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Laima Kreivytė (b. 1972) is interested in the interaction of text and image and often works as an exhibition curator. She has published the poetry book Sappho’s Purgatorial Library (Sapfo skai[s]tykla) and compiled books about the artist Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė and the painter Kęstutis Zapkus. She curates poetic performances and participates in Coolturistes artist group exhibitions. Laima Kreivytė has translated the poetry of Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Bishop.

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Comics

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Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė, X-Ray, 1977, canvas, oil, 150 x 170 cm. From the MO museum collection.
 

 

Waiting

for Faith Wilding, author of the 1972 performance “Waiting”

Waiting for when I can take my time,
not work three jobs,
not write out of duty,
nor fall asleep at my laptop.
Waiting for Godot, but she’s not coming.
Waiting for the bill, which always comes:
letters asking me to pay for
electricity, water, hot and cold,
warmth, heating, television, telephone,
always more and more,
and all the most expensive other services.
Waiting for when books will cover
the closets, tables, chairs, and floor.
Waiting for deep, peaceful sleep,
having forgotten about them.
Waiting for my daughter on Skype.
Waiting for my girlfriend at the café.
Waiting for my beloved to come and go
without stopping.
Waiting for a miracle.
Waiting for it to be denied.
Waiting for when I’m not late –
and nobody has to wait for me.
Waiting for the academic year to end,
the student work,
and prayers by the Presidential Palace.
Waiting for Rosy to legally beg
on Castle street.
Waiting for horror in a handful of dust.
Waiting until.
Waiting because.
Waiting for.
Waiting even though.
Waiting by the window.
Waiting behind the door.
Waiting on a hot tin roof.
Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Waiting for you to call,
for the staff to sprout –
for poets to heal politicians.
Waiting for when I can
be alone
in the room of my own.
Waiting for a morning without an alarm,
an evening without the news,
a day without a mobile phone,
a week without responsibilities.
Waiting for books
to read me
for I have no time to read them.
Waiting for you to give a sign
in the sky, on Facebook, or through the window.
Waiting for someone to tell me
what I’m waiting for.

Translation by Rimas Užgiris

 

 

A Shadow’s Division

if you think – it is
and doesn’t fade away
a thrill like a record
cannot divide it
in two
and in three – complicated
beloved, why
does it happen
to you and I?

I would like not to lurk
not to discover secretly
what other hands wrote
under your skin
but no
I cannot believe
I just feel
how next to me
a clairvoyant darkness
breathes

do not move
do not speak
don’t be scared when you rise
don’t stop halfway
when regrets grow inside
to a pillar of salt
don’t descend into silence
longing like a shadow
only gets longer

Translation by Ūla Gutauskaitė

 

 

Sappho’s Purgatorial Library

rubbing side by side
with no waving of hems
they muster like men
without uniforms
except for those
from the elite branch
of the library of world literature

friends flock according to height
sometimes by color
and while some select societies
others sidle up to just anyone
the favorites are fondled
caressed and carried
from table to bed
then left spread wide
by the computer
while others patiently wait
for the hostess
who will never come
to them
who foolishly continue to feel
their worth is more than wallpaper

the colored artsy ones
take the honored places
striking to the eyes
they have nothing to say
and it’s better not to speak
about their inner beauty

at night they dream the dreams
and thoughts of others
while those who spent the day
sitting on their hands
discover the intoxication of evening
a body pricked by eyes
one’s back is one’s true face

younger ones hold beauty contests
while their elders hold
to values tried and true
linen clothes
long-term relationships
though sometimes a third gets in between
but it’s no bother
because there’s always someone
at one’s side
making it hard to decide
which love is best
and one catches the general ecstasy
from such an intimate
pressure

Translation by Rimas Užgiris

 

 

***

you are
and my lips crumble
as wind sweeps away
sounds that have not panned out
gripped by fear
two drunk fairies
kiss under linden
leaves in heat
as night slips down
its bannisters
and cold drops of sky
flutter faces
where the flow
of diaphanous time
stops
on a trembling leaf

Translation by Rimas Užgiris

 

 


Death on Youtube[1]

I

dots have no length, width or depth
pearled barley, pearls, perspectives
a steel giant with clay feet lives
a hail of people outside its windows
and dust, dust, smoldering by the screen
pixels will be ground to flour
to the thickening flame of despair –
one more victim pressed from heat

II

wingless Nike stands on the edge
of a supermarket without consumption
it’s her day off not to mention
her leg hurts since morning

liberty’s muse watches from an island
with her thorny head held high
but her thorns aren’t feathers and the kite
that flies freely crumples as it crashes
into hard truth

III

dust –
    dust – –
         dust – – –
              dust – – – –

dust
     clouds
             of bones.
on asphalt.
       on cement.
dancing a waltz,
                           dancing slow...

IV

just a frame – just a fraction of a second –
and it dies – and it lives on – – –

V

she fell
        and fell
                and fell
                        and fell –

a thousand times
over and over again – –

from smoke – to form
from form – to smoke
she sank and rose
again, to top the horns – –

then fell once more
into black cloud –
the streets were flooded
with legions of despair

from the body – to smoke
from smoke – to the body
from dust – to dust

– – – – – – – – – – – –

accidental survivors
forgot their keys
ran late got lost
if one can win
a life in hock – –

VI

there is no stream of time –
just a dotted line of seconds – –
what vanished
will remain for centuries
undead
and born again through thousands
of new devices
where the three-dimensional scene
becomes but two – –

Translation by Rimas Užgiris

 

 

Resonance


I see you in the leaves after wintertime:
The wind is chasing them on the driveway –
Mad and dry…
Leaves that will not bloom cut from the trunk
Of a two-stem linden,
They will not reach the kingdom of heaven.
Blood runs in a closed circle inside me,
It reverses the direction
Of the evolution’s carrousel.
I become a lizard, a snake,
A deadly tarantula,
Infusorium protozoa,
Bacteria – –
I see you in the yards of red brick houses,
In the vacuum of the streets,
Among lonely cosmonauts
In unfulfilled dreams’ halos –
How bright they shine!
As celestial bodies fade
‘Maxima’ malls hold no meaning –
Their unknowns are unimportant.

There is no connection – just the same radio station,
The same waves – – – – – –

Translation by Ūla Gutauskaitė

 

 

Revelation of Šeškinė

My soul’s hunger is insatiable
I’m suppressing it by filling my body

Through my longing
         Through my longing
                Through my deepest longing       

I beg previous and future lovers
And you my sisterhood
To pray for me Mother Goddess
Of the glorious army of amazons

Rooms separated by single beds
Are uncrossable
The heat of stanger’s house walls
Is unbearable

The thirst for the depths of the Earth
Cannot be soothed
By fake orgasms
In the concrete block buildings

Holy
        Holy
                Holy

Sixteen-storey
              high-riser
                     In Šeškinė – –

Translation by Ūla Gutauskaitė

 

 

Intimate Arithmetic

I don’t want to count the minutes and hours,
nor to breathe according to your moods.
My life is one – and I am one
however much I might like you.
There is one window opening to mountains
and my gaze bounces back off the peaks
onto one bed, one table, one computer,
and one blue shower stall.
One balcony gazes slant,
and the neighbors are behind just one wall –
the other is the end. Lucky me!
There is one deadline, but many stops along the way.
I have to learn this and that, write something up,
while you investigate new bodies –
and yours as it gets old.
Earthly objects don’t reach my orbit –
the light of dead stars excites only greenhouses.
I like ambivalent weather best –
neither sun, nor rain, nor cold, nor heat.
Just these clouds. Gray cumuli.
And one cup of coffee in the morning.

Translation by Rimas Užgiris

 

1. The documentary film about people falling from burning skyscrapers on 9/11 was watched on Youtube more than four million times.

 

 

 

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