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Ahasver

Ahasver
by Marko Tomaš
Translated from Serbian by
Rachael Daum
Issue 29 Online Exclusive

Lako je
zaboraviti na domovinu.
Treba se ponašati nestašno
kao mjesec,
mršati i debljati se,
mijenjati lik,
biti neprepoznatljiv,
vrtjeti se u krug,
plesati valcer
dok ti se ne pomuti u glavi
od sreće
jer domovina ne postoji
dok god putuješ
i daleko si od sudbine
koju si naslijedio
a koja kaže
da moraš voditi ratove
tvojih djedova i mrziti
iste neprijatelje kao oni.
Ovo je pijanstvo savršeno kao paučina
u noći kroz koju se razliježu molitve
jer sveti je mjesec nekim neprijateljima
nekih drugih neprijatelja
koje sve skupa voliš
ali to nitko ne može shvatiti
pa ni ti, Marko, koji tumaraš
maštajući da već sutra
budeš bucmast kao mjesec
i jednako lud—
da živiš bez plana
ali prateći jasnu putanju.
Baš takvo nešto trebaš,
nešto nelogično, gotovo nemoguće,
nešto što se može nazvati magičnim
u svijetu bez magije.
Oče promjeni mi ime,
pjevušim u noći.
Ljeto je
ali smokvino lišće
ne uspijeva prikriti
nijedu sramotu
grada u kojem umirem
i iz kojeg
volim otići.

It is easy
to forget about your homeland.
You have to be restless
as the moon,
lose and gain weight
change your face,
become unrecognizable,
twirl in a circle,
dance a waltz
until your head spins
from happiness
because your homeland doesn’t exist
while you’re traveling
and you’re far from the fate
you inherited
which says
you have to wage the wars
of your grandfathers and hate
the same enemies.
This is drunkenness perfect as a cobweb
in the night with prayers spilling through
because the moon is holy to the enemies
of some other enemies
you love them all
but no one can understand that
not even you, Marko, who roam around
imagining that even tomorrow
you’ll be chubby as the moon
and just as crazy—you live with no plan
but follow a clear trajectory.
This is what you need,
something illogical, almost impossible,
something you can call magical
in a world with no magic.
Father change my name,
I’m crooning in the night.
It’s summer
but the fig leaves
can’t conceal
any shame
of the city I’m dying in
and love
to leave.

 

____

 

Marko Tomaš, “Ahasver” from A Regatta of Paper Boats. Belgrade: Lom Books, 2016.

Author
Marko Tomaš was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 1978, and was educated in present-day Bosnia and Serbia. He has published nine collections of poetry, and his works have been translated into Italian, German, French, and English. Tomaš currently lives and works in Mostar, Bosnia.
Translator
Rachael Daum is the Assistant Managing Director of the American Literary Translators Association. She received her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Rochester and MA in Slavic Studies from Indiana University; she also received Certificates in Literary Translation from both institutions. Her original work and translations have appeared in Queen Mob's Teahouse, The Airship Daily, Literary Laundry, and elsewhere. Rachael lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia, and translates from Serbian, Russian, and German. Find her on Twitter at @rclouisedaum.