NOTES ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Miloš Mitrović was born 1980. in Belgrade. He studied the Serbian language and literature at Belgrade University. His works were published in: Politika (in Serbian, Belgrade 2000., 2014.), Collection of Festival Srpsko pero (in Serbian, Jagodina 2001.,2002.), Festival magazine Disovo Proleće (in Serbian, Čačak 2002.,2003.), Rukopisi 26 (in Serbian, Pančevo 2003.), Collection of Vrbas Festival of Youth (2003.,2007.), Collection Bohemian poetry Brod nostalgije ("Dereta" 2004.), as well as in Collection`s of Literature Club Momčilo Nastasijević (Gornji Milanovac 2004.), and Writer`s Association Branko Miljković (in Serbian, Niš 2005.). He lives in Mladenovac. He works as a journalist and is a member of NUNS/IJAS (Indipendent Journalist Association of Serbia).

 

He won Risto Ratković prize for young poets (Montenegro 2005.), for his book I MAY BE SLEEPING.

His poems were translated in Polish and published in Fragile magazine (Krakow, 2009.), as well as in e-edition of the magazine.

In 2012. his poems were published in International online magazine OMEN, (issue #10).

The interview with the author can be read on www.bridgestoserbia.com.

Naslovna.jpg (46898 bytes)

E-mail:

mm@milosmitrovic.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Translated from the Serbian

by Novica Petrović

I MAY BE SLEEPING

 

*

RECORDING TIME 

RABBIT POEM 

THE FIRST DAY 

A SMALL FIELD  

EMPEROR ASA

IN A POINT

HORNET 

APPLES

PRAYER

 

 

 

***  

CAPITULATION

(I copied...)

** 

AND IT LOOKED DIFFERENT… 

TO REBA

QUIETLY AND SECRETLY

DON QUIXOTE

THE YARD POEM 

WITH MYSELF

TO YOU,

THAT BRINGS LUCK 

(Thousands of writers...) 

PRAYER POEM 

WALK

A LITTLE DIARY 

(After each conversation...)

WHITE NIGHT 

A CHANGE OF WORLDS

STUPID PHONES

I MAY BE SLEEPING

JUST LIKE THAT

FOR THE SOUL

 

 
 

RECORDING TIME 

on the night between April 27th and 28th 2001 

 

 

2.00

 

Breadcrumbs

Jump like grasshoppers

Before the rain

And my goblet spills over

Onto the table

Which has stood firmly for years

Bearing the burden of food of generations.

 

 

2.07

 

All about the house I leave a trace

Of poor-quality paper

Whose words

Have stuck to my fingers.

Now you can follow the trace

Of words,

String sentences together.

 

 

2.15

 

Entire districts are evacuated 

On account of talk,

The lunatic asylum van’s horn blares.

They beg me to come out

When I explain to them that nothing is

100% certain.

Tired, I go to sleep,

Setting the alarm clock to ring

In two hours on the dot, I get up, 

Get dressed,

In the paper I read

That they are on the trail of the elixir of youth.

 

 

2.25

 

“Everything must

come to an end.”

                Serbian proverb

 

Communism collapsed

Like badly played notes.

Nobody had a musical ear

And out of love for his/her own voice 

Everyone wanted to silence

The others.

 

 

2.30

 

I am no longer 5 years old

Or 10

Or 15.

Mozart began at the age of 5

As did Martina Hingis.

For my fifth birthday I got

An accordion.

When I learned the multiplication table

I got a hunting knife

With which I slaughtered the accordion later.

Much later, I played

To those younger than me

That the multiplication table

Is the basis of multiplication.

 

 

2.39

 

I chased people away with garlic

I was powerless before witches.

They came

During my rests

And took over my preoccupations.

They walked away with vampires

Anaemic fools.

 

 

2.46

 

I secure awakenings

By jumping off buildings.

I never keep a wire net on the window

Mosquitoes, too, are living creatures  

They, too, fall for blood.

CONTENTS

 

RABBIT POEM

 

To Đođo,

Assuming

That our rabbit lives

Crossed once.

 

 

Through a hole in the head

A finger’s breadth wide, a draft blows.

That day

When I picked a grey rabbit

To be my pet

And then returned it

And took a yellow one instead,

Did I save one,

Dragging it by the ears,

And push the other one,

Betrayed,

To its fate?

 

Did Grandfather,

Breaking its neck

With a knife handle,

Know

That the stew

Wouldn’t have the time

To get cold in his belly

That he wouldn’t wear for long

The coat made from the fur

Of the rabbit

Still jumping all over the fridge?

 

Only I noticed

Even though I was small

That our neighbour

Hid her gaze under her skirt

After browsing grass

She took her grandson his lunch

And pulled her ears

When he looked at her with someone’s eyes.

 

To that boy

Whom I resemble somewhat

She said, the one who fled afterwards

And whose paws served for pounding

When she was frightened – you’re a real rabbit

Which made his ears turn red

And her teeth go bad.   

Her daughter fled that night

20 years before her birth 

to join Bunnies.

 

Under the same roof, my grandfather’s,

Where I decided the fate of rabbits

Where the skin in the attic was dry

And prepared to take in those

Who stamped their feet when they were

Frightened.

CONTENTS

 

THE FIRST DAY

 

Our neighbour Vesna reminiscing about

the ceremonial ending of our childhood.

 

 

And it all happened so normally

a girl came

took a boy away

 

in a blue car

not saying good-bye for the first time

they drove away.

 

Rain started falling

and washed traces of chalk from the street

(the pigeons did not make the time)

 

 pieces of the puzzle were being fit together.

The ball was thrown into a yard to cool down,

 where it accidentally found a rose thorn. 

 

I was sitting on the terrace

had I fallen off it

I wouldn’t have seen any of this.

 

I dangled my legs

then entered the house

through the big door

without taking off my shoes. 

CONTENTS

 

A SMALL FIELD

 

An empty space

Walked upon

By those whom I loved.

 

Clouds scatter across puddles

Big houses with safe dreams.

 

A truck trailer

Flight for young wasps.

 

Naked trunks...

 

Small hairs on the cracked tongue of the desert.

A safe phone number

Nothing will happen on it.

 

Experiments...

 

The smell of a freshly stolen beam.

 

And nothing...

And something

Worse than nothing.

 

A wasps’ nest soaked with rain...

The truck has gone...

The beams have dressed...

 

A night of birds’ tongue.

CONTENTS

 

EMPEROR ASA

 

A pigeon fell down

Hit by a board 

The elongated hand    

With which we built the house 

So that upon its boards 

There should be room for everyone

And now

There’s none even in the attic

For the pigeon

Let alone anyone else.

 

It alighted upon the bedsheets

A gentle flight

It lay trying

Its claws clenched, its neck twisted, its wing over

its head,

So as not to see the rescuer   

Worried about it, the bedsheets and the elongated arm

From whose final joint

It took a few drops of water

And then started vomiting.

 

I shook my pyjamas

Not a breath of wind

With a forceful movement

It was as if a child flew out of it.

 

The pigeon was on the rubbish heap

When I saw it next

Its lean eye open  

Emperor Asa, the king of heights.

CONTENTS

 

IN A POINT 

 

Pigeons in a point

pigeons make time

we lie in the grass

and watch.

 

Then this grass

actually someone’s hair

and the sun a fake

dares not look in the eye.

 

Pigeons in a point

a choir of cats singing from the stomach

hawks alight on the head

and peck with all their might

the rain starts

an elephant turns up from somewhere

and whispers

in the voice of a shy divorcee:

 

Fool, they’re not in a point

there are bugs in your eyes.

 

I rub my eyes and walk away.

CONTENTS

 

HORNET

 

It fluttered

Above me

I drove it away

Out of fear.

 

I covered it with a sheet.

When I saw

I couldn’t harm it

Yet again...

I closed my eyes, tired.

 

In tiny hexagonal images

I saw each part of myself:

 

Hitting

Babbling

Small curses

Until I turn into a crumb

And am thrown into the grass.

 

They say they saw me

Sting an angel

Kill a hornet.

 

I secrete the healing poison of silence.

CONTENTS

 

APPLES

 

The apple-tree blossomed

in the clergyman’s yard.

I opened the fridge more often

than the window.

 

I imagined

the reddest apple

as your fruit.

When I saw your first boyfriend

your apples had been knocked down.

 

My framed space.

One apple

one fruit

one me

looking through the window.

Apples green

and ripe

seen through

peeled

breezers

window display pretty

marriageable

sour and sweet

more hairy down below

less hairy down below.

 

One

which has been entered by a worm

is rotting

sweet to the tooth

until it dries

and becomes the seed

of a new tree

and a boy.

CONTENTS

 

PRAYER

 

Help me get rid of the shell

And not to carry the house on my back

Not to remain hollow

Not to be just an echo

Of someone who used to live there.

CONTENTS

 

AND IT LOOKED

            DIFFERENT…

                   

I drink espresso with

                          milk,

in an old club

that they have changed

to make it look better.

I, not feeling better

  at all,

drink coffee,

which I don’t drink otherwise,

in a club that has

never meant anything

  to me.

CONTENTS

 

TO REBA

 

A year ago my uncle

Zoran Rebić died

it seems to me that

no one loved him enough

and that he extinguished the fire with alcohol.

For, during his lifetime

what was enough

was not at all clear enough.

 

10.04.2005

CONTENTS

 

QUIETLY AND SECRETLY

 

If we quietly

pass each other by

there was a moment

when I loved you infinitely

and now it’s quietly and secretly

I feel that moment

and nothing else

nothing else.

 

If I see you with a pram

and kids and grandchildren

there was a moment

a memory of someone else

and trembling and shivers down my spine

and now someone quietly

and secretly

offends

that moment

of something else

of someone else.

 

And so

quietly and secretly

we’re getting closer to the grave

you used to hide…

I found your plainness lovely

what am I talking about?

The hairs on your legs, gummed-up eyes, snot

and the hatred towards me

it was lovely to me.

Now, quietly and secretly

I pass you by

in your prime

without noticing you.

CONTENTS

 

DON QUIXOTE

 

Lucky you, Don Quixote

she’s reading you now

studying for the World Lit 1 or 2 exam.

She’s reading you

and cares more about you

than about me

Quixote, you sod.

 

She reads you all night

you lucky sod

she disconnects her phone

to be alone with you

and I keep calling her

to look at Brana Petrović,

but no,

she says she’s preparing your exam:

 

- But you’ll never need any of that

- But some of it stays in your cerebellum

 

Quixote, you crazy sod,

do you know whose brain you’ll stay in?

CONTENTS

 

THE YARD POEM

 

We chased Živanka’s rooster around

all morning

for our hens are no sluts

to be trodden by just any rooster

we even used a broom

but he kept coming back

who says poultry love

is less bright

than us

starfish

or slugs.

CONTENTS

 

WITH MYSELF

 

I try to make peace with myself

no such luck,

no use,

I don’t go easy on myself

I don’t go easy,

and a voice inside me goes,

soft and sleazy,

and then bursts out

don’t go easy on yourself,

don’t go easy!

CONTENTS

 

TO YOU,

 

I haven’t signed a single poem

the night’s too dark

if I live to see the morning

you’ll remain alone

unprepared

for me and my nonsensicality.

CONTENTS

 

THAT BRINGS LUCK

 

When you stuff love

in a bag

and then throw, kick, hit

the bag

and it hurts, hurts,

that brings luck.

 

When you erase

your list of friends

and see that you are broke

that there’s no one left to squander you

and the bag is desolate and empty

that brings luck.

 

When you shake off the leash

and get rid of your mother and father,

relatives, well-wishers, aunts,

and go to sleep

in mud and silt

seeking fortune,

that, too, brings luck.

 

When you finally see

that you are alone under a cloud

and that everything around you is grey, lukewarm

that you sought love

and got the greatest hatred of all

Baudelaire, Crnjanski and Poe

lived that way

you, too,

sought fortune amidst junk

it’s anything but luck

that brings luck.

CONTENTS

 

*  *  *

 

Thousands of writers speak through

my pen

thousands of writers and letters

I would gladly line up

and shoot

to no avail since their fate

is written in books.

CONTENTS

 

PRAYER POEM

 

She had to go to her boyfriend

О Lord

So what, so what

What I’d gladly do to them...

Forgive me, Lord.

 

She says he called at an awkward moment

I say how true

And think of what I’d like to do to that son of a bitch...

Forgive me, Lord.

 

And she won’t have time for me

Neither tomorrow nor the day after,

Who know when she will

Presumably when she passes all the World Lit exams

I don’t know what I’ll do

And I change masks

And put on masks

And change city girls

Thinking of her

If you could...

O Lord,

Forgive me, Lord.

CONTENTS

 

WALK

 

I walk about the house

thinking

in three hours she became

the centre of my world

three hours of conversation

on Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

around 5 p.m.

on a raft near “The Danube Flower”.

CONTENTS

 

A LITTLE DIARY

 

I have no strength

I am afraid of failure

I have no more friends

you have all that

and are younger to boot

you look at me

from some other world.

CONTENTS

 

*  *  *

 

After each conversation we have

I write 20 poems

if we talk on the phone twice

that’s a collection of poetry

when we don’t ring each other

I don’t write

I think a little

practise breathing a little

lest I should forget.

CONTENTS

 

WHITE NIGHT

 

A little something

hurts

but it’s nothing.

 

Prison walls

love me,

as do whispers,

autumn watermelons,

cemeteries,

slaves’ looks,

mammals,

bugs, gallows,

bayonet tips.

 

White night

loves me,

long live ’45.

A goodnight rag

that I sucked

as a little boy,

decomposed into nothingness,

has survived.

 

And I don’t know

how to defend myself

from their love.

CONTENTS

 

A CHANGE OF WORLDS

 

Once Socrates

spoiled the young

and now they are spoiled

by folk singers

only they are not

troubadours, minnesingers, dancers

but

ploughmen, diggers,

failed hoe-wielders,

doleful plough-holders.

 

Girls

(who have left the cooperative)

only they are not hetaerae

to whom we should dedicate

verse metres

to them it means nothing

nor do stadiums or theatres

they are not prostitutes either

for prostitution is ideology

love has become passé

the rest is demagoguery.

 

States

yes, there are small ones

but those are not

polis-states

or democracy

you don’t drink hemlock

after the death sentence

you drink poison first

and then they try you.

CONTENTS

 

STUPID PHONES

 

I’m sitting

by the phone

she’ll say

and then I’ll say

and what if she

won’t any more

she’s not answering

it’s rung three times already

I’ll have to leave.

And I do it again

it rings and rings

and rings

one more

and I give up,

it rings,

just once more

and yet again,

stupid phones,

something’s wrong with the switchboard.

It’s not easy

Our switchboard

dates from ’41.

I’ll call her on Wednesday.

Digit by digit, carefully

no mistakes this time

I call, she answers

at once.

- Honey, I called
  once, to be quite frank,

  and then 73 times more.

- Who do you wish to speak to?

- Irena Javorski.

- Sorry, wrong number.

- But that’s no reason for you

  not to put me through.

  Do you understand?

- You’re a fool,

  do you know that?

- Sorry, I

  keep thinking about her.

Slam, toot-toot, toot-toot,

an ambulance or a police

car

this sound,

that’s the moo

of hungry grass

in the mouth of an ox.

And again, nothing,

she doesn’t answer

the cell phone

nothing,

and then it switches off

“UNAVAILABLE

CALL LATER”,

a little later,

“CAL LATER”.

I mean,

if she didn’t want

to answer

she wouldn’t say call

later.

All day

I didn’t call her

and then another

that some kind of a record

finally,

on the third day

she calls,

flustered at first, and then

speaks louder.

- I have a boyfriend ,

  not one

  but a hundred

  and more.

Oh, she loves me,

how careful she is not to hurt me.

- And I love you, too!

  You can’t hide from 

  happiness.

- Leave me be, you idiot.

Another switchboard glitch

I’ll call her again

later.

CONTENTS

 

I MAY BE SLEEPING

 

You are no more

you threw yourself under a train

jumped out of the window

an A-bomb fell

that was you

splashed with rain

you slashed your head

off someone else’s neck.

 

I’m as explosive

as wet dynamite

but it’s best no one should try me

I can still drive,

fly,

I explode

when least expected

I wake the one

of whom no one knows

where he sleeps

to play poker

I lose

I put it about that I let him cheat

that makes him mad.

 

I sleep

he can’t sleep.

CONTENTS

 

JUST LIKE THAT

 

I turned around

cricked my neck

sprained my leg

you wouldn’t even call.

 

Broken teeth

bloody dog-like nose

are not enough for me

 

you are not enough for me

having fallen to me like a pear

while I was looking for blackberries.

 

I expected

either a funeral

or to be called to your wedding

 

as it turned out

while I rushed

you took your time

 

you passed me by, life,

like everyone else

just like that.

CONTENTS

 

FOR THE SOUL

                       To Zoran Davinić

 

We sit

in a sailing ship of a bar

my late friend and I

my friend and the late I

we order a round of drinks

for both our souls.

CONTENTS

 

CAPITULATION

 

Today I have capitulated against

Everybody

Friends, enemies,

Clever ones, fools,

Expectations,

Ancestors, sons,

Loves, books,

Today I have capitulated

Against writing,

Deadlines,

Time, counting,

Roving, being bored,

Sleeping,

Aspiring,

Waiting,

Lying,

Complaining,

To myself, and to others of myself,

Of others,

Of these, of those,

Today I have capitulated

Against

Fears, crying,

Insecurity, trembling,

Size,

And its diminution.

Today I have capitulated against

Ignorance, knowledge,

Charges, battles,

Removals, folding,

Unfolding, not folding,

Against

Parades, masks,

Cleaners, academicians,

Outlaws, tailors,

Eccentrics,

Cheese pies,

Cigarettes, buffoons,

Toilets, pedestrians,

And queens. 

Today I have capitulated against

Instruments at the Kolarac concert hall,

Pickaxes, spades,

Aces, trumpeters,

Dissidents, priests, dancers,

Swans, sea cows (and land ones),

Pančić’s spruce,

The apricot-tree from which a swing swung,

The apricot-tree that is no more.

Today I have capitulated

To God and the rules of nature.

I take myself off the wall

Like a picture 

Leaving a white trace

Where my image was. 

CONTENTS

 

*  *  *

 

I copied

sort of overheated

sort of placed a thought

on the block

sighed

and laughed.

CONTENTS

 

 

The content of the Book is protected. Making the copies of the Book is strictly forbiden without author`s permission, as well as its editing, its showing in public and internet distribution

Designed by Zoran Životić

Copyright © Miloš Mitrović

 

 

 

Poetry Miloš Mitrović literary literature poems