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Gintaras Bleizgys was born in 1975 in Druskininkai. In 1997, he graduated from Vilnius University with a bachelor’s degree in Lithuanian philology, and in 1999  with a master’s in literary theory. In 2007, Bleizgys graduated from the same university with a master’s degree in management and business administration. He worked as an editor of the monthly publication Metai, and during 1999–2001 was editor-in-chief of the weekly Literatūra ir menas. Bleizgys is currently the president of the Lithuanian PEN Center and a board member at the Lithuanian Writers’ Union. Bleizgys has published 14 books, ten of which are poetry collections, and has had his work translated into Polish, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, English, and Russian.

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reflections on belonging

a palmers chronicle right bw

Graphic Novels

Leonas Linas Katinas, Roadside Signs: From Lithuanian Signs 2. 1989, canvas, oil, 115x147 cm. From the MO Museum collection.

Poems from the poetry book “Procession”

Translated by Rimas Uzgiris

 

 

In Alzheimer’s Fields

 

she gathers and gathers those dandelions
wading through a meadow up to her knees –
old unhinged and fatigued –
while the wind scatters dandelion seeds

until there is nothing left in her hands

I stopped – looked – thought
how I need to help my neighbor
who can’t find her way home
a grandmother – a girl – a childhood

in alzheimer’s field

feeling my inquisitive gaze
she froze – suddenly turned:
come (she said) we’ll make a wreath
from shredded dandelions – the wind

rips up my years –

you think I’m old – incapable

of understanding that everything is at its end –
the lessons of life are finished –
the holidays are at hand
and now I’ll frolic in the meadow until dusk

and there’s nothing you can do to help

 

 

***

 

the agony of resurrection –
frogs hopping around at night
over the asphalt road
gleaming
in the headlights of cars

maybe these are last year’s
leaves that the wind is rolling
into our path
I say to my wife
who sits in the passenger seat

frogs should be sleeping in February

well they’re not sleeping this year –
my wife not inclined to indulge my hopes –
better not to drive this road
for a week or more

I turn the wheel as if avoiding gunfire
last night
the Donbas separatists
sent two thousand three hundred shells
into Ukraine

the frogs know this –
all the radio stations are talking
about how last night there occurred
the largest confrontation
of the last two years

I crush the poor frogs
while trying my damnedest
to turn away – what is this road
I am traveling?

a baby who lost his parents
in Ukraine
was brought to Lithuania in 2017
he grew up fast
and a couple of weeks ago
spoke to me
in perfect Lithuanian

maybe when he grows up
he will read these words
and correct them
giving my thoughts
a different interpretation

we are the frogs of spring
on a night road
not having a clue
what travels along it
or whether the headlights
of consciousness

still work –

 

 

***

 

in the shell of the lake
with last year’s alder cones
floating about – small waves
rustle through my head:

greeting the dawn of June in 1993
going without sleep
on high school graduation day

but I slept calmly
and showed up in the morning
to find everyone tired out –
they didn’t want to separate
they didn’t know what awaits them after a year
or after ten
or after thirty

maybe they hoped to remain friends
maybe they still are

especially those who
are already buried
with whom relations
are done fully calibrated and unchanging

it’s easier for a recluse to die
because death is
a reclusion

that’s probably why
I keep away from people

in the old samurai way –
I practice one move
the perfect stroke of the sword
naively believing
that such a thing exists

after the official ceremony in 1993
my father gave me
a colorful bill
and said:
have a good time
but don’t get too close
because you’ll never

get together in one group again:
some will die
(that has already happened)
some you will meet in the street
and fail to recognize them (that
has already happened)
and some you
will not want to recognize

I didn’t get too close
I didn’t have a good time
I danced
and then
I went to sleep –
so that the morning

wouldn’t frighten me
so that I wouldn’t be too tired
to separate

I don’t know

how many lives I have –
after that
I met my wife
and we had a daughter
while still so young

twenty years later
there came a son
and now it seems as if I
were twenty years younger

as if I should
sleep through the night again

to not be too tired to separate –
let the children carry
their world
let them not sleep
on graduation night
learning how not
to get too close

 

 

For Laima Kreivytė

 

because it’s getting dark and the wind
sways the umbrage of the fir trees
because December is typically gloomy
but warm like never before

because the grasses by the forest
where the goats pastured last summer
are still green and time
hides in the branches of the firs

because I’m walking along the forest
on a country road ripped up by logging trucks
reading your book, Intimate Arithmetic,
and people

are looking at me – like what idiot
walks along the forest at dusk reading a book
especially with a threat hiding deep
in its layers of consciousness

I remembered today after a long time
that I was once a poet
and that I had lost this gift

the forest rustles and murmurs as my feet
slip on some clay – I’m wearing
the same jacket I wore
a week ago on television

so some of the people I meet must recognize me
for they say hello before turning away
and laughing

on the cover of your book
a nude woman covers herself with a mirror
people see her in my hands
and think I’m walking around the forest
with pornographic material

and you know what?
let them laugh
let them be afraid
of the deep layers of consciousness

you say: every bitch is a great man
in her heart
and I add: just as every great man
is pure bitch
in the depths of his heart

happy are those
who can accept this
the road to the cosmos and to
as yet undiscovered stars
is paved with their bones and confessions

but I am far from the stars
far from the deft twists and turns of the mind
from the life that others would approve of
but is that any reason to complain?

when we talked last
you urged me not to give in to criticism
to just write for a handful of others
and oneself

as you see – I’m trying

but it’s getting darker and darker
here beside the Vileika fir forest
so I turn to look and listen to

how the finches ready for sleep
in their tiny nests

how the sunset simply bleeds away –

no – here I found no peace

 

 

 

 

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