PEPC LIBRARY

Dubravka Djurić


photo: ©2007 Charles Bernstein/PennSound

 


Djurić
at PennSound

Prose

"I wonna talk to you" in Sibila (2013)

"Post-Communist Poetry" from 99 Poets/1999

"A Few Statements on Politics and Power in Culture"from Chain I [via archive.org]; mirror copy below.

"Letters from Belgrade" (1999) -- emails written to Charles Bernstein during the US bombing of Beograd (from Chain, 7) [via archive.org]; mirror copy below.

Review of Close Listening: Poetry and the Performed Word (from Sanizdat)

*

Slobdon Tisma, translation and commentary
Vasko Popa, commentary


Poems

REMEĆENJE

1.


         Lakše diše paradoks slika se
izmišljam        jedem       zurim
isto je isto    uvek i sad
                                posle je ostatak na stolu
majka i otac posle je isto
            znam da se dešava slu
čajno
iz istog htenja hitac hita hitro ka
                     zato sam zatvorila vrata
vatra je voda posle onog što sledi se.

 

2.

          Nije želja strah cveća
uvela uginula krtica krtičnjak
                    iz jedne se u jednu mnoštvo tako
je ovde iz semena (stvari) stvar je u umu
veličina
                         želja želje se suši i slama
                                         ako je samo samo u sumnji
isto je bilo u praznoj sobi
                                   tišina.

3.

            Jednostavno izgovori imena imena
i dajem sebe imenu ne nagoveštavajući sebe u
rečima slova imena su sebe dala za ime
mene imena u tebi izgovaraš.

4.

            Posle svakog dana sledi dan iznutra
izokrenut na terasi izme
đu vrata izokrenut
jednom se desilo ali ne ponovo kada je
izokrenut posle svakog dana je.

5.

            Ne postavljaj pitanje u zagradama između
niza drveća /drvored/ u zamornom ritmu
monotono nizanje niz brdo ali samo zato
da se vidi niz kao odraz želje i htenja kao
kružno kretanje rečenice iza i ispred je i
jeste zato što tako se nastavlja
reč na reč naslanja u značenju i simbolično
isti proces je uvek samo naglasak
pomeren s one strane iza ili ispred
iznad ili ispod isto je.

 


 

Disordering

1

     Lackadaisical paradox drowns itself

imagines      eats     stares

same’s same    always and now

                   later is what’s left on table

mother and father    later’s same

      knows it’s happening haphazardly

with plain want hurtling at

so am shutting shutters

to shower on fire later freezes itself


2

   Not a wish -- fear of flower

wilted faded mole moldering

    from a one to ones multitude

is here from semen (things) thing in mind

magnitude

          wish’s wish dries, breaks

              if is only lonely in doubt

same’s in empty room

                  silence.



3

    Simply spit out name’s names

I give myself to names not apparently in

words names’ letters gave for names

my names in you spit out.

4

    Later every day follows the day inside

upsidedown on floors between doors upsidedown

once happened but not again when it’s

upsidedown later everyday is

5

     Don’t ask questions in brackets among

rows of trees /among rows of trees/ in tedious rhythm

monotonous queries down the hill but only

to see rows like the reflection of wish and want like

circling in circles a sentence behind and in front is and

it is because continuity

word on word leans in meaning and symbolically

removed from that side behind or in front

above or below the same is.


Translated from Serbo-Croatian by Charles Bernstein & Dubrvka Djuric.



from Traps [Klopke]

Glasnici žara, pesnici zara
metričke šeme, poglede lenje
Logika rasta i smrti
Zvonki zvonici proplanka se ruše
Zora mora se obrušava u more i u more
Mržnja plamti, osvetljava lavirint kaveza
Sveza glatka u čvoru proreza
Seci prizme, svuci svice, svete osvete sveti
Sumanuto mrmori more
razgovor zgodan, zavodljiv
u nepovrat
Nizovi, noževi, vrata, vrteške
Venac smrti koloplet
Visovi vise, šale zavaljene u otrovne spletke
Grobnice groblja života
Zamci zameci ljubavi
Srušene kule krhke
kamen - pramen
plamen - amen
satri

Male spletke koloplet pletu
usmrćene padaju reči u grobnice žive
Trome babaroge, vedre visibake

Koloplet priziva svet, manje lep,
više slep, razapet

Razapni raspone, živa tkiva
mora, reka, krova preka


Rovovi, korovi, krovovi
Rebra, srebra, saća, sačme, sume
Brige, bitke, bistrog vida
Vida i Vid ponovo vide
Volovi upregnuti
Jaram jare
zarovi zlobe
i globe

Dušmani potkradaju očeve, čajeve, čase
Dužnici bezočni sakate skute i kute
krilate rosne ruse kose
Klovnovi pale i žare
a sloboda u hadu se smeje
HA HA HA HA HA
Vode se borbe između reči
Reči na slobodi podležu merama novim
ubijaju bivstva
krišom žare i pale skelete ludosti
ludila lomna u krhotine razbijaju

zarad pesme
zarad mora
krhkog bora
novog epa

Brižljivo umotani u bele smetove
penjemo se proplankom
palimo snegove i bele bregove
oni se otapaju i plave
grešna čeda jednog pera

Primi pokoru, pokaj se
Pročisti se u belom plamenu vejavice
Spali lice-sliku jastva

Belo belo sve je belo

vatra boli sve izgoni
pali zgarišta misli
plavi želje, pali mene
u zgarište pretvara telo i tlo

Tri put se okrećem
Tri put se pomolim


Ponori zjape
skidaju kape

Prostori gutaju propuste, promrzle prste

Zlato, zlatnici zore
zvuci, budnici zvona
useci trona
Triptisi
Diptisi
dvopolnog, tropolnog jezika
zapisi bezvučja eterom lebde

Dižemo se na prste da bismo osmotrili vidik
jezik hermafrodit
pijan, tajnovit, nasilan

Suma ovih reči
Sila ovog koda

Obodi, ograničenja, norme, dogme
školjke, krljušt, koža

Kupola sam od tvog tela

sva sam bela
sva sam smela
jer sam svela
svo znanje na zabran
sav zabran na tok
koji teče iznad zore
iznad mora i ponora
iznad vida nedovida
mračnog hora iz ponora
zvezdanog pakla jezika-zbora

A ono je telo zvezda, gorja, dola
telo smrti u snu pesme
tesne međe, testo tela
oblikom ga smernim smera
ka beskraju nedogleda
ka glosama glasomornim
i zorama zornim

Nova sunca
Nove zore
Nove zvezde
Kule tela
kupe tora
Zlatnih toka i protoka
Plime bola
Plitke, pomne
Posmatraj

Zvona su zamrla
Glasovi se ne glase
Zagušljiva tišina
Razborna maglina-magma

Poneki treptaj usidren u luci iluzija

lomovi, praskovi, gromovi
munje, mačevi, bodeži

pridrži drhtavicu
ućutkaj oglicu
pričvrsti pijavicu
krvavu pesmu krika

Smrt smtr smrt
peva pesmu

Pomor reči , pomor rima, pomor ritma

Rušim reči , rušim rime, rušim ritme
Gorostasne, divlje, podivljale

Ljubim oko svevido
Skupljam prizme isklizle
Mlatim mere-protuvke
Bllede, beskrvne

Sluga sam tvoj o, Reči
pusti krv da poteče
i odnese bolest besa

Bistra reči ca lako nabuja u potok

potok-optok
protok-tok

Tornjevi pakla, polja mraka
Tornjevi-skeleti smrti
Lave, lišaji, pedalizirani
Likovi-oblici stražare
Napuštaju, odlaze,
pustoši,
pokreti, kordoni ukleti,
koračaju aveti,
svedeni na sudbu
usud i tmina
i strašni sud
smehom ih dočekuje
smrtne smrti
spaljene, bezdušne, koračaju
dužnici ste usuda
glasnici presuda
Pomilujte!
Oprost dajte
prostoj smrti!

 

from Traps

Messenger of embers, poet of veil
metric devices, lazy sights
Logic of growth and close
Tolling hill-spires topple
Sunrise at sea, twilight of nightmares
Hatred flares, lightning the maze of cages
Smooth bond in knot of split

Cut the prism, strip the firefly, sacred vengeance revenged
Madly murmurs the sea
conversation pretty, seductive
one-way
Lines, knives, doors, merry-go-rounds
Wreathes of death, ring around the rosy
Heights hang, jokes thrown down in poison intrigues
Graves - graveyards of lives
Castle - germs of love
Smashed fragile towers
Stamen - haven
flaming - amen
Crushed

Little intrigues knit the chain
opponent-slogans alive into graves
Sluggish witches, merry snowdrops

Folkdances make the world less nice

Crucify fructify, vivider divots
of homes, of rivers and angry roofs

Feeds, weeds, tweeds
Rubber, lubber, bullets, nuggets, druggist
Stares, flights of clear glare
Vid and Vida can see again
Sheep harnessed
Yoke of sultriness
Veils of malice
and fines


Enemies ingenuous fathers, dresses, glasses
Debtors of limbs mangle laps and kneecaps
tearing their dewy hairs
Clowns rise and glow
and liberty from Hades laughs
HA HA HA HA HA
Fights between words narrate
"Words in freedom" submit to new meters
killers
secretly burn 'n' turn skeleton's lunacy
fragile madness in crops broke

for the ode
for the line
fragile pine
of "new epics"

Carefully wrapped up in white drifts
we climb the glade
burning snows and white hills
they thaw and flood
sinned infant of a quill

Receive penitence, be penitant
Purify yourself in the white flame of the snowstorm
Burn the face, picture of the self

"White, white, everything is white"

fire of pain exiles thought
Burn burnt place of thoughts
flood the wishes, burning
into burnt place transmutes body and ground

Three times I turn around
Three times I pray

Abysses gape
put down its hats

Spaces swallow failures, frozen fingers

Gold, golden coins of dawn
sounds, waker of gongs
splits of throne
Threefolds
Twofolds
of bipolar, three-polar language
notations of soundlessness flow in ether

We rise on our tip-toes to see the prospect
language hermaphrodite
drunken, secret, severe

Sum of these words
Power of this code

Brims, boundaries, norms, dogmas
shells, scale, skin

"I am a cupola of your body

I am all white"
I am all daring
since I reduce
all knowledge to taboo
all forbidden to flow
which flows above the dawn
above the sea and abyss
above glare of the invisible
darkened chorus out of abyss
of starry hell of language-gathering

And it is the body of stars, woods, vales
body of death in dream of a poem
shallow borders, dough of body
by modest shape it is intended
toward the infinity of unseen
toward horrible sound of glosses
and clear dawns


New suns
New dawns
New stars
Towers of bodies
Cone of pens
Of golden coins and flowers
Tides of pain
Low, careful
Look

The bells are comatose
Voices do not voice
Stuffy silence
Reasonable mist-lava

Some twinkle anchored in harbor of collusion

breaches, seizures, thunders
lightning, sabers, blades

keep the trembling
hush the necklace
fasten the leech
bloody poem of plea

Death, death, death
sings a song

Swept words, swept rhymes, swept rhythms

I destroy words, I destroy rhymes, I destroy rhythms
gigantic, wild, stray

I kiss the all-observing eye
I collect prisms slipped
I beat meters-vagabonds
pale, bloodless

I am your servant, Oh, Word
Let the blood bleed
and take off the sickness of fury

Clear little river floods into sentences

brook - talk
talk - took

Steeples of hell, fields of darkness
Steeples-skeletons of death
Lava, lichen, ludicrous
Shapes-shades are mounted on the ground
The cursed cordons cut out
ghosts march,
deduced to a destiny
fate and darkness
and day of judgment
welcome them with laughing
deadly deaths
burned up, heartless, soul keepers'
you are the debtors of fate
messengers of judgments
Give amnesty!
Bestow indulgences
to the simple death!

Translated from Serbo-Croatian by James Sherry and the author

 

Also by Djurić, in English on the web:
XXX from R/IFT



Juliana Spahr with Djuri
ć, 2003

Dubravka Djurić, born in 1961 in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and lives in Belgrade, Serbia. She writes poetry and essays, and is engaged in performance. She has published several collections of poems including The Nature of the Moon, the Nature of the Woman (1989), Traps (1995), Cosmopolitan Alphabet (1995). She is an editor of ProFemina and lectures at the Center for Women's Studies in Belgrade. In addition, Djuric is an active translator of American poetry.With Misko Suvokovic, she is editor of Impossible Histories Impossible Histories: Historic Avant-Gardes, Neo-Avant-Gardes, and Post-Avant-Gardes in Yugoslavia, 1918-1991 from MIT Press (2004)

Archive copies of Djuric's CHAIN publication

from Chain 1: Gender and Editing

Dubravka Djuric
A Few Statements on Politics and Power in Culture

1. Co-editing Mental Space, a magazine for alternative arts in the late communist society of Yugoslavia in the eighties, meant co-editing an organ of a very special global approach to the arts. Discussions by artists, members of the Community for Space Investigation who were at the same time theoreticians, tended to speak about global approaches. Visual art was the central domain but the approach also included other interests as represented by this chart:

2. Editing, writing poetry, writing criticism, and translating are different modes of the same activity.

3. Poetical choices determine the politics and the economics of editing, writing, and translating. Poetical and political familiarity is presumed. Editorial and writing practice imply political choice. Power in culture is in direct relation to power in politics. In a post-communist society as well as in a communist one, every aspect of a person’s life, private and public equally, is marked with politics. (Similarly, periods of establishing communism and periods where it is in crisis, or of its end, are similar because of the same amount of chaos and violence—especially in some parts of x-Yugoslavia and x-USSR). There is no space to work except in the space of the political. On the one hand there is the political establishment and writers/editors who are the protagonists of dominant poetical and cultural trends (the glorification of the patriarchal and the mythic consciousness; in art national-realism is the dominant style with new real-socialism as critique of communist society). On the one hand, there are those who are against the political establishment, who are for civil options and values (international values against local values). In both cases, working with culture implies explicitly working in politics. There is no way to work in the field of culture without working in the space of politics. Today, the major figures on both sides (official and oppositional) are mostly the same people who were, in communism, representatives of communist ideology and politics. The same people are still in the game of distribution of political and cultural powers. They were major figures in communist society and they are still major figures now. The question is how cultural models reproduce themselves and how they change in new circumstances when the major protagonists of both culture and politics are mainly the same people? And where is there a place for those who have an explicit political attitude, but do not want to manipulate and instrumentalize their political beliefs and functionalize them in order to get more cultural power?

4. In the patriarchal society in which I live, there are very few women editors. There are also few women critics. But some of the best poets are women. Women poets often do not like their work to be called feminist—feminist in patriarchal society means marginal and without value. As a critic I use methods of feminist discourse to interpret mainly women’s writing. I do this so as to examine how poetic discourse (written by women or by men) questions dominant patriarchal models of the culture—does it parody it, destroy it or show its mechanisms, or, on the contrary, does it conform it. My (liberal) male colleagues back up this method; they find it amusing (!) I suppose. The model of poetic discourse reveals the broader model of ideology and with these criteria I want to see what the model of the ideology of poetic discourse represents (i.e. in the end, what political values does it represent: does it glorify war or not; does it embody patriarchal values or not; does it examine the status and function of the woman and man in society or not?).

5. In post-communist society, which shows an unambiguous tendency towards the totalitarian model of life, writing and editing should have the goal of protecting the necessity of pluralism, multiculturalism, and difference in life and culture.

Dubravka Djuric co-edited issues number three and four of Mental Space, an alternative magazine for art.

 

from Chain 7

Dubravka Djuric
Letters from Belgrad

I have assembled here the email letters sent to me by Dubravka Djuric during the NATO war against Yugoslavia. Editorial interventions have been kept to the minimum and I have generally not corrected the grammar, letting Djuric’s words come across as they did in her letters. Djuric has approved the final text. My own reaction to these letters is best expressed in a talk piece I did at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris on April 8, which was entitled, “Talk to Me: Dialogue in/and/as/or Improvisation.” A RealVideo presentation of this performance is at the EPC (http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/bernstein). Both Dubravka Djuric and her husband Misko Suvakovic contributed to the issue of boundary 2 that I edited, 99 Poets/1999: An International Poetics Symposium. I visited them in Belgrade in a trip I made there in the spring of 1991. And they were both Poetics Program Fellows at the University at Buffalo in the spring of 1994. —Charles Bernstein, August 1999

 

Wed, 24 Mar 1999

dear charles,

i want to thank you and susan for being in touch with us for all these years. sorry if my e-mail messages were ‘strange’ or ‘bitter’ sometimes, but in this circumstances you could only isolate yourself from everyday reality, in the extent it is possible. i fight to be in touch with some of you, reading, writing and translating your texts and poetry, trying to ‘save my mind’.
i will write again in some point.

love,
dubravka

Thu, 25 Mar 1999

dear charles,

yes, e-mail still works, hope it will remain that way. and phones, also. this is a report on my yesterday morning. i went to downtown. much less people in the street than usual. nobody speaks. i could feel fear in the air. it was like a damned town. friends call from time to time. speak about getting food for more days, some worry about children who are hiding from the army, or who would like to escape, because it is not easy to be stranger in another country. total panic. i went to nuns (independent journalist association, where ProFemina is), met the friend who said vernan matic, editor-in-chief, b 92 is arrested. then went to super market in the downtown, crowded with people. i start buying. no one said anything, but you could feel and see on faces fear.

tonight we heard detonation, that was very close. sirens. watch tv, listen to radio. b 92 doesn’t work (usually most information is heard there). before 9 they spoke about ‘aggression’ to yugoslavia. about 10 past 11 went to bed. in night heard 3 times sirens.

who knows how it will end. i just woke up. and will go to hear news, then probably to downtown.

thanks for care and love,

it will be interesting how things will evolve inside . . .

dubravka and misko


Thu, 25 Mar 1999

before going to bed. whole town is in darkness, we hear detonation around. hope everything be ok in the end.
thanks for your care.

love,
dubravaka and misko


Sat, 27 Mar 1999

dear charles,

this is a chronology of the events for all friends that email us. if you find it interesting, put it on [the Poetics] list, but please, don’t forward to me negative reactions.

love
dubravka

monday: i was in the center of the city seeing some friends. people already start talking about bombing. i heard comment “we will be occupied as macedonia, bosnia and croatia”. didn’t comment on it. i stop commenting because it doesn’t have any sense. we all think what we want to think.

thursday: all day spent in front of tv, reading newspapers and was nervous and paralyzed.

tuesday: decided do go to visit some friends who work at newspapers and to give them new issue of profemina magazine that appeared few days earlier. on my way to the center first impression was that town had very few people on streets, which is unusual. belgrade is full of people especially because so many refugees have become its citizens, you could hardly walk through streets full of people and crowded with cars. my friends kept talking about bombing, about buying enough food. again on streets, i could feel fear in the air. belgrade was city of ghosts. went to NUNS (office of independent journalist association, also Pro Femina is there) met friend who told me about veran matic (b 92 is publisher of ProFemina). all around I could feel fear. in the evening sirens. we could hear a few detonations. spent some time behind tv, but not much information till 21 hours, then some confused things. during the night sirens, but we continued to sleep.

thursday: went to downtown. few people on the street. went to buy food twice. supermarket was full of people who buy food and didn’t comment anything. you could feel fear on their faces. at night we were in darkness. few detonations near my husband’s and my place. then we went to bed.

friday: went to downtown. more people on streets, more cars. the atmosphere calmed. people walked. went to NUNS to pick up some books. met friends who spoke about what might happen. at quarter past 4 heard sirens. jumped into the bus. look to the people on the street who just continued to walk normally, back home. all afternoon was on line with misko replying to friends from slovenia, croatia, usa that we are ok. friends from belgrade and novi sad called and we called them. words of courage, and deep worrying. people are scared how long this could last, what could happen. the experience is that all our lives are in danger. and i think about people, many of them our friends and close relatives, in croatia and bosnia during the war . . . forwarded a message from friends written by belgrade feminist peace activist lepa mladjenovic. went to bed around 22. i couldn’t sleep, and suddenly detonations. we all went downstairs, whole city was in darkness. heard detonations for about 20 minutes, somewhere relatively near us. scared. spent few minutes outside in yard. but didn’t see anything. around 4 in the morning another siren, one detonation. continued to sleep.

thanks all friends who are continually in contact by e mail with us!


Wed, 31 Mar 1999

three days of music in the downtown, against nato. very strange atmosphere. i will try to write more for the list. my e mail is via b 92, and it seems people are encouraged to communicate by email, so in the evening and in night couldn’t get connection.

it seems they will go to the end . . .

love,
dubravka


Wed, 31 Mar 1999

This was written more than a half a year ago, but never emailed—

WOMEN, WAR, POETRY, POSTCOMMUNISM
Being for a while silent reader of the list, I am encouraged to sound myself with some information, that could be at least interesting to all of you
From the beginning of the war in former yugoslavia, the activities of different feminist groups in the sphere of politics and culture in belgrade is noticeable. that which connects these groups was and still is antiwar activities. From the protests of the ‘women in black’, known worldwide, who from the very beginning protested against the war on the belgrade streets; to the center for women, which worked with victims of violence and war; to the belgrade center for women’s study, which organized a parallel teaching system based on different feminist theories, and whose lecturers also protested against war, teaching about former yugoslav women writers, teaching tolerance, praising multiethnicity, etc. Feminist groups from the former yugoslavia never broke their connections and met whenever it was possible in different parts of the former country.
The only [feminist] magazine which was not the product of feminist groups is ProFemina, published by independent radio B92. ProFemina maintains a strong connection with feminist groups while also having an impact on mainstream literary culture. The politics of the magazine have always been against the dominant literary trend, which was and still is dominated by nationalism and mythology. From the end of 1994 till today ProFemina published authors from different parts of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herecegovina), and published some critical text about some mainstream and prize-winning authors such as Svetlana Velmar Jankovic and Milorad Pavic, mostly by Svetlana Slapsak, editor-in-chief.
Metaphorically, it is a kind of joke played by ‘destiny’ that some parts of an open communist state such was yugoslavia became closed societies, at the time when most closed communist societies became open, or are in the process that leads towards an open society.
If I consider poetry scene in Serbia, I could say that from the mid-eighties with the wave of retrograde postmodernism, the dominant poetic model was the one that returns to the traditional forms, and ‘important’, ‘universal’ themes. It is interesting that the most critical, socially engaged poetry is written by women, except a few male poets. And speaking about the form of the poetry, most women of my generation (born around 1960) write urban poetry, that is not ‘infected’ by dominant models of the culture. (Some people describe the war in former yugoslavia as war between the urban and rural population.)

some recent thoughts:
For 4 days in the center of belgrade there are concerts against nato bombing. Homogenization of the society is total, it could be said [that this is] almost [the] ideal situation. the process started 12 years ago, and it seems that its culmination for us in serbia is right now. The crisis in former yugoslavia started about 10 years ago in kosovo. i wonder if it ended there?

many people try to leave the country.


Thu, 1 Apr 1999

charles, yesterday i send a message to the list, but i think it is not
anymore wise if it appeared there. is it possible to stop it?

[Djuric’s March 31 posting was sent out to the list.]


Thu, 1 Apr 1999

maybe you heard, the bridge in front of novi sad is bombed . . . it is all
crazy and horrible.


Fri, 2 Apr 1999

dear charles, in question is quiet big inside pressure, control, and censorship, as well as court in war condition . . .


Mon, 5 Apr 1999 [automated reply]

Your mail to an opennet.org or b92.net email address cannot be delivered at this time. After a takeover of the B92 premises in Belgrade, the Serbian authorities have shut down the machines serving these domains.

Please check the pages of the Amsterdam based ‘Help B92’ support campaign at http://helpb92.xs4all.nl for news. We advise that you don’t send anything to any opennet.org or b92.net address without checking the current status of the domains.

Help B92
Amsterdam


Mon, 5 Apr 1999

dear charles, hope you got my last 3 messages, from an old e-mail account. ProFemina doesn’t have publisher anymore. hope something will be resolved when all this horror stops. we are good, but sick of the situation. some days go to downtown, now when there are concerts against nato bombs, there are so much people in the area.

we are, on the other hand, used to the situation. i cannot do anything, watch tv, and listen to the radio, but information goes in and out of my ears—just to make time pass more quickly. in the nights we hear detonations (last night heard them 4 times, but just comment, something like ‘to hell’, and continued to sleep).

today i got two roof books, perelman’s and robinson’s—travelled from february. they are so nice!

i will see how the situation will evolve, and in some moment will ask you to put me again as a listmember.

love to you, susan, emma, and felix
dubravka and misko


Wed, 7 Apr 1999

dear charles, i got your message, but when i opened it, there was nothing inside. some error, i suppose. could you send it again.

we wait for the end of all this. hope it will be soon.


Fri, 9 Apr 1999

dear charles, nothing again in your email massage.

the situation here seems worst. too long-lasting, and horribly uncertain when and how it will end.

but there is some good news. misko’s new book appeared in novi sad, and after 10 days it reached him. beautiful book,‘dictionary of modern and postmodern art and theory after 1950’. you could never tell it appeared in these circumstances.

in the evening we wait for sirens, it seems ‘strange’ when there are no sirens. then turn off the lights, watch tv a little, then go to listen to the different radio programs and enter email. write letters and read letters. then go to sleep with question when some explosion will be heard, strange when it doesn’t happen. then in the morning around 7 or 8, the sirens that signal the end of danger, we wake up. this becomes ‘normal’ condition.

there is so much information, that everything seems confused, and there is fear how and when this horrible situation will end.

last three days could only translate for couple of hours, which is good in this circumstances.

hope to receive your message and that mine will reach you


Tue, 13 Apr 1999

charles,

misko managed to read your last message. and the other also.

how was your performance the other day? thanks for mentioning us.

here, things, as you know, go to the very extreme. things happen in the air, and in the ground.

last night was one of the worst, at least in this part of belgrade. heard two times very strong detonations, and the other one was with strong explosion, and later felt smoke in the air.

our perception is totally changed. every sound seems as worrying as sirens or bombs. half of the night we were awake. when you lay in bed, waiting for when the bombing will start, then jump, and go downstairs, watch tv, or listen to the radio for some information. then again go to bed. every sound seems like bomb, or it seems that windows and doors are like trembling, and sometimes you don’t know is it for real or in your imagination.

most people are distressed, can’t work or do anything. just walk around and talk. i don’t move so much, don’t have need to talk to people, we are all in our neuroses, and many people means collective neuroses. i force myself to do something, otherwise will go crazy. misko also works on his slovenian book.

the weather is most of the time beautiful, with many flowers and fruit trees in blossom.

it is a very strange situation. it seems everything is normal during the day. the streets are crowded with people, and there is some strange vividness, and on the other hand the life is paralyzed. in last few days many friends said “if someone told me 10 years ago that this would happen, that we will sit and wait for bombs, i would tell him/her s/he is crazy.” and you sit and wait for what will happen.

novi sad is in a very bad situation; but friends, poets [in Novi Sad] are good.

when all this stops, everything will be different. and what about poetry. nothing about it. poetry doesn’t matter here for some time already. at least not ‘contemporary’ poetry, not to mention experimental poetry.

love,
dubravka


Tue, 13 Apr 1999

>Slavko Curuvija, owner of the Yugoslav opposition newspaper
>Dnevni Telegraf, was shot to death on Sunday. Witnesses reported
>that Curuvija and his wife were entering their apartment building in
>Belgrade when two unidentified gunmen came up behind them.
>Curuvija was shot several times in the head and back, while his
>wife was pistol whipped. The Dnevni Telegraf has been in trouble
>with the government of Yugoslavia several times for reporting
>against the views of President Slobodan Milosevic.


Sun, 18 Apr 1999

thanks for dedicating your performance to us. i like the verse you transformed!

and this is for you and james [sherry]. i used some poster that I saw in town:

they believe in bombs
we believe in god

so you have bombs and i will continue to ‘bomb’ you with my poems, hope you wouldn’t mind.

love,
dubravka


Sun, 25 Apr 1999

charles, i also don’t know what to write. every day is the same, this 33 days seems as one big day, day and night are fused together. most of the time we are at home (as if ‘home-prisoners’), working, hearing news, waiting the night, asking what will be bombed next. the other night when big tv [transmitter] was bombed, it was really horrible. for a couple of hours we heard detonations from different directions, some seem very close . . . last night were with dijana milosevic and artist nesa paripovic. she is in a bad mood, her theater has been taken apart. from this point, it seems that many things that started in the last 5 or 9 years have disappeared . . .
wasting of time, wasting of lives, wasting of energy, wasting of material goods.

the other night went to visit some friends in one part of the downtown, and about 20 minutes before hearing sirens we decided to return. we went along the long street, there were no buses, few cars, then turned to little streets, and this was strange, some parts with nobody on the streets, some streets with people in front of the buildings where they lived. then came the park in front of national library, which was full with people and their dogs . . .

what life will be there?
if we don’t come to the end, there will be nothing there
if we don’t come to the end there will be nothing there
if we come to the end there could be something there
if we come to the end there could be something there
if we come to the end maybe there will be some hope there

anyway, when you talk to the people, you can feel confusion, sometimes quite opposite opinions coexisting.

all this is big confusion in people’s head . . .

it is not easy to understand what and why all this . . .

you just continue to live ‘normal’ life.

anyway, the experience of this century: you just sit and wait for what will happen, helpless . . .

love
dubravka


Wed, 28 Apr 1999

dear james, dear charles,

it is around 10 in morning. we slept till half past 8. were awake till half past 11 last night. usually we listen to radio free europe or some other local or foreign radio station, in order not to miss some information, but it seems that there is no more important information. but it becomes habit. also try to enter email but didn’t succeed. around 1 o’clock a stronger detonation woke us. we jumped out of bed as if someone poured hot water on us. the whole house was shaken, windows trembled. the explosion came very near the trolley station, part of the city called dedinje, if you remember, where we went down from the downtown, at the top of the hill. the electricity disappeared. my first thought was—i will not be able to be in touch with my friends via email. but after 20 minutes it came back . . . which was a relief . . .

fortunately we are at the bottom of the hill. then thunder was heard, and we didn’t know whether it was bomb, but then it started raining with thunder. we were awake an hour more and then went to bed again.

it was really ‘exciting’!

love,
dubravka


Fri, 30 Apr 1999

dear friends, just a brief note. thanks for writing, and it is important to be in touch with you all this time . . .

later i will try to write for the list a short report, but now i just want to tell you that last night was the worst of all others. we heard the detonations from 22 hours on, most of the night we walk around the house, open windows trying to hear something, and we could hear planes, anti-aircraft artillery, explosions, and at the end, before 6 in the morning we were awakened by the earthquake. could you imagine this!

misko went to the faculty [university], this week most of the faculties started some kind of consultations with small groups of students, and i am just about to go to downtown.

love,
dubravka

p.s. charles, misko’s brother wrote, two issues of boundary 2 reach him [in LA], it would be interesting to see if it will reach us. the post from slovenia still comes . . .


Wed, 5 May 1999

dear charles, it was good that boundary 2 wasn’t send here, yesterday i heard from an american who live here, she is translator and lecturer at dept. of english, that mail from usa doesn’t work any more . . .

i didn’t write for some time at all, because from time to time felt psychically exhausted. we had few days relatively peaceful, and that means we could sleep relatively well . . . but the other day when electricity disappeared, it was horrible, all fears that could come at one’s mind came. whole city in darkness, you don’t know what happened, and what might happen . . . looking through the window you could just see from time to time some cars passing by hurrying, in fear. yesterday and today from time to time we didn’t have electricity. most of the parts of the town were out of electricity and of water. we are near hospitals, and are in a better position. but the night electricity disappeared, the first reaction was to go and fill bottles with water in the case that there was no water.

we will try to put ProFemina on internet . . .

i will write again . . .


Sat, 8 May 1999

dear charles,
just a short note.

we have the same problem with misko’s brother messages as with your empty messages . . . the problem is, i don’t know why, when you write as reply to the author it is empty. when you write a new message, it is readable.

we are good. last night was also bad, the worst is with electricity, because the next day couldn’t enter email.

anyway, i will write whenever i can . . . just to be in touch.

love,
dubravka