IN CIRCLES

by Tomica Bajsić


IN CIRCLES

(written in Rio de Janeiro when I went to visit family two years after the end of the war in Croatia)

 

Sometimes it seems as if I’m living on borrowed time

my friends are dead and scattered across graveyards

wiped of the slate just like that, none of them even thirty

those people I used to break bread with

those people I slept in the same bunkers with

those people I walked the same grass with, climbing onto tanks and falling down

hitting my face against the ground showered with bullets and shells

(oh sweet quiet earth you know our prayers)

their ghosts still come back with the last of the echoing voices:

is there more juice? asks one who will die in an attack

take care of my brother, says another who will be killed by tank

the third one is trying to remember who he is and where he’s coming from

while his brain slowly switches off (he’d been hit in the head)

what’s over there? asks the fourth clutching a glass of red watered wine

his gaze fixed over the hill where an ambush has already been set up for him

and a fifth is silent but his eyes are able to pronounce:

Death.

 

sometimes it feels as if I’d broken off the chain

I wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air

hearing the hum of fourteen storeys through the open window

(the smell of burnt flesh rising out of wooden caskets)

Christ the Redeemer is a lasting fresh wound among the black clouds

electric fireflies scurry, curse and celebrate

the time when pigs fed on human flesh

down there is a house that once, a hundred years ago, used to be blue

now it is a roofless ruin with frameless windows like empty eye sockets

the inside is all wrecked but somehow at night it becomes alive

the forgotten balconies fill up with flowers and light

while round black women with turbans lean against

corroded fence and tiny echoes of their conversation

whisper that there are three hundred thousand dead people on those fields

where my boots lost their soles

where my eyes drowned into the mud of the universe

where my heart was like an iron rope cut off from its anchor

whizzing through the air in blind circles:

aimless, aimless.

Translated from Croatian by Damir Šodan

U KRUGOVIMA

čovjek hoda mirnije prema noći

koji u svom srcu nosi mnoge ponoći

Edwin Rolfe

 

 

 

katkad mi se čini da živim posuđeno vrijeme

moji prijatelji mrtvi rasuti po grobljima

izbrisani s ploče nijedan nije dohvatio tridesetu

ti ljudi s kojima sam dijelio kruh

spavao u istim bunkerima hodao kroz istu

travu i noć penjao se na tenkovima i padao

licem u zemlju pritisnut mecima i granatama

(o slatka mirna zemljo koja poznaješ naše molitve)

njihovi duhovi sada dolaze u posljednjim glasovima:

ima li još soka? pita jedan koji će poginuti napadajući

čuvaj mi brata kaže drugi koga će ubiti tenk

treći se pokušava sjetiti tko je i odakle dolazi

dok mu se mozak polako gasi (pogođen je u glavu)

što ima tamo? pita četvrti i steže čašu bevande

pogleda uprtog u brda u kojima ga čeka zasjeda

a peti šuti ali njegove oči mogu reći:

smrt.

 

kojiput mi se čini da sam prekinuo lanac

probudim se u noći bez zraka kroz

otvoreni prozor šumi četrnaest katova

(iz drvenih sanduka penje se miris spaljenog mesa)

Krist Iskupitelj je uvijek svježa rana u crnim oblacima

električne krijesnice jurcaju i proklinju i slave

vrijeme kada su se svinje hranile ljudima

ima dolje jedna kuća koja je prije sto godina bila plava

a sada nema krova i prozori su joj otvorene duplje

iznutra je ruševina ali čudno noću oživi

zaboravljeni balkoni pune se cvijećem i svjetlošću

okrugle crnkinje u turbanima naslanjaju se na

zahrđalu ogradu i mali odjeci njihova razgovora

šapuću da je tristo tisuća ljudi mrtvo na onim poljima

gdje su moje čizme ostale bez đonova

gdje su moje oči potonule u blato svemira a

srce mi je kao željezno uže otkinuto od sidra

prozviždalo kroz zrak u slijepim krugovima:

bez cilja, bez cilja.