Dainius Gintalas (b.1973) is a poet, translator, libretist, and art and literary critic. He studied Lithuanian language and literature at Vilnius University and was also a student at the Vilnius Art Academy. His second poetry book, Boa, was awarded the Young Yotvingian Prize in 2008. (His first book, Viper, was published in 1997.) His third book of poetry, Needles, was published in 2016 and was selected as a Poetry Book of the Year.  His fourth collection of poems, One Summer’s Song, which was published in 2021, was awarded the Yotvingian prize. He is also the author of two poetry books for children.

In 2000 he began to organize amateur artist gatherings called the Maskoliškės Artists’ Front. He has translated works by Henri Michaux, Blaise Cendrars, René Char, Georges Bataille, Jean Genet, Lautréamont and other French authors.

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reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Poet with a lipstick - Dainius Dirgėla, Inner Woman
Poems from poetry collection „The Book of Roles“

role | play: 7

once time my inner woman
took one look at me and asked
what is it that connects us

I don’t know I said or rather I know
that I know nothing I was taught to not know
thus by socrates

maybe at one time there was desire
then later children who grew out of habit

less and less I make her giggle
and make her laugh more often

she laughs less and less at my jokes
and more often at me

she tempts me less and less
and teases me more

you could say I am a complete
and constant irritation

or perhaps we're simply held captive
by a long-running information and energy exchange programme
something like erasmus+[1]

I wonder what erasmus of rotterdam
would think now
I suspect he would up and read aloud
from in praise of folly

you're a fool says my
inner woman
why have you forgotten the word love

I forgot I admit I truely forgot
but to say the word aloud to her is ever more difficult
but to love daily becomes easier and easier


role | play: 11

once time my wife said to me
the chemistry is gone it's finished
everything that was is finished
the way things were is finished

surprised I looked at her
I glanced at my inner woman
she just nodded in agreement

I turned to my wife's inner man
he only threw up his hands
his eyes downcast to the corner

what do you mean it's finished
I began to question my wife
did you look in the medicine cabinet
I looked it's not there

did you look where we keep the cleaning supplies
I looked it's not there

what about with the shampoos and creams
all the other beauty chemistry
no, not even there

and in the cupboards by our bed
with your jewellery
with my condoms
there used to be chemistry there, I saw it

not even there
maybe under the bed, maybe it soaked into the mattress
nonono not even there

you can't up and go to the neighbour
to borrow some chemistry
they have a different kind of chemistry
I even tried a little bit of it once for myself

and if I say to my wife
I'll look for it online
I'll order some for us from another time
from nineteen ninety five
maybe somewhere there's still
some of that springtime chemistry

I'll look on amazon ebay
or maybe I'll find it on alibaba
something from once upon a time

nonono that chemistry doesn't exist any more
my wife is a broken record
scratched by my phonograph needle
not even changing the speed will help
from thirty-three to forty-five
not even to seventy-eight

digitizing all the images and sounds of the past won't help
transforming it into ones and zeros

maybe a doctor could write a script for that chemistry
just tell her where you hurt and where specifically
    it's missing from

or maybe one of these evenings together
we can examine Mendeleev's table
we can look for the elements that once upon a time drove us
from the inside that blew up the test tubes of our bodies

nonono that chemistry is finished
repeated my broken-record wife
and without chemistry there is no physics
my wife's lips rang with this refrain

and without chemistry there is no physics
my inner woman nodded in agreement

and without chemistry there is no physics
my inner man threw up his hands

don't tell me that all that's left
is dry domestic mathematics
I thought looked at the cracking
ceiling and the walls of the room

okay have it your way the chemistry is finished
I thought to myself but didn't say aloud

in the end least some poetry will remain
about the past twenty years about chemistry and physics
which once upon a time worked quite naturally but now nonono

Illustration by Vidas PoškusIllustration by Vidas Poškus

role | play: 12

when was the last time
you looked into the mirror-smooth
surface of a reservoir
at the aged narcissus
reflected in those large windows

I've looked more than once I've looked
my inner woman

and I well know
what she wants to say to me

the same thing that for nearly a decade
my silent wife wants to say to me as she all the more rarely strokes my thinning hair
with her fingers

the same thing as yesterday today tomorrow
silent now my love
loving me my nose cheeks and other
parts of my body gently stroking
through my greying beard

the same thing that for a long time and out loud
is repeated in an adolescent way caustic and biting
the daughter adding when speaking to her father oh parents parents

and I well know
what I want to say
to my inner man
there is no motorcycle no route 66
no woodstock that continues
nonstop for a hundred years no matter what we do we'll be
stuck with the label of midlife crisis
no matter what we say we'll have our mouths stuck shut
with sticky-tape bequietbequietbequiet

and I well know
what I want to say
now to my loving woman's inner man
there is a motorcycle a route 66
there is a woodstodk that continues… that continues here and now
and middle-age is the invention of middle-aged witches
and no matter what you'll say everything is poetry everything is sticky

and I well know
what I want to say
to my teenage daughter's inner boy
his spotty forehead and protruding adam's apple
mutating voice very much wanting to taste everything
all magic words all mutabor all sesame will open
everything will work and will happen on its own accord all of god's
will be boot up and begin to work on their own about this

and I well know
what I want to say to myself
better a dust-covered mirror
better the wind disheveled water's surface
better large windows pasted completely over with advertisements
better that the reflection does not bother does not disconcert
this is why it's so pleasant to see how those narcissus in the yard
don't know they are narcissus they just continue to bloom
continue from the water and from my window


role | play: 22

my inner woman
once she asked me or rather reminded me
of how she birthed you
how for those nine months up to that moment
she swelled continuously
vomited and slept continuously

do you remember only that moment of happiness
do you no longer remember before and after

also those moments before

also how her stomach swelled like a ball

how in the third trimester she wore
my winter coat and we were both
two large balls rolling
through the drifts in vingis park

how our from inside daughter began to kick
and talk to us by jabs to the abdomen

how we called her "bumbuliuk"
and how we waited for that bumbuliuk
every evening to appear on the swollen surface of that abdomen

how in the ultrasound pictures that bumbuliuk
hid its gender either a timid boy or not so timid
    but a girl
the doctor joked

that day and those hours spent together
in the birthing home

fear or blood

the enormous small miracle of birth
turning on the sound and that daughter
with her serious grandmother's face

that and many other moments

and why are you asking me
with a smile I gaze at my
inner woman

it means that you too are breathing
the same air and the same memory

those same moments

your wife thought you had forgotten
she said this once while we were talking
about men and other such things

tell her that I'mbreathingI'mbreathingI'mbreathing
I say to my inner woman

that I'mbreathingI'mbreathingI'mbreathing
sometimes I even snore

and if that breathing is different
it is only because of my adam's apple
stuck in my throat

look how it travels
when I swallow little by little
my accumulated tears

it is inappropriate for men to cry
but nevertheless maybe?

Illustration by Vidas PoškusIllustration by Vidas Poškus


role | play: 23

in my home I walk around in the nude
the protruding bare electrical wires
torn wallpaper
cracked ceiling shakey sockets
corners full of dust bunnies
strewn clothing and books thrown about willy nilly
porous windows the wind blows right through
the frame of my body

in my home I walk around in the nude
seeing the pear-shaped form of my shadow
on the walls of the room
a shrunken and no longer visible sex

in my home I walk around in the nude

where is that man and again I don't know
he could take out the trash at least
I hear the angry and still sad
voice of my wife

I feel it slicing right through my frame
right through the bare electrical wires
slicing through all the inner tumult
with a tired look that does not see me

I take out the trash separating
plastic paper glass
plastic paper glass

containers for the trash of the soul
are not yet created not yet filled
with soulhill trash heaps

the cosmos is full of the unsorted
trash of our souls and dysfunctional satellites

broken connections between each and
every one of our planets

I continue to walk further why not head home
my inner woman asks me

I want to walk a little more
maybe as far as new zealand maybe to australia
maybe to easter island

tell my wife I'll see her later
I'll be home by the end of the world


role | play: 27

my inner woman
bought me a ticket to new york

I couldn't refuse
such valuable gifts are a rarity

so now I'm standing in times square
we are separated by seven hours
and the morass of the atlantic

I'm not sleeping
my inner woman sleeps
or the reverse

my inner woman and I are sleeping
you are not sleeping
or the reverse

the globe has the same curve
flying from east to west
or the reverse

new york should change something in me
but for some reason I'm the just the same

as I was in vilnius
kaunas klaipeda nida

all the world's crossroads
fight and clamber on one another here

as though wall street holds

ants are we ants
drowning in our structures
and biomass

who shoved the skyscraper sticks
into the new york anthill
who experimented with 9/11

why did you send me here
my inner woman

too many questions for a lonely ant
too many difficult answers for a lonely ant
to bring to his home anthill

it is a too difficult inner confrontation for a lonely ant
torn out of the chain of work-home-

IPA beer is too strong for a lonely ant
all that jazz is too heady
the broo-klyn bridge is too long

the lonely ant is not impressed
by the french-gifted freedom and her figure
with all her raised fuck-you

the lonely ant has a return ticket
but it's with his inner woman who is now lost
somewhere between Fifth Avenue and Broadway
maybe gone to see the monkeys in the central
    park zoo

he trusts she will return with a sigh and a nihil
novi sub sole nihil novi ab ovo[2]

and we will drag ourselves and the cross
nailed to our back home

Illustration by Vidas PoškusIllustration by Vidas Poškus


role | play: 25

Conclusion: the poet can.
But for some reason does not want to

From a review by Dovile Kuzminkaite of Dainius Dirgelas' book Stebeto jo uzrasai / Re: plikos (His observation notes / Re:plica)

so what can you do and not do
what do you want and not want
my inner woman
once asked me

I can be a milker
but for some reason I don't want to

I can be a pig herder
but for some reason I don't want to

I can be a worker be a peasant
but for some reason I don't want to

I can also be a policeman employee attendant
but for some reason I don't want to

I can be a personal party leader
but for some reason I don't want to

I can be president
but for some reason I don't want to

to be eternal
to be god
I cannot

but I wonder
if I'd want to

to be myself
always changing
I am


1. Erasmus+ is a long-running European Union funding scheme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
2. there is nothing new under the sun, there is nothing new above


Translated by Medeinė Tribinevičius your social media marketing partner


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