Martin Solotruk


Martin SolotrukCopyright: Martina Strakova






Tailbone Against Tailbone


Tailbone against tailbone

we fight

the changeability of weather.


As if your body in a ball

were the point

of the whole ticklish process

in my spine — we’re lying

back to back, curling

into our idea of selves

with our hands like paws

resting childlike on our faces

but connected nonetheless

like Siamese twins,

two phases of the alternating current.


First you’re one and I’m the other

and then the other way round,

impossibly fast,

like this and like that

so we’d be one…

Impossibly fast like this and like that

so we’d be one…


We’re entwined,


virtual photon genetic

chains of light, which

aside from other things

maintains our faces in Hellenic youth,

and even encourages

our majestic contemplations

about the lumbar complementarity

of the golden ratio

and of the photosynthesis

of nano-places,

some of which

we can feel right now

in this cosmic darkness

under the blanket

when what we hear

sounds like dubbing

to the moving images

of solar origin.




Frowning In Half-life


You say I’m always frowning,

But in my mind

I’m only running about

amidst everything that I’ve been watching.


I’m running away from it

like a runner on air

before clouds that are coming together.


I’d love

to convince you

that I’m not frowning

— surely not when making love.

It’s beginning to upset me.


I’m frowning because I can’t

get rid of the feeling


that sometimes we flow so rapidly

that we come to nothing more than a secret

commercial of ourselves.


Visible only in every

fraction of time smaller

than our brain could ever imagine.


That we’re flowing so rapidly

we can feel our half-life.

And all we want is to concentrate

and stay concentrated.

Make love and listen to the washing machine,

to its endless program,

the rhythm of vitality

of the simplest things,

which sometimes comes knocking at our head,



— iconoclasm of frowning

against solar frowns,

protuberances of atomic pairs,

protuberances of nuclear families,


a huge sturdy NO of the robustness

of ordinary reality.


It’s the breath of free ions

that breezes from the frowning.

That’s what’s creating the architecture

of these protuberances,

the protuberances of a dark body

which is so intently getting rid of the dirt of doubts

with the final strain on the lightness

of breath and a petty grumble

uncertain what to do with the free radicals,

with minimal risk of implosion.


I’m peeling off

my frowning.

The frowning of permeable skin.


I’m moving

from the old one into a new.

It’s the frowning I come rising from.


From frowning under which it’s bright.

That’s what transports me

making me ever subtler.


I’m frowning as if in a column of dust,

which (you’re the one knows this best)

we’ll never disperse completely.


I’m not leaving in it, here I just,

sometimes timidly, yet


land in your eyes

or behind your back

I land here


and I stay with you.


Tell me now, am I still frowning?



© Martin Solotruk, translated by Zuzana Starovecká











Martin Solotruk was born in Bratislava and obtained an MA in English and Slovak, and a PhD on American Poetry from the Comenius University, Bratislava, where he now teaches. His first book of poetry, Tiché vojny (Silent Wars), won the Slovak Literary Fund Best Debut Award in 1997. His second collection, Mletie (Milling), was published in 2001. It was followed by Planktón gravitácie (Plankton of Gravity), published in 2005 and Lovestory: Agens and paciens, published in 2007. Solotruk combines in his poems his socialist youth with the vividness of his grandparents’ vineyards and a strong sense of the Slavonic Byzantine heritage. He is also known as a translator, and his translations of the poetry of, among others, Ted Hughes, John Ashbery, Seamus Heaney and Charles Simic have appeared in book form and in magazines in Slovakia.

His poems appeared in several anthologies in Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico, and the US, including A Fine Line: New Poetry from Eastern and Central Europe (Arc Publications, 2004) and New European Poets (Graywolf, 2008). He also translates poetry from English. His award winning book selections include works of Charles Simic, John Ashbery, and Ted Hughes. For his translation of Ted Hughes Crow he won the 2007 prize for the best artistic translation. He is also a Director of Ars Poetica International, a poetry festival and publishing house (



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