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Ernestas Noreika was born in 1989 in Kaunas. He studied Lithuanian philology in Lithuanian Educology university. His first poetry book Lake of Peacocks (2012) won the Zigmas Gėlė-Gaidamavičius prize for best poetry debut. His second poetry book Andalusian Dog was published in 2016. His third poetry book Apollo (2019) won a prestigious Yooung Yotvingian award. Ernestas Noreika is also a well-known rap and hip-hop singer (his scenic name is Beeta). He is the author of two albums – Twin Peaks (2014) and Kūlgrinda (2017).

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reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

The Call of Eternity. From series "Civilisations". Photo Collage, 1983

 

road-tie

to confuse similar sounding words
can mean that one morning in a hurry
you tie on not a neck-tie but a road-tie

on which all sorts of vague vagabonds gather
sticking out their thumbs for non-existent routes

they’ll smoke while waiting and stub their cigs
all over your laundered shirt

your collar will grow dark with ashes

the most beautiful cars will fly through you
washed waxed and burnished
packed with the saddest faces

from out the windows
they’ll throw single-use cups at you
brimming with boiling emptiness

brakes will squeak as truck drivers stop
to purchase all the women
from the dim brothels of your memory

and you will come home like it’s nothing to hang
in your closet the criss-crossed shirt of your soul

next to the dusty and littered road-tie
you’ll watch the traffic flow all night

seeing the blinking lights of passing cars
through the cracks of the closet door

you’ll listen to how the breaks squeak and squeak
how the cars and trucks pull to a stop

never knowing where they carry

what has long not been yours anymore

 

if i were

if i were really a sailor
you would see me off at the harbor
just as in romantic films

you would stand with a flowery dress
pinned with the harpoons of fog
blooming with ambiguous pain

you would wave a white handkerchief
until i couldn’t manage to make out
your embroidered initials
in the corner of the receding port

whose unexpected rain
washes out the teary eye

if i really were a sailor
you would wait for me to return

with unbelievable stories
about sea-monsters

and concrete whales
blowing white smoke
over my rocking life

the one we spoke about
with virtual carrier pigeons

then you would stand on the shore and see
how the ship rips through mist
to dock at the side of your heart

how i walk towards you
with a uniform of lightning storms
brimming with lost birds

and into your hands i would press

an uninhabited isle

 

signs

we have to pay attention to signs

in a few hundred meters
a flock of exotic birds will fly by

and you won’t look at them at all
because you yourself will be a sign

that something here isn’t right

that in less than a hundred paces
great gorges will open up

and they will be a sign
that we can’t avoid it all

sometimes signs turn the other way
and show the wrong things

to the wrong people
those signs are expired

here is a pallid woman
with a face like a desert

she grows rattle-snakes
and wind within herself

she believes she will soon step
on an exploding cloud

here is a man with a raining face
sitting in a room of clouds

he thinks he will manage
to bring something back to life

and that is a sign
that it’s sometimes too hard to understand
how everything actually is

so we should really believe them
one way or another
they lead somewhere

though usually the wrong way

they rust and rot shedding colors
symbols letters and numbers

like the medals of leaves
from the martial breasts of trees

we always follow signs

having forgotten to follow ourselves
having forgotten that each of us is

signed

 

water-marks

it’s not hard to detect
a counterfeit person

there’s nothing to see
when you hold him against the light

he doesn’t have water-marks
in which strange fishes swim

his holograms are imprecise

the moon has no effect upon him
for he has no ebb and flow

his letters are all too apparent
when you brush him against your lips

these types try to pay with themselves
in the kiosks of our reality

that brim with all kinds of shit

and behind their little windows
woman perch with cratered faces
starched lives

their hands are not from this reality
and they feel no difference at all

so they take those people in
and pull them out again

for change

that’s why we need to pile up bonfires

surround ourselves with highway lights
street lamps and bulbs

windmills of turning light

so that when we look at one another

everything will be clear

 

drinking about

let’s drink up the cities countries
and superheroes with twist-off swords
held within the test-tubes of reality

let’s down in one draught
the swords longer than ourselves
arranged in mini-bars of skulls

let’s drink the thermometers
of the hottest day of summer
when there is no air to breathe

let’s drink thermometers from hospitals
in which fevered bodies
fill them with bonfires and sunsets

let’s drink right-triangles
pyramids and circumferences
projectors and calipers

geographical lengths widths compasses
vectors and all possible distances
no matter how much they divide people
who must keep drinking one another

let’s drink academic ranks
and sudden turns in life
boiling in the pots of the quotidian
become now shelters for geysers

let’s drink generals lieutenants captains
cabins full of rum and warships
in which loss and bombs mature

let’s drink tassels and gold medals
from which widows of war smelt
crowns for their tears
so that society would understand
how expensive is their sadness and pain

let’s drink fermenting ashes
flowing from fighter planes and memories
of the lives of the mentally damaged

flowing from the scars of burnt out things
from the carbonized bones of trenches

let’s drink all the rivers and lakes
the shining mirrors of puddles
clogged with the shells of clouds

in which drunken homeless people
rinsed the opera houses of dusty mouths
with forgotten organs
that couldn’t grind the gums of the world

let’s drink the stages of hearing loss
so that we could finally hear each other

let’s drink the stages of burn victims
and not burn each other anymore

let’s drink the percentages that define
how many times you have to be
multiplied by your self

because you don’t have to be multiplied
because you alone are enough on this earth
and will, stage by stage, regardless

die of thirst


 

Translated by Rimas Uzgiris

 

 

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