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Agnė Žagrakalytė (b. 1979) is the author of three books of poetry and two books of prose. She has a truly unique poetic voice that is easy to recognize. One of the most important topics of Žagrakalytė's poetry is womanhood, in all of its various forms and transformations. Her texts often play with social and cultural stereotypes. This is alongside other significant themes in her work, like relationships between men and women, living abroad (the poet has been living in Brussels for several years), and her relationship with her homeland. Žagrakalytė's poetry is a creative force of nature filled with details and colloquial language. Her playfulness, lightness and eroticism set her apart in the broader field of Lithuanian poetry. The heroine of her poems is audacious, unpredictable, open, ironic – and very alive.

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Monika Furmana, Let's skate chicas, 2014, 160x200
 

 Poems from the collection “Štai:”


Two weeks of festivals,
basta, basta, done:

dobrdan, dobrdan
belo kavo
belo vino
bella ljubljana
after two weeks in loveljana
after polyglot poems
after gormless languages
it’s so quiet,
you can hear a mouse shiver under a hedge
yowls yearning the for the Bruxelles-ma-belles sirens
the neighbor’s mournful pipes echo through the wall,
midnight trains rustling, a calm
Ramadan autumn:

I speak in clichés
there are clichés as beautiful as red shoes:
I’ve been wearing red slippers for two loveljana
    weeks,
in this photo I’m limping around Ljubljana,
    lost for the sixteenth time:
the city leads me in circles in the rain
    through courtyards,
the red slippers blackened with blood at the seams,
I’m sorry, I say, - I can’t walk anymore,
I am – I’ve forgotten the word – that woman with a tail
    who lives in the sea,
(not an otter – a rusalka[1], sirene – here’s this legless word
from my brainless speech),

I climb over the fence as gracefully as I can,
inferring where the video cameras are.

 

Imberlach

So now I’m trying to become
a very clever old woman
mixing marmalade:
grated carrots, three drops of the blood of impatience,
    a kilogram
of the sweetness of cane:
I’m trying to become her in advance, I want to be adept:
yesterday’s
jar of carrots and sugar cane darkened from the desire
    to be
boil immediately and
stir well
on the flame:
add nuts, ginger, zest an orange ,
don’t fear the banality of rose petals,
white peppercorns –so
this looks like imberlach to me
perpetually the exam of that other Lithuania, where,
like in a fantastical story, everyone
gets along well and shares sorceries,
wishing you a nourishing Christmas,
Agne

 


Different craftsman, same caliber
    (workbook of sisterhood)

What are you afraid of, I say:
there is nothing here to fear at all, you just
dive into the vortex, - and I say the same to you: dive
into the vortex,
in the vortex like in a sleeve sewn closed
you’ll find the poetry section:
a wardrobe of dorm-like poetry:
suits of workaday souls,
sweat suits of leisurely souls and gray raincoats
of penitence.
There will be boyish tomahawks, a pile of
bloody scalps,
shelves full of toy models, the curled edges
of youthful manuscripts
sailboats, soft from dust as if soaring,
red-colored photographs,
condom wrappers scattered behind
poetry books,
six deodorants: roll-on, stick, gel
old, without a cap, and a new one.

Ah, gods of Olympus, with gold links and careless
    chainlets
Ah, wearing jackets, oh-i-am-so-jeans and
    emphatic jumpers.

you’re not reading a poem, it’s just how
I journalistically transmit that which
the gentle turbines of the dryer
churn out from my memory.

 

An aging man by the window

A young woman’s back plunges into darkness:
a woman is a sickle, she pierces
the swath of darkness:
an open door,
balcony railing and her white
backside. An outdoor lantern sways
gently dreamily, and the wind scatters the ashes.

While you smoke, I’ll pay the taxes:
while you’re still intoxicated, while the bills still seem
simple and deserved.

We are strangers to one another and nothing
will come of it, but while my palms
are slippery with sweat, while the blades of the breeze
dull my stale heart, while
my heart still murmurs delicately
like a thin-walled goblet.

How can you tussle with numbers when
such a perfect ass
shines, draws like a breeze
on the balcony – a supple star
buttocks, like the moon,
beautiful like this poem,
which is about me, always trying to ring
my over-rattled heart, but

I am a genius, which is why
such things don’t bother me, cannot
bother me.

 

“The tail does not betray emotions”
(encyclopedia of foxes)

shots beyond the park’s fence:
hunting shots
in a royal park, tantamount
to the breathing of fans:
it’s the evening breeze
or your sweet perspiration:
who crushes
handfuls of exploding lilies of the valley
against my temples

 

1. A rusalka is a water nymph, a female spirit in Slavic mythology and folklore.


Translated by Ada Valaitis

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