Poetry Reaching Out / Slovenská poézia v preklade

Martin Solotruk in translation


That All Too Moving Contraction of Emotion

Lying flat,
I was all in movement,
in the most unexpected places.
And out of the blue a gust
of cool magnetism.

"What if I get a head cold
off the wall,"
completely seized
by a rare feeling of eureka,
a savage, touching

film of exuberance,
hard to project
other than concentrically.

Is it because we aren't
quite positioned yet?

Because we still feel
something quietly
coming out of the walls?

Something perceptible
only with the oldest
parts of the brain,

when we entered here,
a few thousand steps ago,
each of us placed a half-step differently.

We were exactly like that,
defined by the oldest
parts of the brain —
you by yours and I by mine

and now we are reading
under one hemisphere
of a lamp.

Yours is sometimes
right above your forehead,
mine beside my ear.

We're reading under one lamp —
I mine, you yours.
Under one lamp,
but our fingers

sometimes wander —
mine into yours, yours into mine.

We still want to touch,
— to let a finger stop a finger.

So they would tingle together.

We're here,
but the chemical traces of
our fingers aren't yet.

I'm thinking of the relationship
between caressing and
touching walls,

of what enters me
through your touch
and whether I could get a cold from it.

Get a heartfelt cold.

Can the head
pass through its hard wall?
Without catching a cold?

Can emotion rise out of the body?
Even without the bitter white tears
that sometimes overtake the caressing?

While my head is cooling off,
may I at least wink at you?

So? Can emotion rise out of the body?


Publikácia v slovenčine

Lovestory: Agens a Paciens


Copyright © Martin Solotruk 2012
Translation © Zuzana Starovecká 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-50-7

Peter Šulej in translation


the aim and the sand

(just as the) /

sand of the beach is moving
working according to its own
progamme hidden from us
written for inorganic software
during the first days
by a construction team
with a clear idea

/ (we too get through the crossroads to the green
and willy-nilly a mass of things just seem to flow
daily we are in doubt about the aim)

in the end the sand unites the skeletons of scallops and mussels
all that's missing is the conches between the children's toes
there's a composed element of coincidence
coral in the earlobe of an inland woman
dune after dune with clumps of grasses
merely smiles //

/ // (if a coin is lost
no one gets in any way upset
or has the least regard for the monetary system

oh pleasant songs of the sea-warmed sandstone /

so opposing the siren call of the shifting sands
always respect the sign: bathing prohibited!

here at the frontier of mineralogy and biology
in the sunbeams you relish to the full
the interdisciplinary dimension of the (tech.) solution
a terry towel casually flung
they are processing the grains of first contact
cream yourself well and then you can lie down

(seek it cannot be sought out)

somewhere a bitter feeling of being unsure or inferior
in the grandiose oak-tree now and then
(only) a twig blooms (if )
they've come they've gone — have been are not
no one will notice anything /
petals from the corolla are falling on the ground

/ (seek it cannot be sought out)

in the pumpkin fields forever /
beyond them red-hot peppers
of the 18 bastions only 7 remained
the slow flow of the granua through the copper valley

spruce water // flows
during the nights meditations ///
// time

/ (seek it cannot be sought out)

the rotations will be perfectly completed
there may be two sides of the world
simply face one and tense the bowstring
the resultant of desires
or stay wait till it circulates
good is will be

(seek it cannot be sought out)

/// poetry as a system anomaly

Copyright © Peter Šulej 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-51-4

Jana Pácalová in translation


All About My Mother (2012)

(a selection)

on February the eleventh 1963 Sylvia Plath
a mother of two
turned on the gas in her kitchen

I was born sixteen years later

all you will say about your mother
can fit into a single sentence
(some can do with silence)

a psychotherapist will make a short note in his diary
or add a cross to a vertical column

whoever wins this round of noughts and crosses
can pass mother over in silence

whatever about your mother you can't pass over in silence
you will say about yourself

what you keep secret
as if you cried out

(inside yourself you will place a mountain
and so on)

my mother turned the gas on in our kitchen
shortly after
the cake in the oven went cool
the one she baked around noon
while we were asleep
huddled together with heads in soft pillows

I still feel the smell of the cake
every time I go to bed

I still can't bear to look
at my electric oven
without a strange feeling of grievance
which cannot be redressed
by thousands of rounds won in noughts and crosses

I'm still saying to myself
that a warm hand will touch me in my sleep
brush hair off my forehead
cuddle up to me and fall asleep
only to wake up
a couple of hours later

Sylvia P. was my mother
at three ten in the morning
she delivered me
in the maternity ward of the sunny city of P.

but quite easily it could have been another city
another woman
another child
much like the oven in my memories
with my mother's head on the polished rack
is gas powered

on February the eleventh at three ten in the morning
my child was born
in the city of P.

(which in fact
is not as sunny as they say)

I was supposed to be happy
like I'd dreamt it
(as it should be)

but at that moment, divided into two beings
completely independent
(and which I?)

a strange feeling of emptiness
as if you removed the pit from an apricot
and only then you found out
that the sugar was used up a thousand years ago
(in fact you don't remember when)

it was used up
so as to blame on the "was"
all your blunders
or at least the major ones

Copyright © Jana Pácalová 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Pavol Lukáč 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978–80–89283–56– 9

Nóra Rúžičková in translation


discreet connections

after a winter with a complicated floor plan
full of crooked frugally lit corridors
finally we too are coming to the light
groping as if somebody just now
had shaken us out of smoky sleeves
with a blanched gaze facing
the merciless brightness
we let ourselves explode
on our tongues day after day
blasts in slow motion
sieved through thousands
of thickly woven fabrics: pure cliché
a breath for long months sewn
in smouldering velvet
but not anymore
now everything is smooth again
without seams without will
our hearts lie on the shelf
covered with a glossy glaze
and an easily legible motif


touches flowing
down a sealed body
they are splintering
in drops bouncing off
the impermeable surface
we are cooling off along
the quickly unwound threads
not concerned with anything
our fingertips in packs rushing
across hostile surfaces
we stare unpleasantly at the rain
till we turn into wolves


if something that's never been
is missing
i am missing
that i've never had
the missing alone
is missing
the rooms are moving
the gapped
are shifting along
a horizontal vertical axis
they are turning stretching
until they restlessly settle on the original
angularity: the walls
the ceiling the floor and me

in the spring

oriental fingers
peeling buds
like ripe bananas
or thoughtfully
arranging petals
or rubbing into the skin
highly effective creams
with mysterious active formulas
the air full of diligent fingers
fingers take care of you and protect you
cook you bird's milk
bring things to your mouth
fall on you like hair
fall for you as goodnight
on a piano
when you blunder they find you
they chase you like a tame
oriental plum
back into the stone

Copyright © Nóra Ružičková 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Zuzana Starovecká 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-55-2

Peter Macsovszky in translation


The Heart of Our Castle

Breathtaking, making the cloister dwindle away in a glimmer... Nerves,
the optical nerves are shadowed. So dizzying they are...
these things. Things? In the normal, normalised
course of events: things. Or rather their imprints. Rather free
places, uncovered with dust, footprints of memories. And fits of vertigo.
And glitter. The facades of palaces change into the meanders
of waterfalls. Prattling and splashing of daughters.
Midday sparkling on stalks. Barefoot rustling: we haven't
taken off yet, sisters whoop. We're still circling.

The directions don't say what we should do here, in this
chamber. What to catch hold of. What to undertake, what
to forget. We're still circling. Under the smile of the inner sun.
The safer the chamber, the more lasting the hardships. It would be,
somehow it would be necessary to get through: to cross the barriers. Move,

anyone who can move, otherwise the barriers will come to you: and cross
you. Sublimely and forever. This prayer is like a breeze. It's lacking
nothing, it is like itself. It has: a vault, furniture, windows, a door.
You can use it to come back if it seems too much for you.
To come back, to interrupt the whisper. If you are here, move:
in all directions. Move like Her who keeps pouring water
from one fountain to another. Sparkle of stalks. She who still
walks across centuries: in Toledo she thought that with such coarse
intelligence as she possessed, she wouldn't get far; and yet
she came as far as Seville. Lashed by thickets of repetition. Lashed
by a wave phenomenon, the melody of an immense force field.
Field where objects vibrate sympathetically. No, this cannot
be an illusion. Your prayer: resembles a breeze. We will not
worry, Mother Superior, that we no longer feel pious. The route
from eye to epiphysis winds uncommonly like hell. And here, too, there's a veil.
It is known that the Mother Superior's Mother loved chivalric romances;
but they almost ruined her daughter. No one had ever heard her father
judge anybody. The nerves leading from the eye to the epiphysis
leave the head first. They soar above prattling and splashing.

And she was moving so as not to grow old in a single room. And in the heart
of our castle: a caterpillar gasps. Because there's a veil here. We'll bring
her up: for the sake of her end. Twisted, dry, bare. A bed awaits
her: bridal bed and deathbed. And: ripped away, in the flood
of N, N — dimethyltryptamine, ripped away in the brain (and the mind)
is the veil that in the normal, normative course of events hides
a state. (Oh, how the soul was damaged in those countless letters!)
Meanwhile, what is to be lived. And what is expected: after crossing
any threshold. It's not expected. The following event enters
without knocking. The inner sense hears these sounds. It needn't
prepare a feast. And you? You're not a caterpillar, if you don't get scared.
Not entirely a caterpillar yet, you lack the courage. We're still circling.
What house do you want to get to? How do you want to die in the heart
of our castle, if you refuse to creep? Dizzying, dizzying are the things,
footprints of things, cocoons, cracked pupas, the one-time
moments of repeated deaths. Not stalks but wings. Wings reflect
the sun of our castle. Wings from the torn veil.

And when you saw, dear Keeper of Fountains, to what condition
earthly physicians had brought you and how they had damaged you
at such a tender age, you resorted to the heavenly physicians. You
overcame the security system of cells around the epiphysis; thanks. And
you overcame the presence of anti-DMT compounds and coped
with the low activity of the enzymes of methyltransferases. Thanks,
thanks. Gaps in the dream: resemble a prayer. And you,
Mother Superior, never got tired, never. Because you didn't succumb
to comfort. We also will wait it out, we too. We'll wait on the staircase...
... con una passionalità reale, quasi al limite dell´erotismo... We'll wait
on the staircase for Mass to end in the cathedral of Santa Maria della Vittoria.
We'll wait for the caterpillar. Metanoia: we won't destroy the dwelling of

(In: Easygoing Nun, 2011)

Copyright © Peter Macsovszky 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Marián Andričík 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-48-4

Katarína Kucbelová in translation


sooner or later I shall stop breathing

motion is not transformation
transformation implies impossibility
of motion set in motion
lungs fill up with air
vessels with water
until they overflow
the art of the architects
of cascades and dead-end streets
from the bottom others return
by the same route

regular breathing exercise

regular violation of regularity
regular repetition of movement
leads to enlargement of muscle fibres
its regular violation
leads to even greater enlargement of
muscle fibres
transfer of particles
regular breath
regular intake of nourishment
regular intake of liquids
and their regular elimination
transfer of particles to another grouping
the heart's beating
blood pressure
activity of veins
tear ducts
taste buds
regular breath
anguish is the anticipation of decay

I measure by breath

silence is an immeasureable value
if it is what we call
of sounds and pictures
silence need not even have a concept
nameless it would be
the ideal
of quest
the goal

Copyright © Katarína Kucbelová 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Zuzana Starovecká, John Minahane 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-53-8

Karol Chmel in translation



till they were thirty they cooked from travel books, riverbanks
were fog-lined (in empty trains only bright
blood from the chopped-off heads), land
registry maps related to ostracism, sea
with beehives before winterising, clear, clear, clear,
the fountainheads sang their salt to the tamed, defenseless
meat, female comrades, sneezing into monogrammed
hankies, while horatius was seeking a method to oppose
the degradation of language, speed measurable in knots ticked in motionless
underground targets, in the shallowly
ploughed homelands the ravens pecked out perspectives
and blinded them, glass after chewing, something has changed,
they were playing for time, the hungry were cooking on fast days,
pointlessly squeezing
the sieved soul

Seppuku, the Ritual of Self-Forgetting

Submerged in water from water to water reborn water
aspiring water dreaming equal to water underlying
water waiting if it had to go away
in vain you smile into the empty heaven
polite to the tabooed theme
it will swallow you like a pill
which need not even
be washed down

Aeternitas, Ritual of Resistance

hair standing on end facing the aesthetics of hunting
even if it is simili japan for a refined
sense of touch
all those catharses over the techniques
of pity
it is not enough to know that the air has acclimatised
the vertical is tapering
in both directions
Sunday says: don't hurry
or you will be late

The Tripod

to fold maps
before departure:

forget, you forgetful:
a plasma screen is flashing
under my hand

transparent eyes
with transparent ears

the light is shed
to the bottom
of your shadow's lungs

(as though
a gate builder
was propping up a wall builder)

is posing before a crusade

intended for a rearview mirror

(spectral movements
beyond the range of vision
at a temporary address
for cathedral chants

I'm silent

for all I'm worth

Copyright © Karol Chmel 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Pavol Lukáč 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-54-5

Michal Habaj in translation


Eden's apples of remembrance

to call up a smile on the face of a girl: call it up like a pupil
to the board: like a film negative: like the spirit of Marilyn Monroe:
during nights like this: announcing itself in the depths of our hearts:
all I hear is her murmuring songs: I see only blotches of her face:
mammy: but she's only wheezing: mammy: but she has no colours:
connect the sound connect the picture: in your neon technohead:
you'll hear divine Marilyn's laughter and Frankieboy's velvet voice:
when in a silent forest of monitors: together with James Dean
she saves the world: and yet it moves! and yet it moves:
tape in a projector: their naked stars fall from the screen
to earth: soft memories easy dreams: and Kate Moss:
when she doles out smiles draped in the dictate of secret keyboards:
and Vanessa Paradis: with chewing gum wound round her finger:
stands in the empty metro: and she sees: a striding
sable youth: a leaf falling from the tree: high school girls
trustfully clutching the butts of mobile telephones:
and she sees: herself seen: she calls up memories: faces
of her lovers: she calls up a smile on the face of the girl:
who she once was: and who she will ever remain:
deep in our hearts: deeper in the film negatives.

Rafts: hoops of pain

sail through history: with faces turned to the sky:
they receive sunbeams: with eyes keeled over on themselves:
they call to the distance: naked pure words: to be to have:
torn flags of the mouth blow in the wind: equipped
with sound and image: they face the emptiness: sleeping
beneath the ruins of loves and empires: in the dark windbreak
along evolution's roads: where our lost incarnations
hitherto stride: silently opening their mouths
in testtubes in the labs that history has strewn:
the original chromosome moves: it moves at the bottom
of the nucleus: in the empty waters of time: flowing ever
back: to the depth of chaos: where we are: where we are that:
when with lunatic speed we squander the mouldering milestones
of man: our rafts have got snared in the whirl of events: who will stop:
who will stop this mad merry-go-round of reincarnations?

Copyright © Michal Habaj 2012
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © John Minahane 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-52-1

Mária Ferenčuhová in translation


The Principle of Uncertainty

Bright Cities
The summer is not going, it stays like inflammation on stuffy roads,
warm stone, no trace of steps (and yet humidity in the air);
wounds are not healing, the same movement every afternoon — to wipe
the dust from one's eyes and the oil from hot wheels. October.

Not even return: continuance in crevices — the city doesn't remember,
nor do you wish to: numb footsoles, chapped hands, why not admit —
a strait, a passage, from behind the corner surfacing instead of (another)
memory, a street. Another one. Identical.

And a madman on the platform, quite desolate
(no one is scared of him any more), change at Réaumur-Sébastopol:
on the very top a man is sleeping in his socks,
a bandage sticking out of one, but hardly anyone dares cover his nose.

Behind the window without blinds someone gets drunk,
quite solitary, behind a window with a blind I change my make-up,
I don't air the place, I silently invoke the telephone,
till finally I fall asleep.

A finger code, noise, secret entrances, to be angry with oneself
for being (in the first moment) unrestrained, for being (in the second)
reasonable, and resent one's loneliness — where's the virtue in that?
From the point of view of eternity, it doesn't matter whether in this
world, side by side with this body (or some other), from the momentary
point of view: to choose emptiness. And wait.

An old woman, in fact rather mouldered than old, perhaps senile
and possibly bewildered for ages past, takes the lift up and down,
greets at great length, aloud, repeats "yes", "yes" over and over again,
addresses everyone as "madam", "sir" with an assiduous smile,
and touches children's cheeks with her fingers.

A pin in someone's stomach, a word in someone's heart:
quarantine, forty days of silence.
A flame, cellophane, a scorched image,
you infect the whole colony with yourself, and you're surprised
when they condemn you.

There are wooden houses, plastered or just stuck together with cloth,
carpets instead of walls, cables in the corners, dust in the joints
and the wind under the door.
A jug kettle, a microwave oven, a hot plate,
someone who sleeps,
not moving. He who follows meanders, not aware of the riverbanks
bare of green, indifferent to the pavement: who continues on
to where people ride camels
with knapsack on back,
where grey blocks of flats stand in the sand like a suburb,
only they are burning,
with tents below the windows,
a waterless fountain and the sky in flames,
you want to go back to the river, there's no way,
— not in the dream, and therefore not at all —
you need only to open your eyes, run along the walls,
burning carpets, acrid smoke,
barefoot and apronless:
those stairs
are still there.

Copyright © Mária Ferenčuhová
English Edition © Ars Poetica, o. z. 2012
Translation © Marián Andričík 2012
Language Editor © John Minahane 2012
ISBN 978-80-89283-49-1

Zuzana Husárova

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Copyright © Zuzana Husárová 2012
© Ars Poetica 2012
Illustration & Design © Amalia Roxana Filip 2012
Edition Editor Martin Solotruk
Language Editor Amaranth Borsuk
ISBN 978-80-89283-57-6