Tri boje: bijela, crna, crvena

po motivima istinite priče

Let od Pekinga do Istanbula trajao je čitavih deset sati. Tranzit kroz užurbani istanbulski aerodrom, pa onda još nekih dva sata do Podgorice. Kineska pjesnikinja koja je za svoje stvaralaštvo odabrala pseudonim Fēng– vjetar, u vazduhu se osjećala dobro. Ona se nije bojala letenja. Bila je potomstvena šamanka, što u ovo vrijeme u Kini nije bilo poželjno isticati. Religija je tamo još uvek bila tek opijum za narod…

Rastvaranje krajnosti, života i smrti, svjetla i tame, rekonstrukcija razbijenih formi – tome teži šaman u procesu inicijacije. Povratak u pra-vrijeme i izvorno stanje koje je sada razbijeno čin je ujedinjenja i sjećanje na doba kad je postojala potpuna stvarnost. Kraj podvojenosti rastvoriće sve svjetske podjele i ravnoteža će ponovo biti uspostavljena. Šaman je tako dvojno biće, poput Rebisa, filozofskog kamena, kamena mudrosti koji može da transmutira u unutrašnje stanje.

Druga faza inicijacije zaista je uključivala halucogene, koji su trebali da potaknu učenikovo duhovno putovanje.

U tradiciji, u kojoj je gospođica Fēng tajno bila odgajana, ova putovanja duše u druge svijetove izaziva nas u indukcijom halucogena u određenoj sekvenci, koja je odgovarala fazama prerađanja. Međutim, takvi silasci u donje svjetove nisu bili cilj sam po sebi, ove transformacije su činjene da bi se u tim svjetovima ispravile okrnjene i raspr čane boje i oblici. Sibirski i mogolski šamanizam se vjekovima prenosio u usmenoj formi, pjesmama, himnama i molitvama.

Baš kao i crnogorska tradicija, pomisli gospođica Fēng. Neke stvari su bile toliko svete da se nisu smjele zapisivati, nipošto.

Grad koji je bio njena konačna destinacija, na kineskom je nazvan gradom polja bijelih rada.

Taj grad bijelih polja nalazio se u zemlji crnih planina. U pripremama za ovaj put, kada bi ušla u trans, šamanka je osim bijele i crne vidjela puno crvene boje, boje prolivene krvi.

U sjedištu pored nje bio je Bái Tǎ, još jedan pjesnik, još jedan pseudonim. Njegovo umjetničko ime označavalo je bijelu pagodu, ili bijelu tvrđavu, a zvali su ga još pjesnikom kamena. U Kineskom udruženju književika smatrali su sasvim prigodnim da ih pjesnik koji je opevao bijelo kamenje ugrađeno u pagode predstavlja u zemlji crnih planina, koja ja sama po sebi bila vječita oda slobodi.

Gospođica Fēng i Bái Tǎ pokušavali su da memorišu prezimena svojih domaćina, a taj zadatak bio je veoma zahtjevan.

Među prezimenima uočili su jedno posebno teško za izgovor.

Preveli su prezimena mandarinski. Ispalo je 迪兹达雷维奇, Dízīdáléiwéiqí, redom: prosvjetljenje, ovdje i sada, postići, grom, istrajati i održati, rijetko i iznenađenje.

Zanimljivo, zaključiše.

Nedugo zatim gospođica Fēngutonu u san. U tom snu, koji je sasvim podsjećao na javu, sasvim neočekivano našla se u jednoj staroj mediteranskoj luci, koja je bila okružena gradskim zidom, sasvim nalik na onaj njihov, kineski. Ušla je u grad čija je arhitektura jako sličila venecijanskoj. Došla je do Gradske galerije ozidane kamenom. Tu se otvarala neka izložba. Bilo je puno posjetilaca. Platna su bila impresivna, svako jedna obojena priča za sebe.

Motivi gusto zbijenih krša sa vjekovnim pamćenjem, apokaliptični pejzaži, ljudska tijela, refleksije noćnih mora i neimenovani strahovi zurili su u posjetioce sa zidova galerije. Pejzaži za koje se nije moglo znati da li su stvarni, smješteni izvan ovog vremena i logičkog konteksta poticali su ideje snova… Tako nalik na šamanske transove.

Umjetnik je stajao po strani, van vreve i tiskanja posjetilaca.

Jedan mladić, čije su koža i ruke odavali dane provedene na otvorenom moru, stajao je ispred velikog modrog platna. Na njemu je dječak sa licem starca bio posve sam sa morem. Društvo mu je pravio duh jednog morskog psa, a njegova jedina igračka bio je jedan zarđali top. Ovaj dječak je bio sam, potpuno sam na svijetu.

Odnosno, svijeta više nije bilo. Dječak kao da se pitao što da čini sa ovim svijetom, jedinim koji je naslijedio. Kako da ga popravi?

Gospođica Fēng, se udubi u misli mladića koji je izgledao sasvim zanešen ovim platnom.

Znala je da se vratila u prošlost, ne tako daleku, možda nekih petnaestak godina unazad. Ali, ono o čemu je razmišljao ovaj mladić dešavalo se mnogo prije, vjekovima ranije…

On nju nije mogao vidjeti, dok je ona kao na platnu vidjela tok njegovih misli.

Ovaj mladić je nekako bio povezan sa umjetnikom, čija je ovo bila izložba. Umjetnik to nije znao. Mladić se sramio svoje iznošene odjeće, svojih starih cipela, svog zanata. Kao da nije pripadao ovdje, ovom glamurnom svjetu koji je došao na otvaranje izložbe.

Međutim, on je jedini shvatao.

On je shvatao da svijet, ovaj naš svijet, propada i da se nešto ozbiljno mora uraditi da bi se vratio u prvobitno stanje.

Đuro, tako mu je bilo ime, poticao je iz porodice koju kao da je stvarno svakih pedeset godina sustizala ona balkanska kletva po kojoj pametni ućute, budale progovore, a fukara se obogati.

Nekada davno, početkom dvadesetog veka, njegov đed, Đuro, ostao je sam na svijetu i bez igdje ičega.

Vid gospođice Fēngispuni se krvlju prolivenom u nekom od mnogobrojnih balkanskih ratova.

Mladić, ponevši u svojoj duši sliku dečaka prepuštenog moru, tiho napusti galeriju.

U međuvremenu, Bái Tǎ je čitao knjigu do koje došao u biblioteci Pekinškog univerziteta. „Dizdari su upravljali tvrđavama, a njihova funkcija bila je nasledna. Bili su neosporni vladari u svojim kapetanijama. Poticali su, uz rijetke izuzetke, iz starih plemićkih porodica.

Dizdar-ara, dizdarac-rca m. (pers.) zapovjednik tvrđave, zapovjednik utvrđenog grada. Od ovoga su nastala prezimena Dizdar i Dizdarević…”

Učini mu se da gospođica Fēng plače u snu i on je lagano ćušnu da je probudi.

Kada je otvorila oči i pogledala u njega, činilo se kao da se vratila iz nekog potpuno drugog vremena.

“Izgledate kao da ste upravalo vratili sa nekog od Vaših toliko puta opevanih šamanskih putovanja, gospođice Fēng”, reče on.“Šta ste zanimljivo vidjeli tamo?” upita ne bez ironije.

Ona se nasmeja i lakonično odmahnu rukom. “Molim Vas, druže Bái Tǎ, pa bar Vi znate da su to puke gluposti… Folklor tek.”

Kada su nakon dvadeset jednog sata putovanja napokon stigli u BijeloPolje, gospođica Feng primjeti svojim šamanskim vidom da je grad zaista obojen trima bojama: bijelom, crnom i crvenom. Crvena je odavno počela da blijedi, dok je posred polja crne boje bila jedna velika bijela tačka. Što je duže posmatrala, sve više je uočavala da je ta bijela tačka u stvari krug koji se širi i potiskuje crnilo.

Ovdje se dešava nešto veoma bitno, pomisli ona.

Mladog slikara sa šamanskog putovanja vidjela je ponovo, sada već kao zrelog umjetnika. Pošto su stigli u grad zastrt bijelim radama, upravo on je otvarao izložbu istaknutog figuriste. Na reveru njegovog sakoa bila je zataknuta jedna značka. Gospođica Feng se fokusira i poče da očitava informaciju utisnutu u njoj.

Iščitala je četiri pitanja:

Da li je istina?

Da li je pošteno prema svima?

Da li gradi dobru volju i prijateljstvo?

Da li je korisno za sve?

To su jedina četiri pitanja koja postoje, zaključi gospođica Fēng za sebe. Zatim je primjetila da još jedan čovek nosi takav simbol. To je bio onaj nekada siromašni mladić koji je sa izložbe u gradu venecijanske arhitekture u duši poneo sliku jednog urušenog sveta.

Gospođica Fēng se ponovo zagleda u njegovu dušu. Sada je ona odražavala boje sa platna izloženih u Domu kulture – jake žute tonove, ljubičastu, plavu i zelenu nijanse. Ovaj mladić postao je bogat, znala je to.

Jedna pjesnikinja iz Crnih Planina, ispričala joj je ostatak priče.

Mladi umjetnik iz njenog šamanskog sna zvao se Abaz. Nazvan je po svome djedu, baš kao i Đuro po svome. Već tri generacije njihove porodice bile su povezane nevidljivim nitima usuda i onim opipljivim, prijateljskim.

Tokom prethodnih petnaest godina, Đuro je stao na noge i u gradu na moru podigao kuću. Najveću sobu namenio je Abazu i nazvao je njegovim imenom. U novoj kući Dizdarevića, u centru grada čija su polja prekrivena bijelim radama, i Đuro ima svoju sobu.

Gospođica Fēng pomisli kako ovakva dinastička prijateljstva potpuno odslikavaju odnose vjekovnih kineskih dinastija. To je svakako bilo dobro.

Stvari došavši do jedne krajnosti, neumitno bi počele da prelaze u svoju suštu suprotnost. U ovom slučaju, i to je bilo dobro.

Na nebu iznad Bijelog Polja, gospođica Fēng jasno vide Jin i jang simbol sačinjen od oblaka.

Odlučila je da o ovim važnim događajima svakako mora napisati metafizički esej, a možda čak i jednu pesmu.

Lena Ruth Stefanović

RETURN

Tags

“At the moment you are no longer an observing, reflecting being;
you have ceased to be aware of yourself;
you exist only in that quiet,
steady thrill that is so unlike any excitement that you have ever known.”
May Sinclair

Podgorica is my private Biblical Egypt, I am enslaved here, I spend
my days in self-imposed isolation, in a mental prison of the highest
security where I’ve locked myself up voluntarily. At night I am afraid,
the fear attacks like a crazed demon, overwhelming me: a silent, sinister, cruel fear and I do not dare to fall asleep because I know that I will
have nightmares that will painfully resemble reality.
When I lie in my wooden bed, I do a kind of teshuva, repentance
and return, rewinding and going through each scene of the previous
day, every conversation, all the parts of books I read, the texts I put out
on the Internet, every little thing.
When rewound, my day goes like this: I comb my hair and wash
my face before bedtime, every time I brush my hair I feel guilty for
dying it blond; naturally blond hair is one thing, it is a burden which
one must live with, but in this part of the world women with naturally light-colored hair are a rarity – this is the Balkans, women here
are swarthy and dark-haired – at least that’s what they say; I did not
dye my hair to attract the attention of rutting males, I am actually a
natural blonde who was accidentally born with dark hair, that’s really
how I feel, as if the dark pigment was accidentally planted at the roots
of the hair that grew on top of my head. My skin is quite pale, almost
transparent and I have almost no body hair – only a thin blond strand
of hair, here and there; quite unexpected for such a fair complexion
and hairless body, my hair is jet black. (These are my thoughts as I
brush my bleached hair before going off to sleep.)
I think a mistake has been made. In the middle of the mix-up, at
the moment of my birth, when I was accidentally given dark hair, I got
something else that did not belong to me by birthright – an old, tired
Jewish soul. I don’t know how it came to that, but because of that
mistake, both my soul and I suffer a lot.
The chances for something like that to happen were minimal, you see, my mother’s mother had seemingly left the tribe of Israel. This
was not spoken of in my family, not because it was a dark secret of
some sort, but because we lived in a communist state and because it
was nobody’s business any more. My grandmother, a hidden Jew, a crypto-Jew prayed to God in her own words and never went to church,
and to be honest nobody really noticed because in the communist
times no one went to church anyway. My grandfather was a Partisan
and was shot during the war under horrendous circumstances which
were actually noted down in one of the good novels about it, even if it
was only as an episode. When that book appeared, some of our family
members were happy because the memory of my grandfather did not
die in 1942 with him, but I thought it unfair that the tragic epopee of
his fate should be reduced to a mere couple of paragraphs. My grandmother never married again, she wore a long black dress and tied her
hair up with a black scarf for the rest of her life.
My parents, for their part, had their own polytheistic pantheon,
they believed in the holy trinity of Marx, Engels and Lenin who
brought forth Tito, the hallowed deity who, though sprung from the
loins of the trinity, was in fact its forerunner. I continue to rewind my
day. Before going to bed, I read my prayers, kabalistic prayers that cannot be found in the siddurim in the synagogues. The rabbi who composed this prayer book was ostracized from the Jewish community,
though that is a little known fact.
I wonder if the prayers can be all right if the rabbi is no good? So
what if he was banished? What happens if the soul, like in soccer,
receives a red card? What happened to the excommunicated soul of
Baruch Spinoza? Who has the right to give the soul a red card? Rabbis
in this world decide who is Jewish, but are their decisions legal in the
upper world or does God have his own standard? Exhausted from
wandering around the hinterlands of convoluted religious laws, my
mind moves on to another topic.
That afternoon, Chikyo came to visit me. That is his spiritual
name which, in one of the languages spoken at the foot of the
Himalayas, means “mirror of wisdom”. Chikyo belongs to one of the
four streams of Buddhism that differs from the others because its followers, as they meditate, keep their eyes wide open and breathe
through their mouths; the others close their eyes and breathe through
their noses, while the story of the historical Buddha and the Eightfold
Path is, according to them, true to the last detail. You will say, big deal,
some people kiss with their eyes open, some with them closed, some
people breathe only through their mouths when they’re asleep, some
people go through their whole lives as if their eyes were closed even
though they are wide open, so what, you will say – that doesn’t change
the fact that people pass through life, kiss and sleep, right – well, there
you see, in Buddhism it seems that this changes things a lot, to the
extent that its adherents are even divided into different groups. I wonder how the historical Buddha feels about that in his everlasting existence.
Before Chikyo’s visit I shuffled the tarot cards – I’ve become fairly
skillful at that, like an experienced card-dealer with years behind me,
who mixes the cards with a practiced hand, flipping them and riffling
them from hand to hand, then drawing out two cards, I placed them
face up… The Pope and the Devil, what a pair! The latter is familiar
to me, I experience him as my sparring partner, my personal trainer if
you like, an opponent I have chosen in order to train the strength of
my will and physical stamina, but the role of the Pope in my life is not
clear. I looked at the cards, the stocky Pope in luxurious robes lounging on his throne, two priests with shaved heads are kneeling before
him, the Pope’s left hand is hovering above them, the index and mid-
dle fingers extended while the others are point downwards – this sign
represents a blessing, I suppose, but it reminds me of a child playing
with shadows on the wall, when a child puts his fingers in this position
he actually wants to cast the Devil’s shadow; the Pope’s head seems to
be weighed down by the golden crown above which the Roman
numeral five is impressed, the number five, the Pope’s number in the
Tarot deck, looking like a naughty child has put up rabbit ears at the
moment when the picture was taken, but so that the Pope doesn’t
notice it. In his left hand, significantly larger than the right in the
picture, the Pope is holding a crosier, a symbol of his sacred power, and
on his left forearm, quite heretically, there is a tattoo of a Greek cross,
while his gaze is directed to the left, at the Devil.
As opposed to the Pope, who is looking away, the Devil looks me
straight in the eye while standing on his throne – yes, he’s standing
because, I reckon, he’s bored of sitting, the Pope is eventually replaced
by another but Satan has been on his throne since the beginning of
eternity, with no fear of being replaced (although they say that there
have been those who pretended to the Devil’s throne), he sat long
enough and decided, for a change to stand for a while on his throne;
two naked followers are chained to it, all three are wearing cute little
hats decorated with plumes, the Devil has wings and is holding a sword
in his left hand, while his right hand is waving in greeting – a devilish
business. The Devil’s number is fifteen, written with a block form
Roman ten and a slanting five – identical to the pope’s; the block form
Roman ten, without the addition of the five, is the number of the card
of the so-called Wheel of Fortune, which Tarot experts claim to represent the will of God, but that card did not come out in this deal.
I think about the two priests kneeling in front of the Pope, one of them
has what looks like a bishop’s hat slung over his shoulder, while his
arms are spread out as a sign of surrender; I wonder how strong his
faith is and what it is based on, if he has personal experience and his
own mind, or does he blindly believe the man hovering over him, the
one whom he considers to be God’s representative on Earth? The way
the bishop, with his back to us, is kneeling and hunched over the Pope’s
kirts (the Pope is still looking away) leads me to think that Sigmund
Freud – who said that the human religious drive is the pure sublimation of the sexual libido – was perhaps not so far from the truth.
I go on rewinding my day, moment by moment. In the afternoon
I stood by the window of my living room which looks out on the
Greek Embassy. As I watched the blue and white Greek flag being
beaten by a raging Podgorica north wind, I reflected on the idea that
the licentious liberalness of the Hellenes did much more damage to the
Biblical Israelis than the tortuous slavery of Egypt ever did.
At the beginning of the story, Abraham the Babylonian says his
historical “no” to false idols; his belief in one God, naturally, is adopted by his son Isaac who, then, passes it down to his son Jacob; Jacob is
blessed with twelve sons of which one, Joseph the clairvoyant, ends up
in Egypt via the mysterious ways of the Lord. The other brothers soon
follow Joseph’s path, as free men who will, after a dramatic change in
the leadership of Egypt, end up as slaves. In the incredible history of
the Hebrews, the time was now ripe for the appearance of a new super
hero, Moses, who agrees (upon God’s insistence, after a lot of naysaying – he’s already eighty, he’s never been a leader) to lead his people out
of Egypt. For forty years they wander around the desert and, even
though they see many miracles, some of the weak-hearted are fairly
homesick for Egypt…
Here I make a cut in the further history of the Jews and my
thoughts race to the future Greeks who, long ago, about eight hundred
years B.C., while still a barbaric tribe from northern India, take the
road to Macedonia, mercilessly slaughtering native peoples along the
way; after many adventures, they arrive on Crete, where the local
population is already settled, the cultivated Semitic Cretans… Another
cut in the historical seam, and I will testify that the Kingdom of Israel
fought bravely against the Assyrians, while the Greeks were founding
Athens, Sparta, and Corinth, preoccupied with scholarship, philosophy and literature…
As opposed to the mostly illiterate pagans, the literate monotheistic
Jews took great pleasure in reading Greek philosophy, scholarship and

literature, and the Jewish God with his lessons and morals must have
begun to seem somehow old-fashioned when compared to the sensual
Hellenic gods who, seemingly, spent most of their time enjoying orgies
and bacchanalias. The Jews absorbed the intellectual achievements of
the Hellenes, the fashionable spoke Greek among themselves, calling
each other by Greek names, they were childishly overjoyed by the
Greek dramas and, to the horror of their Jewish mothers, they wrestled
naked in the gymnasiums. However, it all went sour when the high
priest, Jason, threw the doors temple doors in Jerusalem open wide to
the idol worshippers and foreign pagan-types, strutting around in
Greek robes; the enraged anti-Hellenes cried out to the heavens,
slaughtering the problematic pro-Hellenes and toppling their statues,
thus beginning the first nauseating religious war in the history of
civilization. That’s what I was thinking about as I stared through my
living room window at the Greek Embassy.
In the afternoon, I read, as usual. I read Doris Lessing and completely identified with Martha Quest, I felt her painful duality, that
deep dichotomy between intelligence and everything else, the obsession with that which is widely believed to be Jewish thought, but at the
same time with fashionably tailored robes. I compared the Sports Club
with the clubs in Podgorica and the similarity is obvious, Doris put her
own thoughts in the third person and ascribed them the attractive,
semi-rebellious, semi-snobbish Martha, and I wondered why I don’t do
something like that, why in heaven’s name I write in the first person,
again they will ask me if my writing is autobiographical, while I tirelessly repeat that it is all a product of my imagination. No matter what
person the writer uses, the writing is always autobiographical – the
feelings and thoughts of heroes and anti-heroes are all equally the
writer’s, they belong to one of his numerous personalities which are
contending and competing in him, one repressing the other.
Doris Lessing is simultaneously the rebellious Martha and her
mediocre mother and her hypochondriac father, and the bright Jewish
boy Sol, and the brave leftist Abraham Cohen who dies in the Spanish
Civil War. The various personalities of the writer, in accordance with
their characters, live out the destinies they deserve – the melancholic,
pill-popping father will remain forever (that is till the end of the novel)
on the veranda watching the naked embrace of heaven and earth – her
choice of words again convinces me that indeed everything has been
written already and that there is nothing left for me to do – and from
that thought I digress and ask myself why in heaven’s name do I write
when I can hope for nothing profitable from those efforts; it is forced
work, my own numerous personalities are connected only by the
manic need to be heard and to express their opinions in writing; writers, it seems to me, no matter how consciously they cling to a single
choice in life, at the same time flirt with all the other available
thoughts and opinions, skillfully ascribing their own, contradictory
ideas to various literary characters…
The benign, cute and not-so-bright English girl Maisie entangles
her fate with the completely uneducated and pathetic but influential
and intermittently tyrannical first typist, Mrs. Bess; Doris Lessing is
also the oppressed group of blacks who are arrested because of misdemeanors, at the same time, she is also the shallow, spoiled young man
from the Sports Club, and his mother, the British lady who became that
through marriage; Doris Lessing is also the paranoid Polish Jew who
changes his surname to King, and the Judeophile Martha and the anti-Semite Donovan and the Jewish Stella and her dark-skinned native and
the Greek merchant and the Dutch housewife – all of that simultaneously. I wonder how it is possible that my city, where I’m living and
writing these words, is so painfully reminiscent of a British colony in
Africa just before the First World War, and I wonder if we, for heaven’s
sake, are living in a sort of black hole where time has stopped and in
which the people Doris Lessing described have gone on living.
Perhaps all of these people, her heroes, drank a sort of magical
youth potion and never grow old or even change here in my town –
they have just changed their names, the slogans they use in conversation and the places where they meet, however, have remained completely the same… A small group of leftists, to the horror of the majority in society, goes on supporting unpopular opinions, already conscious that they will be banished, and there are also those who think
about nothing and live like marionettes manipulated by social conditioning, the latter are in the majority. However, the hypocritical conservatives, whom I recognize in the modern politically correct employers, are not exploiting African resources and natives, but rather their
own country and fellow tribesmen, and I wonder – is the sin of our
times, that they are oppressing their own people, is it greater and less
forgivable; I remember the blank faces of the oppressed cashiers in the
nearby supermarket – their working hours and salaries have absolutely
nothing in common with the laws of the European Union about
which so much noise is made on the news…
Later I read Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein and felt that I had met another kindred literary spirit who, in the character of the narrator Chick,
flees from people into solitude, into nature; I follow the thread that
winds through the spiritual evolution of Abe Ravelstein that Chick is
narrating – the wisdom loving, eccentric and brilliant professor, a
great respecter of Jerusalem but also admirer of Athens – all great
philosophers were atheists, weren’t they? – while slowly, infected with
AIDS, he loses his physical strength, his body loses its domination over
his Jewish soul and the latter begins to reign over him. His future
posthumous biographer, Chick, in spite of the extent to which he is
hindered by optimistic American English, unsuitable for absolutely
black Jewish thoughts (Chick himself is a believer, but not a fanatic),
follows Ravelstein’s final transformation just before death, predictably
(for me) turning his back on Athens and turning his gaze to Jerusalem.
For me, reading is quite a special ritual, to which approximately half
of my entire waking day is dedicated, not wasted on other, when compared to reading, fairly banal activities. Even though I put Ravelstein
away, one thought from the novel kept haunting me – you will admit
that occasional thoughts from certain novels continue to preoccupy
readers after the book has been placed forever on the shelf; the thought
was that even God rests when in Paris, since the French are so irreligious, so that God can relax there like any other tourist. It occurs to
me that, if this metaphor at least partially describes the true state of

things, then it is possible that some of it in that great novel is the
skewed thinking of another Jew, Yehuda Leyb Schwarzmann, better
known (though still not very famous) as Lev Shestov, a philosopher of
despair whose existential philosophy (infinitely paradoxically) is lacking in systematization and coherence, including his theoretical explanation of philosophical problems, and whose work is aimed at generating metaphysical problems instead of solving them. Fleeing the
October Revolution, Yehuda-Lev settled in Paris where, they say, he
had an influence on Sartre, who after all had a notable influence on
the formation of the thoughts of many Paris intellectuals in the twentieth century; I think about how this philosophy of despair rose from
the Ukraine, arrived in Paris and infiltrated the Sorbonne; via the
Sorbonne, quite expectedly, it arrived at the Faculty of Humanities in
Belgrade where it strengthened and gained momentum on the fertile
soil of the reigning socialism and the proverbial love of the Serbs for
the French; this, by definition tragic, philosophy was absorbed by
some of the Montenegrin intellectuals getting educated in Belgrade;
later this thought will become tragically evident in their personal destinies as they turn away from their Montenegrin origins and ultimately deny them completely, as it is known; the historical influence
of French thought and diplomacy has often been fatal for Montengrins
and their statehood.
During the day, I don’t remember exactly when, I wrote something
like a poem: I was born in a magical circle which the cursed tram
number two outlines, around the innards of a city that used to be
completely white, quite near the Synagogue on a street named after
Marshall Biryuzov. However, we only lived there briefly. Then we
lived in Sofia, on the very transition from socialism into communism,
when everyone got what they needed and gave as much as they could,
or something like that. Most of what they could was quite humble, and
their needs were politically correct – like the Biblical Adam and Eve,
the people were naked, barefoot and happy as long as they lived far
from the temptations of the snakelike West. Yet, this idyll did not last
long, the serpent of western propaganda offered a can of Coca-Cola to
the girl with the sickle and she forgot her partisan name and bargained
off her badge with Lenin’s face for a McDonald’s hamburger. For a
while I lived in Moscow, a long time before the young man with the
hammer broke up with the girl with the sickle. In Moscow I was, quite
properly, sad. Most of the time most of the people were drunk on
cheap vodka because reality was too painful when we tried to look it
in the eyes while sober, so that my memories, by my own choice, are
fogged by vodka fumes and the breath of the icy winter frost.
The last event of that day which I remember was my morning walk
on the hill called Gorica and the small hidden meadow that carefully
guards an evergreen forest in its loins; there I speak with my country;
this is our chat-room, here I pour out my despair, and it sometimes
comforts me, and often criticizes me. My country tells me that I don’t
feel enough gratitude that it adopted me and gave me a chance to start
life over, it says that I destroyed and gambled away my life in other
countries, giving them much more than I give to it, my homeland, I
shower it with a neurosis that it did not cause, it says; like a wounded
mother, my country reminds me that those other countries are not
flawless, far from it; my country, scolding me, says that it would have
rejected me long ago if it did not pity me so; my country knows, it says,
that my intentions are honest and my heart pure, insofar as that is
possible, but – my country goes on – it is high time for me to grow up,
whatever that means, to part with my idyllic vision of myself and of it,
and to leave it and its other children alone, because they defended it
and died for it long before I came around… I retort that I am not to
blame because I didn’t have a chance to die honorably for its freedom,
it snipes back that I would not die for it but because that would be a
legitimate cover up for a long-planned suicide, our conversation does
not die down, but some other people are approaching the meadow, I
see them from afar and I know that it will soon want to attend to them
as well, I know that I must share its love and still I ask what advice it
would give me (I don’t like the council of other people, but I believe
that it is all right for me to ask for the advice of my country), and it
answers in a shoot-like whisper that I should finally see that light and
darkccness are inseparable, and that I should finally understand that
there is no ultimate answer, that I have to live with my questions in
the absurdity that is choking me and that – it adds in the end – like any
mother manipulating her confused child, I must discover joy and happiness precisely in such a way of living.

Lena Ruth Stefanovic

Contemporary Montenegrin Short Stories
[Edition Katedrala,2010.]

For the Publisher Varja Đukić
Editor Zoran Paunović
Translation into English Randall Major | Terence McEneny

književna premijera: ROMAN LENE RUTH STEFANOVIĆ “AIMÉE / VOLJENA”, OKF, Cetinje, 7/2020; ulomak

Many thanks to Mr Željko Belinić – Čovjek- Časopis/ Man -Magazine
for launching my new novel, “Aimée” ♡

čovjek-časopis

U tom snu koji sam usnila predamnom su se pružala tri puta.
Prvi sa lijeve strane put bio je moj život onakvim kakvim ga pamtim. Krajnji desni put bio je moj život kakvim sam ga zamišljala, biografija, koju sam izmaštala. Između ta dva puta, bio je treći – put koji se sastojao od nepredviđenih događaja, onog famoznog „šta bi bilo kad bi bilo“.
Četvrti put, koji se izdizao i vijugao iznad ova tri, sadržao je događaje i sjećanja sa sva tri puta, po mom izboru.
Pošavši prvim putem, gledala sam kako se preda mnom smjenjuju zastave zemalja, koje su bivale sve manje i slušala himne, koje sam sve teže pamtila. Čitave federacije nestajale su, poput magle koja se rastvori na horizontu, tako brzo da biste se zapitali da li su uopšte postojale.
Na tom prvom, krajnjem lijevom putu, život me bolio. Velikim dijelom sastojao se od tuđe zavisti, neprimećene na…

View original post 917 more words

Crvene šterike

Tags

U čast Praznika rada
Na Šabat, dan odmora,
Zapalila sam crvene svijeće
Mem na fejsbuku
Tito u bijelom
Na jahti
Kaže
Čujem slavite 1vi maj…
Gdje su vam fabrike?
Nema više fabrika u Crnim Planinama
Nema radnika
Ne slavi se ni praznik rada
Bar ne onako kao nekada
Majka na balkonu čita
Moskva Petuški i nije
Oduševljena
Ne voli tok svijesti
A i nešto je previše alkohola za njen ukus
Pogađate, gledale smo Marka Tomaša kod Kesića
I zato ponovo čitamo poemu Venjećke
Bivši ljubavnik me zove na WhatsApp
Iz kupatila
Govori engleski da ga žena ne razumije
Juče sam оdgledala seriju
Svih 10 epizoda
Zašto žene ubijaju
I ne mogu da kažem da ne bih razumjela njegovu ( ženu)
Da je moj (muž)
Ja bih ga sigurno ubila
I sakrila tijelo.

Bookfair

at the Roman atrium 
loudspeakers are blasting

a writer 
with some 30 European awards 
his last name like some verging on extension bird’s
manipulates the microphone with his’ hooked beak

he’s clicking loudly and folding the wings
while addressing the small audience

he is happy to be here again, he says

the stage is near the escalator
which takes Podgorica’s glitterati all the way down 
to the organic food store,  next to Lebanese restaurant 
where the first family is dining

you are drinking  Montenegrin grape brandy

at the Sheikh Zahid boulevard

at the international book fair 
where there are no book thieves

BOOKFAIR

u rimskom atrijumu
sa razglasa ječi
pisac
sa 30 evropskih nagrada
preziva se kao neka ptica
sabljastim kljunom manipulira mikrofonom
klikće jezikom i uvrće krila
malobrojnoj publici kaže
baš je sretan što je opet tu
bina je tik pored eskalatora
kojim se podgorička šminka spušta
do prodavaonice zdrave hrane, tu pored libanskog restorana
u kojem upravo ručava prva porodica
ti piješ Institutsku rakiju
u bulevaru Šeika Zahida
na internacionalnom sajmu
na kojem nema kradljivaca knjiga 

Video

Dreaming city

In my dreams, there’s not enough

Of New Belgrade’s block’s

I always start at 70th

Because once upon a time

Everyone mine used to live here

At the skyscraper at Yuri Gagarin street

(In my dreams)

Between bus stop and the block

There are hyper markets, bazaars, kebab sellers

If I go to bed hungry

(in my dreams)

I go there so often,

That I know precisely what’s placed where at the bazaar

And at the hypermarkets

Sometimes there are pharmacies, fairs, fish markets , and also

A department store in which all stuff is designed by me and is sold

Exclusivey here 

Behind the  fish market, just before block 70, is  Knez- Mihajlova street,

A half of it here, another half in Podgorica, and then it stretches all the way  to Zagreb’s suburbs

Promenade Lázaro Cárdenas which ( really)spreads across the block, starts somewhere in Ljubljana at  Cankar Hall…

Via Mostecka street from block 70  i continue into the night,

There are no street lights  

But, luckily, ( in my dreams)

Sun sets late

If it sets at all

The problem is with transportation

Last bus is leaving at midnight

And while distraught  tourists in Prague in vain look into the abyss

At the end of Charl’s bridge

Where Mostecka street used to be

And they wonder why on earth

Would a historic Prague street

Ran away to the concrete blocks of some other city

Which even isn’t situated in Czechs

 ( and its name itself says the street belongs to a bridge!)

( in my dream)

The street looks at me silently and it is as if it’s doubting the decision it made

 I am comforting it

I am telling her that for a long time in its midsts

At number 15 was an Embassy

Of a country which exists no more

This part of the city to which we are fleeing

Mostecká street and me

It also has a river and a bridge

And everyone speaks the language

Which has almost forgotten

And thus stone by stone

Street by street

I rebuild magical city from my childhood

Fairy city in which

Miracles are still possible

I am still a little girl

Bubbe is still alive

We cross the river by raft

Bubbe takes me to Mediterranean gardens

We eat delicious ripe figs at any time of the year

And we inhale the scent of a rose garden in bloom

While Zdravko Colic in the garden (in a dream)

sings “…Beautiful, you’re welcome into my life

Beautiful, the ice has already broken

Here, I’ll shoot three times into the air

Let them ask whats is the celebration. “

Cunning card player in a black coat       

In his hand holds a small Hungarian deck of cards

he’s looking for a third player for preference game

My grandmother turns into a girl

Quite young young and polite

She’s telling me I’ll  miss the last bus

(in my dreaam) I recall my mother’s dream

That morning she got up  all scared

Two Hunfarian men wearing long dark coats

Came to take away Pishta, our cat

He belongs to them, they said

My mother is screaming (in her dream )

She won’t let the cat

He’s name by passport is Davidi

Little David

We call him Pishta just like that

They say, Pishta is deminutiv of Ishtvan

The cat is coming with us

Full stop

( I am forgetting to ask my mother in which language did they converse..)

The nice girl who used to be my grandma

Discreetly points her ornate Longines watch

I’ll miss the last bus

Somewhere nearby the bells ring

The wind carries the smell of roasted chestnuts…

 

A Daughter of the Childless One (an excerpt)

In my dream, it was always the four us, my parents, grandmother and I. We were moving from one country to another, leaving everything familiar behind. I was changing schools, uniforms, friends, languages. In the beginning of the dream, I was growing roots, towards its middle I learned that when the roots are cut – it hurts. So I stopped growing roots. I started behaving  like a stranger who’s only temporarily there, in my own dreaming. Towards the end of the dream, I had became a perpetual stranger, a recidivist foreigner, an all time nomad;  a wanderer, a traveler, someone who’s just around for a short while, and not even that long.

I met some people, in that dream, they asked: how long are you staying?  They knew we would part sooner or later, we knew it too. I knew all of it was temporary – the dream, my home, my friends, the languages that took me so long to learn, I knew that I would leave it all behind, soon.

I woke up in Florence one morning and looked at Ponte Vecchio through my bedroom’s window. I was in time to grab my morning espresso and rush across the bridge towards the Market of the Piglet and and the building where my language school was.

Florence is the city best situated for the heartbroken and for those fatally ill of general nostalgia. There is something in that city that predisposes you to sigh into the breeze above Arno. The city is so beautiful, so marvelous – that many faint, some suffer from ephemeral heart conditions and some are struck by the city’s charm to the point of developing temporal insanity. It’s called The Syndrome of Florence.

If you are profoundly sad or dreamy for a prolonged period of time, Florence is the place to be. Rome, with its bright colors, open squares and flashy fountains would only drain you, the sad you, the dreamy you. Naples would cry so hard, that you would end up comforting the good old romantic. Florence is the city for you, the noble lady would pick up your dark mood, but it would be beyond her poise to acknowledge it with anything more than a merely noticeable nod. A noble lady of that age – albeit you wouldn’t dare asking the lady about it – would certainly know what a heartache is, even if a general one. She would understand your mourning over the country you lost, the dream that you couldn’t wake up from and your language that went extinct. Maybe the city would hint on the stories it knew – of the mistress of a king who was the love of his life – albeit he never made her the Queen, of  secretive mystics and painters who drank heavily, of alchemists ever seeking the elixir, of shrewd merchants  and  entertaining con-artists, of street musicians and fishermen who knew many tales and of market sellers who knew it all… For suffering and wisdom are universal, the pain is equal, it does not discriminate, it goes after each and every one of us all the same, since ever and until our very end.

Rome’s exuberance would tire you if you are sad, or dreamy, Naples’ sun shines too bright when your thoughts are dark or foggy; the noble Florence with its cobbled alleys – for cobble isn’t the same everywhere – the posh sound ch which its dwellers pronounce as if whistling –  they say it’s done so to diverse from the rest (an alien, they say,  will out himself by merely pronouncing the ordinary k instead), the pizza crust with its particular Florentine taste, clubs underground of which tourists are unaware and drag queens in Via Nazionale, friendly drag queens who will tell you Florentine secrets at the local hairdresser’s – that’s what you need when you are waking up from a nightmare, or still feel ephemerally dreamy.

In my class all were foreigners, like I was, and even the teacher was from somewhere else – she felt equally alien as we did, albeit Florence is the best city to be an alien, given that you have to be one. The talk of the city is that some were born in Florence, of parents who were also born in the city – but those people you will never meet; they must have their own hidden ways for transportation, their own schools and their own hairdressers, because your path will never cross any of theirs. All the people you will meet will be aliens, like yourself. Some would have come for a month, some – for two; many would stay just couple of weeks, or even less – and only few will stay for as long as nine months.

To get to my country, you need to wake up from dreaming, leave Florence behind, head south – all the way down, to the ancient city of Bari, you need to embark on the ship and cross the Adriatic Sea. The journey lasts one night, in the morning you shall awake in the Black Mountains. The climate is very different here, albeit it is Mediterranean too. As soon as you step down from the ship in the port of the city of Bar, what you will feel is that the time passes slower.

In Florence, the time runs, together with its hurrying tourists, in Naples – the time gets drunk on the abundant sunlight, and it sings the songs of the sea and romantic love; in the Black Mountains the time has nowhere special to go, and it slows down to the point where it feels as if it almost stopped. The magnificent olive trees, spellbound long ago, don’t go anywhere – they are always there, and it seems that even the people who live in houses made of stone, under the olive trees – never hurry, and maybe even never move.

Nobody is an alien here, all were born here, of parents who were born here as well. The rocks of the Black Mountains haven’t heard neither of mistresses to the kings, nor of street musicians and broken hearts. The rocks have other stories to tell, of battles and knights, dreams of victories and nightmares of betrayals, those stories I was told when I arrived from Florence, having realized that I wasn’t dreaming.

L.R.S.

My novel “The Daughter of the Childless One” was published by Nova Knjiga, 2017

Prominent Montenegrin actress, Prima of our National theater CNP – Varja Djukic [http://cnp.me/varja-dukic/] is driving force behind numerous art events and one of the main figures of the contemporary Montenegrin culture.

Among else, she is the founder and manager of legendary Podgorica’s bookstore – “Karver” [http://www.karver.org/] , where is also held the famed international literary festival “Where i am calling from” [since 2009, https://www.facebook.com/odaklezovem/].

One of the Varja’s genius ideas to promote our culture and our contemporary literature is website – library Poetics of the country – My Montenegro [ https://www.poetikazemlje.me/].

Karver bookstore in this way offers free of charge over 500 books by Montenegrin authors, both classics and contemporary, as well as over 100 audio interpretations, video interviews etc.

Among else, you can listen to audio version of the excerpt from my novel – there’s the possibility to enjoy richness of Varja Djukic voice, her interpretative skills as well as the beauty of our language: http://www.poetikazemlje.me/index.php/lena-ruth-stefanovic

#živimokulturu