Bojan Savic Ostojic












in the crowd
on the narrower, cheaper repro of knez mihailo street
(that every four years is officially known as the original,
while the real reproduction is being restored in the national museum)
i was pretending to look for somebody
they told me i have to find you

if the stories are to be believed, the whole of knez mihailo street can be disassembled and compressed into a box size of a pack of Marlboro Slims®
but the restorers always intervene, according to what the spectacle needs
in this replica they left out the faculty of fine art and the greek queen,
for historical reasons they smashed the glass in the western european cultural centres.
the one with the keen eye is paid to blind eye.
the one who refuses the money, gets referred for decompression.

(after decompression, nobody needs to blind eye)

in that well paid artificial crowd
of revised and edited extras with their tongues nailed
asking myself out loud whether i will really meet you in this poorly falsified street
at full speed i run into your forehead
and, within the reach of the, for this occasion looted cervantes institute, i broke my nose.

at the spot the local plastic surgeon intervened, transvestite, without taking off the gloves
of sisters and brothers that rushed with dedication from behind the scenes, without removing
lapel mics, which are not allowed to be displayed
and you, all in black, with childlike bereaved face
with a convincing stain of my blood on your forehead
leaned over the improvised bunk on which they placed me
in the emptied passageway next to banca intesa

to the sound of a touching devoutly-patriotic song from the promotional compact-disc “serbian orthodox church”, you told me appropriate, quietly, but clearly:
no matter how clumsy your nose is,
i will love you forever.

you were shivering,
from stage fright.

you hurt me, i told you, but i know you didn’t meant to.
I wanted to say hi – you were enunciating, remembering – but i couldn’t manage it,
you were faster, and headbutted me with your nose.
Now, thus, i love you.

in the midst of post operation aches, in intensive care
in the draught next to the intense deserted bank machine
(surrounded by the disciples of the special police)
it was nice, after all, to hear that.

i wondered if you would forgive me
(all my thoughts were transmitted by the sound system
in a voice that much resembled my own )
though i knew that i could thank only my shameless nose for that supremely honest
if undeserved vow.
i laughed
and just a moment later the street was echoing with the recorded laughter of a paid,
multiplying audience.

i was ashamed – it was written in the stage directions –
of such a disapproving love, but
see, i am bleeding too, i said that to get even with you.

but i am marked with your blood,
you answered, and humbly lay next to me.

in that strong moment somebody from the extras slipped and sprawled across the fresh ice at
belgrade (authentic, credibly immortalised) meridian
and we were rapidly evacuated by intervention units from the compulsory treatment room
the episode is finished.

the bed is just one –
that was your line after the final credits
and there are lots of patients

december is after all the more cruel month,

i wished to say but i held my tongue.









Bojan Savic Ostojic (1983), author of two books of poetry: Stvaranje istine (SKC, Kragujevac, 2003) and Tropuće (Društvo Istočnik, Biblioteka časopisa Poezija, Beograd, 2010). He translates from French. Lives in Belgrade.



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