I read in the newspapers that recently in one of the Koreas they organized a meeting of a mother with a dead daughter, as it is already commonly said, thanks to the new technologies, which are so new that they began to darken the language and take unexperienced dimensions of the past. Sitting alone, in front of her daughter’s hologram, the upset and tearful woman said goodbye to the child, who repeatedly told her that she was fine and explained the necessity of leaving. The observers, the father, and the son, it is reported further, were visibly upset – it says visibly upset, which implies that it can be different, invisibly upset, deeply shaken, for example. In the discussion that followed, some warned of the bizarreness and danger of the practice of organizing meetings with the dead, while others recognized in their farewell the alleviation of trauma, healing, and recovery.
Should I have had an opinion about it and joined the debate with my concerns and fears? What does such news have to do with me? Do they bring unrest in my non-existent study room, in carrying and reading books in certain places intertwined with work and obligations? Have I already read about such arrivals and am I familiar with all of this? Most certainly, the journalistic text, concise and simplified, presents what happened in the language of poetry in a more serious and long-term way. Just when? Isn’t poetry in danger of being late as it talks about the reality that is changing and disappearing before our eyes? It is possible that the poem, in its pursuit of wholeness, betrays the reason for fear and joy, transience and eternity, and then it is saved by detail, colloquialism, ignorance, and madness.
I found myself thus in the middle of Andriana Kos Leitman’s poem “Holograms of Silence” (Stepenice za Stojanku K., Zagreb, VBZ, 2019) an exciting announcement of what “just in a little while” will visit us from the oxymoronic past future. Through the devices from certain points in the space, says the poetess, we will receive sights that happened a long time ago. Seemingly naive, the belief is renewed that due to the mutual distance of the planets, measured in light years, it is possible that the sights, long lost in our lives, last elsewhere, filling the time between reality and dream, the abyss and the language that defines the boundaries of borders of the world: “Extinguished lives like shut sparks / will flicker before our eyes./ And they will flicker before the forgotten images / which they will see a second time.”
I can remember, when I first heard of that theory – between the naive enthusiasm and the certainty of science (as if it wasn’t actually the other way around) – the trepidation and excitement at the thought that in my life I could save from oblivion or relive, believing in the space hologram. It is interesting that the children’s list of that time is more extensive than the current one, although, after such a long time, the life and intimate losses are greater and more serious. But I would not move anything to a remote point on a planet unknown to me. Everything is present and absent: in the head, in the language.
It is no coincidence that Darko Cvijetic’s poem “Voland’s Anniversary”, which reconstructs the tragic death of six-year-old Stojanka K., during the war, in July 1992, is in the opening place of the book. The bizarreness and sick feeling, the transience and banality of the time that comes in the quoted poem, one of those that speaks of “ropes with a print on the neck”, mark the work of making stairs for Stojanka K. By taking over the other text, its contaminating influence on the context of the book that establishes its own coordinates, that seeks for itself (and its reader’s) new meanings, moving and immobile places – is confirmed and denied. It is the perspective of the second-person self, the one who addresses us by saying “All night he planted gray letters/ in a gray garden/ coughing and blind.”
The beautiful and concluding consequence of dust and writing, letters and blindness, and planting in the gray garden close the poem, but also offers keys, openings, and passages, on the way from earth to the “universe”. The poetic working optics is rounded off in the secure and thought-through ending of the poem, which expands and creates a blueprint for the future, one that lives from metamorphoses and convictions that there is a connection between writing and darkness, embracing the darkness and coming out of it “while those steps sing”. Her courage lies in facing what has happened and what could happen again. Our near and far, “meridians of scorching”, are not accidental, they persistently speak of the writing and the language which is compensated by different and the same: the abyss and the darkness. But let’s not forget, we are talking about building stairs for the one who suffered in a tragic and accidental way. Poetry comes into existence and continues its duration by devising in language what is coming to us, and what is threatening us. What threatens us?
Believing that the language of poetry mediates the realization and pacification of the world is tantamount to thinking that the immediate past is an unfinished part of the future. Between them is reality, often cut off, undefined and unclear in its presence. We have almost come to terms with that present, intermediate state, and incompleteness, with that persistence “in the lonely cellars of the new ontology” (E-graves). In the realm of the expected (desired) future, the poetess captures what has already been written, and read: she is left with nothing else but to take care of the phrase and the paraphrase, the exclamation – avoiding the finished and the documented, the read and what has been read… She seeks non-meaning in the soliloquy of none other than Tristan Tzara, “because DADA means nothing.” The versal and non-significance are at once a signal, a device for building stairs, for collusion with the distant and the immediate, the tragic and the lost, the ordinary and the present: “After the death/hope in purified humanity. / Stretched like a child’s diaper in the wind.”
To go and read?
Should we stop and listen?
It has been said that everything is in the didascalia anyway!
(From the Croatian literary magazine “Tema”, No. 1,2,3, 2022)