Ramunė Brundzaitė (b. 1988) is a poet and translator. She received a BA from Vilnius University in Lithuanian philology and Italian language, and her MA in intermedia literary studies from Vilnius University. She has published one poetry book, Monarch, My Friend (2013), for which she was awarded the Druskininkai Poetry Fall Young Jotvingian Prize and the Vilnius City Mayor’s Prize for poetry about Vilnius. Her poems have been translated into Latvian, Italian and English. She also translates poetry from Italian.

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reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Dovilė Bagdonaitė, Waiting for a Retail Store on Wheels, oil on canvas panel, 15x10, 2021

Poems from the poetry book The Society of Empty Bottles

Translated by Rimas Uzgiris



the key of memory


“Daddy, I have had to kill you.” – Sylvia Plath
“Mio padre è stato per me ‘l’assassino.’" – Umberto Saba

like a key that you would always lose
(you lose it because you want to lose it, Freud would say)
(the thing itself wants to be lost, Jung would say)
you would look for it
the thing without which
you can’t get out
or come home again

I think about this while you take me to the library
where I’ll sit and write
and sit and write
my master’s thesis
I’ll carve a new violin
from a block of wood

you studied piano
but your parents didn’t let you continue
maybe that’s why you wanted so much
for me to play

but I can’t stand Bach
or Beethoven
I couldn’t tell them apart
and didn’t want to
hearing them from afar
as I came home again

the whole house resounded
resounded with your distorted voice
your gangly body, banging
into the floor, the stairs, into mother

I didn’t understand what changed you
what made the one I called daddy
into the one I didn’t know what to name
until I started to play my own music
with bottles large and small

each year when the lilacs bloom
I think of my first grade exam
my hand grasping the bow again
and propelling it along the strings

in the margins of my text once more
I doodle the treble clef
in a minor key




In a country far from birth I tried to domesticate ephemerality.
To place myself for six months
in a globe that snows when shaken
(like the ones people bring home from foreign lands,
usually from those where it doesn’t snow),
and then to pull myself out
sodden, overgrown with seaweed and mussels,
and place myself elsewhere – in the whooshing prairies of offices:
the telephone call paradise of consumer relations specialists
for the management of exports.
I soaked my skin in acetone,
scraped shells from my extremities,
clams from within my ears.
– Hello, I’m calling from customer relations,
the specialist’s assistant is listening to your complaints.
– Hello, I’m calling from Italy, from the past,
from the snow globe, in relation to the construction.
You know, we’ve heard many complaints:
the glass walls are always rumbling, cracks have appeared in places,
and the snow is of very low quality, not anything like the real thing.
It looks like
things have not gone well for you,
like you have not
put yourself
in the right place.



new Windows

we updated our Windows
now every time you unlock
the computer screen
you see the same thing I do,
unlocking the computer screen,
a sunset, a mountain range, a piece of The Great Wall,
a fragment from some Old Town of Southern Europe:
not so many trips together after all

now I work a serious and ridiculous job
pushing computer parts
behind floor-to-ceiling windows
from one storage space to another,
sending out couriers
into storms, snow and drought

just click and Hasan in Bahrain gets up,
packs some boxes into a truck, sighs

just click and Peter in Stockholm
glues a new label onto a package

just click and you
and you, what of you?

still involved with old-fashioned things?
publishing paper books, reading other people’s

what do I need to click
for you to come back

two lovers entwined
in front of the old Windows



the fellowship of empty bottles

the clink of empty bottles
hidden in the closet between clothes
“and where did you hide the bottles” asked Marius

I want that little medal

so bad –
a month –
moonlight’s thirty days
of not drinking
and everyone there applauding

more costly
than platinum



3 Good Hope Street

the smokestacks of the Vilnius power plant
near the Garūnai Market
when you can’t go out for a week
your gaze unwillingly drawn to the window
smokestacks like in Twin Peaks
a compulsive gamer sitting on the other side
of your shared feeling circle, dependent on alcohol
and drugs, Aurimas
attracting my eyes
smoke to the west
smoke to the east
smoke to the sky
clocks synchronized
“your best friend is your enemy”
when I can’t sleep I look at
the red lamps of the chimneys
and the smoke, its form, color
what will we be when we get out?
where will we go out?



it is that time of year when trees spill over in blossom,
the pavement sprouts
bright colors, heavy laughter, people go outside
two by two, holding hands
three by three with the third pushed in a stroller
as if the longest winter of our discontent had ended
the air full of the pollen of expectation
and what exactly

is beginning?
I watch them
and write, my paper placed
on the AA book
as I wait for my meeting –
will my separation crack
with the ice of the lakes
and will I too feel
I am about to begin



first date

blue shoes coated in cut grass and linden blossoms
before the movie we stopped on a lawn to smoke
and you noticed that everything is linden-sticky

you had a few menthol cigarettes
knew that I smoke them, that now they’re illegal
and can’t be found

the movie: a red balloon with a smiling Arafat
flying over a checkpoint over
the holy places of Jerusalem as lovers press
one another’s hands in a car

afterwards we sat outside on Gediminas Prospect
eating Italian food (I missed my life there)
breathing the last airs of summer

we spoke about codeine. what does it feel like?
“the state of mind you and I were always looking for.”
and about sobriety, psychotherapy, AA, that it’s not so bad:
life without using

but I still somethimes feel like I’m sick with chickenpox:
I itch but can’t scratch.

I wanted to cuddle with you. was it too soon?

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