Sunday, February 11, 2007

Anti-Danube: Chapter I





In which I ascertain the source of my own Danube

I was drinking in my favourite cafe in Zhakhiv. The one they call Kodoba entered, sat down and ordered mamaliga with salt cheese. He did not greet me.

I called over to him:

"So, Kodoba, in not greeting me

You are like the River Danube.


"Like you, the Danube rises in Bavaria
To greet Heine's dark hero, Germany.

"Like you, it pays courtly respect
To a fallen grande dame,
In its case Austria.

"It splits Hungary in two,
As you have promised to do
With Madame Tyskovitz
Should the opportunity arise.

"It separates the squally Balkan brood of Jugo-Slavia,
Roumania and Bulgaria,
As you seek to adjudicate
Among the various factions
Of your Socialist Intentionalist Movement.

"And, as the Danube shuns Ruthenia
By running to the Black Sea at Constanta,
So do you, Kodoba,
Shun me."

Kodoba eyed me steadily across the hushed cafe, and slowly brushed cheese from his moustache.

"I wipe my cock on your mother's grave," he pronounced at length, and returned to his lunch.

This moment launched the barque of my anomie against the raging torrents of my own personal Danube.

(Yizhak Zhatko, 1982)

4 comments:

Ian said...

Your grasp of Ruthenian is admirable, but I must take issue with your translation of Socialist Intentionalist Movement. It should read 'Socialist Incontinentalist Movement', a clandestine grouping of aged, piss-soaked comrades who, due to the deprivations of the time, could not afford colostomy bags (at least so my anonymous sauce - Tesco's Own Brand - tells me). They became known as the Incontinentals, or 'The Inconties', for short. And caught short they often were, with meetings constantly interrupted for the donning of fresh underwear - fecal waste was passed, concrete resolutions were not.

Zhatko, of course, viewed The Inconties with contempt, as is clear in the poem, where the Danube obviously represents a river of piss.

No Good Boyo said...

You reject the thesis of Zhatko!

Perhaps you will reveal yourself as an agent of Kodoba's self-styled and so-called SotsIntent?

The Incontinentalists, as well you know, broke with Zhatko's own Liberal Functionalist Party during the 1993 coalition crisis over the tax on rubber goods and fans, and launched the celebrated Pissing in the Wind protest during the state visit of President Iliescu.

It was, like you, all very unpleasant.

Anonymous said...

It's an awesome piece of writing in favor of all the online visitors; they will get benefit from it I am sure.

Here is my web site: appliance repair Valrico

Anonymous said...

Hi there, yeah this post is truly nice and I have learned lot
of things from it regarding blogging. thanks.


my web site: wilfredschul178394.blog.hr