you covered with feathers

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Like the twist of a knife, the shaft penetrates – first a naked man wandering freely through city streets, covered in feathers and erect. Then suddenly, the twist – a different man, a broken disaster of a man, “quarrelsome and desperate”. These who populate.

About the Knife
Novica Tadić

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calling a spade a spade

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Spade
Novica Tadić
To live without any news
in the boonies
like any wretched, luckless person.

Go to town and buy a spade
as if intending to turn over a garden.

Instead, find your humble place
in the village graveyard,
swing high and dig yourself a grave.

Set it up, decorate it, write on it.

Find your humble place
in a world gone mad.

Photo (c) 2008 greg used under Creative Commons license.

“cold sweetheart”

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There is nothing more annoying to me than not being able to find an original-language version of a poem. I could find some Serbian scholarly writing on this poem (ah the кристал-женка!) and Tadić’s work, but not the whole poem itself. Bah!

Icicle
Novica Tadić
The icicle is a crystal-woman
cold sweetheart
I know all about her
because she’s my sweetheart

We meet in the old park
secretly
under the trees

Her red-haired servants
the squirrels
come down for her

so they may eat
something too

Repetition

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Poem
-Novica Tadić

He turns the pages of books
And examines the poems there
Saying my god
All this has already been written

On this day that is meant to be a paean to love (even if it’s the most commercial farce of the year), all I can think about is hate.

I felt relieved, almost smug, if deluded, to believe (did I ever really believe?) that we lived in a time (or were closer to living in a time) beyond petty hatred and discrimination based on things like skin color or religion. I have never been able to understand the existence of this kind of hatred, the crippling inferiority and fear that it betrays. But then I have watched as suddenly all the closet racists, xenophobes and other bile-filled hate zealots became empowered to voice their inner hatred, perpetrate great violence openly – as late as 2017. Is this the new normal?

No, there is nothing new or normal about it.

Most stunning (but is it really stunning?) of all is realizing how deeply racist and – worse – fearful – people are – people I never would have imagined being racist, xenophobic or anti-Islam show themselves to be. I suppose I have been a hopeless fool for imagining that things were anywhere near being otherwise. In my current state of mind – the February doldrums – I only seem able to see the very worst. I can’t let this pull to defeatist gloom win – but my god, the pull is strong.

But please never be dishonest enough to believe there will not be more Trumps—maybe many, possibly worse—until this country properly reckons with racism and white supremacy. This president isn’t an original; he’s just the most recent proof of America doing the same thing over and over again and pretending not to want the same result. Trump is the vast measurable difference between what America claims it wants to be and the truth.”