The Scapegoat

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The Scapegoat

The Scapegoat
The Nightingale Is Among Us Again
The End as Renaissance
A Reminder
What I Witness
A Source For Origins Or Roots
How The Eagle Sees It
An Island In Land

Right from the start they seem to have fallen from me
like coins though a hole in the pocket
as if those Gypsy kids as a Skopje kiosk
were caught red-handed with their stolen chocolates
that had slipped through their pockets and slid down to their boots

that’s how, at Stari Dorjan, Koljo’s lies (or, perhaps
the tantalizing mytho-romantic conceit
fed by generations of frustration long
before the Greek-Yugoslav frontier, till now, closed)
consumed the “”promised lamb” on the Greek side

and when we passed through the newly opened border
named, in Greek, Doirani, there was no open exchange
or bank so I couldn’t cash my travelers cheques
but, after I ate carp in a taverna, the taverniaris,
who spoke some Macedonian, changed a 100 DM note…

Finally, at the village of Čugunci, now Megali Sterna,
there reminded no trace, of course, of my grandfather’s mill
of his descent, ho who had fled from the wrath of the Greek
Patriarchate in 1903 — the stream bed had emptied (its origins
captured?): we took some photos under a plane-tree that thrived

when he had lived there. Want to dig up some Turkish lire?
laughed the peasants, descendants of Caucasian Greeks
settled here in 1921. One of them, Georgios, took us
for a village walk and then bought each of us coffee in his bar.
We spoke what little Greek we had…

On the way back, passing through Kukuš or Kilkis,
rain, with hail like buckshot, trapped us in its downpour
(but what is that compared to the hellfire artillery
the Greeks used against our people in the second Balkan war!)
and only a glimmer of light, like Providence itself, to the north

while all the while a small sliver of stone
continued stabbing my right foot in its shoe
so that when got home, that is, back to Stari Dorjan,
I could hardly wait to seize the prying tiny pebble
and throw it deep among the other stones at the lake’s edge…

In the morning, after an endless string of self-inflicted dreams
crossing effortlessly from one reality to the next
as if from one side to the other of the double bed,
I was left with nothing but the question:
What in real existence would prove real enough to wake me up?

Breakfast, said the woman I was sleeping with.
How should you know that? I bolted upright.—You were talking
in your sleep and I sheltered you.—From what?—From other women.
I heard the origins of my own family speaking in the tongue of the familiar,
chatting over who has obtained what and for how much of the past…

When finally I got up and dressed, though unwillingly —
I found a real hole in my pocket (as well as my sock!)
Lake Dorjansko was still there, and the frontier,
but for the ghost of my ancestor on the other side—was I here?
Or for my grandson, who will be spying on this spot one day

through a pair of binoculars, both me and himself,
like stones lost among the stones encircling the lake,
from each border’s edge of the frontier, a common end,
button and buttonhole of the same old jacket,
and the lake, by then of course, long since disappeared…

2. V 1987

AuthorBogomil Gjuzel
2018-08-21T17:24:06+00:00 March 1st, 1998|Categories: Blesok no. 01, Poetry|0 Comments