In a horizontal mirror
of the straightened bay
the points of an angular city
stabbing directly into the starry sky.
In the glittering sea of lamps
flirtatious flitting boats
on your agitated legs
swimming in the lower deck
of a brocade evening dress.
Suddenly we are missing persons
like needles in a labyrinth of tinfoil.
Some things we take personally –
moulting squirrels in central Park
and the metal body of dead freedom.
In New York most of all it’s getting dark…
The glittering darkness lights up.
The thousand-armed luster of the mega city
writes Einstein’s message about the speed of light
every evening on the gleaming surface of the water.
And again before the dusk the silver screen
of the New York sky floods
with hectolitres of Hollywood blood.
Where does the empire of glass and marble reach?
Where do the slim rackets of the skyscrapers aim?
God buys a hot dog
at the bottom of a sixty-storey street.
God is a black
and loves the grey color of concrete.
His son was born from himself
in a paper box
from the newest sort of slave.
Translated into English by Sutherland-Smith, James
The poem New York has been translated in Albanian, Croatian, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Macedonian, Romanian, Russian, Serbian and Spanish; more translations are on the way:
New York (Canadian English)
A Dictionary of Foreign Dreams
At the beginning it was like a dream.
“Have at least one dream with me.
You’ll see – it’ll be a dream
which you’ve never dreamt about before.”
Descend deeper with me,
dream from the back,
in a labyrinth of mirrors
which leads nowhere.
The moment you come to the beginning of nothing
you’ll dream an exciting dream.
and hang it in your bedroom.
So it will always be before your eyes
because a dream which is removed from the eye
is removed from the mind
in the sense
of the ancient laws
of human forgetfulness.
Dream your own.
Dream your dream
which is reflected on the surface
of a frozen lake.
A dream smooth and freezing:
a downcast forest,
The tributes of mirrors.
The rising of the moon
in a dream of water.
Recoil from the bottom
of the mirror’s dream.
In the gallery of dreams
then you’ll see
a live broadcast from childhood
fragments of long-forgotten stories.
Because our obsolete dreams
remain with us.
Don’t be in a hurry, dream slowly, completely
until you see the crystalline construction
of your soul
in which dreams glitter.
- intentionally and comprehensibly like flame.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed
that new dreams always decrease.
Soon we’ll light up
in the magical dusk
of the last dream
the despairing cry
of a starry night.
Pay a toll to the dream’s
deliverance from sense.
You repeat aloud
the intimacies of secret dreams,
with the dull gleam
of your persistent night eyes
you explicate a mysterious speech of darkness.
You dream, therefore you exist!
Translated into English by James Sutherland Smith
Video: An Emergency Landing in Your Hair (1991), with pictures of Jozef Bubak. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2hzcmMoN9o
Mgr. art. PavolJanik, PhD., (magister artis et philosophiae doctor) was born in 1956 in Bratislava, where he later studied film and television dramaturgy and scriptwriting at the Drama Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts. He worked at the Ministry of Culture (1983-87), in the media and in advertising. He was President of the Slovak Writers’ Society (2003-07), Secretary-General of the SWS (1998-2003, 2007-2013) and Editor-in-chief of the literary weekly of the SWS Literarny tyzdennik (2010-2013). He has received a number of awards for his literary and advertising work both in his own country and abroad.
A virtuoso of Slovak literature, Pavol Janik is a poet, dramatist, prose writer, translator, publicist and copywriter. His literary activities focus mainly on poetry. His first book of poems, which appeared in 1981, attracted the attention of the leading authorities in Slovak literary circles. He presented himself as a plain-spoken poet with a spontaneous manner of expression and an inclination for irony directed not only at others, but also at himself. This style has become typical of all his work, which in spite of its critical character has also acquired a humorous, even bizarre dimension.
Literary experts liken Janik’s poetic virtuosity to the work of Miroslav Valek, althoughin the opinion of the Russian poet, translator and literary critic Natalia Shvedova, Valek is more profound and Janik more inventive. Pavol Janik’s literary works have been published not only in Slovakia, but also in Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Jordan, Macedonia, Nepal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, South Korea, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, the United States of America and Venezuela.He has translated in poetic form several collections of poetry and written works of drama with elements of the style of the Theatre of the Absurd.