The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jana Putrle Srdić’s “Anything Could Happen”

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The Other Side of Skin

Translated by Barbara Jursa

Wishing for a poem is like a humidity
in the air, 80% and rising.

At night I walk through this city in the shape
of a wet puddle, lights blur in its waving

and dry islands of life are named:
a pump, Nobel Burek, Hot-Horse,
Day and Night. “Good morning,” grins
an aged motorcyclist in leather
with his helmet and motorbike
and a rock-n-roll youth,
enters the shop.

Everything moving repels off
my body, a longhaired cat swiftly
puffs beside me, this hour is torn out,

time collapses
into itself in spirals, we are waiting in queues,

everyone with their tattered auras,
with marbles of lust scattered across the ground.

The city gives us an infusion of glittering
rhythms and saves us from a sweaty
apartment, flowers in pots that are quietly dying away,

the city is a recourse of cellophane
and we wait patiently—rabid dogs.

This selection comes from Jana Putrle Srdić’s book Anything Could Happen, translated by Barbara Jursa and available from A Midsummer Night’s Press. Purchase your copy here!

Jana Putrle Srdić (1975, Ljubljana) is a poet, art film reviewer, and translator of poetry who lives in Ljubljana, where she works as a visual art producer. She has published three collections of poems to date, and also translates poetry from English, Russian, and Serbian, including collections by Robert Hass, Sapphire, Ana Ristović, and other authors.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jana Putrle Srdić’s “Anything Could Happen”

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Vanishings

Translated by Barbara Jursa

Half a year after your death
I called home,
no one answered the phone and
suddenly I was surprised by your voice
on the answering machine.

As if the cactuses from the window shelf
had circled my bed in the morning.

As you spoke from that cube
of pink jelly

your voice
was both familiar and strange,
unusually determined like the voice
of a thirty-year-old who is never
at home and needs an answering machine

because he just came back from playing handball,
and is hurrying to go target shooting.
Just like all shooters on their way
to the range, he knows that he must stare
through the window of the bus
at the same spot, continuously,
the moon in the afternoon sky,

so in front of the target
his heart begins to beat with the black circles
until he joins them with his pulse on a dot
and pulls the trigger.

The familiar voice
of a thirty-year-old who is now on
a honeymoon to Venice with the Glen Miller casette
in the car. A women’s hat with a wide brim.
His light summer trousers (Gatsby style)
slip over his knees when he jumps up
two stairs at a time.
Stinky canals, damp walls,
pigeons, he says to her, everywhere pigeons,
at the same time as his cigarette, he leisurely
lights the smiles on negatives.

I pass by this tall slender man
in a light summer shirt who does not recognize me,
I do not exist.

I am thinking — when we erase the tape
and your voice in my head
becomes a blur I will be
a bit more porous,
my vanishing
will begin.

This selection comes from Jana Putrle Srdić’s book Anything Could Happen, translated by Barbara Jursa and available from A Midsummer Night’s Press. Purchase your copy here!

Jana Putrle Srdić (1975, Ljubljana) is a poet, art film reviewer, and translator of poetry who lives in Ljubljana, where she works as a visual art producer. She has published three collections of poems to date, and also translates poetry from English, Russian, and Serbian, including collections by Robert Hass, Sapphire, Ana Ristović, and other authors.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jana Putrle Srdić’s “Anything Could Happen”

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Air Cage

Translated by Barbara Jursa

All children on wheels have gotten helmets,
and trenches have been dug around the tracks
so we can’t cross them, which destroyed our
collective memory of walking on rails.

There’s a program, scribbled with yellow
chalk on a blackboard: activities in nature.
Young sparrows don’t kill themselves
when they fall out of a nest, sometimes
they just get eaten. Short but sweet.

This country isn’t right for us, we’re shaking our heads,
it rains too many days per year. All the bad
poems I read are like always having sex with the same
person, thoughts unwillingly wandering elsewhere
and yearning for something to nail them

to this moment.

The words are cut grass, calming, if you lay down,
even ants will politely avoid you.

And what are the chances that a swaying jogger
stops right above your head, eclipsing the sun
with her smoothly shaved legs?

No, this isn’t the right geographical latitude,
we’re shaking our heads, we need to stand on our
heads, stroll on the streets of Kampala, Nagpur,
Kuala Lumpur, where parrots fall from nests.

We need to shift from activities to nature.
Change our desires. The world is ripening into
a golden ball, all times are apocalyptic
and every moment now our cages will shatter.

This selection comes from Jana Putrle Srdić’s book Anything Could Happen, translated by Barbara Jursa and available from A Midsummer Night’s Press. Purchase your copy here!

Jana Putrle Srdić (1975, Ljubljana) is a poet, art film reviewer, and translator of poetry who lives in Ljubljana, where she works as a visual art producer. She has published three collections of poems to date, and also translates poetry from English, Russian, and Serbian, including collections by Robert Hass, Sapphire, Ana Ristović, and other authors.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Jana Putrle Srdić’s “Anything Could Happen”

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The Dark Green Poem

Translated by Barbara Jursa

This is a poem about us two,
I have avoided it for a long time.

We push what deprives us of light out
          of our focus, heaping wobbly chairs,
unused tables, empty frames
into our guestroom. Some spaces we never
use, at least not with
                                       each other.

This is a poem about us two, green,
smooth and strange it lies
on the kitchen
                           linoleum.
In our long breakfast silence it sheds
its skin
             into words until only a dry
empty husk remains.

Although I am not numb, this night I dreamed
          of a woman with one leg,
she was perfect, I have to reach the bottom
of entanglement,
                         I dreamed that we share one leg,
is that perfect? It would be hard to
reach
          the town square with it, amongst
the pedestrians and cars, you know,
the square is the heart of every city,
a small perfection.
                                         We can still crawl.

This is a poem about us two.
I always thought it would be
                              a love poem.
At the bottom of the city, at the bottom
of the apartment,
                                        our one leg

This selection comes from Jana Putrle Srdić’s book Anything Could Happen, translated by Barbara Jursa and available from A Midsummer Night’s Press. Purchase your copy here!

Jana Putrle Srdić (1975, Ljubljana) is a poet, art film reviewer, and translator of poetry who lives in Ljubljana, where she works as a visual art producer. She has published three collections of poems to date, and also translates poetry from English, Russian, and Serbian, including collections by Robert Hass, Sapphire, Ana Ristović, and other authors.

Leslie LaChance edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration, has curated The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications and written poetry reviews for Stirring: A Literary Collection. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, and her chapbook, How She Got That Way, was published in the quartet volume Mend & Hone by Toadlily Press in 2013. She teaches literature and writing at Volunteer State Community College in Tennessee, and if she is not teaching, writing, or editing, she has probably just gone to make some more espresso.