Foto:
Privat
POESI / GEORGIEN

Where does Georgian poetry stand today?

Where does Georgian poetry stand today?

Inga Zhghenti
Ph. D. in Philology, translator

WHERE does Georgian poetry stand today? The question of the same context, logically, is to be asked about Georgia, the country, located at the intersection of Europe and Asia, especially in the ongoing turbulent political situation, when its 20% is occupied by Russia, now in an ongoing war against Ukraine. Still, the question is absolutely legitimate about contemporary Georgian poetry, in the country of such big names like Shota Rustaveli, Nikoloz Baratashvili, Galaktion Tabidze, etc., but not at all few for such a small nation. Georgian poetry today is neither behind, nor at the border of the map of the poetry world, but truly at the crossroads where the national Georgian poetic tradition merges conceptual and stylistic aesthetics of European, American and Oriental poetic mindset. Through translation, words of poetry travel beyond borders, consequently, Georgian authors have never missed the opportunity to read and reflect on what others think and write. Accordingly, the translation and publication of Georgian poetic works internationally is unreservedly imperative. The insights and concerns of modern Georgian poetry are suffused with deeply philosophical, sophisticated and mature voices, questioning the achievability of any logical assumptions, conclusions and explanations of the human role in the universe in which the future is “obscure and insecure”:

“Did you know that

a human invents a thousand things

to avoid loathing the self

and pursue life

as if there were no inane deaths of children,

as if adults don’t get their brains whitewashed,

and as if the future didn’t seem so obscure and insecure.”

(Paata Shamugia, The Midnight Catechism)

The same Paata Shamugia masterfully applies utterly profound humor to wade through the cruelty and injustice of existence, in order to survive and go on:

“And the one who lives to die for poetry,

will be killed by the prose of life.

The one who dies, will rise

or be resurrected (depending on the dictionary used).

The one who shoots birds,

will die a dog’s death,

accompanied by weird twittering

from the other side of the walls,

but not the twittering of birds.

The one who flies away,

will fail to fly back,

though, let’s face the truth-

the one will never get the chance to fly,

so regrettable.

But this is how the dialectic of life works-

without any likelihood of desire

or joy to alter it.“

(Paata Shamugia, Elementary Binaries; Translated by Inga Zhghenti)

The outstanding Georgian poet Lia Sturua, through the shockingly unexpected pattern of words and style, travels deep down into the human psyche, declaring alienation to be the unavoidable human condition, in which

“Age translates life’s misadventures

into a bed of roses.

Every day

we go out into the streets

to build the same roads-

They cross one another

in a bed of iron and concrete.

I feel like a stranger in my city-

Children never recognize me.”

(Lia Sturua, Alienation)

Of course, Georgian poetic voices do stand against war and cruelty. An established Georgian Poet Diana Anthiamidou describes the tragedy of lost and unborn lives in Mariupol:

- My mum?

- Yes.

- My dad?

- The body not found yet.

- The city?

- Still standing, though in smoke.

- And your children?

- Will never be born.

Zurab Rtveliashvili, a distinguished Georgian futurist and exponent of sound poetry, whose untimely demise occurred in 2021, innovatively pioneered a distinct artistic-aesthetic amalgamation. His pioneering aesthetic pursuits, guided by the principle of new syncretism, sought to redefine the expressive potential of language, endeavoring to transmute experimental linguistic elements into poetic narratives presented to the audience through the medium of theatrical and dramatic declamation. An exemplar of this technique can be witnessed in his prophetic poem about war in Israel titled ”Who Knows What Fate Awaits Us”.

So, Georgian poets, like many recognized American names (e.g. John Updike, whose poetry is often assessed as focused on “small things”) have concerns about the death of big things while small things happen, e.g. Giorgi Lobzhanidze, orientalist, translator, and poet, exposes the routine of everyday marriage life in which the eternity of love has to cope with the challenges of doubts and survival:

“We are filthy, I said and lit a pipe.

My lady was baking a cheese pie,

She was hot and horny around the oven,

Sweat was running down from her armpits.

I loved her the way she was,

Around the oven, with daily chores,

Still satisfied with her fate.

I sucked her nipples as I kindled a fire in my time-honored pipe.

I loved her. She was dumb,

Silence and filth covered her from head to toe.    

(Giorgi Lobzhanidze, Bathhouse)

And let’s get back to the initial question - where does Georgian poetry stand today? Maybe this is the same as asking where Georgian poets, poets from the country of wine and poetry, stand with their vision and focus. They stand with poetry itself, they stand where poetry is at stake and needs to be defended, they stand at that critical point, where, as Shota Iatashvili states, words of poetry have reached their “critical countdown”:

“Words abound more and more.

It happens due to a huge increase in commodities, scientific-technical Terminology and demand for description and identification of everything.

Once in one language they are born, then, with the restless motion, they

Continuously walk into other languages.

New words are mostly rough.

They clash with old and subtle ones.

This produced an engaging effect previously.

But they gradually reached the critical countdown.”

(Shota Iatashvili, The End of Poetry)

Nevertheless, whatever dangers poets envisage for poetry, Georgian poetry is free and limitless, capable of crossing any border:

“So easy to call out Manhattan

from here, in the dooryard of a forgotten village

of this lost country,

when the end of fall

is so sunny and warm.

Take a chair outdoors to sit,

open a magazine to read,

read poems by a certain Hans Promwell,

yep, by Promwell, but there used to be Cromwell as well

with some rats in the attic in a different way,

but we’ve lost interest in him, indeed.”

                             

The extract above is from the poem Manhattan in a Dooryard by Temur Chkhetiani.

As genuine and powerful poetry does, the poem unites the feelings and emotions of any human anywhere, whether “in a forgotten village”, or in buoyant and hectic Manhattan. So, where does Georgian poetry stand today? Here is the explicit answer:

It stands with the spirit of the world poetry as it breathes the spirit of the world!

KATO JAVAKHISHVILI

Glory to Heroes, Trash Men and Miners!

Translation: Manana Matiashvili

Glory to the war, glory to steel!

Glory to the hailing bullets in the background of suns,

Glory to the rivers followed by

the symphony of cannons.

Glory to death and the dead

buried in the earth or lost on the way,

Glory to all who believe

the angels of sheds will arrive!

Kato Javakhishvili, foto: Privat

ZURAB RTVELIASHVILI

Who Knows Whatever Fate Awaits Us

(Israel)

Translation: Manana Matiashvili

A hit in the air of hi-nation!

A raid in the scarlet air of hi-nation!

In that tight air!

In that burning air!

In that sky-high air!

A targeted raid in the air of hi-nation!

Who knows what fate awaits us No one knows what awaits us

– Whatever fate awaits us – who knows what awaits us

Nobody knows what god’s plan is, nobody knows our fate

Whatever fate whatever fate whatever fate awaits us

Who knows what fate awaits us No one knows what awaits us

Nobody knows what god’s plan is… we’re unaware of our fate

A hit in the air!

In the burning air!

In the tight air!

Ma-haaa nation

Airrrrr nation

Heiiiii nation

Airrrr nation

Whoknowswhatfateawaitsus, Nooneknowswhatawaitsus

– whatfateawaitsus – whoknowswhatawaitsus

Nobodyknowswhatgod’splanis, nobodyknowsourfate

Whateverfate whateverfate whateverfate awaitsus

Whoknowswhatfateawaitsusnobodyknowswhatawaitsus

Nobodyknowswhatgod’splanis… we’reunawareofourfate

Zurab Rtveliashvili, Foto: Lars Emerius

LIA STURUA

Alienation

Translation: Inga Zhghenti

The lemon gives its creepers

to the tea sugared abundantly.

Age translates life’s misadventures

into a bed of roses.

Every day

we go out into the streets

to build the same roads -

They cross one another

in a bed of iron and concrete.

I feel like a stranger in my city-

Children never recognize me.

I avert my eyes from the acquaintances,

to whom I owe smiles and regards

and listens to their meaningless talk

on weather and health.

Dog Latin scratches my ears-

will it ever be mistaken for music?

I see the conservatory building,

standing far away, in winter,

pointing its throat, polished vocally,

to people, panting, like me.

The business of used cars

has accidentally swallowed

such delicate nuances

like spring and autumn…

But when the man,

who taught me the secret of the moon, lemons,

and painted limitless emotions with appropriate blood,

was alive-

I had my ups and downs,

But creepers were permanent…

I felt good…

IRMA SHIOLASHVILI

The Trees

Translation: Manana Matiashvili

It’s impossible not to notice these trees,

Oh, these trees.

It’s impossible to swallow all this green without tasting its beauty.

It’s impossible to walk along and

not to be surprised at them,

Impossible to look at trees without

being mesmerized.

Is it possible to reflect all this green brightness,

blooming in your eyes,

and think the world is still so trivial?

Like these trees, you’d planted in front of our house,

I grew and, like them,

I want to keep looking up at the sky all day long.

I want to look amazing with green on my shoulders

and light brown on my feet.

I want to wear the clods on foot,

both escaping from Earth and staying here at the same time.

I want to make friends with the grassy lands around

and talk to them about the love, that raised me up,

talk with my mouth full of earth.

EKA KEVANISHVILI

The Final Tribute

Translation: Manana Matiashvili

Here is my beloved from a village,

His words have a strong accent.

All he knows, remembers, or has heard for now

is the following: My sweetie. My life. Ma’ girl.

He has large hands with the smell of the soil,

his head is hollow and empty,

it’s easy to communicate with him, though not interesting.

Not necessary to inform him about it. I’ve tasted him – that’s all.

Here’s another of my beloved: he looks like a prince from a fairy tale

with his fire-like golden hair. August is burning on his chest.

Looking into his eyes one can think he has captured a wolf as well as a demon in his body.

Sometimes he hides his body in the cassock. At nights

he dreams as if chrism has been disposed of from his skin out of his excessive imagination.

The next one among my men is full of pride and dignity,

His body is all stretched, and his feet are fine.

Sleeping with him is like the arrival of unexpected guests at night

and laying a table and tidying up for them.

He knows everything about us but will never admit it.

I really loved him.

My beloved is a pedant and intellectual person.

From time to time he touches his glasses with his finger to maintain balance.

Before he decides to make love with me (if he ever does)

it’s usual for him to pray

while I’m waiting and looking at the ceiling full of stars.

Then he takes off his clothes and calls me only after getting into the bed.

The other one is poor, not good-looking.

Being with him gives the same sensation of a part-time job –

less tiredness, less salary.

He is indifferent towards our unity and forgets all immediately.

I… him…. No, not worth mentioning.

One of my men is a rich one – a Very Important Person.

He is swinging a key around his finger (what key? – I don’t know, but

a more important fact about him is the act of swinging itself).

My beloved is sensible and cynic,

his body has encountered dozens of women, but he still stays innocent.

Though tired, his soul is free, written and re-written many times.

Another of my beloved looks like a map. I am following the lines with a finger on his body

and when I stop my finger at his organ, it comes to life.

It always happens when I touch him

with a knee

or a belly,

shortly,

it always happens when I touch.

Being with him is like licking an ice-cream while lying in a hammock,

Being with him is like lying under him

while he’s sure he reigns. Let him think he rules,

that fully coincides with my wish.

Being with him taught me how to love properly.

Today all my men are coming to pay the final tribute.

Today all my sweethearts belong to others.

Feel free to do whatever you wish with them.

I love freedom, I really feel free.

Eka Kevanishvili, foto: Privat

DIANA ANTHIMIDOU

Mariupol

Translation: Manana Matiashvili & Inga Zhghenti

– My primary school teacher?

– Yes

– A florist from the next street?

– Yes

– A cellist girl with an injured shoulder?

– Yes

– My first boyfriend?

– Yes

– Our neighbor’s three kids?

– Survived.

– A baker I used to buy Vatrushki from for breakfast?

– Wounded.

– A boy from the neighborhood always

listening to loud music?

– Was mined.

– A green-eyed girl secretly writing poems?

– …Who is that… screaming under the ruins?

– My mum?

– Yes.

– My dad?

– The body not found yet.

– The city?

– Still standing, though in smoke.

– And your children?

– Will never be born.

Foto: Privat

GIORGI LOBZHANIDZE

Bathhouse

Translation: Manana Matiashvili

We are filthy, I said and lit a pipe.

My lady was baking a cheese pie,

She was hot and horny around the oven,

Sweat was running down from her armpits.

I loved her the way she was,

around the oven, with daily chores,

still satisfied with her fate.

I sucked her nipples as I kindled a fire in my time-honored pipe.

I loved her. She was dumb,

Silence and filth covered her from head to toe.

I watched her finish baking and put a hot cheese pie

on a clay plate.

Then she stared into my eyes.

I was hungry. Maybe, that’s why I felt suddenly horny

And decided to seize her peace.

I touched her lips and sucked her tongue

to take out the words she couldn’t utter

right from the tip of her tongue.

She held her breath

and stared into my eyes.

Then, as if she were an abandoned well,

Shocked by the nakedness of my words,

Turned deep into herself

and answered back with those words

I had called down.

She was dumb. I loved her,

Her way of performing daily chores

and being satisfied with her fate.

Crows were cawing outside in the snow,

The shreds of soot were flying down from the fireplace.

I don’t even remember what I thought

(probably kindling my time-honored pipe),

when my lady suddenly started to speak:

Don’t be afraid of words,

This long silence has taught me everything I am about to say

and my dumbness given me precision,

so, I claim now:

We’ve been in filth so far.

Do stand up!

We’re going to the bathhouse!

DAVIT ROBAKIDZE

Patience for the Pigeon Milk

Translation: Manana Matiashvili

The genesis was fine:

the overflowing crowd of people has engulfed

all groups of rulers with the power of fluent speech

and their people within authorities of civil and armed forces too.

The rain of tourism has not stopped yet.

A lot of serpents drowned in the fight with it,

a lot of monsters wished to die in the dungeon

while we were moving towards the myth of Mount.

Hey, you, ritually clean countries,

bring your sacrifice to the altar of the Lord.

Let ritually unclean ones make noise –

their economics has no value.

Some are really monogamous,

but those are birds of prey and they cannot masticate.

Some are not birds of prey and they are able to masticate,

though everybody knows they are ferociously polygamous.

Some others have promised to be castrated,

but rain has been falling for so long

one cannot even open the door.

Why is the eagle on edge?

It can forsake a whole family of ravens (including grown-ups and babies)

though space for eagles here is quite lessened.

The swan had no characteristics to be the first –

it’s neither a bird of prey nor a treacherous one

(it’s faithful to its partner till death).

The pelican was not bothered to fly forward and then back.

As for the pigeon, it was most appropriate –

not being a bird of prey and monogamous by nature.

Be sure it will fly to land

and will return with olive leaves.

Don’t quarrel, please,

nobody wants wine more than me!

TEMUR CHKHETIANI

Manhattan in a Dooryard    

Translation: Inga Zhghenti

So easy to call out Manhattan

from here, in the dooryard of a forgotten village

of this lost country,

when the end of fall

is so sunny and warm.

Take a chair outdoors to sit,

open a magazine to read,

read poems by a certain Hans Promwell,

yep, by Promwell, but there used to be Cromwell as well

with some rats in the attic in a different way,

but we’ve lost interest in him, indeed.

Do read Promwell’s poems

and  feel  how the huge and hectic Manhattan

steps into your silent dooryard,

how you move into the fuss and solitude of Manhattan

and how you get lost.

Then you’ll realize

how close your filthy room is

to the brilliancy of Manhattan;

how openly your dooryard accommodates

all the turmoil, attempts and disappointments

of Manhattan.

“Fall is boring in Manhattan without love”,

and not only in Manhattan…

But now it’s sunny and warm here,

boredom temporarily goes away somewhere…

I’m strolling down in Manhattan, smiling,

till it returns.

It’s autumn –

It’s sunny and warm…

What’s going on there, Hans?

What’s the weather like there in Manhattan?..

Temur Chkhetiani, foto: Privat

PAATA SHAMUGIA

Midnight Catechism

(Truistic Encyclopoem)

Translated by Inga Zhghenti  

Did you know that

a human invents a thousand things

to avoid loathing the self

and pursue life

as if there were no inane deaths of children,

as if adults don’t get their brains whitewashed,

and as if the future did not seem so obscure and insecure.

Did you know that

the only justification for art is that

it helps us labor under the temporary illusion

of making sense of life,

and, as for death, not secret at all,

it’s postponed for an indefinite period.

Did you know that

the only people talking about death

have never ever experienced it,

and the ones who have,

keeps suspiciously silent.

Let the alive talk about

their alive ones-

who wrote this? - no idea

as the author was killed

by Roland Barthes

and Roland Barthes himself

was killed by a driver

in a car accident in 1980

and the driver himself was killed by our Savior

who also killed 400 thousand people

in Syria

and 15 thousand people in Abkhazia,

and, just anyway,

he also killed several thousand

in Samachablo.

Did you know that

before his death

Charles II had apologized

for dying at such an unsuitable moment.

Did you know that,

in general, there is no suitable moment for death.

Did Charles II know about it?

Did you know that

death does not exist at all.

This is a linguistic case,

a program error

crept into reality by mistake.

Actually, death statistics

proves absolutely the opposite,

but this must be a kinda hoax-

just social engineering to divert attention.

Did you know that

like death,

no rainbow exists either,

it’s not a rainbow you look at,

you look at your mind

visualizing a rainbow,

still beautiful, isn’t it?

Did you know that

some deaths might be

beautiful.

Moreover, there must be some beauty in death-

a friend of mine said so.

He couldn’t tolerate hideous deaths,

those unintended and accidental ones -

as if you would stumbled over a child

who fell in the street.

He himself had a beautiful death-

people were satisfied.

Did you know that

satisfaction is a patent of happiness,

palmed onto us in this world,

like something initial and genuine.

The instructions for being happy shall be rewritten.

Reality shall be made chaotic.

Do you think we really stood for all this in the wind and rain?

Did you know that

some might be born

and then disapprove of things we’ve mixed,

but a folklore expression

already has a reply for those.

Moderate writers usually replace it

by ellipses.

Did you know that

any full stop has the right

to be an ellipses

and through a pause, as resilient as a snake,

to secure a gap between the speaker and the message …

Is this really enough to saving us from awkwardness,

from silences filled with messages,

but, still fine -

it’ll scatter the sense of the absurd

like an election commercial does in the middle

of a film-

conveying nothing,

but spoiling nothing, either.

Did you know that

if you wash your hands with ’Safeguard’,

your skin will be tender

like a baby’s tushy,

and ’No-spa forte’ will assist you to release spasms

(read the label before you take one).

Did you know that

Seneca wrote to Lucilius about an outdoor advertisement.

He was outraged at the squawking of vendors

walking from street to street,

screaming loudly the names

of goods they sold.

Marketing in the classical era!

Absolutely unimaginable!  

Did you know that

I’m selling a collection

of poems for 99 Gel and 99 Tetris,

you’ll get an anthology of Georgian poetry as a bonus.

The birth of poetry from a collective spirit.

Did you know that

now, the very moment I’m writing this line-

it’s my birthday- March 20th.

And it’s also Otar Chiladze’s,

Henrik Ibsen’s

Daniel Cormier‘s

and Guja Mekvabidze’s

birthday

(has failed to become a character

of one of my poems so far,

so I’ll give up on him.)

And, furthermore,

there is a coronavirus pandemic in the world and

quarantine and

self-isolation and

economic crisis

and there surely is personal crises

to the very extent unsuitable for March 20th.

The time has stopped, the seconds have curdled-

now you can touch and shape them

and get into that happy illusion of grasping time.

Did you know that

from time to time happiness becomes ambitious to impede us,

capture and tame us,

but we do not easily let it do so.

You do agree, don’t you?

Happy people are boring,

I’d once experience that boredom, though, why not!

By God!

Did you know that

we, Georgians, also have some boring writers

but still have failed to get the Nobel.

Maybe something else is needed. No idea.

Did you know that

a problem, well-stressed in a good creative work,

can achieve absolute materialization-

while reading Hamsun’s Hunger, I ate three cheesy breads,

a pot of beans,

two Kakhetian Shotis

and I still felt hungry.

Did you know that

up to a milliard of people suffer from famine.

I’m not against banning hunger,

quite a useless phenomenon.

Did you know that

the prohibition of everything was

the  problem in the Soviet Union

and the Post-Soviet problem is that

everything is compulsory.

E.g. voting in the elections,

civic responsibility,

seizing the moral high ground

and looking askance at others.

Even being a hero is compulsory,

at least once a week or so-

a bit tiring, but you gradually get used to it.

Did you know that

there are ex-heroes,

no longer in need,

there are even ex-girlfriends-

absolutely sure of that.

Did you know that

a navel is our ex-mouth

we used to eat from while in the womb

but we don’t appreciate it at all,

neither does anybody or anything ex-.

Writers would never say a word for them and

Zurab Tsereteli would neither raise a grandiose navel monument

in an avenue named after one of the poets.

Did you know that

an ex-poet got into the mood of

settling pauses between words,

and exactly the moment when he recharged metaphors

and was about to gun down readers,

words betrayed him.

There is no one to trust.

Did you know that

in the 90-ies a famous Georgian writer

was caught with her lover by her husband

while conducting a special operation of saving species

and since then the one has only managed

to conduct this noble act

while waiting for her embittered husband.

The man is miserable

and when being miserable,

the man is innocent

Misera plebs. Friends, truly, Misera plebs,

a fortiori that

’You do not know when the owner of the house will come back—

Whether in the evening, or at midnight,

Or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.’ [Mark, Chapter 13]

This makes the story so sad that

it’s even a little bit hilarious.

Did you know that

if a man realizes the hilariousness of himself

he’d be deliberate when mocking others.

For this reason, try to be as compassionate as God,

but let no one idolize you-

results in crucifixion.

Did you know that

the habit of idolizing someone is as unconscious a habit

as a fizzy drink during a hangover-

changes nothing, but you still have one.

Did you know that

if you shake Coke and pour it into a bath,

it won’t remove yellow grime-

this is a piece of empirical evidence.

Did you know that

there is empirical evidence that

the man is capable of enduring thirst, hunger, and even love for a long time.

Did you know that

love lasts for three years.

It lasts even longer, but there is a novel saying so.

And a novel itself is a genre-

invented in the fifteenth century, surviving to date

but did only appear in Georgia in the twentieth century-

not well-done, though, not at all.

Maybe it was hindered by the masons, wasn’t it?

Do we have any right to talk about it?

Did you know that

the yellow press said I was financed by the masons?  

Did you know that

I used to be furious about it

as I’ve been living in a university dorm ghetto so far

where even the elevator is out of order

(sometimes it works, I do have to admit,

especially, at New Year.

Consider that we do have two days for New Year-

much better for the elevator).

Did you know that

writing about the self in this manner is an old-fashioned method,

only mediocre poets use this trick-

aiming to move the audience

and extort social capital from them.

This is called capitalizing on poverty.

Did you know that

you can dearly sell your poverty. Oxymoron -

do you know this word?

You do know suspiciously much!

Who are you ?!

Did you know that

Who am I?-  is the only philosophical question-

etceteras are just manipulations.  

But even this question has been unanswered for so long.

Perhaps we aren’t ready for it.

Perhaps philosophy conceals itself from us,

favoring us gently, as they say.

Did you know that

New Year is celebrated twice in Georgia,

(therefore, I also mention it twice)

but in case you are not that lucky to be born Georgian,

you can try another method:

Celebrate New Year in Sydney,

then fly to Honolulu-

12 hours behind Sydney.

This is how one can celebrate New Year twice.

One New Year is enough,

for a standard person, though.

Did you know that

a standard person has 46 chromosomes,

whilst a standard potato has 48.

No need to hurry to make evolutionary conclusions,

though potato is always good -

medium baked,

flavored with basil and mint,

seasoned with stewed onions and cherry plum sauce.

But a man is not always good-

whatever medium he is.

Did you know that

the significance of moderateness is overestimated,

I do think the word is lobbied by lexicographers.

Do you really think it’s good to be a moderately talented writer?!

Far it be from me!

Or a moderately dead man,

Or a moderately alive one?!

Did you know that

Santa Clause does not exist.

You must know.

Sure of that.

Did you know that

“Only when the last tree has died

And the last river been poisoned,

The last bird been caught,

Will we realize we cannot eat money.’ -Tatanka Iyotake.

Did you know that

my homeland-

expectant of the European Union subsidies,

expectant of the World Bank subsidies,

expectant of the US Congress subsidies,-

abounding in hungry children,

in belly-pinched poets

looking down through their empty pockets,

also abounds in Toyota Priuses

and human sorrows,

but imposes 199 Gel as the cost of living-

figuratively speaking,

of course, not even enough for a decent dog.

Did you know that

some metaphors

have lived through never appearing in any poem,

so, they deserve a separate dictionary

to train our tongues.

Did you know that

any tongue print is unique,

exactly like a fingerprint.

This might mean that each word,

after it steps from the mouth,

is unique and worth respect.

Perhaps, it means nothing like this at all-

no one knows

where writing logic leads us.

Did you know that

the manner of thought while writing by hand

is different from the manner of thought while typing.

Absolutely identical thoughts

bend absolutely differently on paper

and absolutely differently on screen.

(Dictatorship of the medium!)

Did you know that

the most annoying question for a poet is: why do you write?

Are people with cancer really asked why they have cancer?

Did you know that

poetry is not a profession,

it’s a disease, a pathology, virtually,

(comes as pathology, buster)

and is no less bitchy

than Covid -19,

a religious bigot

or an electric chair.

Did you know that

an electric chair was invented by a dentist,

and a toothache itself was invented by our Saviour,

who also invented a headache,

a liver-ache,

a heart-ache,

coccyx tale and

supinator muscle diseases,

and, at the same time, a pain caused by a metabolic disorder

and, surely, pain in the kidney.

Did you know that

if there was no God,

we had to invent one,

and as we did invent,

I.E. there is no God.

Did you know that

we’ve  become mini Gods-

going to colonize Mars

and, in parallel, someone ate a bat in one of the Chinese villages,

so we had to close down the earth.

Did you know that

the man is miserable,

unable even to nominate the own self,

so, the one who asks - who we are,

should only be welcomed with silence

or Sorrowful laughter.

Did you know that

laughter

brings more oxygen into the body

than normal breathing.

Therefore, let’s laugh:

Hahahahahahahahahaha,

Hehehey

Hey

Hey, you, the Aragvelians,

Did you know that

Chrysippus – a Greek stoic philosopher,

as it’s fabled,

laughed at his own joke in a way that he died of … laughter.

What a non-stoic behavior!

Did you know that

the one who laughs is the one who laughs in the end.

And

it is God

who laughs

in the end.

He is laughing,

Laughing,

Dying of laughter.

Paata Shamugia, foto: David Konecny


SHOTA IATASHVILI

The End of Poetry

Translation: Inga Zhghenti & Manana Matiashvili

Words abound more and more.

It happened due to a huge increase in commodities, scientific-technical terminology and demand for description and identification of everything.

Once in a language they are born, then, with a restless motion, they

continuously step into other languages.

New words are mostly rough.

They clash with old and subtle ones.

This produced an engaging effect previously.

But they gradually reached the critical countdown.

The intensity of accidents is resulting in the collapse of poetry now.

Writing only with old words is shameful and ridiculous,

and writing only with new ones is impossible.

So, operating with both of them is needed.

New and rough words shall clash with old and subtle ones,

the more the better.

Even if you’re against it

These new ones are aggressive

and even a few are injected in poems,

The whole stream will follow.

Now their fierce clashes with one another overwhelms.

It well befit poetry, doesn’t it?

All this is so disastrous, though –

with this risk of accidents, even poets with supreme mastery

fail to achieve proper esthetics.

Even good poets will die from poor management of words.

Poems will turn into piles of clashed words.

And this will be the end of poetry!

Shota Iatashvili, foto: Holger Menzel
Inga Zhghenti
Ph. D. in Philology, translator