Branko Cegec
Cgc, quorum1

Branko Cegec was born in Kraljev vrh in 1957. He is a poet, a critic, an essayist and a fiction writer. He graduated from the Zagreb Faculty of Philosophy in Croatian Studies and Comparative Literature. He has been editor-in-chief of many newspapers and cultural magazines. His poetry has been included in various reviews and anthologies in Croatia and abroad and translated into English, German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Ukranian, Macedonian, Polish, Ruthenian, Hungarian and Lithuanian. His books include: Eros-Europe-Arafat (1980), West-East Sex (1983), The Makeover of the Avantgarde (1983), A Melancholy Chronicle (1988), The Screens of Emptiness (1992 and 2001), The Freedom Phantom (1994). Read poems by Branko Cegec below.

20th Century Fox
Nine fragments on love and death. Translated by Stipe Grgas.

1. babuska

i haven't been happy for a long time.

california has sprouted in the garden and within it a destructive earthquake.
then stories, ordinary and brazen, flashed in the goulash and for a terribly long time tottered power. greasy young men and seedy years:
were the fleece and the attire, cold roast lamb,
a rocket limpet on the resounding lips:
a lullaby, the sleep of long marches, the gulag bird of prey, hysterical laughter of the cod in vladivostok:

'as if it were christmas eve in another country and as if the drums of powerlessness will never cease.'

2. the mediterranean

pictures chirped on the table,
mushrooms and professors hovered,
scouts of muck and historical sunflowers:
it was a dazzling day.
then dante, purgatory, icy eritrea.

i was furious arkansas,
the paleness of the northern hemisphere,
the famous hut and eisenstein.

i was alcohol, the tarantula,
red risotto with zuchini,
ready to open the blood flow, all the four rivers,
the whole lights-out city of karlovac:

3. signs next the road

too late by a whole century:
already all around
soared bullet-proof eagles and crystal tapeworms,
starry dentures and hermaphrodites.

roofs flowered tumultuously.
rain made headway:
swastikas. pentagrams. caterpillars and carnations.

4. gymnastics, dusk, silicone dust

how will i respond this morning?
unprofor? chiropractic? samsonite? Zuzenberk?

the monarchy? apollo? the pacific? the reich?

5. the nearness of the east

daily i was forty times late for breakfast:
thus i reached my forties.

the iceberg of sex disappeared behind the curtain,
the laughter of dry virgins, the timid panacea of violence.

midnight washed the cold cellos when i found
an unknown hand in a long abandoned pocket.

6. celluloid buffoons

what a fabulous plan!
to wild it in the waves, travel in wallungs,
cultivate money ....

then: brigate rosse, bandiera rossa. roberto rossellini.

roberto rossellini?

7. the sexuality of revolutions

a take of a vapid pedestal: i enter deeper into the night,
into sleep, into the ugly, into ire:
a row of amiable skeletons, dear cousins
who are no more: at the end of the road only the sad, jelly-like
girl swimmer waves back a greeting through the desert and
the grove of the earthly remains of the banal souls of slaves
from the garden of eden in the eyes,
a hour after midnight
through which rumbled years and condoms,
softness, nudity, the humidity of mortal meeting-points.

8.the moulds of cartography

it's only now i've mouthed statistics
when the musicians of fog are tired out
when the long nights ooze
like ice-cream down the contorted slopes and
claustrophobic moulds
many years too late:

krasnojarsk, sevastopolj, the siberian top ten:
then sand: shifting sand.
a sandbox. a tomb. an hour of anatomy.

9. cold lyric croatian poetry

finally: eternal balloons disappear
into the heights, like many years later
when the fishermen gossiped and the fish fished:
when the clouds roamed the hungry sky,
and the south winds flared on the horizon,
on the dark horizon of painters and shrieks,
of ballads, figures, satanic verses
on the edge of the water-fountain ,
in the lap of the girl jumper, the maniac
howl into the hellish, blind night.


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