Without Title / Bez Naslova

During a recent stay in my home town, Zagreb, I found an old poem in Croatian (‘bez naslova’ / ‘without title’) written in rhyme (I rarely use rhyme in my poetry writing) in my flat in Zagreb among some old diary notes (that my mother kept) and that I wrote a very long time ago – in 1986 or 1987…The first stanza of the poem is as follows:

On se pomno maže
Da sakrije svoj lik
On vrlo vješto laže
Još jedan dobar trik

In English this would be (without rhyme): he applies his make up carefully / to hide behind his persona / he is very skilled at lying / another good trick. During a very short period, I wrote song lyrics (I was socialising with the Croatian band ‘Boa’ a lot back then…). Since then, I completely forgot about the poems I wrote and that period of my life – I tucked away my first attempt at writing poetry as lyrics to a song in a hidden place of my memory. Much later, I wrote another poem (‘Perfect boy’) that resembled the first one (this I realised only after I had recovered the old poem). For example, below is the second and the third stanza of the poem:

His shirt is on the chair,
it’s ready to be worn,
his shirt is white and clean,
his shirt is plain and lean,
as is his mind, as is his soul,
as is his sheen

he dresses up, checks himself
in the mirror
to make sure that his mask,
his grin are firmly on,
his raincoat is on, a cleaner,
more modern look

When a poem comes to me as a lyrics to a song (imagined) rather than as a piece of poetry I always first hear the rhythm, the melody, then the words start flowing in… My most recent poem composed as lyrics to an imagined song is ‘Town Lovers’ Blues’ that I wrote inspired by a poetry evening on the relationship between poetry and blues… I am writing all this now, as I couldn’t quite grasp all this time why I would suddenly be inspired to write a poem as lyrics to a song rather than a piece of poetry. After having found these old diary notes, however, I now understand better what lies behind my need to sometimes write a poem as a lyric for a song – it might simply be because this is the first form of poetry I practiced, my first attempt at writing poetry, even for a short time during a period of my life that was significant but that I had repressed together with other memories during that time. As a comparison, the earliest and the latest poems I discussed here are given below in full:

‘bez naslova’

On se pomno maže
Da sakrije svoj lik
On vrlo vješto laže
Još jedan dobar trik

Poglede drugih krade
Već odavno je slijep
Igra na tuđe nade
On mora biti lijep

On se pomno maže
Da prikrije svoj bijes
On vrlo vješto laže
Za samo jedan ples

Ogledalom se brani
Jer dobar mu je drug
Tuđim se smijehom hrani
On platio je dug

Slobodan
Divi mu se svatko
Prodati sebe – nije lako

Slobodan
Zavoljet će ga svatko
Prodati sebe – nije lako

/

‘Town Lovers’ Blues’

Our love is
kind-of-blue

possible
impossibility

in the town
of deserted
hopes
we dance

we can’t
stop the water
from breaking in

stormy blues

we dance
to the sounds
of dead stars,

reversing
sheets of sound,
we dance

we dance
along the lines
of free jazz
interplay,

Coltrane’s
love
supreme.

When
the giants
sing

the sky
weeps,

the only
certainty
we have
is silence,

the sky
weeps,

the only
certainty
we have

is silence.

//

Prije tjedan dana sam pronašla jednu ranu pjesmu (bez naslova) u rimi (inače, ja ne pišem u rimi) kod sebe, u nekim starim dnevničkim papirima (moja ih je mama zadržala) koju sam napisala ne znam točno kad, 1986 ili 1987… To je bilo u periodu kada sam kratko pisala pjesme na hrvatskom da bi se uglazbile (družila sam se s grupom Boa u to vrijeme…). Kompletno sam sve to zaboravila – pospremila taj kratki pjesnički uzlet, odnosno poriv ili pokušaj, negdje u daleke predjele svog sjećanja. Tek me je moj vlastiti pronađeni zapis na to sve ponovno podsjetio. Osim te pjesme postoji još pet takvih sličnih koje sam pronašla… Puno kasnije, desilo bi mi se da napišem neku pjesmu na engleskom s istim porivom. Jednu sličnu ovoj, zapravo, napisala sam na engleskom 2014. godine – zove se ‘Perfect boy’. Prvi stih pjesme glasi:

On se pomno maže
Da sakrije svoj lik
On vrlo vješto laže
Još jedan dobar trik

Kada pišem stihove tog tipa, čujem uvijek prvo ritam, melodiju, zatim dolaze riječi… Zadnju takvu pjesmu – ‘Town lovers’ blues’ napisala sam prije mjesec dana, inspirirana jednom večeri poezije o odnosu bluesa i poezije… Sve ovo pišem jer mi, zapravo, do sada nikada nije bilo posve jasno zašto bi samo poneka moja pjesma tako nastajala – prvo kroz muziku, ritam… (puno češće prvo polazim od slike, okusa ili mirisa…). Nakon jučerašnjeg pronađenog zapisa, postalo mi je, međutim, jasnije zašto bi tome moglo biti tako – jer sam tako prvo počela pisati svoje pjesme. Pisala sam ih kao stihove za muziku u razdoblju života koji mi je bio važan, ali čija sam sjećanja kasnije potisnula.
Za usporedbu, najranija i najnovija pjesma koje ovdje spominjem mogu se pročitati u cjelosti dolje:

(bez naslova)

On se pomno maže
Da sakrije svoj lik
On vrlo vješto laže
Još jedan dobar trik

Poglede drugih krade
Već odavno je slijep
Igra na tuđe nade
On mora biti lijep

On se pomno maže
Da prikrije svoj bijes

On vrlo vješto laže
Za samo jedan ples

Ogledalom se brani
Jer dobar mu je drug

Tuđim se smijehom hrani
On platio je dug

Slobodan
Divi mu se svatko
Prodati sebe – nije lako

Slobodan
Zavoljet će ga svatko
Prodati sebe – nije lako

//

‘Town Lovers’ Blues’

Our love is
kind-of-blue

possible
impossibility

in the town
of deserted
hopes
we dance

we can’t
stop the water
from breaking in

stormy blues

we dance
to the sounds
of dead stars,

reversing
sheets of sound,
we dance

we dance
along the lines
of free jazz
interplay,

Coltrane’s
love
supreme.

When
the giants
sing

the sky
weeps,

the only
certainty
we have
is silence,

the sky
weeps,

the only
certainty
we have

is silence.

Jasmina Bolfek-Rasdovani Mina Ray, 20/7/2018

One thought on “Without Title / Bez Naslova

  1. Depuis ces jeunes années un long chemin a été parcouru et tu avais l’air d être plus sure de tout que maintenant….La vie apparaissait claire et nette semble – t -il;;…Ainsi la voyais tu….

    Like

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