Selected Poems II


Mitko Gogov

Whetted Paths

(since my feet will not walk on anything else)

I look for you like a needle in a haystack
Like an iced plane
On a melting island
On which I could
Put a polar bear
So that it feels a bit 

I look for you like I would a mirror's reflection 
Hiding my age
Like a bicycle hidden in the attic 
In order to ignore my youth
I look for you like I would the knife
Of the neighbor who slaughtered our footballs
Or like the net, the fish trap, the sack 
We went fishing with
Along the half-dried up river

I look for you like I would for the Manila hemp thread
Torn off the kite
That flies away in the endless blue
We would patiently go and pick it up
So that we could try

I look for you like I would my secret crush
From the days of childhood folly
Or like sandpaper 
To sand off the beer bottle caps
So they'd slide down the tarmac
When we played 
A game of Paths

And I know you are lost on a path
Searching for something
And you would turn round
And speak my name
Like you would a pledge,
or an ancestors' forgotten shadow
As proof that homo ludens exists
To demonstrate there is
No pool we haven't leaped over 
That hasn't tried to do us harm
And there is no man that has scared off
Our presence
There is no child unborn wanting to break
Our unframed family

- of course seven years of bad luck 
Will befall us, 
If not a lifetime...

We are human,
That's why we've fallen

A Recycled Trimester, a Sign of Relief

(days in which we collide, but in which, as frames from the wrong movie, we get
alienated, we pass one another)
We throw away time like it bares meaning We let the rain wash off We approximate sins daily as we go on With our game - you started it! These nights get their warmth from the last of the fires Vernal paganism and neoplastic nerves - old journals, the scent of unheard tales Under the street pines you can hear the wind rustling You'd want to drain the marrow out of air's ribs Our interest is exclusive Our attention - shocking The desire to change something - Hurry up! We throw hope in the maze of despair Then squeal like white mice stuck in bitterness Like most beautiful animals do We beg to have our fur stripped All the while feeling the flaying an inch at a time The next day we wake up With coffee consoling us And at the bottom of the mug Someone's put poison To make our day shorter And wherever we may go, we'll be Welcomed with cake We invest in the wrong sighs, We are all a 'but' in the wrong theater We lose what little we have From what we are not enough To purchase more often: Time, patience, gazes, warmth and smiles Constant (re)appearing Heavenly, otherworldly delights A trap is every attempt to close the door You've never opened before We're miniscule souls, specks of dust lost in the cosmos Dreaming of the grand gardeners' magical gardens Yet we never seem to plow our own We're nowhere near producing food Yet we're considering flowers We miss the busses And pay through the nose for taxis We forget our phones on the seats And let our dreams be eaten And in the end we get fevers And cold sores of the soul And the odd anthill in our weakness Which, Again pollutes our joy.

The Forgotten Retort between Two Gazes

And so we role-play clockmaker and time Both with hammers aimed at mutiny's head And a clock is a bigger bastard than both man and everlasting sun As we forget burnt words and human dust Ugly tongues and nasty minds They drag the lent of the soul The inner voice doesn't (ever) go out, Like angels' dander or hell's gasoline it just booms Skips the small lightning bolts Twists the lowest mountains The force of forever would, like a mother to her son, Bind And barely ever Alienate In the rood of our heads Like snails We hide our true home Not realizing that the slime of our soul Leaves traces of disquiet in our sleep We keep the stars in our hands, Why is it when we throw them They strike like heavenly boulders? Stones have learned to resound Yet our dulled hearing needs to wake up! Both fire and abyss alike Are eternal Just like our pensive, darling souls Just like a shard in marbles, when our bell breaks We are of piercing glass, yet Troubled as the soul remembers But knows not to reciprocate We're birds that have decided to build their own cage, We sing of the freedom we've created But the space in which we act is Barely as large as our wingspan is Be the river that desires to break through the cold And the ice of the mountain whose home is winter We all want to see the whole We all want to be a part of someone's whole We want to add to the whole, bid for it, Increase it, make it rich Or Cripple it without realizing As we don't grasp for understanding we're nothing but cutouts A squareon a Rubik's cubepersevering, searching for its match On the other side of the cube We're seemingly moving in a circle Rolling all over the globe like a stolen bobbin of yarn From grandma's old chest. We leave our people like Forgotten church bells in our soul Though we'd like their thoughts to echo But you'd only hear the blood of your words And angels pacing on the cobblestone road Leaving without making a sound, With a touch ingrained in us like a scar from child's play Like a mother's hand holding a teaspoon of soup Like a father's lesson of how to chop kindling Without losing a finger We cut and we carve, but the truth can't be carved Because, if we do, it will carve us back And bury us six feet under Even though we never brewed enough coffee Even though we never leaped over enough bonfires Even though we lied when we said that spirits came when we summoned witches And the fairies choose our shadows as their mates No, our shadows, like us, would rather hide in verses And battle quietly for their hidden lives. We'd rather be snow: white, clean, untarnished, But you can't keep snow in a jar, it won't sit still, Neither will love Trapped, lonely, not shown, framed. Love floats alone in a frame, like a cross-stitch Of a woman spinning yarn as her wool is coming to an end. Let's make our minds ascend in a global fire And resurrect the enchanted souls. A forgotten retort between two gases (therefore) Please leave me Leave my Predicaments be It's not the time in which The soil on its own and By its own volition Did turn over And roll over We all move Twist, roll over As we live we do not remember Or notice, While we're dead 'we do not eavesdrop As others gossip about us' And Probably all spine issues are gone Leave the world be, darling, It is not a part of you Can't you see in your naiveté, how, Through your breath of lunacy they pass you by They skip right over you They won't even cough anymore? Leave the trams, darling, In them, fewer wishes are travelling these days Towards you, Inside you, Next to you, No more hands reaching out No more raised voices - we drown in our own outcry We hope that hope as our last refuge Will pay our debts Will turn off the light And in the end Just like us all Will leave And go To hell. Translation from Macedonian language: Aleksandar Mitovski