We Are Where We Are
In the depths of sleep,
I dreamt of somebody else’s unspoken words.
I emerged from a tear.
Surfaced from deficiency.
I resided in dearth,
in the general deficit of the world,
in the false firmness of the body.
I peeled the skin but there I was not.
A Dream I Could Not Emerge From
I am completely spellbound within today.
Death is winnowing. And favor towards the visible,
deception does weave. I follow the predictable.
I move from a place where I am not.
I pass through fervor, through a wall of disbelief.
Horror howls. I try to collect myself.
I try to occupy closeness,
to determine the measure of the place I am at.
Envisioning within another feels good.
I measure the perishable through illusion.
A fortress is a place
where time accelerates.
While I was building it, I’d go outside.
I’d descend to the bottom
perchance to recognize and gather splendor.
Delusion hid silence.
I marched under the constraint of confusion.
Put off all logic.
Walked off the faintness.
I saw and forgot reliability.
Does the Touch of Your Soul Exist?
The clever cartography of pain
folds together like an intentional image
of things unsettled. I fiddle with
discoveries of the unusual, the futile
truth of the probable. A certain
habitude tries on costumes
already stained, tarnished
in the performance about finally
Spellbound by ensuing insentience,
purposive and submissive, I find myself
where I am not. In distress I am,
a rowboat is all I have.
The displaced soul ties
images of existence to an illusion of the sea.
Illusion is masked by borrowed images.
I sinks into deliberateness, mire
which cannot be crossed, where
one cannot be and where one is not. The extent
of the invisible follows the trail of sinkage.
Cunningness leads even the shadow itself
to the other side of nothing. And I is still bathing
in the illusion of itself.
Through a block of ice I sail.
We Disguise Ourselves in Ordinariness
Ceremonies of the body are canceled.
We cover ourselves with summer, fall and winter.
Golden smoke, it’s clearing,
and time accumulates, often as if someone else’s.
Once we were far, now we are close,
we were here, and already we are there.
We were never inside enough,
and allowed our soul to go outside too often.
From different sides of time balance,
recognized in the differences, we observe the same thing.
The upside-down world is flowing out of us,
while we eat away at the remains of the future.
We persistently search for that place within us
where the experience of existence transpires,
a notion of presence, but live in a matrix
which reveals it outside us.
And so, the world expands, then shrinks,
as time marks the spot
where our nowhere and nothing
make perfect contact.
We are already clothing ourselves
in the hour of deception.
I Slipped into Uneventful Time
In a secret place, dreamt-up,
in an equation which proves the existence of the world,
I protect you from daily records of change.
As I stretch presence,
to the point of breaking,
On both sides of the visible,
at the very bottom of my being,
I persistently harbor futility.
Exceedingly immeasurable, the fervor subsides,
the sum disregards arithmetic,
Darkness is ringing, smells of decay.
Irreducible faces, from one world,
slide into another.
The visible and the invisible soul
alternate, in a space of decay.
in daily routine,
nothing surprises us anymore.
One thing is visible,
they are invisibly layering our souls.
Some of the layers, form a fortress.
We are protected by the wound, not the armor.
Predictability of day, melts away the opulence of dream.
We walk, most often, down the inexpressible.
We find aid, in breathing through words.
Our beings are floating,
always slightly above the visible,
outside short shadows,
the showy and empty.
Presence is the thing, that is merely discerned.
The surreal warms us, the tangible restrains.
Retribution for meaning,
is revealed in the acceleration of time,
and a flash of awareness is what it is.
from the collection SLATKA SMRT (Sweet Death)
Nenad Šaponja (Novi Sad, 1964) is a poet, essayist and literary critic. Among his most recent poetry collections: Slatka smrt (Sweet Death, 2012), Postoji li dodir tvoje duše? (Does the Touch of Your Soul Exist?, 2014), Izgledam, dakle nisam (I Seem, Therefore I Am Not, 2017), Silazim u tišinu tega bačene kocke (I Descend, in the Silent Weight of the Cast Die, 2019). He has been translated into Macedonian, Rumanian, Albanian, English, Spanish and Polish. He is the author of many critical essays including Bedeker sumnje (Baedeker for Doubt, 1997), Autobiografija čitanja (Autobiography of Reading, 1999), Iskustvo pisanja (Writing, an Experience, 2000, 2002). Also, a travelog entitled A Brisel se da prehodati lako (Bruxelles Is Easy to Walk Through, 2018). He has received the Brankova nagrada prize for poetry, he Prosveta nagrada prize for criticism and the Milan Bogdanović prize for journalism and criticism.
Cover image: Photo by Veronica Vannini.