Page created 7/13/09
by Ranko Damjanovic
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I gather together remains of our laughter.
Olive-eyed road shows me the way
to the river’s edge.
My eyes are silent.
Encounters with my life as I walk by.
No one stops.
I define my past in three layers.
I retreat to my brain.
I observe.
Falling down makes you realize- you walked.
You start appreciating the skies high above
and the smoothing colors.

Encounters II

objects reach for me
clumsy light peeps
I stroll through the contours of consciousness
yet another dark experience
encounters with myself
in despair
This solitude frightens me
it's right in my face
the walls eavesdrop on one another
no echo
artificial light
and the mutilated sun's brother
the killed and the killer
both bragging to me

Encounters III

I am selling fresh metaphors
to the blind sun
a taste of weariness in my mouth
corners awaiting the dawn
voices in my head
no echo
an illusion of creation
silence you are a tough tenant
an encounter with a bluff death
of the released nightmares
keeps my blood awake
I forget to breathe.
Naïve gravediggers
placed my bones
into someone else’s mud
consume me abyss
so I can bathe in your eye.


I’m standing still
tall as a paradox
still alive
I wiggle, I walk, I curse
passing by I encounter God
to apologize
nobody recognizes me
as if I were dead

narrow corridors
the same ones Hitler used for escape
press down on me hard
I suffocate in my own blood
remain breathless
lose consciousness.

“Breathe, Mr. Damjanovic
you’re a healthy man.”

his eyes are full of blood
his lips red as a trace of the evil skis,
and the world still spiteful
waiting to be conquered

Encounter V

Silence of the extinguished light.
Objects without colors,
as they truly are.
Turning in my bed
like a dead man tossing in his grave.
The earth rotates a full circle.
I sneak toward the heaven
like a cloud of smoke
forced, prematurely,
utterly invisible.

Lengthy is the journey
to realization you are in the netherworld
and Nothing means nothing at all.
No countries, no borders,
Roads or crossroads,
no cracked-open windows.
Emptiness is what you encounter
at each step
like a story without a point.
Loneliness oppresses you so hard
you cannot stand up erect
hauling time on your back
like a convict before his end.

Meanwhile death merely waits
for someone to apologize
for this whole mess.

Poetry of Ranko Damjanovic is poetry of the young Serbian generation of intellectuals living
with the turbulent times of the Civil War in ex-Yugoslavia, which they have not caused, only
inherited. Their father’s generation was born into the aftermath of the WWII, grandparents, if
alive, remember both WWI and WWII. They are pondering on life and death, good and evil,
survival of the body and the spirit, of the outstanding accomplishments of all humanity; while
enjoying the moment, here and now,  and creating beauty for those who will come. Isn’t that
so everywhere? Any time? Doesn’t that make us feel closer to one other?

Mira N. Mataric Educator, writer and translator
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Like a decaying carcass
you drag yourself around.
Playing tricks on the Devil
tired you down.
Took piece of your consciousness.
Now you are praying to God
to fully restore your mind.
So pray,

Ranko Damjanovic
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