#1 Romula and Stafilus hanged out here”, “Atimetus got me pregnant”, “I slept with the waitress”..if Facebook existed two thousand years ago these graffiti would be the statuses of the inhabitants of Pompeii, found on the stone walls of the city on the foot of Vesuvius. Without the disastrous eruption these dramas in one act would probably be continued – Stafilus would marry Romula, the waitress would report sexual harassment on her working place and open the first Pompeii McDonald’s with the settlement sum, while Atimetus would become an incidental but still proud father of female quadruplets. Afterwards it would be them, the new generations, that would carve their daily misfortunes on the Pompeii walls, believing that they are the first to posses them. And rightly so: life would be quite predictable and dull if man would learn from someone else’s mistakes. Pardon me, experiences.
Back to the present, and more than 500km north from Pompeii, in the city of Romeo and Juliet, couples from all over the world – pilgrims in couples – announce their love, signing their names in the corridor that leads to the famous balcony from Shakespeare’s tragedy, and touching the bronze statuette of Juliet for luck, almost polishing one of her breasts. Stuck in this atmosphere, Predrag Lucić from a common tourist becomes an unusual lyricist – first he notes the real names of the lovers on the wall, then replaces them with others, and invents contexts and faiths, sometimes beautiful, sometimes strange, sometimes cursed. It is not unusual, for someone that lived through and commented on the dissolution of the Balkans during the last decades, to set the sounds of cannons, the scent of smoke and the screaming of the sirens as a décor of the love stories of some of the couples. If love hurts in Verona, Italy, a member of the EU, then what about us, the barbarians, who kiss and bite at the same time? “It take courage to shiver”, says Lucić in one of the poems, and we are really grateful that the sarcasm and the satire present in Feral Tribune, the weekly of “Croatian anarchist, protestants and heretics” that he has edited for a long time, did not spill on the pages of this book. One should have a doze of decency, and stop with mockery before the big and serious issues, in front of which cynicism becomes tiny and helpless. And love is one of those things. At least at our age.
I remember clearly which name was the first written in a heart next to mine. But I cannot remember when this procedure, instead of magical, became totally ‘childish’ and immature. When did I stopped the popular mantra “He and me, two hearts as one, kissed and hugged till half past one” and to spare the state property from the touch of my gentle scalpel?
What a loss. What a shame.
If the visa liberalization succeeds, I’m heading to Verona.
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