Bulgarian Lullaby

by Vasil Slavov

( excerpt )
. . .
what have you done
where have you gone

the road back
flight of the salmon
glistening scimitar
cutting deep into the forehead of
the falling sun
stretched shadows
sensing distant premonition
. . . 7 seas + oceans
lake(s) Monongahela(s) Allegheny(s). . . river(s)
sewer(s) brewer(s) . . .
echoing with trembling nostrils:
" it smells like . . . victory "

I remember the tiny-ness
of Sofia’s dinky yards
I do recall
Sofia’s hoodlums reciting:
" it smells like . . . victory "

and these “ Hollow Men “
these hoodlum men
those hooligans
who new the world
(out of the palms of their perfection)
the music the poems
from their dirty dinky yards
from their beer-ed angels’ minds
from the panels
beneath the misty over-projects hanging stars
of nowhere to be gone
and nothing to be won

oh help me God
and I forgot
the song
of yellow-cobbled stones
. . .
where have I gone
what have I done
silent pre-dawn shifts
homeless and horrendous Hound(s)
with gaping lantern eyes
lullabies and memories

poor hoodlums. . .
(my kina boiz)
unable to unlock
the dreams
the dreamt
the darkness
how can you resurrect a shadow

the road back
the privilege
for those
who hit the road
hit the track
(hit the road Jack)
and The Jack . . . mumbling
in his whitish asylum-infested outfit:
" At Least I Tried. . .
At Least I Tried " . . .

we’ve tried
so what . . .

In the attempt the triumph lies. . .
la lies

but what about the load Jack
the road Jack
the Greenwich Village Kerouac Jack –
leaned on the walls of 206 East 7th street
leaned on the walls of East of Eden Walmart (s)
sad. . .
and the Chilean neighbor:
" Leaning in the afternoon – casting my sad nets " . . .
. . .
you have to write
when you are sad
yes dad
when my grandfather came out of prison
. . . he had been translating Robert Burns inside. . .
inside out
out of his mind
out of his tortures . . .
he told me
when you are forced to do
the things. . .
Do rhyme!
the rain is preferable topic
choose your topics good
choose your wife good
do not choose your credo
your ego
they will pick you up
ha - ha
in their Pink Cadillac
where have you been
my drops of rain
in someone’s dream
in sweet refrain
of promised land
of me and thee
of blessed bliss
and joyful glee
or far away
in depth - less doom
the light for us
extinguished soon
and risen waves
of fearful might
and spread out cold
and blinded sight
my drops of rain
I’ll bring you back
with tender love
in gentle track
of soul and deed
as fallen dove
of light and pray
and God above
my drops of rain
you have arrived
the time is now
for you to thrive
and wash the pain
the fragile gain
the years passed by
the hidden lie
behind the surface
of the past
my water
my soul
at last.
my drops
of rain
. . .
in time forgone
long gone
. . .
when the old man ( my father that is ) died
they did not go to his funeral
( his literary friends – the literary midgets )
these friends ( that is ) that kissed his br . . .ass
because he was a hoodlum too
boo - boo
and did not give a flying l. . .uck
and followed his . . . whatever track

that’s why
I’ll choose
a verse for him
or he the verse will pick me up
( the verse is never it – it’s always he )
so see ya
in my memory

„ heart was big
as the world aint square
with room for the devil
and his angels too
yes, sir. . .
( he) was a man
grinned his grin
done his chores
laid him down .
Sleep well ".
Thank You, E. E.
. . .
we’ve seen one another couple of times
the old man and me
by the Black sea
no marlins
no merlins
no marilyns

whatever is has been will be
you will be you I will be me
sleep well.
. . .
but they
the kissers
they’ll never have a wink of sleep
in their
post-menstrual humanesque hara-kiri (s)
beneath abundant
of indolent and timid concentrations
forgotten on the banks . . .
" na visokii bereg na krutoi " (1)

they will be there
they never leave
" na visokii bereg na krutoi "
let them
paid off
( they stole and they retire )
burrr. . .
exalted retirement communities
the beauty
( blah – blah )
Belogradchishkite Skali (2)
the Rockies
or whatever

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

poor Keats
what do I have to know
truth is beauty
forget this not
. . .
the boring
so. . .positive
and. . . life – affirming
of those
who sold
my native soul
my native soil. . .
I got a little angry
and wrote a letter to my friends:
dear Pepe, Zenche, Natalie –
they still think
they can teach
and preach
from the pedestals
of their pre/ post / preposterous
or vegetarian glory
they are on the brink
to pull the string
of our paternal bonds
and call us
and vagabonds
they want to
wet their greedy beaks
in our blood
and our deeds
and hold a horsetail
moral whip
in loose
and alcoholic grip
and if we meet
you choose the spot
I’ll bring
my simple butter-brot
we can agree
or let it be
the twisted
auntie Death
will come
for all of us
but if you
little funny dudes
decide to play
with our roots
to rattle prattle
and to yell
where Heaven is
and where is Hell
and tell us
who is bigger who
and what we must
and must not do
Orlov Most (3)
is falling down
falling down
falling down. . .
the final cut will read
( indeed ):
perch on someone else’s fence
get out of here
and no offense
. . .
I know and I admit
I’m old for outbursts
that's correct
but what -
to sit with them
and sip Smirnoff
Buzz off !
the road back
or simply
the frost-covered fact
of a heavy weight coyote
chewing on the broken-jawed moon
what is it in that urge of ours
that rejects - the done
that affects - the over-come
that mocks - the cherished
what is it in our obsession
to name these miserable memories
these heartbreaking places,
these insulting monuments
the starting point of Columbus(s)
to call
these dry-winged insects
Icarus(s) of Might

there’s no way back
just the looming assertion
that all paths lead
to the wet and smelly
to the saturated bruising heaps
of falling leaves
in blood - less colors

you have to write when you are sad
and choose your topic good
about pristine . . .
will remain unseen . . .
. . .
intertwined in one another
away from one another
bleeding blades of autumnal grass
brought from distant burning fields
whispering in withered colors
hauntingly silent,
facing the dew drops
whose glossy surface
will name our numbness
will spell our unwindiness
yesterday’s dreams
echoes forgotten their timid inception
helpless in our non - green
in our non - ivy
sad used to be - s
still blades of breath
broken fragile
under a sky
which openness
which vastness
for our tremors
will remain unseen
. . .
there is your scarf my dear
my little Prince or Princess
there is your nakedness
It’s your turn now

I’m feeling kind a dizzy

1. line from a popular Russian song
2. Bulgarian State Park
3. bridge located in downtown Sofia

Vasil Slavov's picture

Vasil Slavov is a Bulgarian poet. Graduated English philology from Sofia University “ Kliment Ohridsky “. First collection of poetry published in 1989. Same year moved to USA. Studied poetry with the MFA program (Bruce Weigl) at Pennsylvania State University. Poems published in the collection of Bulgarian verse “ Windows at the Black Sea “ (Carnegie Mellon University Press), editors Richard Harteis and William Meredith. Author of several books of poetry, collections of short stories and a novel (editors of his books published in Bulgaria - Georgi Borissov, Boris Hristov, Penka Vatova). Last book of poetry “Americana“, published with “Trud“ Publishing House - Sofia, Bulgaria - December 2010. Lives with his wife and daughter in Pittsburgh, PA.

Last updated April 15, 2011