user_mobilelogo

Enrika Striogaitė (b. 1967) is a poet. She studied in the current Klaipėda University but dropped out of her studies after three and a half years, together putting and end to her professional athlete career. She acquired her BA and MA degrees in Lithuanian language and literature in the Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius University. Striogaitė worked as a TV host and producer and cultural journalist. She has published articles on cinema, visual arts, contemporary dance, photography, literature, and music, which appeared in the newspaper Kauno diena, the online magazine Bernardinai, and the cultural periodicals Kultūros barai and Šiaurės Atėnai. Enrika Striogaitė is the author of three books on artists and has also published three books of poetry. Her first book Lyja was published in 2004, and her second – Vienišėja – in 2005. Her most recent book Žmonės was published in 2019.

vr banner19

reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Laisvydė, Šalčiūtė, Drawing about love, 1991, paper, colored pencils, graphite, ink, 50 x 70 cm

Poems from the book “People”

 

Barbora R.

where to begin?
well, I work, thank God, still working,
these days, you know,
no, it’s nothing special,
and the money, well, you can live –
it’s not minimum wage

yes, I divorced my husband
a long time ago,
how many husbands now?
I don’t know, I don’t count,
but, to be frank, I never experienced much love,
do I love him?
strange question, after so many years,
very strange,
he doesn’t bother me, helps financially
and is good to my kids.
oh! his kids are long gone,
you see, he’s quite a bit older,
and I feel safer than before

but why are you writing about me?
I’m nothing special,
nothing, I’ve done nothing,
not even all the neighbors in my stairwell know me,
what? I’m in a poem, already?
really? it can’t be

ah, well, I also wrote in my youth,
went to art school, ballet,
played piano.
Oh no, I forgot everything long ago,
long, long ago – – –
I think I’m going to cry.
your poem needs me to cry?
then I won’t – I’ll be silent
as always

so that’s what you needed? no kidding,
well, OK then, now tell me honestly:
in that poem,
am I beautiful?

 

Adomas I

I’m still looking for her –
I fell in love
as a teen

with my neighbor from the first floor
not much younger than my mom

I was very very
shy
I couldn’t even say hello –
afraid to give myself away

maybe she felt that –

from the time
when I sat on the bench, the yard growing dark,
waiting for my mom to come home

it was early autumn
growing quickly colder
the city lights coming on
shivering –
not from cold

she came up to me and offered,
tenderly, so tenderly –
if you’re feeling anxious
you can come up to my place

 

The Seasons. Winter
Goda

there stands my love –
lips frozen to cold steel

my own feet
frozen in ice

to be closer to one another –
we snow

 

Natalija

I

in the cathedral – – –
I couldn’t believe I would meet you in the cathedral,
in class
you always said (recall with what courage before our graduating exams)
that you’re an atheist

a blue summer jacket,
your hands crumpling a grey,
maybe ruddy, handkerchief,
sitting with your head down (oh, and well on your way to baldness),
not looking around, not crossing yourself

you only raised your eyes once:
our gazes
exchanged pupils for an eternity

you began to cough and clear your throat,
you blew your nose
and rose awkwardly, walking heavily to the door

I followed you with my gaze,
the same one as on the morning when you joined the army –
bleary, tearful, having taken the vow

II

in the food kitchen
they sat us by the only
empty table –
we were late

for a long time, we didn’t move, didn’t breathe,
we stared at the steaming bowl
of charity soup

we grasped the same spoon at the same time
(I had forgotten you were left-handed):

“I’m sorry, this is your spoon….”
“Please forgive me, here’s yours…”

it was our spoon,
our first Christmas together

 

Moses

in the Maxima check-out line
I met
God
(he was just behind me)

and looking over my shoulder
at his shopping basket, I saw
a television:
2020 screen-size

not so big

 

Simona

laconic Petras, drinking every day,
worked as a prison guard
he opened the gates to let people in
and closed them – letting them out

no

he opened them – letting them out
he closed them – letting them in

he worked away forty-eight years
in that prison

he hung bird feeders,
all different kind of feeders for
titmice bullfinches siskins nuthatches
sparrows pigeons even crows

when he retired
he still came every day to fill the feeders,
waiting for the gates to open and close
no – to close and open again

he was my father

I tried to figure out
whether he lived on
this side of the gates
or that one

and collapsing there
he never recovered
I don’t know if he hadn’t yet
entered
or if had already
left

So I went there this winter
to try to understand
those gates, letting you in, do they open
or close

the feeders gaped an emptiness
and from the top of the gates
a crow
watched me, curious

it began to snow

 

***

is there anything else I want to say?
Just that – – – –
– – – – – – – – –
Not really

So alright then
                      – Have you heard?
                      – God’s in jail.
                      (now what a name to give a person)

                      – No kidding? And here I was
                      wondering
                      what happened to him?
                      I thought he was dead.

 

 

 

Translated by Rimas Uzgiris

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

Sponsors

Friends

logo lrsThe Lithuanian Culture Institutelogo lim

Write us