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Indrė Valantinaitė

Indrė Valantinaitė (b. 1984), after graduating from a Jesuit high school, studied arts management at Vilnius University and at the Vilnius Academy of Arts.
Her first book came out in 2006: With Fish and Lilies. It earned her first prize in the poetry category of the 2006 First Book Contest of the Lithuanian Writers’ Union.
Her second book, On Love and Other Animals, won the Young Jotvingian Prize in 2012. Her third collection, Featurettes, appeared in 2017.
In addition to writing poems, Indrė is a singer, winner of several singing festivals, and works as a TV journalist and producer.

a palmers chronicle right bw

Comics

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Laisvydė Šalčiūtė, Salty Water, 2015. Oil, acrylic paint, woodcut, canvas, 159 x 159 cm. From the MO museum collection.
 

from the poetry book “Featurettes”

 

I Woke up Knowing

I saw the future like a bride under a veil
that one is not allowed to raise.

Light flooded through the stained-glass of my eyes
becoming my religion.

From that moment, it lives in the church of my body
under the arches of my ribs.

It sleeps there, breathing quickly, lying
in wait for life like a little beast –

until one day you wipe away
my left over doubts and fears

with one hand – like brushing a strand of hair from my eyes
while the other feeds the hungry raven of my breast.

That’s enough for me to live.
Under this patient sun.

 

Heart on a DJ Stand

    …where there’s a monster, there’s a miracle.
        – Ogden Nash

I kicked off my shoes and let my hair fall
in the moonlight discotheque.

Hits of the 90s,
and we are once more sporting pen-drawn tattoos
and smoking sweet poppy sticks.

Tree roots dance, making love
to the rhythm of yours/mine in the veins.

It took so long for me to hear
the hum of blood under my skin:
I understood the words of that song.

Nothing hurts anymore.

I’ll never know what helped:
prayer, the yoga mat
or the white pellet

melting inside me
helping me become the world.

 

The Good Wife

When she had to go on a business trip,
he would take her to the airport at any hour of the day.
If necessary, he would take time off from work.

Leaving his car with blinking hazard lights,
he would accompany her all the way to security,
and kiss her there on the cheeks, lips and forehead.

Further – only the lush ivy of his gaze
wrapping around her departing hips.

As if he could still stop her.
As if something depended on him.

He was a good husband.

She was a good wife:

in the double bed of her hotel room,
the sheets on the left were rarely tussled.

 

01/01/2015, 12: 15. Hôtel de Paris

She rolls along the hotel floor
with an empty hole from heart to core

Wearing a scintillating sequin dress
like a gasping mermaid thrown ashore

Or an ornament fallen from the tree

So flimsy
fragile
florescent

So crumpled
cracked
and cratered

She picks up the phone and calls
for another Chateaux Margaux
billed to 209

 

Five in the Morning (Unwritten Poems)

As yet unwritten poems sleep on the skin
of my forehead, cheeks, eyelashes, lips…

I ask in a dream
for the rain not to fall
for the snow not to come
for the wind not to blow

to protect them
until the time comes for them to live

then
I take off the dress of unease
I take off the dress of longing
I take off the dress of expectation

and wearing only the jewelry of gratitude
which inlays the sockets of my eyes and navel
I go to the shimmering lake beyond my window
to pay for the poem that comes

 

 

Translation by Rimas Uzgiris

 

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