Milan Dobričić

 

 

(Serbia)

 

 

 

HIGHWAY

 

I’m watching; from where I am,

one can see quite clearly:

how we, the young, are getting older,

and how we don’t become anything.

Once spirits struggled

to get their names inscribed somewhere.

Now we walk down an asphalt highway with an n number of lanes,

running parallel to one another,

waving over the metal fence,

we rush unstoppably towards the horizon.

If ever, today the world is a flat board

over the edge of which we fall in columns.

 

 

 

BLESSED LOSERS

 

The legs of Dali’s elephants tangled up in the trunks of beech-trees.

Slumbering dinosaurs smashing the blue horizon.

The abandoned tower descended to the top of the quarry.

The torn-apart people in the distance distort the pale face of a woman.

Continents crumble on the bark of a plum-tree covered with lichen.

Rancid wine the nectar of runaway gods.

White pebbles screech under the belly of an overburdened boat.

The low wind plays against the neck of the bottle held in hand.

The mark of the master beast all over her body.

The grass mocks the catastrophe life mocks death.

 

 

 

ARE YOU OK?

 

You always make the bed in the same order in the same way.

You always put on your left sock and shoe then your right sock and shoe.

You always wash your teeth with the same movements using the same hand.

You always buy the same kind of bread the same kind of yoghurt.

You always drink the same coffee made in the same way.

You always sit in the same café on the same chair next to the wall.

You always quote the same writer the same proverbs phrases.

You always check the symmetry of pictures close the cupboard drawers.

You always walk along the same path take the same shortcuts on the way there and back.

You get born live die always in that order.

Are you OK?

Obsessive-compulsive?

 

 

 

EPITAPH

 

Do not come to my grave!

I don’t like it when someone

stands over my head.

 

 

 

MISSES

 

A bird missed

the window-pane

and flew in

 

missed another one

and flew out

 

two clear misses

and it flew away

 

 

 

TRAINS, CITIES, MOIRAE

(notes made during the course of a journey)

 

TRAIN, THESSALONIKI

 

Meeting the train, reminiscent of meeting my childhood.

Anxiety, fear even… and I’m not afraid of flying.

A friend, the city and the tower on Mt Avala in flames are seeing me off,

seen through the dirty window

Those without whom I don’t exist follow me: the Deadly One, the Ugly One,

the Boring One.

Car 466, compartment 3, bed 21.

Except for the sound, this feels like my very first train journey.

Dirty bed sheets, the toilet sheer horror.

Fog. Fear of the Deadly One.

In succession, we pass through Preševo, Tabanovci, Veles, Gradsko, Demir Kapija, Đevđelija, Eidomeni, Polikastro.

A train journey is a sad affair, all the stations look forlorn.

A sandwich and the worst coffee I’ve had in my life.

Tunnels. Rivers. Bridges. Rocks. Olive trees. Borderlines.

Black river, white sun.

All of a sudden, watches run 60 minutes ahead.

The train speeds on, the doors shudder, my jacket swings.

The Boring One tickles my soles while I sleep feverishly.

 

Thessaloniki. The air smells of Greece. Childhood.

A look from the room at other looks from the room.

Taking a rest for the first time, solitude, silence.

I watch the Ugly One.

The television set is leaning from the wardrobe, looking at me; I ignore it.

Giant stray dogs, make you wish you were one in your previous life.

Every day, every evening, every night, I offer sacrifices to Moirae.

Finally, a visit to my ancestors.

Talking about death; I’m on familiar ground.

Doves on the window sill.

Peace?

 

 
 

TRAIN, ISTANBUL

 

Cramped compartments, one upon another; I’m certainly sleeping above someone.

The train feels like riding, swinging, clattering.

The train feels like a cradle rocked by a nervous mother.

Borderlines. Rain. Arable land. Landslides. Streams. Flooding waters.

A station right out of old movies; the mother is finally quiet, the child is asleep.

I get off. The three of them in the corner of my eye.

 

A city of cats and yellow cabs.

A small room, the window looking out on a wall.

Sounds of singing wafting from a minaret; Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque calling out to each other.

The Deadly One floats above me wherever I go.

A castle, lots of invited guests, and a woman that makes me want to cry, she reminds me of my mother of long ago.

Gulls follow the ferry, their flight being stopped by the wind.

Asia has come out onto its streets, its pavements, fragrant, multicoloured.

On one dock there live black birds, across from it white ones.

We got down under the ground, above water; I’m not alone here either.

Bosporus under the bridges; a bald werewolf beside me.

Morning, sun, rainbow, yet another one,

a gull under the window, its cohorts follow a fishing boat in a long drawn out flock.

By the sea, in the rain, sunshine, wind. And death.

The rainbow did not bring happiness, only sad confessions, tears. And death.

Cats caterwaul all night. A little bird fled to the dining-room before them.

No more trains, I look forward to wings.

Am waiting to fly away.

The Ugly One tries to hide. The Deadly One loses her teeth.

The Boring One is next to me in the empty seat. Then she sits in my lap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 
BIO

 

Milan Dobričić, born 1977 in Belgrade.
Graduated Serbian and world literature at Belgrade University. Graduated at Belgrade Open School.
One of the founders of NGO Treći Trg (www.trecitrg.org.rs) and Belgrade International Poetry and Book Festival.
Works as a translator from English and Italian.
Published poetry and prose in magazines in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Poland, Romania, Spain/Catalunya, Turkey, and Macedonia.
Published two short stories in collection Shortest stories 2006 (Alma, Beograd) and one in collection Scream (Krik, 2016). Published co-author prose book Diary 2000 (CSM, 2001), poetry books Pressure (CSM, 2002), Racking One’s Brains (Treći Trg, 2006), Blessed Losers (Društvo Istočnik, 2009), Lyrical Poetry and Stuff… (Treći Trg, 2013), Moments in Time That Breed Saints Sublime (Treći Trg, 2015), bilingual poetry selection Blessed Losers (Treći Trg, 2013), a short story collection Lye (Treći Trg, 2010), a collection of short notes O (Treći Trg, 2014), and a novel Diary of a Headache (Treći Trg, 2017). Participant in WordExpress project as a poet and translator. His work has been translated in magazines into English, French, Polish, Romanian, Catalan, Czech, Slovenian, Turkish, Hebrew, Macedonian, Russian, Latvian, Bulgarian and Italian. A selection of his poems was published in Turkey in 2017.
Translated novels The Other Man by Welsh author Owen Martell (Treći Trg, 2011) and Jutta Heim by Maltese author Immanuel Mifsud from English (Treći Trg, 2018), poetry collections The Zoo Father (Treći Trg, 2012), The Huntress (Treći Trg, 2016) and Fauverie (Treći Trg, 2016) by Pascale Petit, and poetry collection Uttering Her Name by Gabriel Rosenstock (with Gorjana Rajić, Treći Trg, 2013).

A member of Serbian Literary Society and Association of Literary Translators of Serbia since 2017.

 

Bibliography

Diary 2000 (CSM, 2001) – prose

Pressure (CSM, 2002) – poetry

Racking One’s Brains (Treći Trg, 2006) – poetry

Blessed Losers (Društvo Istočnik, 2009) – poetry

Lye (Treći Trg, 2010) – prose

Lyrical Poetry and Stuff… (Treći Trg, 2013) – poetry
Blessed Losers (Treći Trg, 2013) – bilingual poetry selection, translated into English by Novica Petrović

Kutlu Kaybedenler (Delta, 2017) – poetry selection, translated into Turkish by Gokcenur C.

O (Treći Trg, 2014) – short notes

Moments in Time That Breed Saints Sublime (Treći Trg, 2015) – poetry

Diary of a Headache (Treći Trg, 2017) – novel

Owen Martell: The Other Man (Treći Trg, 2011) – translation

Pascale Petit: The Zoo Father (Treći Trg, 2012) – translation

Gabriel Rosenstock: Uttering Her Name (Treći Trg, 2013) – translation with Gorjana Rajić

Pascale Petit: The Huntress (Treći Trg, 2016) – translation

Pascale Petit: Fauverie (Treći Trg, 2016) – translation

Immanuel Mifsud: Jutta Heim (Treći Trg, 2018) – translation

Treći Trg 20-30/2010 (Treći Trg, 2010) – translation, various authors

 

 

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