls.

tomorrow I’ll make three hundred

postponed telephone calls,

     it’s been a while since I

could stand verbal closeness.

for the fourth time I started

watching Fitzcarraldo. there I have learned

that ships can be carried across hills

and that it’s not necessary to be defeated

       in order to feel bad,

                   in fact,

rainy days say

     the opposite.

Kinski is the best, it seems.

    reels with Jagger speak in broken tongues.

there is no reason for silence

and nobody should be blamed:

I don’t get mail, commercials don’t avoid me,

        (capital is a night-

    hat for the scented

                  hair of the world)

coffee is never hot enough,

neither is information, there is never enough new records

and never enough rustling classics

     all is a gigantic

tepid puddle of anxiety.

things defined by absence mostly scare me.

for example  loneliness (conditionally)

        religion (and its horrid absence of the other)

death (unconditionally) and all

I could draw from them is momentary love,

meaning thread on rain,

    the drop

that makes the glass overflow.

there is nobody in the attic.

there never has been

         anybody in the attic.

there is no attic and everything hung

above our heads is a massive star-lit pendulum,

a cradle of music, a dark

     sheet of sky with which I

cover myself every night when I sleep

Reading in Café Phil, Vienna

Reading at the 4th Belgrade Book and Poetry Festival


I wondered how we were going to survive the night.
the ride was smooth and the anaesthetic
slowly took effect.
it was a Thursday,
somehow I felt
like Andrew. the angel of artillery
promised solitude.
never have I felt worse. trees swept by
and I thought I’d never see them again.
the conductor came in while we were still on the ground.
I looked for a restaurant, but there was none.
I made tea on the camping stove
and propped myself on my ribs. outside October quivered.
once I fell asleep on the train
and woke up in Vinkovci.
autumn was looming. hotel lobbies
and saxophone solos until midnight, and then
telephones that are slowly becoming extinct. after that silence.
the rails that set space apart and become
the passive principle of return.
I thought about bloated cows.
since by definition
I can’t stand closure.


How to climb the olive tree with those little claws,
stay a black lizard and survive the sun’s collapse?
every olive is an extinguished star,
and little claws are all we have.

and that’s the secret of gravity, the disappearance of light that swings
condensed in our metal bodies.
our claws are our vanity, the father shakes them off
the laced balcony curtain in one move.

the world is the giant pedicurist Milena, she eradicates them with a safe hand,
she sings o sole mio, our claws are an over-ripe, naked beauty
love is our debt to the dead.

© Translation: 2008, Tomislav Kuzmanović


'I like to use the languages of the various arts – literature, music, theatre...I think that is the spirit of the modern global era.'- poet Ivan Hristov spoke to SJ Fowler of 3AM magazine about the evolution of the contemporary Bulgarian poetry scene.


Cosmin Borza discusses the work of Romania's 'Generation 2000' poets, including Radu Vancu and Claudiu Komartin in an essay at Asymptote.


At the Sofia Poetics festival, which was organised by Word Express participant Ivan Hristov, Scottish based poet Ryan Van Winkle caught up with fellow festival guests SJ Fowler and Tomasz Rózycki. To hear Fowler and Rózycki discussing their work and reading some of their poetry, listen to the Scottish Poetry Library podcast here.