By Nikola Madzirov, Macedonia (Published in Issue 8)
from the poetry book
Remnants of Another Age (2011)
BOA Editions, USA
Translated by Peggy and Graham W. Reid,
Magdalena Horvat and Adam Reed
WHEN SOMEONE GOES AWAY
EVERYTHING THAT’S BEEN DONE COMES BACK
For Marjan K.
In the embrace on the corner you will recognize
someone’s going away somewhere. It’s always so.
I live between two truths
like a neon light trembling in
an empty hall. My heart collects
more and more people, since they’re not here anymore.
It’s always so. One fourth of our waking hours
are spent in blinking. We forget
things even before we lose them –
the calligraphy notebook, for instance.
Nothing’s ever new. The bus
seat is always warm.
Last words are carried over
like oblique buckets to an ordinary summer fire.
The same will happen all over again tomorrow—
the face, before it vanishes from the photo,
will lose the wrinkles. When someone goes away
everything that’s been done comes back.
I Saw dreams
I saw dreams that no one remembers
and people wailing at the wrong graves.
I saw embraces in a falling airplane
and streets with open arteries.
I saw volcanoes asleep longer than
the roots of the family tree
and a child who's not afraid of the rain.
Only it was me no one saw,
only it was me no one saw.
Born 1973 in a family of Balkan Wars refugees, Nikola Madzirov's poetry has already been translated into thirty languages and published in collections and anthologies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Remnants of Another Age is his first full-length American collection and carries a foreword by Carolyn Forché who writes, "Nikola Madzirov's Remnants of Another Age is aptly titled, as these poems seem to spring from elsewhere in time, reflective of a preternaturally wise and attentive sensibility. As we read these poems, they begin to inhabit us, and we are the better for having opened ourselves to them. Madzirov is a rare soul and a true poet."