Cities: Sara Kopeczky

March 27, 2017

 

"Words That (Do Not) Sound According to Their Meaning", a poem by young Croatian poet Sara Kopeczky could be just that poetic primer an eager student of Croatian language might be looking for. Then again, it is also a prime example of what all poetry should be doing - in it Sara unboxes words (re)balancing sound and meaning. By opening both the language and the self (of the author? of the reader?), Sara's poems air out the mundane and allow the unexpected to enter.    

 

Prose and poetry of Sara Kopeczky (b. 1992 in Zagreb) has been included in anthologies and published in online and print journals. Holding degrees in English and Italian language and literature, Sara is on the editorial board of The Split Mind, journal of literature and culture, as well as a member of Novi književni val (New Literary Wave), a literary collective from Split.

 

Sara Kopeczky rođena je 1992. u Zagrebu. Diplomirana je profesorica anglistike i talijanistike. Trenutno živi u Splitu. Prozu i poeziju objavljivala je u časopisima, zbornicima i na portalima. Pobijedila je na natječaju Pučke knjižnice i čitaonice Daruvar za najljepše ljubavno pismo. Ušla je u širi izbor za pjesničku nagradu "Na vrh jezika". Članica je uredništva časopisa za književnost i kulturu The Split Mind. Dio je Novog Književnog Vala, književne skupine nastale iz škole kreativnog pisanja pod vodstvom prof. Irene Delonge Nešić.

 

U pjesmama koje ovdje predstavljamo u izvorniku i u prijevodu na engleski jezik Sara Kopeczky veže smirenost uz snagu stvarajući onaj sasvim pjesnički, sasvim nasušni osjećaj bezvremenosti koji je potrebno redovito konzumirati kako bi se zadržala perspektiva postojanja, kako se ne bi zaboravilo da se život doista ne može omeđiti.

 

The Circle

 

You hide the burn marks caused by my frost
As I whip with my eyes those sobbing children.
You bounce off the chameleon obstacle I've set
And pretend you've just tripped.
You turn the blind eye to the crimes
I stubbornly admit even when I'm only about
To commit them. Instead of you
I condemn myself to a
Solitude made of two. I'm not the one
Who will in the middle of a yellow park day
Shout over the names of your grandfathers
Born within a span of two years.
I'd rather crush the catacombs of ants
Feeling shyly exhibitionistic, I
The most indifferent of crybabies.
Your gaze follows me with
Obedience of a Pavlov dog. Within you
I sow restlessness turning a circle into a square
But have pity on you and rush
To smooth out the sharp edges
With my softest touch.

 

 

Krug

 

Skrivaš opekline od moje hladnoće
Dok pogledom šibam plačljivu djecu.
Odbijaš se o kameleonsku prepreku
Pa se praviš da si se sam spotaknuo.
Zatvaraš oči pred zločinima koje
Uporno priznajem čak i kada ću ih
Tek počiniti. Umjesto tebe
Samu sebe osuđujem na 
Samoću u dvoje. Nisam ona 
Koja će se za žutog dana u parku
Nadvikivati s imenima tvojih djedova
Rođenih u dvije godine razmaka.
Radije rušim mravlje nastambe
Sramežljivo egzibicionistički
Kao najravnodušnija plačljivica.
Tvoj pogled me prati
Pavlovljevski pseće. U tebi
Sijem nemir krugom koji postaje kvadrat
Pa ti se smilujem, žurim 
izgladiti oštre bridove
Najmekšim dodirom.

 


Before the Flood

 

When I was not paying attention 
The air in our apartment turned into water
But you cannot figure out
Why I don't simply start
To breathe with my gills.

 

I speak, you wait your turn
And have no idea about how my day went
Though you asked nicely.

 

I loathe your chest
Evenly heaving.
You swim while I sink
As if not noticing
What has come upon us.

 

Then you falter
Stumble
Collapse
Into the mud, among the shipwrecks
All blue, and dead, and proud.

 

 

Prije potopa


Dok nisam obraćala pažnju
Zrak u našem stanu pretvorio se u vodu
A tebi nikako nije jasno
Zašto jednostavno ne počnem    
disati na škrge.

 

Ja govorim, a ti čekaš svoj red
I pojma nemaš kako sam provela dan
A lijepo si pitao.

 

Mrzim tvoja prsa
Jer se ravnomjerno podižu.
Plivaš dok ja tonem
Kao da ne primjećuješ
Što nas je snašlo.


A onda posrneš
Zateturaš
Pa se srušiš
U mulj, među olupine
Plav i mrtav i ponosan.

A Girl

 

Ribs stick out through your skin
Like spikes on the boots of a teenager
Whose favorite word
Is Weltschmertz.

 

You wait for me to learn how to walk
So I can give my hand to you.
You tread through life in syncopes
Of a newly born fawn.

 

Wrapping yourself in haste
As if in your mother's coat
On the tip of your toes
You trip over tomorrow.

 

In place of perfume, behind you lingers
Slammed door with a note of citrus
And a touch of woody melancholy
Just beneath the surface.

 

Protesting against everything
That dares to exist without a sordine
You play the role of a little girl
Dying silently in the snow.

 

 

Djevojčica

 

Rebra strše iz tvoje kože
Kao šiljci na čizmama tinejđerice
Kojoj je Weltschmerz 
Najdraža riječ.

 

Čekaš da naučim hodati
Da ti mogu dati ruku.
Kročiš kroz život u sinkopama
Kao netom rođena srna.

 

Zamotala si se u žurbu
Kao u majčin kaput
Pa se vrhovima prstiju
Spotaknula o sutra.

 

Umjesto parfema, za sobom ostavljaš
Zalupljena vrata s citrusnom notom
I drvenastu melankoliju
Netom ispod površine.

 

U protestu protiv svega
Što se usudi postojati bez sordine
Igraš se male djevojčice
I tihe smrti u snijegu.

Words That (Do Not) Sound According to Their Meaning

 

The word „dirljivo“
Is not at all touching.
It's mushy and slimy
Like fallen leaves stomped into a mud pie
Sticking to you fingers
Which you wipe off with a tissue
Stepping back, grimacing
And moving on.
You try hard to forget
Its sticky sweetness
That smells of mints
Forgotten in a candy dish - 
Stuck one to another
Because no one else
Wants them.


*** 


"Ljubav" is love
Of a frog onomatopoeically diving into a pond,
As listless and heavy as the universe
Blissfully ignorant 
Of the commotion it has caused. 


***


"Srce" is at heart of
Something an asp might have hissed
Before swiftly slithering away
So as not to be noticed
So as not to have its head cut off.


***


"Tišina" is silence eroding
Merely by naming itself
Shushing and reprimanding
Every brash presence of sound.


***   


"Prekid" is a break-up
An act of breaking before something has really ended
A sudden departure form the stage
While the show is still on
And both the audience and the cast stare in shock
As the curtains relentlessly drop.


***


In truth "istina" echoes with equivalency
Repeating that my story and yours are virtually the same,
Are virtually true.
But what if our truths are in fact quite different
And merely both equally true?

 

 

Riječi koje (ne) zvuče onako kako znače

 

Riječ „dirljivo“
Nije nimalo dirljiva. 
Ona je gnjecava i sluzava
Kao blato od izgaženog lišća.
Lijepi ti se za prste
S gađenjem ih brišeš o maramicu
Ustukneš uz grimasu
I nastaviš dalje.
Nastojiš zaboraviti 
Njenu ljepljivu sladunjavost
Koja miriše na mentol bombone
Zaboravljene u zdjelici -
Lijepe jedan za drugoga
Jer ih nitko drugi 
Ne želi.


***


Ljubav kao žaba
Onomatopejski zaroni u jezerce
Troma i debela kao svemir
Blaženo nesvjesna 
Pomutnje koju je proizvela.


***


Srce zvuči kao nešto
Što je prosiktala zmija otrovnica
A onda hitro odgmizala dalje
Da je ne opaze
I ne odsijeku joj glavu.


***


Tišina narušava samu sebe
Vlastitim imenovanjem
Šuška i opominje
Svaku bezočnu pristutnost.


***


Prekid označava
Kidanje prije kraja
Nagli odlazak s pozornice
Dok predstava još traje
A publika i glumci iznenađeno gledaju
Zastore koji se neumoljivo spuštaju.


***


Istina podsjeća na istovjetnost
Govori da su moja i tvoja priča iste
Što znači da su istinite.
Ali što ako su naše istine različite
A obje su jednako istinite?

Cities

 

Some cities can be downed mid-stride
At the bar
Like an espresso at the Saint Peter's Square.
Some are slowly chewed
Tongue lazily moving them inside your mouth
While you savor their rolling aroma
As if tasting a Mozartkugel.
Some cities stick to your stomach
Dragging you down - 
Whenever you think of them
You just want to sit on the ground
And cry
Like a child who has lost her mother in a crowd.
But even the tears are denied to you
Because cities disappear
Before they well up. 
Some cities
Tear up your insides with their skyscrapers
Spring up in your throat and pierce your ears
You close your eyes, but they, instead of sleeping
Rise up even bigger, faster, more distant.
Some cities remind you of the past
or at least of your notion of what past is.
And some reflect on your future,
While you're sightseeing
They are being born inside of you
Building load bearing walls
Out of your tendons and bones
And grounding themselves 
In your feet.


 

Gradovi

 

Neke gradove ispiješ usput
S nogu
Kao espresso na trgu Svetoga Petra.
Neke žvačeš polagano
Lijeno ih premećeš jezikom po ustima
I uživaš u njihovom kotrljavom okusu
Kao u Mozart kuglama.
Neki ti se gradovi zalijepe za želudac
I vuku te prema dnu - 
Kad ih se sjetiš
Najradije bi sjeo na zemlju
I zaplakao 
Kao dijete bez majke.
Ali ni to ne možeš
Jer gradovi nestanu prije
Nego što dolaze suze.
Neki gradovi
Neboderima paraju utrobu
Niču ti u grlu i probijaju bubnjiće 
Sklopiš oči, a oni, umjesto da spavaju
Ustaju još veći, još brži, još dalji.
Neki gradovi podsjećaju te na prošlost
Ili barem na tvoje poimanje iste.
A neki na budućnost
Dok ih obilaziš
Rađaju se u tebi
Grade nosive zidove
Od tvojih kostiju i hrskavice
I temelje se
U tvojim stopalima.

 



Translation by NG&ORwDAC.

 

Cover photo by Zoran Žmirić.

 

 

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