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Muanis Sinanović

Poems translated from Slovenian by Lukas Debeljak

Muanis Sinanović (1989) is a poet, essayist, writer of short stories and a critic. He is an occasional translator, organizer of literary events and works in multidisciplinary projects (sound, performance) He has published three books of poetry up do date. His poems have been translated into eight languages and included in Greek and Checzh anthology of young Slovenian poetry as well as in Europe: an anthology of contemporary European Potry (Kingston University Press, London 2019) edited by SJ Fowler. He has been awarded both for his poetry and essays.




the sky was uniformly grey all day

long. as before a storm. but there was no storm.

merely a very sparse, stubborn dripping, as if

a wet rag had been hung up there. we woke in cycles,

each time there was a blue screen in the living room

with the writing on it: no signal. we were waiting for something

that comes in decades, something terrifying,

that will completely change our lives.

we knew some will have died by then.

we heard the individual shrieks, commands and actions.

this was a war the sky waged against us.

it was slowly sieging us and preparing its ring.

the wind slammed windows and doors.

in the evening the storm finally came down and we had

breakfast. we told each other goodnight

and headed to our beds, as we had to go to our

jobs early the next morning.

we realized the following day; we had all

dreamed rushing rivers of strong coffee, spreading its aroma

all across the valley.


growth rings of trees

The path, that leads by the river from the small city,

goes through centuries. On it stand the living, but blurred.

Some age-old avenue with citrus orange street-lamps.

Like a sun,

enabling its rays to shine through the rim

of the scroll in the breast. It opens and words

bloom in the body.

It is clear, childhood is the introduction to a greater dependency.

All is in pairs

and the dust that scatters in the return is not the apparition

of death, but an

anointed loss. Wait for it to calm.

The tear-stained child’s eye of the old man

is anointed

with the lost color of hair.

The gentle rust on the picture’s edges peels

and there lies the hue.

Then the footbridge across the river and the perfume

breathed by trees.

Under the breath in the breast is groundwater.

The eye gathers from there.

It’s moist inside. The great draught is coming

in the buzzing, the worries, the business of doing business,

the worries over the office-chair. Cracks emerge.

A machine places itself on the wrong spot

by the factory and slices the moon’s angle.

The machine’s shine rebounds into the cracks.

Cough, cough,



the dust of what is lost scatters

and spins and gives armies shelter.

And also hinders orient nation.

Neighbors on the path by the river don’t recognize each other.

What is the greeting of trees

and what lies in the line of the tree’s growth ring?



I dreamed that Sarajevo

didn’t want me,

but then when it let me in

as if through an automatic carwash, tentaclecovered

rollers touching me,

and lights in front of me,

I followed them.

then it turned out

that Sarajevo didn’t want me,

the city drove me away from the banks of the Miljacka,

into the hills, onto streets from which new

streets unfurled onto new hills

that I will never reach,

I was driven out by the rising water

flooding the valley, water

in which others could breathe.

I ascended the spiral

streets and looked at how the lights shone

through the water and how

they scornfully shone on the hill

above the opposite bank of the Miljacka.

and then I saw that I wasn’t alone,

they galloped up with clutched

bristle bouquets,

ascending the hill, clinging to the edges

of the garbage cans,

melancholy eyes, like the crowd

of which you are a part, a crowd of individuals,

they accompanied me and they didn’t,

that’s just what they do,

citizens on errands in the city,

they, the strays dogs of Sarajevo.



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