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Greta Ambrazaitė was born in 1993. She studied Lithuanian Philology and Spanish language in Vilnius University and gained the bachelor‘s degree in Lithuanian Philology. She has worked as a Lithuanian language teacher, a seller-consultant, a librarian. Since 2018 she has been studying the Master of Literary Anthropology and Culture in Vilnius University. The author won the First Book competition in 2018 with her poetry book Fragile Things, the book was awarded the Young Yotvingian Prize as a best young poet’s book, published in two years, and was included in the list of top five most outstanding Lithuanian poetry books of 2018.

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Egidijus Rudinskas, Journey to the Center of the World, 2011. From the MO Museum collection
Poetry from the book “Fragile Things”
 
 
 

blood mouse

look how the trees rise high,
a small blood mouse runs by,
i close my eyes before beginning to speak,
wanting so much to be closer

how grand, that which unites us,
how petty, that which separates,
don’t jail me in empty speech,
beyond it lies the metallic red of lips

look, the trees wind into the sky,
the brooch of a leaf hits my palm,
a small blood mouse runs by,
wanting to be closer

don’t jail me in empty speech,
i don’t know what gave me more:
trees rising up into the sky
or blood before morning tea

how petty, that which separates,
just a few floors –
you on the roof, i in the bath,
a blood mouse in hiding

look how the trees climb and climb,
how grand, that which unites us,
the metallic red of lips,
one elevator –
for all the furrows of pain

 

 

entrenchments

so that I would understand that this city
doesn’t mean anything to me anymore
–Bruno K. Öijer, “My Last Lines about Paris”

bombs tick in my back, tick, tick, tick to the beat,
the music to which we are ordered to dance
in a lonely Paris window,
everything cut through by the packed crowd’s clamor:
coded messages in the headings,
the clamor of nine thousand abstractions in my head,
i asked myself today,
how can i break through the bottom of consciousness
and pull into light the incessant echo of reality, unmask the forms,
how to gather a legion of foreign soldiers
who would protect a child’s head,
how to avoid the field of battle
where nine thousand abstractions prepare to attack –
and now i’m alone against them all
in Café de Paris, where it’s calm,
surrounded by sticky weather and fragile things
which i will soon forget,
and behind my back is the front, a thin line,
the deadly circuit of the horizon,
just to help me remember longer
this strange, exhausted time,
so that a stain would remain
when the stairs of the Eiffel Tower melt into my palm,
and the flow of time
moves on even for those who sink,
and from which my grey persona
has long since moved out

 

 

Return

our throats fill with mist when we try to hammer
and hammer out, to cast the blue elemental face
for all time, from where the crowns of lungs end,
to the union of lightning between our fingers…
it’s enough to prick ellipses with our gazes –
you are my dowsing-stick, and i am your water,
the world has never approached us like this,
that’s why it can’t abandon us now,
so it can only be the disharmony that screams inside
and sometimes smashes the church bell
until the signals synchronize and rivers flow again,
and i thought thus, and once i flinched afraid of drought,
which is why i saw us under a cataract like a magnet
which opposes slow sun strokes,
later, before the storm, the doors falling off hinges,
joints all cracking,
you said you would drown,
you repeated it, for it was prophesied,
that’s how you will give me freedom, the power not to hate,
back then, i didn’t know how strange these formulations were,
and later, their meanings became less and less meaningful,
i came to believe that we’re generally uncreated,
fluttering fragrances whose dreary drizzles
harass the heart,
i’m afraid to tread the pilgrim trails,
all directions equally dangerous,
though i don’t want to distance myself,
to separate from the earth’s attraction,
let me not betray this city, hammered into paving,
this epoch mounted on that which is unseen –
i would travel, always travel,
on high crystal scaffolds
home
through fields of metaphor

 

 

Sylvia

i don’t know how to begin this story,
where to hide everything we laughed about,
in what corner of the world, on what page
to secrete the conversations with half-vacant contents,
i watch from afar as you burn gifts, warm yourself with flame and women,
my heart is not for that, not a brothel, however it seems to you,
i’m saying either, i miss a real home, or, God, what is this winter,
i miss the abstract contours of a person, your snow
melting on the fled day’s newspaper lead,
and us, so meaningless, separate, unimportant to the hands
with which i caressed the trembling walls, streets, and harbors
until i lost those cities, lost the gates,
it was as if i destroyed all civilization for all time,
only the light from the gas stove remains, gouging my eyes
when i accidentally leave on the gas
so that i could dream all of it, more distinctly, again

 

 

Demarcation

i have to sell my separations,
to list them in all the languages
of the stock markets of the world,
to give them out, eye-socket size,
like Cold War landmarks,
for any construction could become a wall,
the alchemy of collapse has possessed us for so long,
i once tried to blow up towers –
and ended up behind barbed wire,
you always tried to remain close,
and today, all our junctions
look like purling rills
that have flooded high-voltage wires
in an industrial hood,
though birds who alight there will not burn,
yet in this landscape there are
glinting showcase windows
painted with delible paint,
uniformed men and tight-bodied women,
roller-coasters, lies, and guns,
which i almost forgot about
after your electroshock therapy

 

 

22:45

soon we’ll exit this fragility,
these candle drips, this breaking
of wine cellar doors, the “Satanhouse” monastery,
“Frenchiepark”, the Žverynas streets,
where we were Other, we agreed,
where I still wait for you
as I wait for my own mists to clear,
it’s not so important,
it’s as if I’m waiting for my Yiddish class,
when I speak, it seems, I’m trying to bite through stone,
we’ll exit ourselves, having become playing card faces,
models with beautiful clothes,
in this limitless construction,
we’ll walk the doggie
in the courtyard of a house of cards,
in this game,
in the face of this dusty goblet
which we share to the last drop,
I’m still alive, no lie,
even with a foreign face,
before this jazz intermission,
before this disappearance, this fire,
I feel that everything will soon explode
there, where it seems the most decay remains,
there, where there is so much longing,
my gaze slowly fogs up –
each person coming through the door,
each of their bumps and clatters
are your shards



 

Translated by Rimas Uzgiris

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