Townspeople

(the other side of an old poem)

town carnivals
and songs. no one
waits for tomorrow.

drizzle. packed
streets. a jumble
at your feet.

we all depart
our dwellings
quickly. smiling
psychotics. we
buy sausages
whittled spoons
caramelized sugar
roosters.

we don’t look
up. avoiding
eyes. glancing
furtively. dragging
our children behind.

who are we?
townspeople out
for the holiday. unarmed
covetous predators.
fearful and polite.
our good – in a box.
our hearts – in our mouths.

because tomorrow
(no, no, it won’t come
no need to think…)
because tomorrow
they close
the gates cover
the mothers of God
take down
the stalls

because tomorrow
they separate us
into the red and
the blue.

because tomorrow
we’ll grab
our loved ones
by the throat.

   * Translation by Rimas Uzgiris of Marius Burokas’ “<span “font-size:11.0pt;=”” mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt;font-family:”times=”” roman”;mso-ansi-language:#0400″=”” style=””>Miestelėnai”

***

for Tomas Arūnas

my daughter
led you
shabby prince
over the bridge
so slowly and solemnly
as if on the other side
of the sombre tenements
there waited
peace
and the perfection of rebellion
even
the sweet crack
of the bottle-cap
opening

*Translation by Rimas Uzgiris of “mano dukra…” by Marius Burokas

 


 

Marius Burokas is a poet and translator. He studied Lithuanian language and literature at Vilnius University. Now he is a freelance writer and translator. Marius made his debut with the poetry collection Ideograms (Ideogramos) in 1999. His third book – I‘ve Learned Not To Be (Išmokau nebūti, 2011) was awarded The Young Yotvingian prize as a best young poet’s book, published in the last two years. This book was also awarded the Antanas Miškinis literary prize. Burokas’ poetry has been translated into Polish, Russian, Latvian, Finnish, Slovenian, English, German and Ukrainian. Some of his poetry is also published in the New European Poets anthology (2008). He has translated the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and William Carlos Williams, and the prose of James G. Ballard, Charles Bukowski, Philip Roth, Jeanette Winterson and others.