Other poems by Lucija in a previous issue


Essay on Slovenian poetry


Slovenian Feature


Other features in this issue

Beautiful Losers and Other Poems

Lucija Stupica

Lucija Stupica

Then It's Dark

Then it's dark and quiet
and stars descend from the sky
to talk with you.
You cut a slice of night,
put it in your pocket and wait
for the magician to pull out
a string of handkerchiefs and someone shouts:
Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

so loudly you quail
for your audience is impassive.
Wavering, loud run,
tears, hearty laughter — all this
he carries within himself and seldom
writes it on the walls.

Then it's dark and quiet
and stars descend from the sky
and you go where thoughts,
free as they are, meet in the night.
Lies have left with the shopping bag.
In every part of your body a dolphin
is born. A hunter you love.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

Stolen Beauty

We woke up into a shining morning,
brushed our teeth and sat down at the table.
The day had only just begun.
Outside, olive groves
and human destinies unfolded
like gaily colored laundry over
a large stony backyard.
All that like a long, slow music
turned into a dark scenery, brightened.
Images were stronger, larger
than tiny writing caught between the paper's edges.
With our eyes closed, wind tossed us like barges,
a lemon-tree offered us dark green wings.
We were planting small and big desires,
writing letters to birds silently
flying over the wide roads of silence,
shooting films in our barely open eyes,
and if you said you are beautiful,
you said it because you meant it.
As the day descended over our shoulders,
it was as if we had walked along an isolated beach,
caressed by the sky. It resembled
Arcadia and it was close.
Summer blew us out
molding us into big goblets
brimming with softer,
ever softer thoughts.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

Beautiful Losers

Argonauts have found the Golden Fleece,
perhaps crossed the Karst where you don't
feel old. It's the rock that's old,
encircling you like the wind
sweeping past melancholy thoughts.

And solitude is being tenderly in love,
oblivion scattered across the streets of a city,
whose walls you build alone, just as
the labyrinths of streets, round yards,
abandoned atria and the ones where residents
dust your view from their balconies,
third floors, where Bukowski is waiting
for something literary or symphonic to happen,
you are both waiting and watching a girl
dressed in a light green sweater.

Shaking off your yearning through the window,
you draw recklessly nearer the word.
Before it ends, you invite her to your place.
It all depends on the swallowing of sperm
life ejects into fleetingness,
on the grasping of darkness and on the way
you are touched by the splendor of the sun.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

In The Heart Of The Day

Adamant and beautiful, this world,
with birds sleeping in the palm.
Playing in the dark is changing into a game
of the day, a disclosing circle.

I fall asleep and wake up
in the land where above
citrus fruit haze rises up the spiral
acceptance of inhaling and exhaling,
by the vast water which is a woman.
And I'm filling up. With every moment.
I grasp more and more space
and life in it.

Throwing the wrong dice, I do not belong.
I have to love for the same reason:
god, Eros, is in every raindrop
washing away sadness and rousing silence
in our overheated eyes. Several suns are holding
one another with no arms. There. And here.
Playing in the dark turning into a festival of the day,
with you, always, with a single breath,
as its center.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar


I woke up to meet you.
The morning is full and it seems
it wants to become a pseudonym
for times yet to come.
I inhale you with all the darkness
hidden under the leaves;
arching over ignorance
like a drop of dew, who cares.
I need another ticket for my journey,
for the growth of leaves and their double
faces wrapped up in silk membranes.
To utter a joke on my account.
For the joke to burst, for my wake to burst.
Together with postcards sent
from all over the world: cities, famous works
of still more famous painters, gentle herbaria
of flowers, comic drawings, pungent inscriptions. . .
and letters in-between, words, interlinear silence
where we delivered our home long ago.
I'm listening to the morning trickling through.
To the light repeating itself within the light
without a program to be controlled by a remote control.
And at the far end of the waking landscape
my name stays behind, an unsigned text
you'll recognize when you approach
the mingling of darkness and light
to see how I'm doing.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

Three Minutes For Tea

So many dunes in the world
change in the wind and time.
Distances are important
to realize how things are with you:
you either stay or get lost, you leave,
somewhere else, but later somewhere else
is always here, where a dune takes shape,
where you wade with bare feet,
with a cup of tea in your hand,
laughing at a newly born madman.
What's his name?
Does he still know you when you turn away?
So much life, and yet!
In three minutes it will all be over,
it will be too late then, the tea leaves
will turn bitter and the memory
fade, so fragile, alone.
So much life, and yet so much death!

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

Friends In Town

In the city wild, successions are falling apart,
tunnels opening and closing, the day playing
the role of a blind guide. I'm glad we've
met in the incubation age of the evening
when the enemy was only being born.

We sketched the place where we found each other
and pinned the sketch to the sides of soft walls.
It is soaked with joy and sorrow,
its signs are in the cry and whisper.
Now I see you in the line indicating a circle:
you're here inside, we both are, you're coming back,
some day, I'm coming back. . .

A herbarium is creating itself. Making up a whole.
As the city, its streets and houses making up a whole.
You can twist my palm, as its lines are too deep
and will not disappear.

The thoughts are present. And it's good and bad
to walk along them, among faces and sometimes
borrow a quiet evening for a poem, to try to
discover a formula for happiness, have a meal
you don't like, put disorder into the room,
for us to meet again where we found each other.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

Life on Islands

I slacken the shore of nostalgic memories
and still I am not the sea.
Yet again the city has erected its strongholds,
and when I stop my bicycle by the concrete flowerpot,
the red-hot metal grins at me.
The spirit of seeming calm is trampled down
and the arabesque of water murmur drowned.
The inverted world is peopled with space vagabonds,
with flocks of big children who perhaps some day will
discover their worlds in their open palms
or in the wrinkled skin washed ashore
of memory one afternoon.

Actually, I wanted to tell a simple story,
one among many, before it drowned into oblivion.
When it is written, I will know
that life on islands is not an unlucky choice.

From Cello in the Sun translated by Janko Lozar

Dancer's Letter To Her Lover

The dance step stalls.
A hand slides to the empty side
of my face, a numb message,
a solid mask dedicated to you.
Thundering applause cannot wash up a heart
wandering through the cities and seeking
out the traces of another life.

On both sides, here and there,
a sudden death of speech,
winter buried into holidays
without a landing space, on both sides,
the beat, an impatient hand
is drumming on our shoulders, takes its leave.

Rising from my bow,
the switched-on lights will shut all doors,
your voice will fade through the loudspeakers
with the last of the audience.
And my steps will be
the first to withdraw.

from Vetrolov translated by Ana Jelnikar

Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe

People start competing
in owning the best, the greatest ideas,
in making the best out of useless extras,
in having the most beautiful face
for the ratings of news reports.
Appearing on television,
appearing in interviews.

Finally they stop talking.
The city is seized by the craze of empty beds.

So don't be a stranger waking up
with cold palms. Wrap them
around silence and a face, while the two
windows gaze at you and open you up,
freed from all deception.

from Vetrolov translated by Ana Jelnikar

Hotel Ideal

They are coming, in cars, some on foot,
entering through big glass doors,
silently as if carried by ants,
with kind smiles they are dropping words
like balloons into the light of the day.
Where the windowpanes mist, the teapots lean
towards porcelain cups like kisses
towards lonely hearts. The absence of hatred
is inevitable. But no one misses it.

A sickle moon on all the doors is the only
lock that opens and closes the entrances
to the other side of the secret.
And peace is guaranteed, on this other side,
also amid individual chats in the greenery,
in the connected corridors, intended even for the dogs,
on the upholstered stairwells and in the elevator.
Without keys and embarrassments the purses are
the first thing left behind by women. The proper thing is not guessing
and doubt does not seal hearts.

On the hotel, there are no posted prohibitions
and the poets of this world are not strange characters
who practice art in order to become
philosophers, if not prophets. The men
who are entering are wearing rumpled pants
and have cheerful faces, and the women are without sealed
windows, facing their dream openly.
And among all the things possible
they push around in their carts,
the prime spot is occupied by the fairy-tale books of jolly children
running around armchairs
filled with dozing images.

And all the words that are saved under the sheets
turn here into patterns of transparent curtains
gently swinging through the windows left ajar.
Different sequences, says the husband when
embracing his wife, after a long time
thinking now only of her.

All life enters like a tiny particle of dust
and sits about the elegant foyer
thinking that it can change the flow of questions.

from Vetrolov translated by Martha Kosir-Widenbauer and J.C. Todd