Iztok Osojnik


Postcard from the island of Hvar

To speak from a place from which silence speaks. Seven of my hearts have put on Greek armour. They are running across the Kopais plain below the Kithairon of my imagination. How catch dreams that have untied your hands? From letter to letter I open the shutters on a tiny house that resembles a children's toy, a tiny house in a tiny house in which there is another tiny house, and one more, and it sings like the songs of Strniša. To see and experience something for the first time, like a man counting pebbles. The shadows frighten me off. I shut down the computer and go to the mall. I drive around town. In my left pocket a piece of folded paper, a super-conductor, a piece of the iron a man carries in his heart. And drinks from, and eats from.Fog is something beautiful: for a man who doesn't sleep it washes his eyes, kisses his soul. The land inside is green. The sky green. Green sea. Green city. Green moonlight. Something green up to the sky. Green earwig. The sea undulates against morning, sadness glimmers in glass-like depths. The green boots on my feet run down there amidst the cicadas and olive trees. At night I dive into a well and bring up some pebbles that kept my heart warm. Morning light feels out a face and shapes it into a delicate flower. I walk. The sky gently touches the rooftops. A green hippopotamus is swimming. Seagulls are screeching. If you touch me your knees will turn into creepers and break into flower. Water is as clean as honey. Lavender nests on the soul's crossroads. Light is thinner than a rosemary twig. An endless field of lavender. The smell of coffee. (From the “Global Positioning System”) Translated by Ana Jelnikar, David and Teja Brooks


You never said anything and I never heard anything but there is no doubt: the best in me comes from the twilight of your silence. There glows the measure for the deep end of memory, for the inquiring looks from under the eyebrows, for the rustle of woods on the steep dark green slopes, for the wild heights wrapped in fog And farther still, like a shriek of a bird that dashes out of a damp shadow for the sun, for the slopes amid the grapes, tottering into wine under the golden weight of autumn. Out of you grows the remembrance of the Tyrol cravings for the Mediterranean, those tough green irons on the pyramids of the red granite over Bozen. Or of the long, moist nights, out of which dreams spread deep into the tissue of another reality, nights, out of which I awoke shaken, sullen, subdued, a witness to prenatal states, unable to communicate them well, stammering and still wet from the true/real sobbing of my soul. Later though, imperceptibly almost, down the valleys of dark green hips and sharp rocks, slashed from the ice and the sun. You may have known it all, of the chain of fathers and sons and how the accumulated experience is passed into seed and from one soul to another. Up the valley, along the river, the waves of world history penetrated, touching the cells' nuclei, marking them. The world is centerless. An ancestor, absorbed in thought, raised his eyes and erected a chapel for a saint at the mouth of the river, into the ravine he built a sign which people came to see from afar, wanting to learn of … History ebbed and flowed like a flood, it named sons or daughters, leaving them indelibly marked. We all are marked, with focused foreheads we all have written what we have not always understood. We have left graves behind, strewn with flint sand, now ablaze with the shattered sun. We are motionless like a sparrow hawk on a twig. The gaze of the deceased harbored also our confidence and strength. This presence, this measure, moves through the silence like the deer in the dark, across the invisible insight that resides differently and travels differently. And not just you and I, everyone trembles awe-struck by these vistas, by the spirit that winds through the valley, vivid from the blossoming fruit trees, baroque like the royal carriage from Statenberg Castle that pulled up at the house, dusky like the cloister and the park in the front, where once, feeling anxious, you would wait on your mother to return from the confession, while in the vineyard cottage, which was nationalized after the war together with the rest of the estate, dad was making wine awarded with the diploma that still hangs on the wall I am now looking at. From the Darkness in July Translated by Ana Jelnikar


Mister Today pondered: truth is irrelevant, what matters is what people think. For example: father, dying opposite the room in which there is a wheezing man who has by and large cooked up the Balkan butchery. (Stane Dolanc, an apparition reduced to gargling and a coma.) I was at my father's side when he was lying at the neurological clinic (unworthy of that name). I was with him the moment he came out of a month's coma and looked at me with eyes full of vacant amazement. I was there also when he was forcibly transferred from the clinic to a hospital in Mengeš. And also when we finally succeeded in getting him into the elderly people's home in Kolezija, where, twice today already, he has gone to the other side among the unattainable shadows. But a few times, when he was awake, I wasn't there. Father is now taking leave for ever, thinking his eldest son has forgotten him. An irretrievable and irreparable thought, finality as such, no history can amend. And the other way round? If truth matters and not what people think? Where does that take us? There beyond the human world, where the primeval reality of the world rests? Mister Today pondered, but received no answer. An answer may come by itself. A sequence from “MISTER TODAY” Translated by Ana Jelnikar


At two in the morning the average European sends love letters to the stars over his village. An old goat, upside down, bemoans the fact he cannot master even more extravagance. I am experimenting with myself, it occurs to Mister Today. A black raven under the whiteness of a naked lightbulb. Wingless fish fly around my head, seven thousand fish of Swedenborg’s from the topmost heavens over Notranjska. One day someone will write an essay on this. What will he consider? What is generic here? A distant train rumbling across the old Austro-Hungarian bridge near Prestranek? How far is this from the supermarkets in America? The yellow morning light in my computer’s blue guitar, a glass giant river gliding across my soul with the sky above the village, but nothing bothers me, even if three times this size the river will devour the sky and night and my little fortune, occasionally no bigger than a few lines of poetry, which make my life quite decent, happy inkpot. Translated by Ana Jelnikar

Mister Today

Mister Today — an apt name — plucked a quill from his tail and began to write. Mister Today, have you had anything good to eat? (He's just got back from the super-market.). This stalwart boy has heard about Internet — even he has come under the influence of post-technologies.. But he still had his quill and a wobbly tower of books under his arm. It was very late. We live in terrible times, he said. The obscurantist middle-ages started fifteen years ago. Wars came over like bad weather and then lightning struck. The result gutted was isolated nations and borders, splashed over with huge amounts of money. Life got more expensive. Prices went berserk. Zeno Today would be wearing a digital watch. He'd divide the infinitude of an arrow’s descent into hundred of millions of a second. He would never have thought days could fly by so fast. Mister Today took another sip of beer and wiped his mouth. This joint's no longer what it was, he murmured. The beer's bad. And expensive. By the way, the poetry they read here isn’t much better either. As usual Mister Today said a bit too much. Mister Today who rides around the town on his bike. Mister Today up to now seemed like a Martian. For in this country, everything has become really bizarre. Translated by Ana Jelnikar, and Frank Kazich

Press conference

Mister Today has wandered into a press conference. They were launching selected poems of two world poets, one big and one not so big. This is how it ends, he thought. This is the meaning of poetry. To be launched in a bookshop in a provincial town. On a grey autumn day, waiting for a coffee to be served following the empty bullshit. Translated by Ana Jelnikar

One Last More

Mister Today, somebody doubtlessly you’ve grown tired of, looked at the sky and said: True, my world is big as the universe above my village; but, alas, the village itself is a good deal smaller.. Translated by Ana Jelnikar, and Frank Kazich