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Janko Vujinović
A man in the Room

There he is, calm, sitting in the room
by the window
staring at the darkness

The lamp is turned out
It is well after midnight

The city outspreads ten floors
beneath the man in the room
it moans, it wheezes
frenzy rises towards the sky
by neon

The man watches the city
and deeply inhales cigarette smoke

While sitting and smoking, he spots himself
on the other side of the window. On this side,
in the room, a lighted
hand and the eyes

The man opens the window

Covering the Traces
or: going back home into the mountains

Firstly, call no one, don't answer scarce
calls, just get them
used to your not being there, since
it makes no difference
presence eaquels absence

Firstly, cover the traces

Tell these here you're there. Tell those there
you're here. One thing to these, another to those
Third ones you've gone, fourth ones
you'll come! Leave some in ignorance. Others
knowing you know not where you'll be
Satisfy their curiosity

But always cover the traces

Thereupon find a friend
with a house in the mountains
and take the keys of the
mountain home

Tell the friend to forget
he's given you the keys

Go to the mountain home

A well in front of the house, stack of
oak and beech solid logs that
keep fire all night long
kindling to set the fire

Get a knife, gun, sharp axe
and a violent dog

Put potaoes into the pit, cabbage into the cellar, into the cask
get a bag of beans, two sacks of flour
yeast and solt
Put strong brandy in the demijohn, keg soft one
for boiling. Get two or three litars of lamp oil. Hang
ribs and meat above the hearth
to be smoked

Get some red wine, the communion one
a nosegay of basil, the Holy Bible
some incense

Light the fire, bake bread, cook beans
cabbage with smoked meat

But cover, cover the traces

Hike, walk, pace
through the forest

Sit by the fire, watch the snow fall
God, watch the whiteness
feel frost grips

Listen to the fire, to a bird
to the wind, and to a cricket
in the wall

Silent, keep silent
in the mountains
Dsseldorf, at the time of Christmas Fair of 1994

Whine and Decay, My Darling

We live in seclusion, my sweet
surrounded by simple
plain, accidental

At times, at night
[according to books, that time of sounds
rich in meaning] a wind
smelling of heather and absinthe
sulphor and sweat, skin
and nail

A wind tuches
our trunk and crown

Never and nowhere do we go
We stay for days, for years, inside four walls
then inside the two, then inside just one, each
inside his/her own wall [plaster and bricks] built in
amongst the objects of a poor household
which will certainly outlive us
for it is patient, for wood
wails differently
from a man, though both a man and wood
wail, wail
and decay

Whine and decay, my darling

It happens at times
absentmindedly we sail on a wave -
facing the cliffs - singing
an old tune, wordless, murmoring
as if we were deep
under the ground

Our days, our years pass
and time, sticky as mucilage
drips and turns gray on
our temples

As if we had returned
from glades where we've never
been, though firmly
convinced that we had
that we had

[translated by Emilija Cerovic Younger]

Janko Vujinović

Born on April 7th, 1945 in Bradić, near Loznica [western Serbia] Vujinović started his studies of Serbian [Serbo-Croatian] language and literature in Sarajevo, and continued in Belgrade, where he graduated at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade.
For a short period Vujinović worked as a secondary school teacher and a journalist writing for radio and television. During the spring term of 1992, as a guest professor, he lectures at Slavic Department of 'Jzsef Attila' University in Szeged [Hungary]. From 1976 till 1994 he was the editor and co-editor in chief of Literary Papers and the editor with the publisher of the same name. During his five-year-long staying in Neuss, Germany [1995-1999] he was a professional writer, collaborated with newspapers, gave lectures, etc. From 2000 till 2010 he worked as the Serbian language editor and a lecturer at the Slavic Department of the Lodz University [Poland]. Prominent literary critics, as well as Serbian and Polish professors have published more than hundred texts on Vujinovic's books, while his novel Panic in the Intercity was the subject of the master thesis of Malgorzata Krupa [the Lodz University, 2006].
Vujinović is the author of several awarded radio plays, as well as the play Vuk ili povest o narodnom zivljenju [Vuk or A Story of Folk Life]. He is a co-author of the collection of contemporary Serbian literature and art Srbi na zemlji [Serbowie na ziemni, Tygiel kultyri, Lodz, 2003]. His papers have been read in international professional meetings in Poland and in Serbia and were published as well as more than three hundred texts that appeared in literary journals and magazines in former Yugoslavia.
His poems, stories and extracts from his novels have been translated and published in English, German, Russian, Polish, Herew, Hungarian, Turkish, and Macedonian. His work has been represented in more than twenty collections and anthologies of poetry and prose published in Yugoslavia, Serbia, and abroad.
Books [first edition]: 1973 - poetry collection Mukla raspuklina [Dull Crevice]; 1979 - collection of short stories Knjiga o radovanju [A Book on Joy]; 1986 - novel Vučji nakot [Wolves' Den]; 1989 - documentary prose Kosovo je grdno sudiliste [Kosovo Is a Great Courtroom]; 1993 - collection of short stories Peske po Srbiji [On Foot Around Serbia]; 2000 - novel Panika u intersitiju [Panic in the Intercity]. Extracts from Panic in the Intercity have been published in English, German, Russian, Polish, and Romanian.
Book translated and published in Poland: 2006 - selection of poems and short stories Śpiewanie w/o samotności [IBiS, Warsow] and Panika w Intercity [Tygiel kultyri, Lodz and UAM, Poznan] both with afterwords by Mihajlo Pantić [the University of Belgrade] and Boguslaw Zelinski [the University of Poznan].
Panic in the Intercity was translated by Trajče Krsteski, who also wrote the afterword, and was published in Macedonia in 2010 [IK Arlekin, Prilep and IK Arka, Smederevo-Skoplje].

Contact: janvujin@wp.pl
internet site: www.JankoVujinovic.com



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