Online Exclusives
Share
| All Online Exclusives >

Colony

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

Ovo je jedini grad
koji moram napustiti.
Ovo je jedino mjesto
na kojem mogu živjeti.
Nikome ne treba toliko sunca
ni sva ta obnaženost
ni rijeka u koju se sruči utroba
ni toliko mrtvih riba
Nijedno tijelo ne može podnijeti
toliko istine.
Nitko ne bi trebao imati
tako velika usta.
Ovdje se ne dolazi u goste.
Ovdje se hodočasti.
Ovdje svi
imaju lica ubojica
i kriju neku tajnu kao groblje.
U transu hodaju
oko tržnih centara
i vode djecu za ruke
nervozni poput besposlenih generala.
Ali kad se kamen raspukne
primaju to spokojno
jer to su čekali cijeli život.
Uvijek ti nude hranu
i još malo soli.
Ljeto je tu cirkuska točka
koja oduzima dah.
Tu se vjenčajemo iz dosade
Tu živimo sporo i opasno
Tu smo protjerani iz vlastite prošlosti.
Dođi, ti lijepi uplašeni turistu,
donesi svoj novac i obećanu slobodu,
izloži svoju kožu u našoj skromnoj crkvi,
ovdje čekamo tvoju samoću
kako bismo s njom
vodili ljubav.

This is the one city
I have to leave.
This is the one place
I can live.
No one needs that much sun
or that much nakedness
or the river you dump entrails in
or that many dead fish
No one body can bear
so much truth.
No one needs
such a big mouth.
No one comes to visit here.
People come on pilgrimage here.
Everyone here
has a face like a killer
hiding their secret like a cemetery.
In a trance they walk
around shopping centers
and take their children’s hands
nervous as unemployed generals.
But when the stone breaks apart
they take it quietly—
they’ve waited their whole lives for it.
They’re always offering you food
and another pinch of salt.
The summer here is a circus act
that steals your breath.
There people get married out of boredom
There we live slowly and dangerously
There we are exiled from our own past.
Come here, you lovely little frightened tourist,
bring your money and your promises of freedom,
expose your skin in our modest little church,
here we’re awaiting your loneliness
how we’ll use it
to make love.

 

____

 

Marko Tomaš, “Colony” 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.