Ilko Dimitrov

poetry

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THE THREAD SELLER

 

A poem

 

By Ilko Dimitrov

 

            to Emilena

 

In Bulgarian

 

 

 

      I

       

       

      *

       

      The inside of Man is not the man. The outside of Man is not the man.
      Inside are the organs. Outside is the rest of the world. Then what?
      A rather frail, vibrating, transparent and permeable membrane,
      through which matter performs artificial respiration on itself.

       

      *

       

      When grounds get stronger, the expression thickens.
      But then, how come more painful is the tone and the voice much thinner,
      when discussing Man? Or now we’re back again
      at the point of survey when it’s preordained
      that general conclusions are impossible, as his divisibility of essence
      wields the sceptre? The Vitruvian Man
      has died. No longer do exist the beautiful proportions
      of his upright body and the distinguishable centre.
      Now man has neither centre nor an outline
      to be defined – he is composed
      of all his tangent points with the surrounding world and that’s
      his latest change of structure.
      The states’ framework had been replaced
      by the relations’ net. But
      how to praise a string of knots,
      what is the call?

       

      *

       

      Who is who – from where do I start and where do you end,
      is anybody capable of distinguishing the individual participants
      in this mass copulation of shared identities?
      As the hymen intact is an obstacle
      for the normal reproduction, so
      hinders the “I” our co-existence and each an every one
      willingly surrenders I’s stronghold, hectically abandons
      I’s hardly moving ship, stranded
      in the swarming with glistening bodies waters.

       

      *

       

      To determine the place of Man – it is no more possible.
      He has ceased to be the centre of the Universe, as
      the Universe has ceased to be in his centre. Being chaotically travelled over
      by the luminous, or yet dark pulsations of energy, Man
      is one of its facets; part of the vibrations.

       

      *

       

      Being so far away from one another, but yet so
      insurmountably connected! Time was, long since, when
      every one inhabited a home of his own, carefully fenced in
      by jealously protected walls – to erect
      the Chinese wall of one’s existence, it was a primal call,
      it was a preservation means to treasure up
      one’s unique outlines; to keep safe from incursion
      the croft of one’s own “I”. That was the time when
      the Universe was a temple and everything was in accord
      with the deliberate proportions in its construction.
      Afterwards the Universe ceased being a temple
      and Man stood up on earth all by himself,
      stepping over the ruins of his shelters.
      But now he was all different.
                                 The intimacy of the sojourn has been replaced
      by a deluge of sudden and concurrent contiguities
      and not for an instant are we separated. Being one in the other so
      and not a shadow of a mist can force its way through us.
      It broke apart, mouldered into dust - the marble statue
      with those distinctly manifested eyes and limbs – Man is no more
      that transitional detachment, the object in itself,
      the premeditated Self-sufficiency, passing undisturbed
      through time and things. He is what the new pledge has now imposed,
      what the new game’s rules now require –
      he was a statue, when the Universe - a temple,
      now is a sheaf of contiguities
      when radiation is the Universe.

       

      And God holds no more
      a special place in Man.

       

      *

       

      man is dispersed upon the world
      remains nowhere and is being everywhere
      all at once does his shopping in the town of etropole
      while hiking down one of those
      reddish-dusty trails of grand canyon
      raising his quack in the city of brussels
      man is dispersed
      man is scattered on the pavement
      as a handful of change after a wedding ceremony
      because he wants no more stands no more can live no more
      apart of any one of the living humanity
      of that any one namely
      who undoubtedly searches for (and finds) ways
      to concurrently introduce himself to all the other ones of the humanity
      and as the cranial cases
      of each and every one of us are at every given moment
      simultaneously and obligingly wide open for common use
      man without thinking much
      because there is really neither time nor place for that
      does what he does so as to touch the finish line
      but he sees that at this moment somebody else does exactly the same
      or something alike watching him doing the same
      while watching that is being seen
      by others being watched

       

      *

       

      I am for the others an outer world.
      The others are for me an outer world.
      Where are the inner worlds of ours? 

       

       

       

      II

       

      *

       

      God is sprinkled upon Man
      as the pollen on dad’s sleeves, when spring
      wandered the cherry trees. God has a new place now,
      carries out a new mission. Because
      Man has had stopped being
      a cavern of sense and sensibility,
      with an altar kindled in the nook, and as
      he is neither a shell, nor a seed anymore – nothing closed
      from inside and outside (indeed, the boundary does not divide,
      but connects the parts of the halved, as it is
      in between and not an inherent of the one, that the other does not have),
      God doesn’t have a home anymore. Doesn’t have the vessel of His own,
      with walls erected between Man and the world,
      where to reside unprovokedly. The axis does not exist,
      since Man stands no more at the other end.
      Being deprived of his intimate territories
      God is now the Great pagan. He is
      the Omni-known savage, who rediscovers the elements
      and combines with them naturally; the Cosmic waif,
      feeding the pigeons in Timelessness’ square; the Aerial kid
      confidingly sitting down at the feet
      of another Great waif, to hear
      the fable once again.
             God is looking on the world in amazement
      and cannot believe.

       

      *

       

      Know thyself – what a challenge
      to the Cosmos.

       

      *

       

      Because it may turn out, that you are praying to yourself.
      Have you seen God, indeed? Have you seen someone
      who had seen Him? Because it may turn out, that
      you are a god – why, how can He reside in you,
      if You are not godlike? As above,
      so below – One, that is not two.
      Don’t seek after God – he does not exist
      separately. God is the sign of equality between
      Man and Universe; the rapturous visualization
      of Oneness.

       

       

       

      III

       

      *

       

      You see
      the Earth is flat, but you know it’s globular.
      You see
      the stars above your head shut in
      the space between the sky and earth, but you know
      it’s not the natural end of the Cosmos that has no end.
      You see
      the death of others, but you don’t know your own, can’t know it.
      The senses’ knowing exists together
      with the mind’s cognizing and the world is a combination
      of what the senses offer and
      what the mind can demonstrate. Return, always return
      to the obviousness – it conceals truths you haven’t found yet.

       

      *

       

      I’m running on the treadmill in the gym, watching
      how the preset time expires.
      Do I exist at that time now,
      or at another? 

       

      *

       

      You may be sure some are doing it even now.
      They, of course, do not live in them towns or are mad -
      lying with their backs on the ground and faces towards the sky
      and relating the motion and disposition of the stars
      to the terrestrial occurrences and things. Thus some had been lying before,
      when Man started joining the pieces together -
      homing the Universe, while turning the Earth
      into gods’ dwelling. It had been a wonderful
      game of congruity of things and of occurrences, a game
      in which Man assembled at random and with childish vigour,
      right there on the meadow, the things he could only watch and
      the things he could touch; the changes in the sky
      and the changes in the earth;
      the things composed of atoms
      and the things composed of Sun and air;
      the incorporeal occurrences, that gave birth to corporeal occurrences –
      a game of assembly, a game of all-penetration
      in which everything and everywhere was so connected
      that each part was the whole and the whole was every part
      and by the single part’s motion one could tell,
      no, not only could tell, but could create
      the behaviour of the others – there, Sirius was rising high
      and the flood began; a man was born and the Moon filled up.
      The word is – rapture,
      to watch the wedding of the substance; the frenzied and all-possible
      compounds of elements; to be a part of those compounds,
      a part of the rites, one of the foremost participants of the wedding –
      the bride or the groom, or the wedding wine, whatever –
      you have the senses for this frenetic game, you have the taste for it.
      But of course, that is all in the past now.

       

      *

       

      When you are at the acme of knowledge,
      far before anyone else, taking a sip
      of the bewitching wine of super perception, when you are out
      of every day’s physiology –
      take a careful look at you knowledge. Can you see there
      the broken bicycle of the Congolese refugee,
      can you notice the daily rice ration of the skinny Chinese,
      do you happen to have somewhere in your knowledge
      a piece of nylon for the Indian to stay in the dry for a month,
      can you catch a glimpse in your knowledge
      of the three million waifs sleeping in the cemeteries of Cairo?
      Do you see all these wretches,
      because they don’t see you at all, haven’t even dreamt of you,
      do not suspect the possibility of your existence.
      You don’t know of them, they don’t know of you –
      here is a planet, that starts losing its meaning.

       

      *

       

      How does it influence you, what difference does it make for you
      the infinity of the Universe? And the fly,
      creeping on your leg?  

       

       

       

      IV

       

      *

       

      Our knowledge strives to achieve what
      we already possess in wisdom.

       

      *

       

      The time passes through our heads and as if with a stick
      stirs the waters of knowledge – dense and sticky
      at the bottom and clear at the surface. Thus
      myths come to light,
      visions become tangible
      and what’s been lurking
      in the cavities of our darkest premonitions
      emerges on the sunlit shores to live with us
      its different existence. But as if
      we are yet not ready to accept
      that faith contains what mind is to cognize. We think
      we are in outer Space, in unexplored territories,
      facing inexplicable phenomena,
      when in fact we are doing nothing but proving the visions
      we wake up every morning with,
      nothing but verifying the factuality of all the figments
      we’ve been growing into manhood with
      under our Christmas trees for millennia now. Everything
      that Mind is at pains to prove is on hand already
      in our myths and the knowledge has no other grounds,
      nothing beyond them.

       

      If you want to comprehend Man – prove God.

       

      *

       

      After all,
      praying to higher beings is not similar to eating
      or to reproduction. Every one of these activities
      has its value, time and significance,
      but with only one of them does the rapture continue
      after the end of the act.

       

      *

       

      But what does it mean – as above,
      so below? Why do you have to be a God?
      So that you stop asking.

       

       

       

      V

       

       

      Miracles come and go, go away and come back, and leave behind,
      when they go away, our life empty of miracles and themselves empty of life.
      If they can’t be separate entities, why aren’t they a Whole?

       

      *

       

      You’re standing in between the fabricated and the real life,
      preventing the amalgamation. Or, may be,
      that is well indeed – to keep them free
      from mutual dependence - the place of pleasure
      and the place of punishment. The real life is where
      you serve your lifetime before death; where
      seriousness and responsibleness are so apposite. Where
      time and place of all occurrences are foreordained
      and every deviation creates confusion - undue and painful,
      of the pattern of events. Unwelcome
      are attendees abetting rioting,
      suggesting the idea of a different routine
      and of unusual roles.
      The fabricated is the detour life,
      a chill out stroll after exhausting week, where
      everything’s allowed. Man is immortal,
      the dead are alive and the stars reflect. The Spirit wishes
      and the time flow stops, then wishes once again
      and falls apart the Universe into autumn leafs.

       

      You made the fist step long ago,
      allow now the encounter.

       

      *

       

      The righter of the two worlds, the truer one,
      the proven, the world without which
      we couldn’t ascertain the authenticity
      of the existence; the testing ground
      of knowing; the incubator
      of the influences; the breeding-place of the impacts;
      the catalyser of the changes; the eventuation.
      The world inside you and the world outside you –
      the righter world, the truer one.

       

       

       

      VI

       

      *

       

      Not the form
      or the content. No matter
      what you say, or how you say it.
      The only that matters
      is the rustle of the leaves, the Turkish blue of the sky.
      The only that matters
      is the one talking to you.

       

      *

       

      Isn’t it amazing the self-arising thirst
      for a new expression. Isn’t it all said already?
      Or it’s not the content, but the form that matters,
      so that each new living begins to speak anew,
      starts looking for one’s own definitions of the eternal questions,
      as if one is the first to ever start. But it is not only a new form,
      as the newborn is not just the next living,
      but the entire humanity, given birth along with it,
      so as to begin its new life, without which it is not possible.
      We do exist thus, as if no one existed before us.
      To be precise – thus, that what is built before us
      is not the next stair step, the firm foundation with comprehensible dimensions,
      but the new energy of the provocation to create,
      the enriched topography of thirst. And there is no mainstay.
      Because to pin one’s faith upon; to look for a pillar of strength
      means to forfeit one’s turn.

       

      In motion, the new water ever in motion.

       

      *  

       

      You don’t dream of writing the sentence the entire humanity awaits trembling do you
      of writing the poem which in actual fact will put an end to the poetry do you you don’t
      intend to make the verbal discovery that has been looked for with feverish haste for
      centuries now but in the end will flare up with inaccessible explicitness from beneath
      your pen do you You are playing with words just like that aren’t you Aren’t you?

       

      *

       

      You’re probably asking yourself, you probably don’t understand,
      why I am toiling with words. Also I, probably, don’t understand
      why you’re toiling with whatever you’re toiling.
      Who would handle all that, indeed?

       

       

       

      VII

       

      *

       

      Who am I speaking to, who is speaking to me?

       

      What do you read from my words, you
      the one seeking for a handful of rice, the livestock dealer,
      you, the one living in a temple, the risk markets analyst, you,
      the astronaut, breathing down God’s neck, you
      the one, getting ready for her next client, and you – the butcher,
      and you – the trash bin fancier,
      what do you make out of what I write and what do I make out
      of what you say, whenever you say something.
      You are talking about love and I don’t feel a thing,
      I am talking about love and I alone do feel it.
      Your freedom – isn’t that the chain
      that rescues you and fetters me
      to the wheel of adherences? You, the writing one,
      can’t you feel the thread of words is getting thinner,
      it’s melting away on the wall? So anguished
      our co-existence is and there is no community.

       

      *

       

      How they, who listen to and reed poetry, become infant children like.
      All of them so eager to hear the colourful and thrilling fairytale to take them out
      of the dusky and damp dungeon of the daily grind.
      They tune their eyes to see roundly and ears to hear sharply, taking utmost care not to produce a single – at least not an accidental - sound.
      They prepare, give themselves over to be taken to the flower gardens of nothingness; don’t want to know there is a way back, don’t think about it,
      why ruin a journey, that doesn’t happen every day
      (one can not reside in flower gardens daily).
      They give themselves over, hush down with their eyes round and ears sharp,
      but that’s how they stay
      the infant children - taken for a ride by the grown up writing people,
      who can bother about no fairytales at all,
      but can only possibly
      share various things from their lives and how they cope in general.

       

      *

       

      The everlasting topics are absurd.
      The topics of the day are disposable tissues.
      Your view on them?
      But who is really interested?

       

      *

       

      Too singular our sensations and feelings became,
      too weird. We are about to vanish
      for singularity.

       

      *

       

      I don’t want to amass, I won’t line up
      for adding – I am not one of,
      I am not a part of. What I do
      is to the side of the sprouting building
      and won’t remain in the foundations of another.
      I write what I am –
      I had never been before and I will never ever be.

       

      *

       

      Don’t try casting the net – the excessive striving for defining
      drains the words of their substance, makes them unfit to handle
      the arrogant persistence of the preset schemes;
      to balance the painful eagerness of the deliberate constructions.
      Don’t try casting the net, just stay ashore.

       

      *

       

      Those inspiring words for love, honour, reliance,
      those inspiring words, which are
      replacing one another
      swallowing each other.

       

      *

       

      A tiny book of poetry
      lies at an angle on the wooden table. Push it with your hand
      and the angle disappears.

       

       

       

      VIII

       

      *

       

      Yes, the words remain – as energy or as an apparent imprint
      on the surfaces of matter, not only remain, but
      operate on their own, change the substance of their co-experience,
      just like the sown seed sprouts to become a fruit eventually,
      ceasing being a seed.

       

      *

       

      Imagine that your words are
      the scalpel in the surgeon’s hands and he is about
      to make the life-saving incision, imagine,
      what you write is the tool
      to eliminate the breakdown, just imagine,
      as if you are carrying, extremely gingerly and slowly,
      a handful of water for the dying, imagine,
      your words are
      the only opening, through which air percolates in the cave,
      imagine for a moment,
      that not the words, but you are the opening.

       

      *

       

      What you write must change the Universe.
      If you don’t write like that, leave it to someone else.
      But if you intend to change the Universe, you’ll become a laughing stock.

       

      *

       

      You have to repeat, you have to repeat,
      you have to repeat the words in your own voice.
      Your voice, the tone of your voice, the nuance of the tone of your voice -
      that’s the novelty, the difference of meaning, that’s your contribution
      to the bottomlessness of the human deposition –
      not the pursuit of new content,
      not the attempts of definitions either. Because
      the world is a play of light and shade,
      a play of shades with lights
      and of lights with the lack of lights, and since it is not
      an ancient amphora tangled in seaweed; an ashlar
      with premeditated proportions; a thing from things, amongst which
      to leave the thing of your existence – you can only add to it
      your incomparable distinction, your nuance non-pareil.
      Thus the play gains a new rhythm.
      But if you are not the first,
      if you are not the one to begin, there is actually no point of repeating.

       

      *

       

      I want to be listening to profound voices
      uttering profound words. I am tired to death
      with the creeping of the billowing, numbing fog of Scepsis;
      I suffocate with the asexual indifference
      of the bored languor; I really cannot stand
      the crescendos of the flesh losing individuals -
      Creature, don’t you need
      those profound old words already? Don’t be ashamed to admit that,
      you are no more at the freezing point, at the dead point
      of negations, you’ve got both feet across –
      set your premonition free. The community
      of enta geweorc1 awaits you.

       

      IX

       

      *

       

      Certainly, the market-place is not the place for the cleric,
      nor for the poet, or for the thinker.
      It is the cacophonic place for their messesengers
      to provide for the daily round;
      the favourite place of their suppliers, where
      everyone proves oneself, right here on the spot, because there is no time
      to explain who one is, nor to declare
      one’s love or hatred;
      that is the space that brooks no barriers,
      because seclusion is an unjustifiable luxury,
      a needles delay, punished with no further delay.
      On the market-place there is no place for preparation.
      The hesitant movements and inner incertitudes
      are only allowed to the spectators,
      but not to the participants. The meaning of Life,
      the infinity of the Universe
      and other favourite subjects of thinkers and poets
      sound out of place here on the market-place,
      where the immediate problems are being solved.

       

      *

       

      Kapalı çarşı2 has been working for hundreds of years now
      in the immediate proximity of
      the Blue Mosque3 and Hagia Sophia3.
      They neither hinder, nor help each other –
      they simply exist independently of one another.
      Most likely, each influences the others,
      but who could see that?

       

       

       

      *

       

      The mason doesn’t usually know the inhabitants to be.
      The surgeon doesn’t usually know his patient.
      The poet doesn’t usually know his readers.
      How do all of these measure their own work?

       

      *

       

      what’s with the cobbler
      what’s with that diligence to put the new clouts in place
      what’s with the surgeon
      what’s with that tension to make the incision
      what’s with them masons
      what’s with that long discussion around those stone plates
      what’s with the waiter
      what’s with that endeavour to arrange the serviettes
      what’s with the driver
      what’s with that waking up at four o’clock every morning
      what’s with that waking up at four every morning,
      as if it is the end of the world

       

      *  

       

      So intently, with such a commitment
      is preparing a Doner the Doner-seller,
      as if he’s flying a jumbo jet or entering
      the left auricle already.
      Is it really suitable
      that sort of an attitude for a job like this?

       

      *

       

      With such a diligence the thread seller labours,
      so seriously treats his trade, as if
      he is about to do whatever the surgeon is going to do.
      Doesn’t he look ridiculous, the thread seller,
      compared to the surgeon? And the surgeon –
      doesn’t he look ridiculous compared to the God’s shepherd?
      And the latter – isn’t he totally ridiculous compared to God?
      And God – isn’t He a ridiculous God if compared to the thread seller,
      who with such a diligence labours?

       

      *

       

      Is this the potency of the one shining shoes?
      Is this the limit, the finish line, the final gong,
      the last deal, the ultimate verdict, the bottom,
      the end?

       

      *

       

      I’m watching this master turn the world
      into a helpful tool for his labour – an availability of possibilities
      and lack of difficulties or means
      to wade through them. The unnecessariness does not exist.
      A world enjoying its own meaning.

       

      *  

       

      And I do not claim,
      there are always both crowd and shamans,
      and both the crowd and the shamans share
      neither common language, nor common goals,
      and that they always live on different planets and in different times.
      And I do not state,
      the worse that can happen to them
      is to take an interest in one another.  

       

      X

       

      *

       

      I’m watching those God-forgotten youngsters
      in that God-forgotten little town
      walk among the houses as if alive, crawl
      on the ever dwindling circlets of their small daily rounds,
      swallow, gorge themselves on the insult of the impossibility
      to step across them borderlines, they’re setting by themselves.
      I’m thinking – I know how little it takes,
      how easy it is to change their lives right away,
      why can’t they? I know what they should do,
      how don’t they?

       

      While I’m thinking of that, someone is watching me, wondering
      at my ignorance of what to do so as to change
      my life right away, why can’t I? Where is, actually,
      the verge?

       

      *

       

      Had you been a town – you would’ve disappeared for sure.
      When paths into a town are getting overrun with grass,
      when there’s more giggle in the streets,
      than sound of tools,
      when gloating and obscenity rule over the town square,
      instead of steadfastness,
      when lies are being traded on the market-place, instead of goods,
      the dwellers of that town do leave,
      abandoning the deceitful shelters
      of their wounded homes and the seeming immovability
      of the altering stone-walls.

       

      *

       

      Two-three times a year superb moments happen to you,
      moments worth living for.
      Are you two-three times a human, or two-three times not a human?

       

      *

       

      There are places for laying to rest and places for giving birth.
      In the places for laying to rest no healthy children are born.
      In the places for giving birth no one is laid to rest.
      Where do you remain in being?

       

      *

       

      Fill up with rage, break the chains!
      Any given moment – causes you can’t possibly know.
      Any given moment – reasons you can’t possibly see.
      Any given moment – effects you can’t possibly foresee.
      Any given moment past, any given moment future.
      Break the chains, fill up with rage!

       

      *

       

      The faith, the hope – that is the game
      of life on Earth.
      What is the game after, in Heaven?

       

       

       

      XI

       

      *

       

      I am alive, hence outstanding –
      equal are only the dead. But how many
      equally outstanding.

       

      *  

      So touchingly unprepared is Man
      when commencing that intimate game with death.
      He knows no wiles, even keeps no healthy distance,
      which would help him avoid appearing ridiculous,
      when unpleasantly surprised.
      He is so unprepared and so sincere –
      everything is written on his face, he is so deep in it,
      when putting on the market the very latest version of
      the Game.

       

      *

       

      We – the actual alive. We have no match, we have no match.
      We’re in the game – the cabal of the living,
      the secret plot of the now-live. We have no match.
      We’re in the game, they the rest are fictious.
      The dead and the unborn do not exist and aren’t in the game.
      Face the facts, do not torment yourself in vain – you can’t explain to them
      the magic of existence – they, sure enough, are not adherents.
      What they had done is out of date -
      a half-hearted and parochial attempt –
      now is the time for real action,
      we are to strike the final blow, to play the final chord.
      It’s our turn and they the rest are simply missing,
      do not appear on the stage and nobody
      expects them to appear. Don’t say the shades and we are just alike,
      don’t lump together the suggestions of the fiction
      and the impact of the presence, which latter
      one can measure and also share,
      mostly share. And everyone is going to admit –
      there is no match for us – the practitioners of the noisy magic of life
      on Earth - the Earth that we inhabit
      for the first time, actually.

       

      *

       

      When you don’t feel like living.
      When you don’t feel like living at all.
      When you, bluntly put, don’t feel like living.
      When you don’t feel like living, not even a bit.
      When you wish you were dead.
      When you are better off dead.
      When to have died.
      When to die, right now, right here.
      When to not have been born.
      When to have never been born.
      When why are you born, after all.
      When why, indeed,
      are you alive but not dead? When you don’t feel like living,
      when you feel like dying – say three times “when”.
      Shade matters.

       

      Juveniles with rigor mortis, immature dead –
      how come none of them brought to an end one’s undertaking,
      how come each one chucked, now at the beginning, now in the middle,
      what had started, how come no one grew up
      and everyone remained so small,
      on the previous step.

       

      *

       

      Where is Mother-Life, which gender is Life,
      why is Life masculine5, and where is Father-Death,
      which gender is Death, why is Death feminine6?
      Whether in all languages Life is a male and Death – a female?
      Whence the confusion? Has it always been like that?
      Or just lately?

       

      *

       

      My life is not a temporary affliction,
      is it? It is not an annoying obligation
      I can’t unfortunately decline, is it?
      Not a coat I’m throwing on to stay dry
      and throwing off in the laundry basket after?
      Not the prelude to the real show?
      It’s not the rehearsal, is it? Not some mishap,
      a silly coincidence?
      Is that all –
      for the time being and for the time to come?

       

      *

       

      Well, death! I really have to bear you!

       

       

       

      XII

       

      *

       

      By the way, you ought to know
      you’re quite an ugly sight when poor.
      You look just like an old newspaper, in which dead fish had been wrapped.
      When sick, you’re an ugly sight too. Also,
      when drowned in gloominess, you’re an ugly sight. You look just like a dead fish.
      Reflect – you spoil the air. No one has to bear
      this stench.

       

      *

       

      Apparently, one needs
      a visualization of the problem.
      Otherwise, one cannot understand
      why to go on.

       

      *

       

      What does the sick one do, does he enjoy life?
      And the poor one – does he enjoy life? Does he enjoy life -
      the one who’d lost hope, the one crushed by life?
      What do these feel instead of joy?

       

      *

       

      How do you evaluate the meaning of your existence
      (with no faith and no hope)?
      What are your chances of outliving your death
      (with no faith and no hope)?
      How about in the end not remembering what love is
      (with no faith and no hope)?
      How about in the end being pleased to still move
      (with no faith and no hope)?
      Which one is true, indeed – what is happening to you, or
      what your faith and hope suggest to you? Now find the third one
      to be happy with, without deceiving yourself.

       

      *

       

      Here – look at it, the fruit-tree in winter, how ugly it is as death.
      Then look at the river, when it is no more a river in the sea.
      Look at the Sun too, when you don’t see it.
      What do you want from yourself?

       

      *

       

      I’m an imprint of heaven,
      You’re an imprint of earth.
      I add to heaven, you add to nothing.
      You’re born to die,
      I’m born birth to be given.
      You’re the lower row, I’m the upper row.
      You’re just a sack, absolutely unaware
      why the hell is being dragged to earth
      and when will get dumped into the hole.
      I’m the unsubstantial message,
      passed like a baton at worlds’ stadiums
      under the ear-splitting exclamations of light.

       

      Who can say that?
      Who can’t say it?  

       

       

       

      XIII

       

      *

       

      The only mode – to endure.
      To endure whatever time is in store.
      To endure whatever space.
      To endure whatever in space
      and whatever in time.
      To endure the failure to endure.

       

      *

       

      Does God see how you are living, what your job is?
      Does He grasp the meaning of your efforts? You’re as a dog, tied up
      to your temporary shelter, you’re blinded
      by the necessities of the accidental occupations, you’re startled
      by the love that comes and by the love that goes, you’re hurt,
      to put it boldly – you’re sick, for being consigned to dying
      and from the very birth you’ve been preparing this moment only. Make sure
      God sees; make sure He motions to you.

       

      *

       

      Why are you still alive, indeed? Don’t you see
      you are a zero!? Isn’t it obvious you can’t
      go beyond yourself; can’t reach the top
      since you are on the bottom, concrete lined? Only in the fairy-tales
      does a servant go to sleep to wake up and find himself a master –
      in the life you live there are no miracles
      only the possible does happen - never the desired.
      How do you keep the flame of life glimmering, watch over it
      believing it will flare up into a fire and burn to ashes
      all the rags of your existence! You’re holding tight
      and with such a dignity the gift of life, you’re carrying it
      in your palms, clam-shaped, so gingerly, as if water –
      so that the thirsty one can drink and be no more a thirsty one.
      Your life was a gift,
      but then the gift turned into a punishment
      and you yourself, earnestly and proudly,
      submitted to your punishment –
      happy as an executioner, who had forgotten he was the victim.
      What else are you waiting for – the hope to accomplish
      what the energy of life cannot – don’t fool yourself,
      the hope just covers up the ugliness, throws on a cloak
      over the running sore, but doesn’t heal. Why are you still alive?
      Shall I depict to you the comfort
      after death!?

       

       

       

      XIV

       

      *

       

      There is no community on Earth – we discern thus,
      that I can’t recognize what you see,
      nor share we the same rhythm of time. If there is a community
      it is one in Heaven, deeply hidden
      beyond layers of undisturbed differences
      and chasms of unshared time.
      But not here on Earth. Rise above Earth
      and all barriers disappear, peaks sink into depressions,
      everything merges on the plane surface
      and the purity of the Whole takes hold of you.
      There is where we’re joined -
      upon Heaven, where the thought exults,
      the feeling knows
      and the Spirit anticipates.

       

      *

       

      Who stands for you? Who can stand for you?
      Get to know yourself to find out you are nobody.
      Get to know God to find out there is no God.
      Get to know the other ones to find out you are alone.
      Drop that, you have more specific tasks to do.

       

      *

       

      You can stop the moment.
      You can stop the moment, if you wish –
      it’s up to you. Just make your choice –
      the beautiful butterfly pinned between the wings
      or the swarming in the air.

       

      *

       

      You are looking for a favourable omen?
      Look – the Sun is rising.

       

      *

       

      Having clumsily crawled out of the cave,
      Man stood upright resolutely,
      to be self-dispersing afterwards
      like dandelion seeds in the air.

       

       

       

       

       

      ---

       

      1 Old English - geweorc (ge-, collective pref. + weorc, work;); enta geweorc – “work of giants” - often ref. to “stone building”; construction
      2Kapalı çarşı – The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey
      3 The Blue Mosque - The Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey
      4 Hagia Sophia - a former patriarchal basilica, later a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul, Turkey
      5 The noun Life is masculine in Bulgarian;
      6The noun Death is feminine in Bulgarian

       

       

       

      Translated from the Bulgarian by Hristianna

 

 

 

"The Literary Club“, 28.04.2009.
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