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I am Lina Buividavičiūtė. Born on May 14, 1986, two-weeks overdue, with hip dysplasia, big blue eyes and a proclivity for weeping.
I grew, grew, and grew up into a thirty-one year old woman who still quarrels with the little Lina, and still struggled with her complexes and frustrations. I studied and studied through two years of dentistry school, a BA in Lithuanian philology and advertising, a MA in Lithuanian literature, and a PhD in the general direction of Lithuanian literature. I am a poet, literary scholar, literary critic and a tutor in Lithuanian language and biology.
My poems have been published in most of Lithuania’s cultural periodicals. I have actively taken part in literary readings, book launches, and contests. Next year, I will have my debut in the Druskininkai Poetry Fall Anthology. Such are the general facts, but truthfully, in my work, as in me, you will find mostly desire, death, emptiness, pain and anger. I rage, provoke, question, yearn. Tirelessly, with no respite.
At present, I am best represented by hunger – for experience, people, work, challenges, my own life. I am hungry, very hungry, and I share my hunger with the reader.

a palmers chronicle right bw

Comics

new VR 14 10 16 2

Violeta Bubelytė, Nude, 23, 1983, 2,7 x 19,2 cm. From the MO museum collection.
 

from the poetry book “Helsinki Syndrome”

 

 

Helsinki syndrome

I am accompanied by misfortune:
I am a little white mouse.
My sisters and my brothers –
All gray little mice.

Ramutė Skučaitė “Balta pelytė” [Little white mouse]

I still foster revenge plans
directed at my classmates who called me
paper-loving rodent, four-eyes
chernobyl. With real scholastic happiness
I say: we are all mice, for your
information, spinning in this silly wheel,
but I was that white one, the one who still wants
revenge: I’m snapped from my best angles,
I create a myth of a successful fatal grey figure,
so that you’ll finally see me, and beset
by remorse, you’ll be gnawed by depression, cancer,
syphilis, go bald, become
impotent, go crazy with grief, forget
to sharpen your teeth and come to an end. No – it’s better that
we all love one another – and finally there’d be
a merging of our souls, we’d live long happy lives,
run around in one small circle, die amicably, holding
paws, having treated ourselves to the same ratpoisonoflife.

 

Hospitals

In war – just like in war. In a hospital – just like in a hospital.
The lighter cases can stay in their
jeans and their trainers. So I stayed. Everyone –
incomprehensible. Neighbors – barefoot.
The walls are not even white, they are painted a bright
pink color, like xanax tablets –
maybe so that everything is uniform, so that everything
fits into the system, so that we’d live in a pink
bubble – shhh, shhh, everything will be alright, but it won’t be.
I used to spend days staring at the pinkness
Until the visitation of life, until the appearance of gods,
it was good, no one spread shit all over
the walls – there were no motes in our eyes nor
logs in our brother’s – only silence, only inside sometimes
someone shuddered with tiny wings, like
tiny embryos first felt in a mother’s womb –
but they died quickly, unable to survive the silence, the abstinence of existence,
we had nothing to feed them, we didn’t have light,
the walls didn’t help – not ours, still – not ours.
Starvation – here.
And we’re – Hunger Artists. And we’re – diagnoses.

 

Childhood

The psychotherapist asks about my childhood.
Childhood like any other childhood. Like everyone else’s.
I lived in Soviet block housing,
was raised by my grandmother from
age one – it was the style back then –
(mothers didn’t want to wither away washing
pots or massage stinging soles of feet throughout the night),
I didn’t go to kindergarten, started right away in the second grade,
but the children laughed at me, because my breath
smelled (we brushed our teeth with baking soda), my braids
were tied with strands of hair and my uniform was
without pleats I learned to read at four, and I read,
I read, I traveled, I, Lina, thief’s daughter, a discarded toy by the campfire
at night, my planets – burned by sparks,
burned by coincidences, in my eyelashes – stalagmites of ashes.
At night I wiped piss off the floor, because
He had terrible aim, at night I guarded
the door, because He had terrible aim, at night I cleaned up
vomit, because He had terrible aim, I shuddered
unable to finish the whole dream, because at midnight
Boogeyman is coming for you
Freddy is coming for you
Voldemort is coming for you
He’s no longer here, but I still read and travel, because I, Lina, am the thief’s daughter.

 

(Not)good girls

I am an unloved girl, I have adult children of alcoholic’s
syndrome, I have a 50 percent probability of psychological disorders
in my DNA strain, I have dreams where I sometimes lose my mind,
I return to the old flat that was not a home, but was
the only one I tried to escape, jumping through the window, my son has
his grandmother’s face, I recite unlearned
poems, the guys at school lift my skirt up again –
but this time with sheer undies – again I hear
the old taunts –Čiolė and strutis – again I solve
mathematical equations in a more complex way, fatally
slash all of my friends, all of my relatives, because I was a good
girl, good good girl, and those girls don’t get angry,
they don’t show their girl parts to boys in the yard and don’t watch them piss,
don’t climb trees, never contradict, don’t eat
candy, let their stepfathers kiss them on the lips, do not mas-
tur-bate, aren’t afraid of cockroaches, like vegetables, are
happy and sweet, gentle like bunnies, iron their shirt collars
every day, fasten their braids with plaits of hair,
forgive everything, desire nothing, don’t condemn anyone,
do homework for four hours, don’t have bad thoughts, let
parents live their own lives, spend summers with two old ladies
in Balbieriškis village, never laugh without reason –
will have to cry soon – knows the Litany of the Saints, don’t ride
a bike, don’t skate, don’t go out –
go fuck yourself, degenerates, - that’s how they talk when they grow up.

 

Boogeyman

Hurry up, my women, here - a room, here –  chalk,
here – the smell of pine branches. Gather all of you – lame, toothless,
mindless, one-legged and blind, aborted and those
who scrubbed their histories, all who cried
about the Christmas wafer chewed up by the bunny, all who rocked their
children –lullaby lullaby lullaby – all
who left everything, who were left, medeas gorgons heras hetaerae
all of the station waitresses, vendors of holes for just twenty sous
all illiterate landless, tapping fingers on man’s fly –
come all, because it’s almost three o’clock, and the rooster hasn’t crowed,
He shuffles. He waddles. And I can’t see through my
fallen eyelids, women, grab some chalk,
it’s time to whitewash this story with vellum, draw a circle three times, it’s time
throw the gauntlet, cast spells, - and she’s free, and she’s free, and she’s free.

 

(Not)angry poem

My psychotherapist says that
my last poems were very angry
she says, it’s good to let it spill out, is something
unsettling you, I look
through the autumn window, the spasms
of leaves, I turn my glance
to the successfully (I guess) chosen
statue of two people standing with their
backs facing one another, and I think,
how annoying
to be an illustration of traumatic
experiences in this room,
go fuck yourself, little Lina,
the one raised by alcoholics
the one whose mistakes were scraped by knives
of deficit, who echoes a postmodern version of
the little match girl,
running in only a shirt out into winter,
into the yard barefoot, because he started to
shake his fist, go fuck yourself,
little Lina, the one who was called
ostrich because of a ball thrown unsuccessfully
during a game of dodgeball, the one who always
had to be the best, had to be first,
who collected diplomas,
because this was the only way to get noticed,
to survive this way, go fuck yourself, little
Lina, who was diagnosed with tuberculosis
in the eighth grade, because she lived
in the smoke of Prima and Astra cigarettes.
My psychotherapist waits,
adjusts her tortoise-shell glasses,
looks through the autumn window, the spasms
of leaves, but we don’t meet,
because she has not experienced all of this.
I don’t say a thing.
This one’s not angry, right?

 

Melancholy planet

At first I was uneasy.
A glance. The edge of the bedspread. The kick
of a child. I was easily pierced with
anxiety, beckoning to go
I don’t know where and find
I don’t know what. But I could not
solve those runes and I did not read the story through to the end.
Or maybe I was too lazy to travel.
Afterward everything was insipid – the dissertation,
articles, critiques, poems, home, husband,
son. Even walking on the forest floor
I was not happy, I saw everything
Through a dark fog.  I couldn’t fall asleep or
I would wake at night from an inexplicable panic attack –
I thrashed about more strenuously than at cardio training –
As though from a text book or a self-help manual for depression.
I’d stare long at the smoke alarm on the ceiling and think
that I could die at any time.  And this possibility would
gently tickle the lateral ventricle. I remember one
evening I watched “Melancholia”[1] – nothing
special, but it was the last component.
I was afraid. And I wanted. And I was afraid. Yet still wanted.
I saw no other way forward – the world has called a zeitnot.
I stopped eating. I was nauseous day and night.
I could not clean the house or care for my child.
I was tortured by thoughts that I
could harm my son. Gradually I stopped speaking.
Of course, they took me away. Said they healed me.
I began to sleep. To eat, and discharge
regularly, to open my mouth, seldom have
troubling thoughts. But still nothing will ever
be the same – trivial, but I find no other
words.  It seems that I am longing for my
melancholy planet, because, despite
the terror, it was devilishly real.

 

 

1. 2011 Lars von Trier film

 

Translation by Ada Valaitis

 

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