PRIMOé ČUČNIK









It Happens All the Time

 

like heating in the central heating ducts

or runners in the central park.

Iím sorry that Iím leaving but itís the only

way for me to go. To leap from

a skyscraper window and hover down

to earth, landing like a feather

batted about by the breeze.

And I believe I could land

like a snowflake or shoes double-tied

together, flung over the lines.

The several-ton ferry breaks the dock

when the ferryman sleeps on the overnight.

This happens all the time.

That man is an itinerant, walking to every part

of town, certain he has no home.

Sometimes at a stop, he stops,

but he canít shake the feeling.

It seems he fell from a skyscraper so huge

and practically touched the cosmos, but now

he walks around like a madman, it being the only way.

But no one notices, the stock market doesnít answer.

I have the feeling Iím from another planet,

that dying is my guest again, some other eyes

observing me with interest.

But no, I donít feel invited.

I keep hearing a sparrow singing

the saddest songs of all,

and winter will clip its wings.

 

 

Tr. by A. Pepelnik & W. Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Cyclists

 

 

Who was it that sent them turning

the pedals and grinning on a day in May.

And together with them on a perfect day

went for a ride and bounced

like a ray off the spikes,

glittering reflectors wedged between.

Distant planets move through them,

without gravity, in slow motion

or very fast like

a reaction in a silent movie.

A test of love.

 

Men selling strawberries and cherries under the counter.

Drunkards before it gets too hot.

Grannies preoccupied with their pensions

and white-collared bankers preoccupied with grannies.

Hairdressers cutting hair on the street, street musicians,

waiters temping in pubs and policemen

preoccupied with public order and noisy musicians.

Peace seekers and those robbed of peace.

Woman selling bouquets & those who thank with no, thanks.

Skaters in baggy pants & dustmen in orange-green.

Who is it that sends them in no light to turn the wheel?

Secretly they know,

itís written on their faces.

 

One or the other or maybe all at once

in three hundred different ways

called on to send postcards

from towns they are leaving

to towns where theyíre going,

sun-lit newcomers,

those who give money, and those who take it

those who plan and those who find themselves

in an open moment.

The painless test.

 

Everybody has explanations.

Everybody in traffic has his own.

Even in their spare time newspaper vendors

and health-food experts give advice,

and old believers convince fresh converts.

A run-over sheet of newspaper.

Whatís seen in coffee dregs,

whatís pulled from cards,

whatís heard in the nave

and nailed on the subculture walls.

 

In the luxury of mild drunkenness

they drive. Sober,

with gods and bags on crossbars

curving between passers-by.

Hit in a car crash,

uninjured, occasionally with bent

forks and a hole in the air-tube,

mildly drunk drivers.

 

But the wind

blowing around their pants with clothes pins,

will give a different answer.

Leaning against the sitting bodies, it wants

them to stand up.

With all their weight lean on the pedals

and cut through it.

This is what the wind wants, blowing into their chests,

shifting directions.

The unpredictable sun-wind.

 

It brings winter and hard times for cyclists.

Turns everything into a question of absence.

Girls miss them and children

with lollypops and big eyes donít know what to do.

Punks believe in their imminent arrival

and rappers need them for rhymes.

Grandmas are mending chains

for a new era in paradise:

whizzing between pedestrians,

patching air-tubes, brakes squealing.

 

Try to pedal in the dark.

 

 

Tr. by Ana Pepelnik & Matthew Zapruder









 











Primoě Čučnik
, born in Ljubljana in 1971,has published five collections of poems: Two Winters (1999), Rhythm in Hands (2002), Chords (2004), New windows (2005) and Selected poems (2006). He translates from Polish, writes literary criticism, works as an editor for the magazine Literatura and runs a small-press äerpa.










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