Pavol Janik

(Slovakia)

 

 

 

                                                                      

 

A DICTIONARY OF FOREIGN DREAMS

 

 

 

 

 

ON THE LINE MAN Ė WOMAN AND BACK

 

 

You escape from me

like gas.

With astonishment I watch

how with a single scrawl of your legs

you ignite your silk dress.

 

With such blinding nakedness you pre-empt white flame.

 

Blazingly ablaze and perhaps wholly otherwise

I address a fire

which you will no longer damp down.

 

That time I wanted to declare at least what was essential

to all chance passers-by,

to all chance passing aircraft.

 

So under such circumstances who wouldnít have spoilt it?

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

NIGHT BUS

 

 

I admire the smiles

of the wax figures

and the drunks.

 

Their faith.

Their humility.

Their precision.

Their infallible wisdom

determined by the office of normalization.

 

I admire

their wallpapered souls

full of light and brocade.

Their responsibility and legality

surpassing

the price of taxis and wine.

 

Iím terrified by the indifference

with which they listen

to the heavy breathing of the last trolley buses.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

SUMMER

 

 

The sun smashes our windows.

An urgent song reaches us from the street.

 

On the cellophane sky

steam condenses.

Unconfirmed reports are reproduced

about the wind.

 

The trees are the first to begin to talk

about the two of us.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

THE MOMENT BEFORE TOUCH

 

 

The air grows still.

As in an illustrated weekly

I leaf through your eyes.

 

To hear silence

as it walks in new shoes

and lulls the buzzing bees.

Somebody furiously addresses us with wings.

 

Itís said that youíve seen

burning birds tumble from the sky!

 

Itís just at the base of your breasts

thereís something making a ceaseless hullabaloo.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

TO YOU

 

You come from a scent.

A crumpled flower.

I inhale you tangled like smoke.

 

You inhabit the starry sky

and dials of digital watches.

 

You stupefy me dependably

and faster than light.

 

My head aches from you

and to this moment I mistake you for music.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

VIVACE MA NON SOLTANTO COSI

 

 

Barefoot

you leap from star to star.

And each time thereís a chime

like the kiss of crystal glasses.

 

Thousands of your faces

skate with perseverance

on frozen ponds.

 

I open you with a violinís clef

and seek the bow

whose elasticity can equal you.

 

Deep in you

instead of strings

Iíve touched tears.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

PIANO

 

 

The moment we each have our own key

To the same flat

Iíll shift a piece of the garden

To the second floor.

 

Sometimes Iíll come personally.

Clean

And carefully shaved

To listen to home concerts.

 

Iíll come for sure

Clumsily like a piano,

And always well-tempered.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

 

FAMILY STUDY

 

 

Always when I think of you

dawn breaks above Buenos Aires

and the Atlantic has the inexplicable color of your eyes.

 

Exotic birds

nest on out TV aerial

until the announcer

has a pearly hairdo

and complete blonde smile.

She claims that eternity has already lasted a whole year.

The weather forecast

announces in her place

a rainbow parrot.

 

For our wedding route

it wishes us little cloudiness

and success at least as large as the discovery of America

or the record flight of the ostrich from Australia

to the zoological gardens of Europe.

 

Always when I think of you

dawn breaks above Buenos Aires

and the wind whirls the pamphlets

of all the airlines in the world.

 

The Atlantic does not admit any other continent.

Itís clear as a stone of precious clarity.

 

Despite its twinkling depth it resembles a question

which posed passionately by your body.

 

Children search tirelessly for an answer

till now unwritten in books

and cut out colorful pictures from it.

 

It happens at home

behind whose windows fireworks blaze every evening.

 

Always when I think of you

dawn breaks above Buenos Aires.

And today, too, the Atlantic is completely upset.

Itís completely bashful

as its accustomed only to invisible phenomena.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

ASTONISHMENT

 

 

I stretch out the water

in which you are reflected.

 

With a shout to stop

all possible outflows.

 

I address you by breath

such release of speech.

Until you are glassy with ice before me

as before a draught.

 

Tirelessly you quiver under the numb surface

and on the bottom for a moment gleam

so that I glimpse the day,

which will only light up in you.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

NAME

 

 

By just a point

you surpass successful fortune.

 

By just a drop

you outdo sparkle

 

By sobbing

you surmount aquarelle.

 

You spread pollen.

 

We put our faces to yours

as to a flowerís corolla

weary of so much circumstance.

 

Youíll gain a name from us,

which youíll consider as your own.

 

 

(1981)

 

 

 

EX OFFO

 

 

Every day I pick up a pen up

afraid that itís completely in vain.

Above the paperwork clouds of office work loom

like heavy opaque curtains.

 

It becomes complete

with neon illuminating

the office darkness.

Thereís nothing visible from life

apart from cheap state furniture,

the various moods of colleaguesí faces

and always the same roof of a neighbouring house.

and to all this, it has to be said,

a bit of sky,

a personal pot plant

and a telephone, which should connect us with the world.

But we know very well

that it connects only with other offices.

It should be mentioned, too,

that this is only when it isnít broken.

This hasnít happened for a long time indeed.

 

We see nothing

and we know nothing

We know nothing of what

in the light of day

new springs doggedly push to the surface,

from all the openings in the earth

mysterious water sprays out.

Pure and just

measuring the time

and other limits of our lives,

Urgently seeking paths to a return to earth.

 

From the sky birds,

planes, comets and other heavenly things gather.

In the galleries pictures fall from the walls

and statues from their plinths.

Something is happening.

Something is going on.

 

With blue ink

I register my pulse,

the number of the dead, the amount of damage caused,

trunk calls and interruptions to working hours.

 

I know that Iíll get compensation for this poem,

or Iíll work at it over the weekend

after coming to an agreement with my employer

 

 

(1985)

 

 

 

AN URGENT POEM

 

 

Ceaselessly you enter my mind

like an urgent poem

to dispute fixed views on life

and change accepted images of the word.

 

Unstoppably you come

to electrify

the unshakeable conviction

that a man is a self-sufficient being.

Thus we always live unthinkingly together,

and far from one another

in our two-in-one dream.

Always you enter my mind

when Iím woken from sleep by air raids

of themes, images and pictures of poetry.

and thus I know that everything belongs indivisibly to ourselves

just as we do to each other.

 

This is the urgent poem,

whose point you force me to keep silent

like a secret,

where thereís no place for another

and which can exist completely without words

and other witnesses.

 

 

(1985)

 

 

 

BAD HABIT

 

 

Every day

I go to work

For my wife, Olga,

So she has enough for shopping.

 

I must make an effort.

The weekend approaches

And the children would like to eat on Sunday.

We still have not succeeded

In breaking this bad habit.

 

 

(1985)

 

 

 

INTO THE BLUE

 

 

From morning we tirelessly squander ourselves into the blue,

which falls short of the border between water and sky.

Into the blue in which the swimming routes of fish cross

with the flight lines of birds.

Into the blue in which the slow movement of ships

cross the glittering fuselages of aeroplanes.

Into the blue

which though the power of its will

casts us back on to a sandy beach

together with other things over and above,

together with the dead bodies of fish, crabs and medusas,

together with fragments of seaweed,

tiny pebbles,

tops of Coca-Cola bottles,

together with scraps of paper

closed in bottles of sweet drinks.

 

We always read from the beginning

and on each side

these letters without lettering

completely whitened by the life-giving sun,

which knows very well whom to give a chance to and whom to not.

 

We read letters without lettering

and understand them frozenly.

We read letters without lettering

wept over by foaming waves

from which life comes,

sound, color and the divine.

 

The descendants of goddesses today dwell

in the endless rivieras of the whole world.

they declare nakedness

and godlike motor boats, cars, beaches, apartments,

music, films

and above all godlike men.

 

At an ice-cream kiosk

I fell head over heels with one for the hundredth time.

 

Itís of no account

but it was her

with whom I shared a few experiences, memories,

children.

I fell in love with her completely

without reservation.

 

From the ice-cream stands

naked poster girls smiled at us

and the portrait of a statesman

wearing a admiralís white uniform

in the blue background,

which could represent water as well as sky\

and in which could move

atomic submarines as well as jet planes

and neon fish as well as rainbow birds.

 

 

(1985)

 

 

 

MOLTO ADAGIO

 

 

The old move in.

slowly and clumsily,

not of their own volition

and without somebody elseís help.

Tiresomely they move their old-fashioned furniture,

their antediluvian opinions

and dogged pains in their joints.

 

With shaking limbs

they look in vain for switches

on the unfamiliar walls

of their new living space.

They canít manage to switch on the light

in a twilight of loneliness and unknowing.

 

Pointlessly they utter all the words,

which they now remember with difficulty.

Their own words

no longer mean anything to them.

They donít understand them.

Theyíve forgotten what they were for.

They remind them of nothing.

 

For them. For honoured and precious persons,

to whom respect and gratitude are due.

 

The old move in.

tediously and maladroitly,

unintentionally

and completely alone.

Sluggishly they move their old-fashioned furniture,

out-of-date opinions

and importunate pains in their joints.

 

Persistently and unpleasantly

they touch us

with their trembling extremities.

Dejectedly they catch us by the throat.

 

The old move in

on us.

Little by little and inexpertly,

willy-nilly

and under their own steam.

Strenuously we move our obsolete furniture,

used-up opinions

and painful joints.

And other things

which have already served their purpose.

 

Inconspicuously and unavoidably

we become honoured and precious persons

to whom respect and gratitude are due.

 

Tenaciously and depressingly

we continue in the persistence of our actions,

fluently sliding into the punch lines of stories

of course like the hands of a clock.

 

With our head we direct

all the way down

ready to strike the precise time.

 

And above us

a blue sky

yawns incomprehensibly

into which the wind flings the glittering mirrors of memory.

 

 

(1985)

 

 

 

PEDESTRIAN WITH ABSOLUTE RIGHT OF WAY

 

 

Live life

Without a car.

Be slower than a trolley bus.

Be tired.

Be late.

Be unable to get out of the city.

Be unable to arrive at yourself.

Be a pedestrian.

Entire and without impediments.

 

To subvert the rules

Regardless of anything.

 

 

(1985)

 

 

 

IíM WITH YOU

 

 

Itís completely me Ė

height 180 centimetres,

measurements 108 by 83 by 107,

weight 73 kilos,

five military qualifications

and even more civilian,

brown hair, green eyes,

born on the occasion

of the Hungarian Uprising,

bashful and christened,

married with three children.

I donít beat out a rhythm in English,

but Iím of the world.

 

Send me fan mail,

postcards and gifts,

books and pictures,

busts and bacon,

booze and flowers.

Support your poet

who, instead of you, behaves

like an idiot.

Write to my European address Ė

Slovakia.

 

Call me,

all of you, who love me,

who canít live without me,

or least die.

Call the number 314 212,

my automatic telephone

will pick up 24 hours a day.

Donít be ashamed of your feelings.

God is watching you Ė

at last do something stupid.

Send some dosh to my account

SSS 3478228.

Remit to my pristine account

your dirty money,

Iíll launder it day and night.

You can rely on me

to spend it all on myself

as opposed to other

charitable institutions,

christmas clubs and other swindles.

 

Iím waiting for your letters,

spiritual outpourings

and filthy lucre.

I know

that all

the better sort of people are shocked

that the worse have not improved.

They can go

and get stuffed.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

ODE TO JOY

 

 

Where are those old poems?

What were they actually about?

And who gave a tinkerís about them.

 

Somewhere in us

something from them has remained,

a charge timed in Nuremburg,

a Frankfurt porn cinema,

a coca-cola opposite the Moulin Rouge,

Lenin inside a Marseille shop window,

a faded postcard of the Cote díAzur,

documents stolen in Rome,

undeveloped photos

of the leaning tower of Pisa,

a night in Florence,

Bolognese poofs,

pigeons at six in the morning

on Saint Markís Square,

an over made-up customs girl

on the train from Vienna

to Devinska Nova Ves.

 

Where are those old poems?

Now nobody will write them any more.

They never made sense to anybody.

 

Theyíve suddenly switched off the power in Europe.

A darkness has started, that which

existed before the invention of light.

We walk on the ceiling of our flat

from memory.

Children laugh at us in their sleep.

 

At the entrance to nowhere

theyíll return us the entrance fee

to life,

which was worth it

even though not so much.

 

Only for death you donít pay.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

UNSENT TELEGRAM

 

 

Inside me a little bit of

a blue Christmas begins.

in the hotel room itís snowing

a misty scent Ė of your

endlessly distant perfume.

Weíre declining bodily

while in us the price

of night calls rises,

waves of private earth tremors

and the limits of an ocean of blood

on the curve of a lonely coast

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

PROLONGING MY UNDERSTANDING

 

 

For a while I hesitated,

at the place where one enters.

and then so many mirrors

as if after death or during it.

and so many unreal girls

in the shallow depths of the glass.

 

There, where I entered for the last time

still as a boy with portraits

of Pierre Brice and Lex Barker in a pocket,

was the window of a small wine tavern.

And above it the warning signals

of red pelargonia

had permanently remained.

These inexorable semaphores

which didnít permit me

to speak in the direction of the wind

and turn aside as the wall approached.

 

I grew up

to the level of salaries,

the length of debts,

to measurable historical latitudes

and to a size

where the era of dieting begins.

 

Now only my hair grows

slowly and completely pointlessly.

and thus I come

to prolonging my understanding

and ridding myself of the purchasing power

of a powerless Samson.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

AT THE TABLE

 

 

An infirmary of flowers of the field

in a vase.

So many of the white

that the blood inside our veins stiffens.

 

Thus we wither together

torn away from

life.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

NOCTURNE FOR DIABETES

 

 

Diacritical signs

Of immortal Dio

Appear in the sky.

Dialogues of the diabolic

Intersect within us.

 

Oh divine Diana

Preserve our diagnosis,

Sugar-beet campaigns and oil fields.

 

Save within us the diapostive

And make us diametrical.

Diagrams of sorrow

and diamond diadems

we place at your diagonals.

Oh dialectics of dia-marmalades.

Into our diaries we write

Our last hour

And the deadline of our posthumous diasporas.

Just so that we donít forget to die

And for the last time decorously deny ourselves nothing.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

CHRYSANTHEMATIKA

 

 

Inside the typewriter

and on the printerís block

poems have died

in which spurs have clinked

of the disobedience and the pride

of the blue blood

of the noble ink.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

A DREAM FROM THE GLASS

 

 

In the fading lustre

of the hotel Alcron, Prague

I watch

as you sleep at the bottom of a mirror.

a jasmine breeze

disseminates your visions,

it hums your mute desires.

 

All the radio stations

broadcast the beating of your heart.

In the receiver

of every telephone

your breath is heard.

On every television channel

they show

your sleeping face

live in the mirror of the hotel Alcron.

 

I am the television camera

of your glass sleep.

Your crystal dreams are dreamt by me.

 

Sparkling you drizzle on me.

Your naked ness is veiled

in a mist of hotel curtains

which in vain I try to blow away

with my last breath before I sleep.

 

Itís late.

 

Flying lovers

gently switch off

the great night city.

A dancing couple

of violet neon

twinkles drowsily

in the dark blue sky.

 

Diplomats

tailored in satin

and surfeited with soap bubbles

leave opera performances,

concert halls and receptions

and in limousines

constructed of air,

darkness and glittering stars

fly away like comets

to their state beds

in a twilight of ambassadors.

 

Garden parties finish.

The blossoming trees

drink from fountains.

 

In the squares

without shame or movement

statues from different eras,

genres and sizes

make love.

 

Tireless taxis, ambulances

and police vehicles

quietly sink to the river bed

while the frightened fish

turn on their alarm sirens

and switch on coloured beacons

of anxiety.

 

In the empty streets

delayed pleasure boats fly

full of trembling lights

and moor themselves

in the last empty shop windows.

 

Itís late.

 

From the highest floors of the heavens

leisurely and at length

flashing lanterns fall.

Phosphorescence shines

on the wings of night butterflies.

It sounds

as if a thousand solitary towers

breathed

the brassy midnight air.

 

So much would I like

to dream you, too.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

THE LAST FOUR BARS OF SILENCE

 

 

Itís getting dark in the revues,

in the carmined eyes of the dancers,

in the centre of the cleavage

of a monumental bosom

and in the snowfall of ostrich feathers.

Itís getting brighter deep within wood,

in flower pots

and botanical gardens.

 

The lights go off in the last windows

of ministerial offices

made of cardboard, telephone lines

and salary cheques.

The wind delivers

Autumn leaves

of strictly secret material

into the unvetted hands

of nightwalkers,

Sensitive lovers

are on guard in the parks

armed to their teeth

with rapid firing sentiments -

calibre forty-five.

 

And it always dawns.

over the pages of newspapers

the moulds of white hot dreams hiss

on contact with the icy air.

Mutes enthusiastically play

their leading role

and the powerless director

with his head in his hands

and bust fuses in his head

repeats to the point of madness

the last four bars of silence.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

AN EMERGENCY LANDING IN YOUR HAIR

 

 

Planes got it into their heads

that they were better than ships,

but pride comes before a fall.

 

The sadness of victory

is unbearable.

 

In the darkness of your hair

glitter the tiny wrecks

of airships

and to the bottom of your eyes

sink sparkling mysteries.

 

Speechlessly

- like the smile on your lips

Iím awaiting my opportunity.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

MIRRORS AFTER NIGHTFALL

 

 

Somewhere itís lit up

as if a misty memory

lights up in me

about the origin of the cosmos.

You smell of the flowers

whose petals

snowed our bodies

to annoy every kind

of communal service.

Your eyes in spite of directives

shine irresponsibly in the dark

as if they reflected the dim light

of insignificant explosions in the sky.

intoxicating you made me lose my mind

and clear conscience

at variance with the law

on the struggle against alcoholism

and toximania.

 

For you

Iím illegally drunk forever.

until today youíve stopped my breathing with desire

at the most inappropriate moments.

You explode within me

like an export explosive

freeing the energy

of fruit pips.

You pulse in my veins

persistent as piercing light.

 

Through the permanent breaking

of traffic laws

we will be convicted forever

by an unextinguishable fire in my blood

in the back window

of your eyes.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

WHY THERE ARE WIVES FOR US

 

 

So they can keep up the fire

in the most interior of fridges,

so they can extinguish our hot heads,

so we can get burnt

by their flaming gaze,

so they can give us sense

by holding our beastly Golem in us,

so they can earth

the lightning of our pride

in collective destruction.

 

For this they are needed

- closer than a shirt,

buttoned by children with us

together, one in one,

on whom we are dependent

irresistibly so.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

from HURRAH IT BURNS!

 

(fragments)

 

 

2.

 

Seasonal poets, occasional critics

and cafť day labourers

dissolve their cheques books

and shirts in their morning coffee

in the hope

of more rational sugars

 

Together with working hours

and other assets of the state bank

we flow reliably nowhere

only interrupted by the occasional capture

of a Slovak poet

for an overseas zoo.

 

3.

 

Re-educational concerts

seemed a little effective

in suppressing rising

prices, debts and children.

 

We donít agree with the coca-

collaboration pepsi-collage.

 

Pull down the rock ní roll-up blinds.

Let the music grow dark inside us,

this nth power of light

which only knows

about the human body.

 

4.

 

After the angelís fall

from the twelfth floor

free fall

has become an Olympic discipline.

The development of rocket planes moves

to the principle of an angel

like helicopters.

The angel whirlybird

of airy propulsion

starts from the territory of the dandelion.

 

The developments and destructions

of peace culminate.

Letís hurry away from here,

in this place

thereís no time to change the world.

 

In a moment weíll be awarded

a Nobel for war

and our poetic guts

will in preference be used for sausages.

 

5.

 

Words refuse to obey.

 

The poem splits

and from it emerges

a video-clip scenario Ö

 

Poetry avoids words.

It abhors them.

 

A revolt against death

will occur in the afternoon

on the coast,

in the event of bad weather

itíll take place at the pensionersí club.

 

Take Baudelaire

dead or alive.

 

9.

 

Woman times man is almost three.

The most domestic animal

is a row-ptile.

Poetic fabrics are getting cheaper.

 

We rationalize the ascent

of concert wings.

 

We vote for Gigglewhite

and her seven little smirks.

 

Even the leaves have yet to fall

from the boulevard trees

and weíve already fallen for the snow.

Grieved as a black man in winter

I listen to the momentary heavy mental,

monumental menthol,

Amen Ementhal.

 

15.

 

Distorted humour

enters the bay leaves

On the poetís head

who wakes alert

in the laurels.

The legs of clocks

and hands of insects

arouse the snow in us.

 

This is the damage of normalization.

There are these houses in the windows,

trees on the branches

and birds in feathers,

Everything about nothing

and nothing about everything.

 

17.

 

Torpedoes explode

in frozen blood.

Under their surface we detect

a conspiracy against love.

In the spring gusts

we set traps for ourselves.

 

Loves strikes us

at the first contact

at the speed of the bullet

earth-air-water-fire.

Weary of espionage

in loosened hair

we vanish silently

like a shadow in rubber soles.

 

And you in the form of music

drizzle into the darkness.

 

Mysterious as a sacred cravat

on the neck of a hanged man

you demonstrate where I pointlessly

direct my gaze.

 

Incomprehensible

as a thirteenth chamber

in a two-room state apartment

youíll explain everything once

and also blame me.

 

The little flame in the dusk of loneliness

gets stronger.

Hurrah, it burns!

A person

on the border

of his opportunities.

Hurrah.

It burns.

 

 

(1991)

 

 

 

 

THE THEATER OF LIFE

 

 

Life which means only the theater Ė

such life we always wish to play.

If just now youíve got a funny thought

change into your clownís suit.

 

Life sways with us like a pendulum Ė

it runs from mud into a puddle.

It never is as it used to be

is a truth well-tried from age to age.

 

Time is like a glass filled to the brim

again and again it runs over.

It ourselves that step on our heels

and we wish to find the person inside us.

 

There are patches on curtain and the soul...

At the end death gives checkmate.

Yet itís still worth playing the game,

you should be glad that at least youíve existed.

 

Life has found a mirror on the stage Ė

it comes alive in it every night.

if something has lured into the theater

letís move into ancient times.

 

Settle into your empty seat,

learn life by heart.

If you yawn during life

then ask for your entrance fee back.

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

WISER FOR YOUR DEATH

 

(for Miroslav Valek)

 

 

Roots grow into the earth like coffins,

Opera singers

sound-painterly gargle on the stage,

a storm drives waves to the shores of a puddle.

 

All at the first moment

of the forgetting of the discovery of America.

 

At the bottom of their souls

everybody repairs their own Titanic.

 

The night sky spills itself on the ground

like sparkling snow.

 

And the dead remain with us

dumb as reproaches.

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

A BIG CLEAR OUT

 

 

Towels are the things

which will survive us.

 

Shirts will remind us.

 

Suits and coats

will remain after us.

 

So many things,

to which will be added

just the dust

into which we change.

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

FAMILY STILL LIFE

 

 

I say in vain

to my wife

that she canít nag

genius.

So Iíve recorded this

in written form

for future generations

as advice for death and life, too.

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

A DICTIONARY OF FOREIGN DREAMS

 

 

At the beginning it was like a dream.

She said,

ďHave at least one dream with me.

Youíll see Ė itíll be a dream

which youíve never dreamt about before.Ē

 

Descend deeper with me,

dream from the back,

dream retrospectively

in a labyrinth of mirrors

which leads nowhere.

 

The moment you come to the beginning of nothing

youíll dream an exciting dream.

 

Frame it

and hang it in your bedroom.

 

So it will always be before your eyes

because a dream which is removed from the eye

is removed from the mind

in the sense

of the ancient laws

of human forgetfulness.

 

Dream your own.

 

Dream your dream

which is reflected on the surface

of a frozen lake.

A dream smooth and freezing:

 

Grieving keys,

a downcast forest,

curved glass.

The tributes of mirrors.

 

The rising of the moon

in a dream of water.

 

Recoil from the bottom

of the mirrorís dream.

 

In the gallery of dreams

then youíll see

a live broadcast from childhood

fragments of long-forgotten stories.

 

Because our obsolete dreams

remain with us.

 

Donít be in a hurry, dream slowly, completely

until you see the crystalline construction

of your soul

in which dreams glitter.

- intentionally and comprehensibly like flame.

 

Perhaps youíve already noticed

that new dreams always decrease.

They wane.

 

Soon weíll light up

in the magical dusk

of the last dream

the despairing cry

of a starry night.

 

Pay a toll to the dreamís

deliverance from sense.

 

You repeat aloud

the intimacies of secret dreams,

with the dull gleam

of your persistent night eyes

you explicate a mysterious speech of darkness.

 

You dream, therefore you exist!

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

YOU CAN TELL AN ANGEL FROM HIS FEATHERS

 

(For my parents who are not yet - departed-)

 

 

In my innermost display cases

all my glassy memories tremble.

 

At the end of silence to hear last yearís rain

how it dictates whispering

its incomprehensible telegram

A pack of sad angels

howl in the light of the moon

 

The river falls from weariness,

the mortal spirit of water

in it falls with ease

to the bottom

 

I feel mercury in my veins

after the explosion of blood

- itís in my guts

supersonic angels

rise from the dead.

 

Their deafening engines

start up in my head.

 

When they take off

the deepest silence begins

in which perhaps Iíll hear

distant pearls

how they pour on the parquets.

 

A morning confession of frozen tears

freezes me

in my yet more Autumn eyes.

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

SOMEONE LIKE A GOD

 

 

I,

You,

He

And someone else Ö

 

- the fourth like a dimension,

the fifth a season in the year,

the sixth like a sense,

the seventh like a continent.

 

The eighth like a day of the week,

The ninth like a point of an octagon,

The tenth like Beethovenís Ninth Symphony,

The eleventh like a commandment,

 

The twelfth like a football player,

The thirteenth like an apostle,

The fourteenth like Friday the Thirteenth,

The fifteenth like Louis Quattorze,

The sixteenth like the fifteen,

The seventeenth like a sixteenth,

The eighteenth like the seventeenth century,

 

The twenty-second like an eye,

The thirty first like a thirty percent fall in bonds,

 

The thirty third like a tooth,

The thirty fourth like Christís year,

 

- the unending like a god

and so just sexless,

 

the powerless

like one who makes love,

 

painless and therefore senseless,

 

unrivalled like a god

in the world who has no other gods,

ungodly like a god

who has neither a god beside him

or over him,

 

bottomless like a sky,

unrestrained like the wind,

boundless like thought,

immaterial like a ghost,

 

nameless bearer of an unknown name,

 

hopelessly faultless,

 

aimless like a perpetual runner,

 

childless like the father

of a crucified son,

 

unreasonable like death

and so just remorseless,

 

nationless like a god

of all people

and beings similar to them,

 

sightless and faceless,

legless, handless and wingless,

hairless and toothless,

 

safe as a harbour

for immortal wanderers,

 

without charge like a promise,

 

unparalleled in perfection,

derived in its own home,

unmediated like touch,

helpless like a deed,

dreamless like a night,

careless like a bird,

 

inconsolable like truth,

ungoverned as the oldest citizen in the world,

 

implicit as love,

without consequence like justice,

 

a creature without colour,

taste

and smell.

 

He wanders in space as if without soul,

a creator without parents,

a being without dwelling place,

a vagabond without address,

 

from beyond memory without work,

from time immemorial without bread,

forever he proceeds without footprints,

 

always thinks without considering

and always the same,

 

he breeds without hesitation,

gives birth without reason,

regardless of anything or anyone,

 

kills without dispensation

- everything and everyone,

since the beginning of the age of ages,

 

he abandons us without regard

for race, religion or conviction,

 

he always triumphs without battle,

judges without mercy,

punishes continuously

and then weeps without sorrow

over the spilt motherís milk

of the immaculate virgin,

who bore him a son

so he could give him

deviously and thoroughly to be crucified

at the hands of his chosen people,

 

so he rules the world without check,

an uncriticised despot,

 

he acts unceasingly without rest

and knows everything without consciousness,

 

he prays to himself without words,

he accepts himself without reserve,

 

he grants himself adoration without consideration,

he is blessedly silent about himself,

 

so continuously decides without witnesses,

without rhyme or reason,

with no way out,

 

wholly without himself,

headless,

heelless,

heartless,

with not a drop of blood,

 

without anything.

 

Redeem him

while thereís time.

 

Perhaps his fate

awaits us, too Ė

cruel

towards all creatures

who have been surpassed by their own works.

 

 

(1998)

 

 

 

KOSOVO

 

(for JŠn Tuěinskż)

 

 

A burning

paper Goethe

prays

in Serb

for four hundred dead children

 

In Schillerís stone eye

gleams a tear of mercury

 

Thereís a Gypsy weeping

for a little Romany fairy

at the bottom of the Adriatic

 

Blood

has an irresistible color

of the bluish dusk of the sky

from which falls

light and glitterings

like a gust of May rain

to fertilize the wounded earth.

 

 

(2002)

 

 

 

NEW YORK

 

 

In a horizontal mirror

of the straightened bay

the points of an angular city

stabbing directly into the starry sky.

 

In the glittering sea of lamps

flirtatious flitting boats

tremble marvelously

on your agitated legs

swimming in the lower deck

of a brocade evening dress.

 

Suddenly we are missing persons

like needles in a labyrinth of tinfoil.

 

Some things we take personally Ė

stretch limousines,

moulting squirrels in central Park

and the metal body of dead freedom.

 

In New York most of all itís getting dark...

 

The glittering darkness lights up.

 

The thousand-armed luster of the mega city

writes Einsteinís message about the speed of light

every evening on the gleaming surface of the water.

And again before the dusk the silver screen

of the New York sky floods

with hectolitres of Hollywood blood.

 

Where does the empire of glass and marble reach?

Where do the slim rackets of the skyscrapers aim?

 

God buys a hot dog

at the bottom of a sixty-storey street.

 

God is a black

and loves the grey color of concrete.

 

His sun was born from himself

in a paper box

from the newest sort of slave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

_______________________

 

Mgr. art. Pavol Janik, PhD., was born in 1956 in Bratislava, where he also studied film and television dramaturgy and scriptwriting at the Drama Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (VSMU). He has worked at the Ministry of Culture (1983-87), in the media and in advertising. President of the Slovak Writers' Society (2003-07), Secretary-General of the SWS (1998-2003, 2007 - ) and Editor-in-chief of the literary weekly of the SWS Literarny tyzdennik (2010 - ). He has received a number of awards for his literary and advertising work both in his own country and abroad.

 

This virtuoso of Slovak literature, Pavol Janik, poet, dramatist, prose writer, translator, publicist and copywriter was born on 15. 10. 1956. His literary activities focus mainly on poetry. Even his first book of poems, which appeared a quarter of a century ago, attracted the attention of the leading authorities in Slovak literary circles. He presented himself as a plain-spoken poet with a spontaneous manner of poetic expression and an inclination for irony directed not only at others, but also at himself. This style has become typical of all his work, which in spite of its critical character has also acquired a humorous, even bizarre dimension. His manner of expression is becoming terse to the point of being aphoristic. It is thus perfectly natural that Pavol Janik's literary interests should come to embrace aphorisms founded on a shift of meaning in the form of puns. In his work he is gradually raising some very disturbing questions and pointing to serious problems concerning the further development of humankind, while all the time widening his range of themes and styles. Literary experts liken Janik's poetic virtuosity to that in the work of Miroslav Valek, while in the opinion of the Russian poet, translator and literary critic, Natalia Shvedova, Valek is more profound and JanŪk more inventive. He has translated in poetic form several collections of poetry and written works of drama with elements of the style of the Theatre of the Absurd. Pavol Janik's literary works have been published not only in Slovakia, but also in Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, Macedonia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, South Korea, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America.