Am famous – future tense

By Zlatko Pranjic

The curse of a clairvoyant dream
I woke up famous

My poetry found a way out of its labyrinth of solace
My pen is shaking from its ominous significance

It all started one undefined night
I wrote a strange poem about guilt
Who could imagine that an innocent poetic act
Would launch an avalanche of fate
Onto my head

That night I wrote until late
The poem come at the end

A heavy summer shower

Its clarity brought me joy
The smile of a child

Later I will find out that
Contrary to my deepest belief
I had not been followed

Phones rang in agencies that day
Immediate action must be taken, they said
The courier had arrived and the message was here
It consists of a series of poems in Serbian
Poems already translated, they said.

The incident took place on the internet

In the title of a poem a name was found
Of the long-awaited operation
Who has set the woods on fire

A poem about two friends in action
The code has to be broken

The generals first called for
A state of emergency to be introduced
Then my poems were distributed
To all the secret agencies

Breaking the code of my poetry was complicated
Christmas arrived and so did Bairam
Spies were deployed around my home

They knew my poems by heart
They would recite them to their wives
The wives relayed them to their hairdressers
Their interpretations reached a tabloid editor
She published them

Total chaos ensued

The people will pay the price
Something is going on, we are fucked
How could he say that - the democrats asked for my head
Whats going on
The nationalists defended me

I hid from all of them

Well-disguised as an unaccountable lunatic
I visited dealers, smoked good dope
Passing by the parliament
I would look at the patriotic crowds
Reciting my poems

You will be held responsible for your words
My decaying ancestors warned me

Months passed by, I stayed indoors
One morning I ventured out
It was quiet
It seemed like the agencies had forgotten about me

Almost calm, I entered a park

Sat on a bench, read a report in the papers
A report by a certain detective Dubicek von Gruber
Who says:

The poetic diversion was executed through the very act of publication
This constitutes the crime of instigation of people
Pranjic's poems are part of dangerous enemy propaganda
The greatest plague of this century
According to the data gathered so far
He is a direct descendent of Cain

A so-called Serboid
Thus he has to be persecuted
If that does not shut him up
Then liquidate him!
As evidence
People will be shown the following poems
Both in Serbian and translated

Who has set the woods on fire

I know nothing, the first thing I learnt was
When, as a boy, I broke into the nursery with Husein
The police appeared out of nowhere and caught us in the act
(the dilligent neighbours must have reported the screams of the broken windows)
We played with multicolored geometric figures made of wood
Orgasmic with happiness
We ate sugar cubes
The secret treasure of our big-assed tutoresses
Husein just managed to whisper:
Remember, you know nothing...
....To this very day.

I remember


Gidra is dancing with excitement at the music lesson
The old Zenica rocker is telling us kids
About the life and travails of Bethoven
And his magnificent deafness

Gidra's rockabilly steps resound through the classroom
He's wearing snake-leather cowboy boots
Adorned nonchalantly with flowing Super Rifle jeans
Under the spiked leather jacket
His T-shirt screams the name of The Doors

He looked like you, Gidra points his finger
Everyone is looking at me

From then on they call me the Mad Wig, Bethovena. Ludvigana
And Deaf Head

I'd be glad to reclaim my old nickname of Duck
Too late, Gidra the musician has destroyed me
Even the teachers are calling me nicknames
History teacher Omer calls me Big Head

I'll get revenge some day


Boredom is distressing during the maths class
Suljo wanders from one end of the blackboard
To the other one – chalk squeaks nightmarishly
We are tired, we are squealing, yawning, muttering
Suljo draws the tip of the chalk across the blackboard
He bangs his fist on a table and screams: silence, you cretins!!


He hates us cretins from the Sead Skrgo primary
My aunt says he's got nothing, not even a wife
As long as he keeps flunking us he will never have one
Maybe he is queer, she says, wouldn't be the first one in the family

At that moment, guessing what
My mad aunt thinks of him
Suljo's crazed face turns into an unprecedented
Evil, dangerous and threatening grimace
Focused on me

I wished my aunt drank boiling coffee amid gossip

The sickening silence is broken by the singing from the minaret
Suljo's face suddenly turned to stone and then softened up
Quickly he steps towards the window
Firmly he closes it
And stands there...

With his gaze directed at the new playfield
Even further, beyond the iron fence
Into the backyard of a small cafe
Or further, towards the minaret
Suljo forgets about me...


After the grammar lesson
(In the park)
For the first time I believe in the word
And its power to besot young girls


Thirty years later
I am standing by a window looking at a school
London summers are depressing, schools and streets empty

Hmm, I think, my homeland Yugoslavia is dead
But my eyes still see the trees, the school, the high iron fence...

The faces of my dear aunt and Omer remain invisible

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