(Zvonko Taneski, “Chocolate in a Portfolio”, Blesok, 2010)
#1 The interpreter is by definition external to the text that he analyses, but according to the classical concept, he should be as much closer as possible to each author, to dive into his world, to mix up with it (2004: 131-132)1F. Just as Zvonko Taneski has found food (chocolate in particular) i.e. indulgence for his experience of integration into another culture (first in the Chzech, and now more and more in the Slovac one), I also found my exotopy in reading this indulgence of his. And the exotopy of the reader is an advantage, not a handicap (2004: 132)2F. On the other hand, the interpreter of the text is a passer-by in his way, he tries to achieve that the readers and writers are described better (2004: 285). Because the reading, as watching films, or spending time with friends, drinking coffee, sharing the last piece of chocolate help you realize that you exist only when related to others. Completely alone you are nobody, without any ideas about yourself3F. Dedicating to the interpretation of the others, as Tzvetan Todorov stresses, you are given the possibility to convert the shortcoming into an advantage and thus the doubt in your own ability to be liked by people is transformed into an incredible abnility to interpret/understand the others. I don’t know how much this text will show the degree to which I merged with Taneski’s verses by being brave to speak on their behalf. However, I am expressing them and at the same time they express my convictions better than I could have done it myself4F:
(being naked in your soul is the ultimate nakedness
which still has a price –
you can lie in everything else).
(from Interruption of the Poem and Life)
The books will exist as long as there are stories that are convinced that they have to be told and as long as there are readers (and the writers are readers) who, when reading these stories, are convinced that they have to be completed, says Dubravka Ugrešić (Забрането читање. – Скопје: Сигмапрес, 2002, 203). Thus, this poetic manuscript Чоколада во портфолио [Chocolate in a Portfolio] (Скопје: Културна установа БЛЕСОК, 2010, 112)
is one of those stories that have to be told, and also completed by reading:
My book, open up completely
as a vein filled with bulging blood,
as a jug of wine for thirsty lips,
as a news of the moving
as an unfinished travel,
as a search out and inside oneself,
(from An Open Book)
These are verses that are consumed as a piece of chocolate which satisfies the need for sugar of the body after lunch, after a smoked cigarette, after love passion. These are verses that yearn to be read as a delicacy:
Can I assist her
as an inspiration, as a worm, as an anxiety,
as a restlessness, as a gulp of coffee after a written line?
(from Can I?)
These are verses that we indulge when they become somebody’s thirst, like in the motto of the collection:
The more poems, the less poetry!
If you grant verses, give thirst!
Are there enough thirsty people?
The choice that his verses are put under the chocolate mark is maybe because of the knowledge that the border between enjoyment and evil is strongly manifested in chocolate itself. It remains a first stronghold of the final ideological inadaptability of the other, the colonized, the de-individualized and exploited5F. Its polymorphous nature is experienced as a challenge because we can also consume it as powder, icing, but also to nibble it in pieces, without thinking that besides water, chocolate also has the privilege to appear/exist in all three aggregate states. Water is life, isn’t it? This also means that chocolate is life? Well yes, if one takes into consideration that this polymorphous nature, as well as its closeness to warmth and its passion to color everything that it touches stimulates the archetypal fantasy6F. His, mine… yours…
1. Цветан Тодоров. Должности и наслади. – Скопје: Фондација за македонски јазик „Небрегово“, 2004, 131.
2. … it is Bakhtin, stresses Tzvetan Todorov, introduces a category, a word which is a bit difficult to translate from Russian вненаходимост, which I translated by “exotopy”, which helps that it means what I called “allienation” (2004: 131).
3. The unit is not somebody who already exists, who then enters a relationship with the others: it is constructed of relationships. But the time passes, and the identity is constantly shaped (…) It is an approximately alchemic process – and all the people have the wisdom stone: what converts the case of an encounter into a necessity of a life (2004: 286).
4. See „Другите во мене“ in Должности и наслади. Ibid. 284-288.
5. See Svetlana Slapšak. „Čokolada“ in Ženske ikone XX veka. – Beograd: Biblioteka XX veka, 2001, 65-69.
6. Eating chocolate can symbolically be connected to the symbolic eating of the body which is related in an erotic metaphor. The irresistibility of chocolate comes from the complicated narrative and visual products which express the gender and racial tensions, injustice, prohibitions, as well as censorships of the ruling cultural models, but also the spirit of resistance. For example, the soldiers carry chocolate with them, says Slapšak, to also redeem the sins (end of troubles) and eventually buy new sins.