In the Wilderness of Poetry

  • Zvonko Karanović


It was an unusual dream.
Even though he never remembers his dreams, he remembered this one clearly:

A: Good day.
B: Good day.
A: Excuse me, do you perhaps have sunsets on the forest trail?
B: Try tomorrow, we might get some.
A: And a dew on a just awoken grass?
B: We don’t have it.
A: Flares of a dying day?
B: We don’t have those either.
A: So, you don’t have anything!?
B: Sorry, where did you get this number?
A: From Alighieri. He dictated it to me personally.
B: Oh, I see… Perhaps we can help you after all.
A: Please, give me one of the lyricists.
B: The whole lyrical poetry department is on a picnic in the woods, to be exact, in an orchard.
A: Yes, of course…Logical, isn’t it?… Excuse me, and to whom am I speaking?
B: The morgue.
A: Well, you’re exactly the one I was trying to reach!
B: You said you wanted the lyricists.
A: No, I made a mistake. I am looking for the expressionists.
B: Are you sure?
A: Absolutely sure… Sorry, to whom am I speaking?
B: Dr. Benn on the phone. Benn, Gottfried Benn. And you are?
A: Campos, Alvaro de Campos.
B: Mr. Campos, as far as I know, you need the tobacco shop, not the morgue.
A: I’m looking at a tobacco shop. I need the morgue.
B: Even so, this is a mistake. This is the lyrical poetry department.
A: But you said it was the morgue.
B: Sorry, I made a mistake.
A: Then, goodbye. I’ll be back again tomorrow, with regards to those sunsets.
B: Goodbye. Please feel free to call.

He wondered where that kind of dream could have come from.
He didn’t like poetry at all, least of all lyrical poems.
He had never even heard of the names that were mentioned in the dream.
They resembled names of soccer players, especially Alvaro de Campos.
He could swear that he was one of the Portuguese internationals.
And that Alighieri… he could be Argentinian or perhaps Italian, some midfielder, club player.
Only the name of that Benn, Gotfried Benn, didn’t seem as if it had anything to do with soccer.
Anyhow, he introduced himself as a doctor.
Still, he imagined him as the owner of a soccer club prone to inappropriate behavior, who with a glass of whiskey in his right hand, and a cigar in his left, recites abominations into his business partners’ ears.
He then imagined himself, having been thrown off some kind of a toboggan flying high, cutting inhospitable mist of that dream and falling onto a huge silver fir tree heavy with snow.
There he was already in his own territory, which represented a great relief.


Translated from the Serbian by Biljana D. Obradović



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