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Literature

In this page you can discover the top 3 artists for the
Literature discipline in the Blue Area (Mediterranean to Ocean) selected by the qualified judges and the audience are invited to the Semi-final event in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The winners of the Semi-final event in each discipline will take part in the MArteLive Biennial in October 2022 in Rome, Italy. They will also have the chance to participate in Art residencies and get relevant prizes.

Semifinalists from Mediterranean To Ocean

Vladana Perlić

Banja Luka, Bosnia and Erzegovina

Vladana Perlić (1995, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a French Language and Literature professor, a poet and a writer. She published two books of poetry: “Kucanje na vrata kule” (Zaprokul, 2020) and “Isus među dojkama” (LOM, 2020). She has won numerous awards, including “Novica Tadić” (2020), “Ratkovićeve večeri poezije” (2020) and “Mak Dizdar” (2018 and 2020). Her poetry was translated into French, German, English, Hungarian, Polish, Italian and Hindi.
Text in original language

A Love Letter to the Town That Isn’t Calling Back

you’re retarded and stupid

that’s why you’re my town

don’t ever leave me

lead me swaying and drunk

to my last bus home

I recognize it by the unique stench

the non-existent AC

the ojkanje on the playlist

my town

I love you I love you

forget Europe France Berlin

they got nothing on you

you have the most beautiful eyes

you undress me so thoroughly

kiss my knees with your bruised streets

you are my first fuck my first real cry

first drunkenness concerts friendships

my eternal weakness my love

never give up on me

I will never give up on you

you’re a full ashtray

I guard from waiters

out of you I am born

whenever gamblers cross themselves

and pull the handle on a slot machine

never believe my threats of abandonment

I’m just playing hard to get

because I want to be held tighter

to be told my love

read Cavafy all is true

one city one country one desire

you and me

my city

don’t be a stranger

I always wanted to belong to you

why are you pretending not to know me

say I am your love your favorite

that you remember me from my teen days

with a bottle of Nektar in the park

and puzzled eyes

I was looking for you

I hate you

your hundred faces

you are bare concrete and pigeon shit

well proofread hate speech

I am yours yours

why can’t you see me

to hell with you

and your Serbian teachers with colorful

scarfs around their necks

abundance of adjectives up their sleeves

they always know better

they always wore your wedding rings

and spat on my essays

because I claimed that the most Christian thing

is to give love to everyone

in return take love

but they saw only

whore whore whore

not one adjective preceding the noun

my town

you limp dick

you frustrate me you drive me crazy

I want to give you everything

and you’re just sitting there

counting sheep

developing paraplegia

what am I to you

some diploma to put out for the guests

a souvenir a seashell from Sutomore

that every couple of years

you put to your ear

pretending to listen to

the sea the storm the future

don’t give me that bullshit

you’re a junky who’s getting off

smack his whole life starting tomorrow

but the first chance he gets

he steals grandma’s pension

and chases dragons in a chemical toilet

my town

you hypocritical schizophrenic shit

I wouldn’t trade you for the world.

Vladana Perlić

Text in English Version

LJUBAVNO PISMO GRADU KOJI SE VIŠE NE JAVLJA

ti si retardiran i glup

zato jesi moj grad

nikad me nemoj napustiti

vodi me lelujavu i pijanu

na moj zadnji bus

prepoznajem ga po jedinstvenom smradu

nepostojećoj klimi

ojkačama na plejlisti

grade moj

volim te volim

šta evropa francuska šta berlin šta

ti imaš najljepše oči

tako me temeljno svlačiš

poljubi mi koljena modrim ulicama

ti si moje prvo jebanje prvo pravo plakanje

prva pijanstva svirke drugarstva

moja vječna slabost ljubav

nikad nemoj odustati od mene

nikad neću odustati od tebe

ti si puna pepeljara

koju ne dam konobarima

iz tebe se rađam

kad se kockari prekrste

i povuku ručku na voćkicama

nikad mi ne vjeruj na prijetnje izbjeglištvom

to ti samo udaram čežnju

jer želim da me stisneš jače

da mi kažeš ljubavi

čitaj kavafija sve je istina

jedan grad jedna zemlja jedna čežnja

ti i ja

grade moj

ne budi stranac

uvijek sam htjela da ti pripadam

zašto se praviš da me ne poznaješ

reci da sam tvoja ljubav mezimica

da me se sjećaš iz tinejdžerskih dana

sa dvolom nektara u parkiću

i zbunjenim okama

ja sam tražila tebe

mrzim te

tvojih sto lica

ti si goli beton i golubja govna

dobro lektorisan govor mržnje

ja sam tvoja tvoja

zašto me ne vidiš

kvragu i ti

tvoje nastavnice srpskog sa šarenim

maramama oko vrata

obiljem pridjeva u rukavu

one uvijek znaju bolje

one su uvijek nosile tvoje burme

i pljuvale po mojim sastavima

jer sam tvrdila da je najhrišćanskije

davati ljubav svima

zauzvrat uzimati ljubav

ali one su vidjele samo

kurva kurva kurva

nijedan pridjev ispred

grade

malaksali kurcu

frustriraš me dovodiš do ludila

ja bih da ti dam sve

a ti tromo blejiš

brojiš ovce

razvijaš paraplegiju

šta sam ti ja

neka diplomica da me izložiš

za goste suvenir školjka iz sutomora

što je svakih par godina

prisloniš na uho

praviš se da slušaš

more oluju budućnost

zajebi me s tim

ti si đaner koji se cijeli život

od sutra skida sa dopa

a prvom prilikom krade babi penziju

i juri zmajeve u hemijskom klozetu

grade moj

govno licemjerno šizofreno

ne bih te mijenjala ni za jedan drugi na svijetu.

Vladana Perlić

 

Augustė Jasiulytė

Vilnius, Lithuania

Augustė Jasiulytė was born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania. She has obtained her undergraduate degree in Scandinavian studies, focusing on linguistics, from Vilnius University. Augustė is fluent in English, French, Norwegian, Danish, and Finnish languages.
Augustė has received recognition for her short stories – her short story in French “Boss” (2017) was published in a short story collection “BREF!” in Canada, “Kdfng*(4df\[gir” (2020) won 2nd place in the Lituanicon fantasy literature competition, “Helsinki Hobo” (2021) was published in the literary magazine “Metai”. Her short story in French “Oiseau” (Birdy, 2021) was published by the literary review “Ancrages” in Canada. Her short story “Ar peržengiam, ar apeinam ratu?” (Should we step over her, or go around? 2021) was among the laureates of the literary festival Literatūrinės slinktys writing competition, and subsequently published.

read more


Her first novel “Šokanti giria” (The dancing forest) was published in 2019. Augustė’s play “Mėžinys” (Shitstorm, 2021) won third place in the Alytus City Theater’s playwrights' competition. In 2021, Augustė was commissioned by the Vincas Mykolaitis Putinas memorial museum to write short stories for the “ASMR at the Museum” project. Forthcoming: children’s book “Žiurkėnytė Gilė ir jos pirmoji žvaigždė” (The little hamster Gilė and her first star), publisher “Tikra knyga”.

Text in english version

By Augustė Jasiulytė

“Quiet, quiet… quiet!”

I would get beaten if I came home a little too late – they’d say there were loads of pedophiles everywhere.

And really, not only once, I saw men in bushes, pants pulled down, jacking off, staring at children. Maybe, just like the thousands of stray cats and dogs, one year, they were all taken to the pound, and in the streets were left only the less dangerous bums (the druggies, I wouldn’t see by daylight; I’d only have to pick their syringes out of the sand box).

“You’re not a girl, you’re a beast”, my old hag of a grandmother furiously spat, her jaw clenched, white teeth mark on the hand she had just pulled away from me.

I would have wanted at least one person to tell me: “You’re not a beast, you’re a girl”, but everyone remained quiet.

I gave up when a mutt bit me in the street – that old hag said that it was my own fault, because I went down the same street as that rabid dog. The rabies shot was maybe my initiation to beastdom.

Nonetheless, sometimes I’d pretend I was a human – I’d tidy up the kitchen drawers, brought myself down to cleaning the baseboards, and brought better grades home from school. I had to be invisible, non-existent, ask no questions.

At home, parents would pick on their kids; teachers would pick on their students, and each other. One time, in class, I opened a window which caused a draft, so I got detention. Brains overloaded with restrictions have a harder time learning – that’s why I got sent to the dumbass class

“Riot, riot… riot!”

I heard another beast roar in the hallway – shaggy, six-three, earring in one ear. He asked to be called Samuel. For a couple of years, our glances would meet in the halls, we’d exchange sarcastic remarks, compete about who’d pull off the biggest stunt without getting caught (in December, I won by putting snow into the overhanging lamps).

In the library, we’d learn Latin phrases by heart while acting like satanists. We both had itchy teeth; we’d gnaw on jawbreakers and biscotti, and kiss by the river until we’d start to yawn. At school rumours were spread that I let him through my back door, and he retorted that he’d fuck me even if I’d be a man.

We poured into our empty heads: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Bukowski, Chekov… we took to writing, publishing, our own newspaper, and after the first issue it was banned and distributed illegally. Samuel composed madly good poems – around us started a circle of sympathetic art punks – but at some time he let it slip that he’d like to shoot everyone at school.

For a long time, the teachers had been trying to get rid of us; they didn’t believe that the threat was just a quote from a poem of his. The police came. Samuel was forbidden to show up at our farewell ceremony, and to enter the school at any point during his lifetime.

For the first time I started to hear from teachers “I still have hope for you” and “he affected you badly”.

At the farewell ceremony, the eleventh graders staged the play Samuel had written. After the representation, they stated his name out loud. The teachers applauded resentfully.

He was found after a couple of years.

I heard that someone got paid to deliver the carcass, so it could be checked for rabies.

Text in original Language

Augustė Jasiulytė

„Ša ša ša…“

Lupdavo, jei pargrįždavau namo nors kiek vėliau –  sakydavo, kad visur pilna pedofilų.

Ir tikrai ne kartą mačiau krūmuose nuleistomis kelnėmis besismaukančius į vaikus spoksančių vyrų. Gal juos kaip ir tuos tūkstančius benamių šunų ir kačių vienais metais susėmė ir paliko gatvėse tik mažiau pavojingus bomžus (narkomanų dienomis neregėdavau – reikėdavo tik švirkštus iš smėlio dėžių išsirankioti).

– Ne mergaitė, o žvėris, – persikreipusi iš įtūžio iššvokštė močia, atitraukdama ranką su baltuojančiu dantų įspaudu.

Norėjau, kad nors vienas žmogus man pasakytų: „Ji ne žvėris, o mergaitė“, bet visi tylėjo.

Pasidaviau, kai gatvėje įkando mišrūnas – močia sakė, kad pati kalta, nes ėjau ta pačia gatve su pasiutusiu šunimi. Skiepai nuo pasiutligės tikriausiai buvo mano iniciacijos į žvėrį dalis.

Vis dar kartais apsimesdavau, kad esu žmogus – sutvarkydavau virtuvės stalčius, nušluostydavau skiaute plintusus ir parnešdavau iš mokyklos geresnį pažymį. Reikėjo būti nematomai, neegzistuoti, neužduoti klausimų.

Namuose tėvai šaipėsi iš savo vaikų, mokytojai iš mokinių ir vieni kitų. Kartą klasėje atidariusi langą sukėliau skersvėjį ir buvau palikta po pamokų. Smegenims apkrautoms draudimais sunkiai sekėsi ką nors įsiminti – todėl pervedė į glušų klasę.

„Aš, aš, aš…“

Išgirdau koridoriuje kito žvėries urzgimą – kudlotas, metras devyniasdešimt, auskaras ausyje. Prašė jį vadinti Samueliu. Kelerius metus mūsų žvilgsniai susitikdavo koridoriuose, persimesdavome kandžiomis replikomis, rungtyniaudavome, kas iškrės didesnę šunybę nepagautas (gruodį laimėjau į lempų gaubtus prikrovusi sniego).

Skaitykloje kaldavome sentencijas lotynų pamokai vaidindami satanistus. Mums abiem niežėjo dantis – kasydavomės juos triaukšdami girliažinius saldainius ir džiūvėsius, o vėliau iki žiovavimo bučiuodamiesi prie upės.

Mokykloje kažkas paleido kalbas, kad duodu jam pro antrą galą, o manasis atkirsdavo, kad pistų mane net jei būčiau vyras.

Pylėme į savo tuščias galvas Ginsbergą, Keruaką, Bukovskį, Čechovą… Ėmėme patys rašyti, leisti laikraštį, kuris po pirmo numerio buvo uždraustas ir plito nelegaliai. Samuelis kūrė pasiutusiai gerus eilėraščius, aplink mus ėmė suktis prijaučiantys menui pankai, bet kartą jam išsprūdo, kad norėtų iššaudyti visus mokykloje.

Seniai laukę kaip mumis atsikratyti mokytojai netikėjo, kad grasinimas – tai citata iš jo eilėraščio. Atsibeldė policija. Samueliui buvo uždrausta rodytis paskutiniame skambutyje ir kada nors gyvenime įžengti į mokyklos pastatą.

Pirmą kartą pradėjau girdėti iš mokytojų, kad „dar turi vilties“, ir „jis tave blogai veikė“.

Per paskutinį skambutį vienuoliktokai pastatė vaidinimą pagal Samuelio pjesę. Po pasirodymo buvo garsiai perskaitytas jo vardas ir pavardė. Mokytojai iš apmaudo skystai paplojo.

Jį surado po kelerių metų.

Girdėjau, kad kažkas gavo išmoką už gaišenos pristatymą pasiutligės tyrimui.

Dominykas Matulionis

Klaipeda, Lithuania

Hello. Dominykas. 24. I study at Klaipėda Faculty of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. I have just completed my second year of studies. Theatre and Event directing with Art Pedagogy module. Look. Recently I got a special mention in Prix Laurence 2022.
https://www.prixlaurence.lu/news_detail/84/en/ But it is not the point. The point is I write. And the most important point for me is to give you the feeling of what my writing is all about. So. With friends help I translated a short novel. In google doc document, that I add is the English and Lithuanian version. Do not be scared. It is not long. Take a glance! Thank you for the opportunity! Lots and loads of love. With all my respect. dm
Text in original language

Dominykas Matulionis

Mefedronas

Lietuviškai. Originalas.

Tik šešios valandos traukiniu su vienu persėdimu, ir ji Liuksemburgo stotyje. Ir aš, idiotas, atvažiuoju dviem valandom anksčiau, tad blaškausi šen ten, rūkau kas dvi minutes ir, aišku, pastebėjęs atvažiuojant traukinį suvokiu, kad sumaišiau platformas…

            – Laukiau tavęs dvi valandas, – kalbu uždusęs, ji pasižiūri į mane kaip į naivų berniuką, irzliai šypteli, aš irzliau nusišypsau, iš burnos iškrenta maisto likutis.

– Tau kabėse kažkas įstrigę.

            – Ne, jie juodi nuo tabako. – Parodau dantis, ji juokiasi, aš – nebe.

            – Kai pirmą karo dieną važiavau traukiniu iš Charkivo, aplinkui nuolat krito bombos. – Ji nutyla, užsižiūrėjusi į judančius vagonus. Atsargiai praveriu burną.

            – Žinai, Klaipėdoje mašinoms pervažiuojant per tiltą, metalinės plokštės garsiai dunda. Viena ukrainietė pasakojo, kad, kai tik išgirsta tą dunksėjimą, jai pasidaro silpna, tad laikosi toliau nuo to tilto. Pasakodama nesulaiko ašarų. Išgyveni ką nors panašaus?

Ji žaismingai papurto galvą.

– Nejau pamiršai kokia esu? Tik nekalbėkim apie karą, gerai?

            – Taip, dabar kas antras – karo ekspertas. Tai kaip laikaisi?

– Visaip būna. Kad nelabai suprantu, kas esu. Lyg matyčiau save iš trečiojo asmens perspektyvos, stebėčiau save iš šono, neturėdama jokios įtakos gyvenimui… Todėl visada bandau išlaikyti vieną mintį, kol ji įaugs į smegenis. Kad tai aš, ta aš, kuri yra čia, esu aš, aš pati, ir nieko daugiau, o svarbiausia, kad kažkas, o ne niekas…  Juokinga, kai pagalvoji, bet kito apibūdinimo nerasčiau… O tu kaip laikais?

– Palyginus su tavimi skųstis negaliu. Dirbu, ir tiek. Kartais klausinėju, kam ir kodėl, bet juk tai natūralu, ar ne?

– Jei taip nori, žinoma…

Stebiuos, kad kol kas nepajutau nė vieno emocinio šuolio.

Ji trenkia man į ranką. Ach, štai kur!

– Atleisk, – numeta.

Ji mėgsta mane mušti, daro tai dažnai. Po smūgio visada atsiprašo. Negaliu to pakęst, bet sukandu dantis.

– Man patinka, kai muši mane. Žinau, kad esi čia.

Ji krykštauja kaip vaikas gavęs spurgą.

Šuolis. Per sekundę jos veidas tampa blyškiai mėlynas.

– Jūs lyg ateiviai, kaip nežmonės, lyg sapno fragmentai, įsiterpę į gyvenimą. O jeigu aš kalbu su tais, kurių nėra, jei visa tai – mano galvoj? Supranti?

– Tau netinka būti poetiškai. – Norisi jai išplėšti balso stygas.

– Jeigu aš gyvenu tom mintim kartais, tai ką tai pasako apie mane? Matai, viskas nėra taip paprasta, kaip tau atrodo.

Tuo metu galiu prisiekti, kad ji mane provokuoja, nenoriu pripažinti, net pagalvoti, kad tai gali būti tiesa, kad aš tik vienas iš jos projekcijų, kad aš netikras. Turiu atkeršyti! Dabar!

            – Tu – šokanti, spontaniška, žiauri ir protinga. Kartais taktiška, dažniausiai nuostabi ir niekada nepalūžtanti… Manau, kad galiu apibūdinti tave, tad jeigu aš galiu apibūdinti tave, gali ir kiti, o jei kiti gali, vadinasi, kad tai tu viską komplikuoji…

            Ji pasižiūri sutrikusiu žvilgsniu ir stipriai trenkia į ranką.

            – Atsiprašau.

– Atleidžiu. Vos nepamiršau. Tu graži.

            – Anksčiau tuo naudojausi… Bet tai tik dar stipriau atplėšė mane nuo manęs, kol galutinai nusibodo…

            Klausiu savęs, kiek aš galiu pakęsti šitų bukų nesąmonių, juodų provokacijų, bet ji pas mane atvažiavo, ir aš šypsojausi, šypsaus aš ir šypsosiuos!

– NEPERMĄSTYK! – rikteli šalia ausies, skaudžiai trenkia į petį, atsiprašo.

Mes einame greitkeliu, mes einame greitkeliu, mes einame greitkeliu, ji atsisuka.

– Žinau, kad baigsiu savo gyvenimą savižudybe. Tik nežinau – kada. – Ji nusisuka.

            Mes einame greitkeliu, mes einame greitkeliu, mes einame greitkeliu, ir mašinos mums pypsi.

Vienais apatiniais įsidrebiu lovoje.

– Esi beveik tokia pat įžūli kaip mano motina, tik nepastebiu paniekos realybei. Tad tikiu tavimi.

Ji bukai nužvelgia mane, kaip skerdykloje mėsininkas nužvelgia gyvulį.

            – Prahoj du mėnesius dirbau webcamo administratore, tvarkiau merginų chat roomus ir nešiojau joms žaisliukus, kol bosas nepradėjo prie manęs priekabiauti. – Ji juokiasi. –  Apsiverkusi jiems pasakojau, kad mamos laidotuvės, kad tragiškai mirė autokatastrofoje, o aš su ja susipykau, kai paskutinį sykį kalbėjom. Suvaidinau puikiai. Tie idiotai man sumokėjo visą algą ir net bilietą namo nupirko. Ukrainoje stumdžiau narkotikus. Aš – dylerė? Stumdau koksą Ukrainos saugumiečiui su uniforma… Ir tai – tik viršūnė. Nejau nematai? Tikėjimas ne man.

            Šuolis.

Iš absoliučios ekstazės ji krenta į tamsą, linguoja atsisėdus ant palangės, o aš lyg užburtas žvilgsniu klaidžioju jos kūnu aukštyn žemyn, aukštyn žemyn, aukštyn žemyn ir viliuosi, kad ji neatsilenktų per daug.

            – Tavo oda graži, – taria ir nueina į dušą, o aš puolu prie lango ir užtrenkiu jį.

            Ji atsigula šalia, uždeda koją man ant klubo. Laukia, o aš, aš – katalikas. Galvoje dūžta: dabar, dabar, dabar, vienas judesys – ir ji mano, ši akimirka – mūsų. Jos akys susitinka su manosiomis, viskas pernelyg teisinga. Guliu. Pats laikas ragina mane veikti. Nejudu. Skylu į du. O gal aš tas nerealusis, kuris nieko negali padaryti ir nedaro; jeigu jos nepatenkinsiu, liksiu tik vaiduoklis, dulkė, iliuzija…  Akvinieti, tu senas avine, duok man jėgų! Jeigu suartėsime dabar, aš mąstysiu apie ją kiaurą mėnesį, o ji bus už dviejų tūkstančių kilometrų, ir nieko – o reikia kaip nors baigti semestrą. Gerai, gerai, gerai, laikyk šitą mintį, laikyk tą mintį, laikyk! Užmiegame apsikabinę.

            Rytas, jos džiugus žvilgsnis.

Šuolis. Ji pyksta ant visos visatos. Impotentas. Aš? Taip ji mano? Dveji metai praėjo – visko nutikti gali. Karštu dušu nusiplaunu viską ir pridedu šalto finalui. Ir atrodau laimingas, prie jos noriu toks būti ir būsiu!

Šuolis. Viskas kinta. Ji tyliai keikiasi sau. Šuolis. Veidas švyti džiaugsmu. Vienas, du, trys. Šuolis. Atrodo, kad tuoj užmuš ką nors. Apsiverkia, kai yra skaitomas eilėraštis apie karą, ir išbėga į kiemą.

Prieinu, pajuokauju, šuolis, ji vėl laimingiausia. Šuolis. Smūgis.

            – Esi senas, – ši išvada išmuša mano šypseną. Kokią teisę ji turi? Nes keturi metai tarp mūsų, dėl to jos tonas, sklidinas pasišlykštėjimo mano susmukusia kuprota poza? Dėl nudribusio pilvo, kreivo veido su mėlynais paakiais, juodų dantų nuo tabako? Dar naktį gyrė mano odą, o dabar tampu luošys, kuprotas, pensininkas, nulis, niekas? Tai kaip čia?

Vėl šuolis. Vėl smūgis. Vėl atsiprašymas. Ji tranko mane, o aš tartum šoku ir šoku, ir šoku ir šoku tai vieną, tai kitą, tai trečią figūrą ir šoksiu, ir šoksiu, ir šoksiu, kol krisiu!

Smūgis. Šuolis. Atsiprašymas, šuolis, atokvėpis. Šuolis. Smūgis, smūgis. Šuolis. Smūgis, smūgis. Smūgis. Nokautas. Lygi oda pasidengia mėlynomis kraujosruvomis, ir šitokiu būdu ji jos užkariauja vis daugiau ir daugiau.

– Mefedronas daug stipresnis už amfetaminą. Kai nuo jo nulipau, parašiau eilėraštį.

            Ji skaito eiles, aš jų negirdžiu, tiesiog žiūriu į ją, ir nieko daugiau.

            Užmiegam susikabinę rankomis. Ir visuomet aš leidžiu sau pasvajoti, kad tą vakarą ji nebūtų atėjusi, kad mes akimirksniu nepajustumėm vienas kitam vadinamos „meilės“, kad aš sumaišyčiau telefono numerį savo, savo adresą, savo visus veidus, savo plaukus išraučiau, visus kūno plaukus, kad ji praeitų pro mane lyg pro nieką, o aš būčiau nebylys ir negalėčiau jai visko sakyti, kad ji kurčia būtų, bet mes atsisveikinam, ir vis tiek sakau…

            – Aš pasiilgsiu tavęs. Tik truputį pasiilgsiu, tik truputį, – greitai pridedu.

            – Tik truputį? – ji aiškiai įsižeidžia.

            – Taip, tik truputį.

            Ji tyli. O aš mačiau tokių akių kaip jos per daug, per daug tokių akių kaip jos mačiau. Apsikabinam. Tylim. Jos plaukai kvepia Haribo guminukais.

Text in english version

Dominykas Matulionis

Mefedron en. sub.

One transfer and only six hours by train and she’s at the Luxembourg station. And I, like an idiot, arrive two hours early, so I wander around from corner to corner, smoke every two minutes and, of course, when I notice the train coming, I realize that I mixed up the platforms…

“I’ve been waiting for you for two hours,” I say out of breath, she looks at me, like I am a naive boy, smiles irritably, I return the irritable smile and a piece of food falls out of my mouth.

“You have something stuck on your braces.”

“No, they’re black from tobacco.” I show my teeth, she laughs and I don’t anymore.

“When I was traveling by train from Kharkiv on the first day of the war, bombs were constantly exploding all around.”

She falls silent, looking at the moving wagons. I open my mouth carefully.

“You know, in Klaipėda, when cars cross the bridge, the metal plates thump loudly. One Ukrainian woman said that whenever she hears that thumping, she gets weak, so she stays away from that bridge. While talking about the story she never holds back tears. Did you go through something similar?”

She shakes her head playfully.

“Have you forgotten how am I? Just let’s not talk about the war, okay?”

“Yes, now every second person is a military expert. So how are you doing?”

“Well, depends, things happen. I don’t really understand who I am. It’s like I’m seeing myself from a third-person perspective, observing myself from the side without having any influence on my own life… That’s why I always try to hold onto one thought until it does not leave my brain. That me, the me that’s here, is me, myself, and nothing more, and most importantly, that I am something, not nothing…  It’s funny when you think about it, but I couldn’t find another description… And how about you, how are you doing?”

“Compared to your situation, I can’t complain. I just keep working. Sometimes I ask why and for what reason, but it’s natural, isn’t it?”

“If that’s what you want, of course…”

I am surprised that I haven’t felt a single emotional jump so far.

She hits my hand. Ah, here it is!

“Ooops, sorry,” she says.

She likes to hit me, she does it often. Of course, she always apologizes after that. I can’t stand it, but I just grit my teeth.

“I like it when you hit me. I know that you’re here.”

She giggles like a kid that got a donut.

Jump. Within a second her face turns pale blue.

“You are like aliens, like non-humans, like fragments of a dream that exist in real life. What if I’m talking to those who don’t exist, like it’s all in my head? Do you understand?”

“Poetry does not suit you at all.” I just want to rip out her vocal cords.

“If I live with these thoughts sometimes, then what does it say about me? You know, it is not as simple as it seems.”

At that point, I could swear she was provoking me, I don’t want to admit it, to even think that it might be true, that I’m just one of her projections, that I’m an illusion. I have to get revenge! Now!

“You are spontaneous, cruel and smart. Sometimes tactful, mostly wonderful and you never fall apart… I think I can describe you, so if I can describe you, so can others, and if others can, then you are the one who is complicating everything…”

She gives me a confused look and, once again, slaps my hand hard.

“I’m sorry.”

“I forgive you. And I’ve almost forgotten. You are beautiful.”

“I was using it before, to get something… But it just pulled me away from me even more until I finally got fed up…”

I ask myself how much I can endure this blunt nonsense, straight-up provocations, but she came to me, and I smiled, and I am smiling and I will continue smiling!

“DON’T OVERTHINK!” she screams near my ear, painfully hits me on the shoulder and apologizes.

We’re going down the highway, we’re going down the highway, we’re going down the highway! She turns to me.

“I know that my life will end by suicide. I just don’t know when.” She turns away.

We’re going down the highway, we’re going down the highway, we’re going down the highway, and passing by cars are honking.

With only my underwear I spread out on the bed.

“You are almost as rude as my mother, only I don’t notice the contempt for reality. So I believe in you.”

She looks at me blankly, like a butcher that looks at an animal for slaughter.

“For two months in Prague, I worked as a webcam administrator, managed girls’ chat rooms and brought them toys, until my boss started harassing me.” She laughs.

“All sobbing and crying, I told them that it was my mother’s funeral, that she died in a tragic car accident, and that we had a fight the last time we spoke. It was a perfect play. Those idiots paid my entire salary and even bought a ticket home. I was dealing drugs in Ukraine. Am I a dealer? I was dealing coke to a Ukrainian security guard in uniform… And that’s only the top. Don’t you get it? Faith is not for me.”

Jump.

From absolute ecstasy, she falls into the darkness, sways on the windowsill, and I wander her body up and down, up and down, up and down, as if under a spell, hoping that she won’t lean too far.

“Your skin is beautiful,” she says and goes to the shower, and I rush to the window and slam it.

She lies down next to me, puts her leg on my hip. She’s waiting, and me, I’m a Catholic. It’s pounding in my head: now, now, now, one movement – and she’s mine, this moment – ours. Her eyes meet mine, it’s all too right. I’m lying down. The time itself is screaming at me to act. I stop moving. I split in two. Or maybe I’m the unreal one who can’t do anything and doesn’t do anything; if I do not satisfy her, I will remain only a ghost, a grain of dust, an illusion…  Aquinas, you old ram, give me strength! If we get closer and intimate now, I’ll be thinking about her for a whole month, and she’ll be two thousand kilometers away, and nothing – and I have to finish the semester somehow. Okay, okay, okay, hold this thought, hold that thought, hold it! We fall asleep hugging each other.

Morning. Her happy look.

Jump. She is angry with the whole universe. Impotent. ME?  Does she think so? Two years have passed – anything can happen. I wash everything off with a hot shower and add a cold stream for the finale. And I look happy, I want to be like that with her and I will be!

Jump. Everything changes. She curses silently to herself.

Jump. Her face glows with joy. One two Three.

Jump. It looks like she’s about to kill someone. Tears up when a poem about war is read and runs out into the yard.

I approach, joke a little.

Jump, she is the happiest again.

Jump. A hit.

“You’re old,” this statement knocks my smile away. Who gives her the right? Because we’re four years apart, because of her tone, the disgust at my slumped hunchback posture? Because of the bloated stomach, crooked face with blue eyebags, black teeth from tobacco? She praised my skin last night, and now I’ve become a cripple, a hunchback, a pensioner, zero, nobody? So what the hell is going on?

Again. A jump. Another hit. Apologies again. She’s hitting me, and I feel like dancing, dancing and dancing one way, then another, then a third dancing figure and I’ll dance, dance, and dance until I fall!

A hit. Jump. An apology, a jump, a sigh.

Jump. A hit, a hit.

Jump. A Hit, a hit. A HIT. Knockout. Smooth skin is covered with blue bruises, and in this way she conquers more and more of it.

“Mephedrone is much stronger than amphetamine. When I got off it, I wrote a poem.”

She reads lines, I can’t hear them, I just look at her. Nothing else.

We fall asleep holding hands. And I always let myself dream that she wouldn’t have come that night, that we wouldn’t have instantly felt so-called “love” for each other, that I would mix up my phone number, my address, all my faces, pull out my hair, all my body hair, so that she would pass through me as if through nothing, and I would be mute and could not tell her anything, so that she would be deaf, but we say goodbye, and I say anyway…

“I will miss you. I will miss you just a little, just a little,” I quickly add.

”Just a little bit?” She is clearly offended.

”Yes, just a little.”

She is silent. And I’ve seen too many eyes like hers, too many eyes like hers, I’ve seen. We hug in silence. Her hair smells like Haribo gummies.

Greta Ambrazaitė

Vilnius, Lithuania

Greta Ambrazaitė (b. 1993) is a poetess, musician, translator, book editor and publisher. She obtained a Master‘s degree in Literary Anthropology and Culture at Vilnius University. The first poetry book FRAGILE THINGS („Trapūs daiktai“, 2018) was awarded the Young Yotvingian Prize as a best young poet‘s book and was also announced as the Poetry Book of the Year in Lithuania. In 2019 she was awarded the Young Artistˈs Prize by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture. Ambrazaitėˈs poems were translated into 11 languages. Her lo-fi music album BLOOD MOUSE [kog leval „kraujo pelytė“) was released in 2019. The second book of poems ADELA will be published in 2022.

Text in english version

Greta Ambrazaitė

22:45

soon we’ll exit this fragility,
these candle drips, this breaking 
of wine cellar doors, the “Satanhouse” monastery,
“Frenchiepark”, the Žverynas streets,
where we were Other, we agreed,
where I still wait for you
as I wait for my own mists to clear,
it’s not so important,
it’s as if I’m waiting for my Yiddish class,
when I speak, it seems, I’m trying to bite through stone,
we’ll exit ourselves, having become playing card faces,
models with beautiful clothes,
in this limitless construction,
we’ll walk the doggie
in the courtyard of a house of cards,
in this game,
in the face of this dusty goblet
which we share to the last drop,
I’m still alive, no lie,
even with a foreign face,
before this jazz intermission,
before this disappearance, this fire,
I feel that everything will soon explode
there, where it seems the most decay remains,
there, where there is so much longing,
my gaze slowly fogs up –
each person coming through the door,
each of their bumps and clatters
are your shards

Translated into English by Rimas Uzgiris

Text in original language

Greta Ambrazaitė

22:45

 

jau greitai išeisim iš šito nepatvarumo,

žvakių lašėjimo, vyno pusrūsio

durų laužymo, satanhauzo, prancūzparkio

ir žvėryno gatvelių,

kur buvom kiti, susitardavom,

kur vis dar lūkuriuoju

tavęs ar savo pačios miglų išsisklaidymo,

tai ne taip ir svarbu,

laukiu lyg jidiš kalbos pamokų,

kai kalbu, rodos, bandau perkąst akmenį,

išeisim iš savęs, virtusių kortų veidais,

manekenais su gražiais drabužėliais,

šitoj begalinėj konstrukcijoj,

kortų namelio kieme

pavedžiosim šuniuką,

šitame lošime,

šios apdulkėjusios taurės akivaizdoj,

kurią iki dugno dalijamės,

vis dar esu gyva, nemeluoju,

net ir su svetimu veidu,

prieš šį džiazinį intarpą,

prieš šį išnykimą, prieš gaisrą,

jaučiu, jog greit viskas susprogs,

ten, kur, rodos, liko daugiausia irimo,

ten, kur šitaip ilgu,

mano žvilgsnis lėtai užrasoja –

kiekvienas pro duris įeinantis žmogus,

kiekvienas jų trinktelėjimas

yra tavo šukės

Eva

Tuzla, Bosnia and Erzegovina

I’m Emina and I was born in 1997 in Tuzla, where I finished gymnasium, and also I finished Faculty of science in Sarajevo. I write poems and stories since I was in elementary school in literary class where I start this world of letters and imagination. Writing is big part of my life and I considered it more as my hobbie and fun, but in last years I started to realize that it is something I wanna do in my life for living, so I stared sending my poems to literary competitions.This year my poem was selected and printed in collection of poetry “Rukopis 45” which is one of very important ex yu festival for youths. I write about my friends their problem in this world, society, ecology and of course about love.
Text in english version

Linden Tea

Linden tea mixes with human footsteps

evaporates from the asphalt

now the whole city enjoys the smell of

what we drank that morning.

It annoys me.

But it was still sweeter for us.

It’s good, I feel it.

I don’t have a fucking virus,

I don’t have you either.

I only have an emotional prognosis

occasionally unstable tornado

which goes round and round in the hole below the heart.

What would people know about that, except to hide when there is a storm.

They run away to their stable homes

surrounded by concrete, happy, silent.

As the God of this storm, I wake up, calm down, touch and wave.

You just sit in a boat in the middle of the ocean and drink linden tea.

Without love

Without love, this city just exists

Buildings pop up

They eat greens

They eat the brains of the people who work in them.

Without love

I just exist in this city

I’m going to get some papers certified

I’m going to buy groceries for my mom

I’m hurrying across the street

so that I don’t get run over by a taxi.

There is everyone in this city

Me with them also,

but somehow irrelevant from the side.

While they are all important in business

in bed, lying down,

in caressing other people’s thighs.

Without love, this city is full of memories

worn out and extinguished

pastel green colours.

Without that, this city is just the place where I was born,

A city where I will be on top of a building or wrapped in pastel sods.

*

There is God under my knees

waiting for me to fly with him

They have red wings

they show me what life brings

and how to lose someone without tears.

In plane of broken souls

where nobody knowes me

I’m writing poems without pain

trying to figure out what last did you say.

I saw dead people

climbing on heaven trees

I’m thinking deep

but still don’t know what that means.

I love rain, but sun is better

I love to live, scared of death

I hope this is a dream

because I’m not ready for angel team.

Text in original language

Čaj  od  lipe

Čaj od lipe se miješa sa ljudskim koracima

isparava iz asfalta

sad čitav grad uživa u mirisu

onoga što smo pili to jutro.

Nervira me to

Ali ipak nama je bilo slađe.

Dobro je , osjetim

Nemam jebeni virus

Nemam ni tebe.

Imam samo emotivnu prognozu

povremeno nestabilan tornado

koji se vrti u krug u rupi ispod srca.

Šta bi ljudi znali o tome , osim da se sakriju kad je nevrijeme.

Pobjegnu u svoje stabilne domove

ograđene betonom , sretni ,šute .

Bog ovog nevremena , budim , smirim , diram I talasam.

Ti samo sjediš u čamcu na sredini okeana i piješ čaj od lipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bez  ljubavi

Bez ljubavi ovaj grad samo postoji

Zgrade iskaču

Jedu zelenilo

Jedu mozgove ljudi koji rade u njima.

Bez ljubavi

ja samo postojim u ovom gradu

idem ovjeriti neke papire

idem kupiti mami namirnice

Žurim preko ulice

da me ne ispršće taksi.

U ovom gradu su svi ,

I ja sa njima

ali nekako sa strane nebitna

Dok su oni svi bitni u poslu

u krevetu , u laganju

u maženju tuđih butina.

Bez ljubavi ovaj grad je pun uspomena

istrošenih I ugašenih

boja pastelno zelenih.

Bez toga je ovaj grad je samo mjesto gdje sam rođena

Grad u kojem cu biti na vrhu zgrade ili umotana u pastelno busenje.

*

There is God under my knees

waiting for me to fly with him

They have red wings

they show me what life brings

and how to lose someone without tears.

In plane of broken souls

where nobody knowes me

I’m writing poems without pain

trying to figure out what last did you say.

I saw dead people

climbing on heaven trees

I’m thinking deep

but still don’t know what that means.

I love rain, but sun is better

I love to live, scared of death

I hope this is a dream

because I’m not ready for angel team.

Bez  ljubavi

Bez ljubavi ovaj grad samo postoji

Zgrade iskaču

Jedu zelenilo

Jedu mozgove ljudi koji rade u njima.

Bez ljubavi

ja samo postojim u ovom gradu

idem ovjeriti neke papire

idem kupiti mami namirnice

Žurim preko ulice

da me ne ispršće taksi.

U ovom gradu su svi ,

I ja sa njima

ali nekako sa strane nebitna

Dok su oni svi bitni u poslu

u krevetu , u laganju

u maženju tuđih butina.

Bez ljubavi ovaj grad je pun uspomena

istrošenih I ugašenih

boja pastelno zelenih.

Bez toga je ovaj grad je samo mjesto gdje sam rođena

grad u kojem cu biti na vrhu zgrade ili umotana u pastelno busenje.

Corinne Harragin Storyteller

Bristol, United Kingdom

Corinne works with story as a performer, facilitator, researcher, and consultant. She tells wily folktales, monstrous myths and urban legends. Her stories remind us what it is to be human – from the ripe to the wrinkled, warts and all. She’s a firm believer that the most important part of a story is who’s listening to it.
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Corinne is committed to creating spaces where the underrepresented have a voice and isn’t interested in retelling stories that reinforce unhelpful stereotypes of gender, race, or power. She works with local and international partners in the arts, education, charity and corporate sectors, researching, facilitating and performing stories that feel relevant, fresh, and inclusive to contemporary audiences. Her most recent projects have been with Story Jam, UK Trauma Council, Hawkwood College, REMA, Coexist Community Kitchen, Bristol Education Partnership, Creative Sustainability, and Unique Voice cic. Corinne is also currently doing postgraduate research into contemporary oral cultures and storytelling technologies at the University of Bristol. ‘For a spellbinding hour, Corinne took us deep into the realm of story, rekindling our imaginations, stretching open our ears and touching our hearts. The tales she told were wild and tender, fierce and outlandish, and soulful without being sentimental. And they did what all good stories do – return you to the world again, with all its big and strange marvels.’ – Dr. Michael Milay, Lecturer in English and Environmental Humanities at the University of Bristol.
Text in english version

The Well Between

(The Ballad of Tam Lin)

 

Oh I forbid you ladies all

Who wear gold in your hair

To come or go by Carterhaugh

For young Tam Lin is there

A solo storytelling performance by Corinne Harragin

Borders. Lines. Edges. They’re everywhere aren’t they? But what about the in-between’s? The Neither here nor theres?

Part told, part sung, this is storytelling for the old and new.  Although the ballad is known as Tam Lin, he’s only a part of it. It’s about borderlands and borderlines. It’s a tale of pluck and courage. It’s about changing shape.

This piece was developed over a 6-month training in contemporary storytelling practice. It lasts 30 minutes.

‘Better than Netflix’ Jess Herman, Performers Without Borders

Thibault Jacquot-Paratte

Vilnius, Lithuania

French and Canadian writer and Musician Thibault Jacquot-Paratte has been featured in dozens of literary journals and anthologies during the last ten years, in 4 countries, in both French and English. Poet: his poetry collection Cries of somewhere’s soil was published in 2020, he was one of two official poets to the Acadian National Society during the 2019 Acadian National Congress. 

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Playwright: he was commissioned in 2020 to direct a bilingual (French-English) run of his play The garlic eaters. Short story writer: over ten short stories published in 2021, finalist for the 2020 Matera Energheia Europe literary prize. Novelist: his fifth book, A dream is a notion of is set to be published this year. Film work: UnisTV prize for the short film Le grand-père d’Ursule. He has also published non-fiction, press articles, and literary/theatrical critique.
Holds a master’s from the Sorbonne, additional degrees and certificates from the University of Vaasa, the Askov Folkehøjskole, & Oxford Seminars. Speaks 5 languages fluetly, and 4 others on a communicative level. Awarded grands from the Canada Arts Council, & ArtsNS, has been part of commissions. As a musician (Thibs solo band), he has performed publicly in Canada, Europe, Cameroun, India & Japan.

Text in english version

MArte live Europe 2022 contest submission

Title of the submission: Seams

Author: Thibault Jacquot-Paratte

Contact: Thibault.jacquot-paratte@protonmail.com

Link to excerpt reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nas6kA-1-U0

 

 

            Seams

                        By Thibault Jacquot-Paratte

 

There have been cold wars, and wars much warmer

and during both

a mushroom shroud lulled us to sleep into atomic nightmares

pompously brandishing the worst we could imagine.

 

There have been lukewarm and over-boiling conflicts

about all of which no one cared,

as no one talked about them

in our peaceful traffic-jammed streets

and our markets

where vendors would entice you to purchase any item

made abroad by who knows

because he needs to sell

and they need to make

and you need to buy

and go about business your own.

 

“What next?” asked the younger ones.

“What do you mean ‘what’s next’?” said the father

he added, knowing what they had meant:

“This is it! This is the best as we know it,

and will know it,

democracy, nations, growth, and competition;

whatever tweaks here and there come

should,

you will take our place at making it run

the same

until the end of times.”

Incessant quarrels

of scoundrels, and of good guys

of east and west

of north and south

pleased beyond belief

that they could serve a purpose

as tense, the same, until the end of times

whatever they may be

or should come from

weeping silently in a forced march

a genocidal exodus

a very long march

to save their skins

away from time tested

failed strategies

history studied in order to make

bigger and more impressive mistakes

by magic,

the earth pursues its rotation

and so, the cosmos

“whatever is that star,

that constellation,

it wasn’t there

a fortnight ago”

asked the younger ones

“I have no idea”

the father admitted

not having looked about him

at the risk of losing that focus

he had

in the scope mounted on his rifle

one of his eyes kept his enemies close

and his friends closer

(false friends, friends who played the game of betrayal

and gave him paranoia

the feeling he should keep a close

gaze upon them

all bored out of their minds

inventing new challenges to games of Risk

the game of domination

turning to BDSM,

ways of hurting each other

perhaps permanently

daredevil welfare depending stock

invasions, confrontations,

put your money where your mouth is

and lose both:

“lose your savings, your house, your car

and shut up,

we’re busy bombing your real enemies

beyond our borders

those people ten-thousand miles away

who dream about nothing else at night

but to strip you of your clothes

and cast you naked into the ice fields

– yes, those absolute strangers
they are the ones to fear

they are the sadists

the butchers who envy you in hatred

not us, we only do what we have to

if you can’t afford those 12 easy monthly payments…

Said the media corporation news anchor;

The father will just have to lovingly pull the trigger

his gaze unbroken,

and tell his children

‘Don’t let friends get the better of you

don’t let anyone get away with anything

don’t be a sucker

eat dogs

dog eats dog

dog bites man

men eat anything

especially rare bloody steak

don’t let anyone

(except for me)

tell you how those things work’

 

There have been arch-nemeses and one-time foes

requesting a friendly coup

(to finish off their remaining intelligentsia

and repossess their industries

– a fine offering
to gift unto noteworthy proprietors)

or to appear on the news

a recurring character

to give the audience a bit of suspense

wondering everyday

their favourite soap opera

years running

if Africa will come out of a coma

if Israel will find out who its real father is

if the twin

– evil twin perhaps,
or roles reversed

in much anticipated plot-twists –

will do away with the hero

 

Pleading cries in the dead of night

dreading solitude

not to be confused with loneliness

– another dread –

individuals who could have been truly brilliant

outside of test results

having for years, to their whole lives

avoided figuring out their personalities

vaguely borrowing or becoming what each is

or was thought to be

I knew someone who was that way

saying he was a singer

and a piano player

whenever I would perform somewhere

making me feel ashamed, as he was neither

(my trade tainted by cheap, false, pretenses

others pondering why I should be associated with him,

associated with a fraud)

turning up christian when a church-going skirt swung by

a fully devoted anthropologist when surrounded by the likes

not really knowing it a field or a method

suddenly thinking it was what suited him best

and the best he believed himself to be

at law, psychology, sociology, photography,

history, design, organization,

… and many more(!!)

projects of megalomaniac delusion

 

At any price, some would avoid

having to taste their own cooking

or sleeping in their own body heat

greedily, seeded to a cool bed

with shivers of regret.

Silences long broken

where there is conflict,

there is company!

Feel the air tingle

with that prickly static

when one comes to dump blatantly senseless statements

just in the hope of grabbing

a lively, squirming, barking

offended reaction

at times confused in its own resurgence;

we’ve all been in those debates

where we lack words

as the opposing side’s arguments

make little sense to begin with;

yet they are brandished highly

proudly, in the morning light,

banners, announcing their swastika cult

chants depicting their nations.

And if by confused, curled eyebrows

you should think that you don’t know what I mean

do not return to your flag ceremonies

without drinking a shot of hard brandy

telling yourself you’re a moron

a true, a certified moron.

Blinking between ideas,

unable to formulate sentences

on blank paper

unable to attach words to feelings

wrestling fidgetively on a daily basis

going to priests as scapegoats

 

there has been open warfare,

and warfare disguised as hobby

as impassioned terrorism in a mujahideen dress

and proud heritage in Belfast rivalries

parading around death-squad tattoos

between scaffolding walls of bunker-inspired suburbs

wasted traditions

and survivalist fetishes,

one against all,

though all aren’t against one

(all don’t care about one,

all don’t know that one exists,

like the majority of humans when mythical Jesus, is said, had walked

didn’t know they were supposedly doomed

from the start

or so one against all claimed).

And any apostle with the best intentions

“oh shit!” would blurt out in shame and horror

before chanting “hara-kiri, haré haré”.

 

There have been good intentions to slice throats

and pretty lies to justify mass murder

whole empires who knew not where to go

so deep were they in pretence.

 

There have been news reals as honest as blockbuster films

and Blockbuster Videos went out of business

and unheard journalists who had nowhere to yell

who would die in hope

or take their own lives

able to create websites of denunciation,

and conspiracy tackling down-spiraling funnels.

 

There have been white coups

and coups bloody red

and putsches when we needed a grey zone

bloody read fronts of democratic exercise

flexing biceps, showing abdominal muscles

breaking hard work’s sweat

in lukewarm or over-boiling

arising in steam

much ignored foggy notions

written about in smeared ink

accusatory tones

to large effects, pretty adjectives

and large depictions of sentimental worth

to treacherous sentiments

hand pretty lies

and good intentions

ask a rhetorical question

but when others’ answers will be clear to you

a certain conclusion

but when others’ sentiments are tied

into busied condemnation

denials of fresh graves

when tears shed deep rivers

beds erode,

oh, do hand a comforting word!

Reach out your arms into a here-heard embrace

not thrusting the necessities of immediate action

let who needs mourn their dead

unseeking of distractions

of bankrupt films,

putting rageful blame unto nearby patsies

high-effect news reels

and mushroom shrouds of

recently dreamt and recurring

atomic nightmares

“what next?” pled the younger ones

console, harsh and benedictive

prior to urging onwards

“hear not the conclusion of burials

head not the negotiations of conflicts

put to rest the calming fantasy

that a forever status quo

could blithe perpetuate

and blame not willy-nilly

the passing of time

unreal a distance it shows

on the maps we draw

feeling out coastlines

and far-reaching plains

the elevation of slow-rising plateaus”.

“What next?” asked they

some jackass shoved a bible into their hands

or some religious text of the sort.

They threw that shit away

they d’rather not know

instead of gobbling up some clueless dictatorship.

 

Life gets a lot easier

when you accept everyone is more or less clueless

about what they’re doing

even those real preppy assholes

(I used to be one)

constantly with four or five plans and backups

up their sleeves

they’ve only got something in the hopes it’ll work

crossing calculating fingers

and as to that

they might as well have those plans up their asses

 

hoping is being clueless

giving up is being even more clueless

(so out-of-sorts y’ain’t even got the brains to improvise

the notions of how to walk about)

No one knows what the fuck is going on,

which is why everyone disagrees

slams fists on tables and on jaws

(those are the most clueless motherfuckers

the violent ones

though they’re clueless about something

some people are clueless about everything,

same as feeling clueless about nothing

confidently

oh, great nothingness outstretched!)

why high-class people are vindictive bitches

– they like to pretend they got their act together
like to give themselves a reason

for looking down on others

to sleep in cotton sheets

while others pick the stuff

why politicians go crusading in one way

then the next

we blame it on intricate schemes

ordered, planned out conspiracies

in fact,

we just have no god damned idea what we’re doing.

No one does,

and living becomes much easier

once you understand this,

and accept it,

unlike the gurus who desperately cling to their credulity.

 

To be ‘enlightened” is to have learned how to deal with boredom

because that’s what it really comes down to:

warding off boredom.

We’re all dulled out of our heads

agonizingly blazed

wondering,

after our survival starts to seem likely,

how to next busy ourselves

by drinking, and losing our bodies

slipping into slow, subtle poison

by getting stoned

blacking out

telling ourselves we’ve touched divinity

had a moment of holiness

conversing with starlight

and angels not yet fallen

resolved epiphanies

that had trodden softly in the back of our minds

gnawing at fingertips

and cowardice

we try not to succumb to

boredom

asking

“Do you want to play a game?”

“Do something bad?”

“Steal something we don’t need?”

“Let’s go to a party”

“Dance so long”

“Do you wanna fuck?”

“Dance again?”

“Cheat as we may?”

Boredom hanging at our heels

nonchalantly

day in and day out

it is boredom that strives for

better, new, other,

not withstanding the well-worn

dawn to dusk

pious pilgrims devout to their faiths

do not succumb to gain from evil

but to the thrill of it

“Lord our lord,

guide our paths away from boredom

and let us be without perpetual excitement

in that paradise of yours”

pious pilgrims devout to their faiths

will not succumb to promises

of personal gain, of revenge,

but they will go out dancing

under the moon,

to the tune of a mad fiddle

an enchanted flute

in the nude

with glowing red eyes

becoming the beasts they’d wish to be

they would take their nicest dress

and wear it to the ball.

Absolute devotion would be

to languish excruciating long hours

not drifting into dreams

beating acceptance into

your restless fidgeting body

that begs for its instinctive

rush, run, chase, action.

 

There have been beaten down fools

and fools raised into obedience

wits dulled on purpose

sitting around in silence, waiting for their assignments

and poor fools born into this universe

asking for little, getting even less

never putting into words why crying is such a relief

why they feel hurt

why nothing ever makes sense

and all of these fools

you got to pity.

 

And there have been people you knew were bad

and folks you weren’t so sure about

you wondered how others could put their trust in them

how they could be greatly regarded

hovering, peering over our heads

They too probably weep occasionally

or border on weeping

not the slightest conscious notion

or vocabulary

to explain why that is

that we don’t really trust them

it’s no cause for distress

surely, they don’t trust us either

and the only solution is confrontation

cool, or hot, or lukewarm

all in how we exchange glances

dare to speak to each other

dare not to be offended if we don’t grasp intents

properly

or interpret them

though we shouldn’t interpret codes we can’t decipher.

And on numerous occasions

we’ve thought ourselves to be fools

and thought ourselves to be bad

perhaps better or worst than others

perhaps not

and then again,

we might just be foolish enough to have no notions of that

cold and warmer,

mushroom cloud shaded

over-boiling or overly dulled

(problems ignored for a time

indefinite, inde-infinite)

knowingly, unknowingly

saintly to cut-throat

atmosphere

everything that’s going on around

coming around

going around

karma biting itself in the ass

biting ours

confused as to what we’re supposed to do

where we’re supposed to get at

trying to sort out the contradictions

the expired border-post facts

from all we had to learn

were brought to knowing

enjoyed or didn’t enjoy memorizing

scratching our heads

as to Murphy’s pretentious law

how accurate it might be

and how to break it

if we get shot at for breaking that law

amongst many

as with others

confronted by looming threats

perpetual opposites

uncompromising

threats unlooming

there nonetheless

despite our wills

made to deal with

however fucked it all is

and being clueless

written in haste, wills

that to expect

can come from

one flip of the coin

roll of unloaded

die

in the midst of confusion

laughing for the sake of

blissful nonchalance

would solve most conflicts

less hesitantly,

with greater relief

however betrayed

broken statues shattered

lie

hymns and flags

make of the flipped mint

sight audibly

it’s all happened recently enough.

Džanel

Brcko, Bosnia and Erzegovina

I am Džanel Biljanović, creative soul that has many opinions, hobbies, skills etc. But, above all, a human. Sometimes annoying one, I talk a lot… or I I’m process the environment. I guess it’s a consequence of being born next to the sea in Rijeka (Croatia), where everything literally flows. I am a writer, like a real one – I published the book in Serbia. So I’m a writer in soul and fingers.
read more
I am a mechatronics technician by profession. However this is only part of my professional knowledge. So I do a lot of things. But most important thing is that I enjoying it all, because technology and art are my passion. I’m a gamer and a collector of things that have marked gaming history. As you can see I am a lot of things put together into one (hopefully) interesting combination.
Text in original language

Par pjesama iz nadolazeće zbirke pjesama

Psujem abecednim redom

Udarim se često o mali prst na nozi
Pa se prisjetim imena svakoga u lozi
Psujem onda sve abecednim redom
Da bi bol bila zaliječena k’o medom
Nekad ne bude… ma nikad, pa psujem još više
Toliko da mi i čukundjed otkiše
Namrgodim se kao kos na miša
Psovke onda padaju ko kiša
Drobim… tako mu sitniša
Ovdje nisam stediša

Krivo mi je sve i svako
A osim stola, niko me nije tak’o
No i ja sam tu počeo prvi
Al’, ne dam se dok ne bude krvi!
Nije do boli, već što me to snađe
Da je nekog drugog ja bi vazda rađe
Ne ide to tako znam i sam
Al’ zbog toga sam bijesan i neradostan
Kao da se drugi sa istom mukom ne tuku
Kao da bi mi to ublažilo muku

Psujem abecednim redom
Dok bol bude zaliječena k’o medom
No nije do meda, nit’ imenica što izredah
Nego samo sam trebao predah
Vrijeme jedno da dođe, a drugo da ode
Za malo distrakcije bol me ne bode
Postanem onda potišten i posramljen
Iako, posao je već obavljen

Gura

Ja sam kamen koji gura
Ali, ne ide, nasuprot mu vjetar fura
U lice mu puše, smije mu se glasno

No, kamen put svoj krči strasno

Na njemu očese se od svaku riječ, grohot i ćošak
Kasnije ti se čini da oblikuje se kao vosak
Samo na toplinu, a nije baš tako
Jer kamen nema šta nije taklo
Nema šta ga nije peklo
Svako ga je gazio
Preko njega prelazio
Ugrizao je dosta stopala, i bacilo ga dosta ruku
Dok nije zasijao i oblikovao svoju muku
Pa dobio krivine, daljine i različite slojeve
Nakon svega miluje dlanove
Učvršćuje stavove

Koraci

Umorna peta za mnom klepeta
Željna je čudesnoga svijeta
Vrijedno tabana, nekad žuri, često ne
Nije joj baš drago što ravno nije sve
Ipak koraci se broje i ne žele stati
Blato često zato na cipele svrati
Nozi bude tijesno, malo se gura
Zato milo joj bude kada dođe bura
Nekada šepa, pa je koraci muče
Nekada joj dođe pa se svaki korak vuče
Nekada se šepuri, bude joj milina
Kada je žulja i dalje hoda, to joj je vrlina
Nekada stane, nije da joj hod postane mrži
Nego sve iznad nje je drži
Tako provede dane, u jednom grču
Kao cvijet u praznome vrču

Međutim, peta se bori i skače
Penje se i grebe kao malo mače
Tako isto zna i vrtit se u krug
Kao da repu želi naplatiti dug
Takve su pete, nepredvidljive
Jer one nemaju uvijek puteve vidljive
Onda lutaju, snalaze se i bore za bolje
Da idu brže uvijek samo treba im volje

Text in english version

A one of poems from the upcoming collection of poems

I curse in alphabetical order

I often hit my little toe

So I remember the names of everyone in the lineage

 I curse everything in alphabetical order

So the pain would be healed like as with honey

Sometimes it doesn’t happen… never, so I curse even more

So much so that even my grandfather suffers

I scowl like a blackbird at a mouse

Curses then fall like a rain

I’m crushing… for a name of  change

Everything and everyone is to blame for me

And apart from the table, no one hurt me

But, also I started this in first place

But, I won’t give up until there is blood in a race!

It’s not about the pain, but what it does to me

If it was someone else, I would always prefer that to be

But It doesn’t work that way, I know it myself

But that’s why I’m angry and unhappy… uh well

As if others are not fighting with the same

But that would not ease my pain

I curse in alphabetical order

Until the pain is healed like as with honey

But it’s not up to honey, nor the nouns I made

Thing is I just needed a break

One time to pass and another to get started

For a little distraction, the pain doesn’t sting me

Then I become depressed and ashamed

Although, the work is already done

Ioanna

Thessaloniki, Greece

Balkan girl. Tutor and writer. Interested in incorporating my area's rich folklore and mythology into literature. My deep wish is to make more people familiar with my culture, as well as learn more about cultures from all over the world. My greatest complaint is that not all cultures are represented equally in the media. Talking about mental health issues openly. Digital minimalist wanting to live life to the fullest and turn it into art.
Text in original language

 Ποτέ δεν τα πήγαινα καλά με τη θεία Μπλαγκόροντνα. Αυτό είχε ως αποτέλεσμα να μην μπορώ να κατανοήσω γιατί η μητέρα μου επέμενε τόσο έντονα να καθίσω δίπλα της στο οικογενειακό τραπέζι.

 Τα λαδωμένα μαλλιά της έπεφταν στο μέτωπο της , ενώ η κρεατοελιά πάνω από το δεξί της φρύδι προεξείχε περισσότερο από ποτέ. Οι επικριτικές ματιές που μου έριχνε κλεφτά κάθε λίγο έκαναν την κατάσταση ακόμη πιο ανυπόφορη.

 Τρώγοντας με λεπτεπίλεπτες κινήσεις το φαγητό της, δεν μπορούσα παρά να παρατηρήσω την εμφάνιση της να αλλοιώνεται σταδιακά. Η επιδερμίδα της, που άλλοτε είχε το χρώμα του ελαιόλαδου, γινόταν κάθε δευτερόλεπτο που περνούσε, όλο και πιο χλωμή. Πεινασμένα ζωύφια ξεπρόβαλλαν ξαφνικά πάνω στο σώμα της, καταβροχθίζοντας την νεκρωμένη σάρκα της. Εντωμεταξύ, η ίδια συνέχισε να ρουφάει ηχηρά τη σούπα της αμέριμνη.

 Το αριστερό μέρος του προσώπου της είχε ήδη σκελετοποιηθεί όταν το βλέμμα μου στράφηκε προς τη μεριά της οικογένειας μου. Συνέχιζαν να τρώνε ανενόχλητοι, μιλώντας και γελώντας δυνατά, σαν να μη συνέβαινε τίποτε. Την ίδια στιγμή που το σώμα της είχε αποσυντεθεί εντελώς, γεμίζοντας το μικρό δωμάτιο με μια φρικτή δυσωδία. Δεν της είχε απομείνει πλέον καθόλου δέρμα, παρά μόνο κόκαλα και μερικές τούφες από τα μαλλιά της.

 Κλείνοντας τα μάτια μου για μια στιγμή, ώστε να καταφέρω να αφουγκραστώ πλήρως την κατάσταση, ένιωσα να προσγειώνομαι βίαια πάνω σε ένα κρύο δάπεδο. Ήταν σκονισμένο, δίνοντας μια αίσθηση εγκατάλειψης. Κοιτώντας γύρω μου, συνειδητοποίησα ότι βρίσκομαι μέσα σε έναν στενό διάδρομο ενός παλιού νοσοκομείου. Παρατήρησα έναν πίνακα ανακοινώσεων, με κιτρινισμένες σημειώσεις, σκουριασμένα φορεία, διάσπαρτα εδώ και εκεί και την επιγραφή «Χειρουργείο» πάνω σε μία από τις τιρκουάζ πόρτες.

 Βαδίζοντας προς το χειρουργείο, μου φάνηκε ότι άκουσα κάποιες φωνές. Κρυφοκοιτάζοντας από τη χαραμάδα της πόρτας, είδα έναν άντρα και μία γυναίκα με στολές γιατρού να μιλάνε. Ίσως να μπορούσαν να μου δώσουν κάποια εξήγηση για το πως βρέθηκα εδώ. Μπαίνοντας στο δωμάτιο, ένιωσα το βλέμμα και των δύο τους να καρφώνεται επάνω μου.

 Η γυναίκα με κοίταξε, χαμογελώντας μου με έναν τρόπο σχεδόν ρομποτικό. Η έκφραση της ήταν διαπεραστική,  διεισδύοντας στα βάθη του μυαλού μου, οδηγώντας με σε έναν κόσμο δίχως γυρισμό. Χωρίς να πει κουβέντα, μου άπλωσε το παγωμένο, σχεδόν σαν άψυχο χέρι της. Με το μυαλό μου σχεδόν άδειο, σαν κάθε στοιχείο της προσωπικότητας μου καθώς και η δύναμη της βούλησης μου να έχουν χαθεί, την ακολούθησα και κατέληξα να ξαπλώνω σε ένα μισοχαλασμένο ράντζο. Πίσω από το παραβάν, μπορούσα να τη δω να ψάχνει κάτι στα συρτάρια, κάνοντας το μεταλλικό περιεχόμενο τους να τρίζει.

 Ξαφνικά άκουσα τον ήχο του γεμίσματος ενός όπλου. Η γυναίκα είχε επιστρέψει, έχοντας το ίδιο ορθωμένο ανάστημα και το αλλόκοτο χαμόγελο με πριν. Στο χέρι της όντως κρατούσε ένα πιστόλι και έδειχνε ανυπόμονη να το χρησιμοποιήσει. Πιέζοντας το στο κούτελο μου, πίεσε τη σκανδάλη, η οποία έβγαλε ένα δυνατό κρότο.

 Επικράτησε ένα μαύρο σκοτάδι, σε ένα κλίμα αποπνικτικό. Δεν μπορούσα να κουνηθώ καθόλου, αλλά είχα ακόμη τις αισθήσεις μου. Το μυαλό μου είχε πλέον φύγει από την κατάσταση της νάρκωσης και η σκέψη μου ήταν πιο οξεία από ποτέ. Δεν είχα ιδέα που  βρισκόμουν εκείνη τη στιγμή, αλλά κυριαρχούσε μια αίσθηση εγκλεισμού.                                                                                                                                                                                 Συνειδητοποιώντας ότι δεν μπορώ πλέον να αναπνεύσω, αντιλήφθηκα ότι δεν χρειαζόμουν καν το οξυγόνο. Δεν ήμουν ζωντανή, μα ούτε και νεκρή.

 Ένιωσα μια ηλιαχτίδα να λούζει το πρόσωπο μου, καθώς το φέρετρο μου άνοιξε. Δεν είδα πολλούς ανθρώπους γύρω μου, παρά την οικογένεια μου και τον ιερέα. Όλοι ήταν ανέκφραστοι, ούτε ένα δάκρυ δε χύθηκε καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια της τελετής.

 Σκοτάδι ξανά. Είχε έρθει η ώρα μου. Η μοίρα μου είχε πλέον καθοριστεί και ήταν ίδια με της θείας Μπλαγκόροντνα. Δεν μπορούσα να κάνω κάτι άλλο παρά να περιμένω υπομονετικά για την ρευστοποίηση του κορμιού μου.

 

Text in english version

 I never got along with Aunt Blagorodna. This resulted in me not being able to understand why my mother insisted so strongly that I sit next to her at the family table.

 Her oily hair fell over her forehead, while the mole above her right eyebrow stood out more than ever. The judgmental glances she sneaked at me every now and then made the situation even more unbearable.

 While she was eating her food with delicate movements, I could not help but notice her appearance gradually changing. Her skin, once the color of olive oil, grew paler with each passing second. Hungry bugs suddenly leaped onto her body, devouring her dead flesh. Meanwhile, she herself continued to slurp her soup noisily, without caring.

 The left side of her face was already skeletonized when my gaze turned towards my family. They continued to eat undisturbed, talking and laughing loudly, as if nothing had happened. At the same time her body had completely decomposed, filling the small room with a horrible stench. She no longer had any skin left, only bones and a few tufts of her hair.

 Closing my eyes for a moment so that I could fully realize the situation, I felt myself land violently on a cold floor. It was dusty, giving a sense of abandonment. Looking around, I realized I was in a narrow corridor of an old hospital. I noticed a notice board, with yellowed notes, rusted stretchers scattered here and there, and the sign “Operating Room” on one of the turquoise doors.

 Walking towards the operating room, I thought I heard some voices. Peeking through the crack in the door, I saw a man and a woman in doctor’s uniforms talking. Maybe they could give me some explanation for how I ended up here. Walking into the room, I felt both of their eyes on me.

 The woman looked at me, smiling at me in an almost robotic way. Her expression was piercing, penetrating the depths of my mind, leading me into a world of no return. Without a word, she held out her frozen, almost lifeless hand to me. With my mind almost blank, as if every element of my personality as well as my strength of will had been lost, I followed her and ended up lying on a dilapidated camp bed. Behind the screen, I could see her rummaging through the drawers, making their metallic contents creak.

 Suddenly I heard the sound of a gun being loaded. The woman had returned, with the same upright stature and strange smile as before. She was indeed holding a pistol in her hand and looked eager to use it. Pressing it against my forehead, she pulled the trigger, making a loud click.

 A black darkness prevailed, in a suffocating climate. I couldn’t move at all, but I was still conscious. My mind was now out of the drugged state and my thinking was sharper than ever. I had no idea where I was at the time, but a sense of confinement prevailed.

 Realizing that I could no longer breathe, I came to the conclusion that I didn’t even need the oxygen anymore. I wasn’t alive, but I wasn’t dead either.

 I felt a ray of sunshine bathe my face as my casket was opened. I didn’t see many people around me, except my family and the priest. Everyone was speechless, not a single tear was shed during the entire ceremony.

Dark again. My time had come. My fate was now set, and it was the same as Aunt Blagorodna’s. I could do nothing but wait patiently for my body to liquefy.

Bistra Okereke

Sofia, Bulgaria

My name is Bistra Ijeoma Okereke. I like to say that no one in the world has these two names – Bistra Okereke – a rare bulgarian name and a well known last name in Nigeria. My names are my brand.
I was born in 1995 in Owerri, Nigeria. One day my mum packs her stuff and takes me to her home country – Bulgaria. I am a mixture of Balkan and African blood.
read more

I grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. Besides my love for books, I always wanted to actively create art on stage, so when the time came I took my chances. I applied to the National academy for theatre and film arts and got accepted. I graduated from the National academy 2 years ago. I am a professional actress. I currently play in two plays – “Othello” by Shakespeare and “The Dinner” by Herman Koch.
I published my debut poetry book this year in June. Writing is something I always took as a hobby.
Nevertheless, I used my hobbies and made them my occupation.
I am currently the only bulgarian actress of African decent.
I like to think that I am an event that happens very rarely and passes you by while you are walking on the street.

Text in original language

зад черното и бялото

 

не съм черна
и бяла не съм
аз съм точката
между черното и бялото
средата на бисквитката
аз съм между

континентите
мисълта
спираща в сивотата
птицата
която плува
неотговореният

въпрос
и неудобната истина
аз съм самотата
в черно-белия свят
дете на негър и бяла
момичето
с къдрава тъмна коса
и момичето
с твърде светла кожа
чужденката
в двете къщи
многоточието
в чуждите погледи

аз съм бяла
                      и не съм бяла
аз съм черна
                      и не съм черна

 

Text in english version

Behind the black and white

I’m not black

and I’m not white

I am the point

between black and white,

the middle of the cookie

 I’m in between

continents,

the thought

stopping in the grayness,

the bird

that swims,

the unanswered

question

and the awkward truth,

 I am loneliness

in the black and white world

Negro child and white girl

with curly dark hair

 and the girl

with too light skin,

 the foreigner

in both houses,

the colon

in the eyes of others

I am white

  and I’m not white

 I’m black

  and I’m not black

 


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