Great Poetry Circle

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Željko Buklijaš

Great Poetry EuropeanPosted by Tommystroller Mon, January 28, 2019 16:44:43
Room 317

On the Square of “the Victims of Fascism”
- the square originally called “N”
and much later the Square
of the Great & Good of Croatia
stands at number 11
an old house of mutilation -
later a students’ home
over from “the Mosque” which was once
a real mosque with three minarets.
Room 317 looks over the square
it looks over a history of grieving
- which sticks in the throat when waking:
tables, faces, dogs, walls,
and by the park of shredded bones
magnolias, blooming all

Tr. Tommy Stroller & Tatjana Ćirić

Željko Buklijaš (b. 1955) is a Croatian poet now living in Zagreb, and one of the movers of the well known Croatian poetry group Jutro poezije, which has been meeting in the capital for the past 30 years. Buklijaš writes for a Croatian audience in this poem, one very familiar with this famous square in Zagreb. As the poem states, the square has had many names, and even its present name is under attack from today's Croatian Nationalists. In the 2nd World War, the Croatian Fascist Party (Ustaše), which ruled the country under the Nazis, used number 11 as an interrogation and torture centre. The "mosque" at that time was a real mosque, helped to be built by the fascists as a poke in the eye of the Jews. This, of course, is ironic in terms of the later break up of Yugoslavia and the present almost total lack of Islamic buildings in Croatia. The mosque was destroyed by Tito, but the main part was converted into an Arts and Culture Pavilion (which was its original use in the 1930s). It remained as such until recent times but now appears like an unused mausoleum. Room 317 refers to a student room in the now deserted ruin which sits on one side of the square. The author is nearly always an absent but ghostly presence in his own poems, so he probably at one time looked out from this room when he was a student in Zagreb in Tito's time. The final irony is that the beautiful magnolia trees have been cut down and removed from the square by the present city council.




Dan Dare



Was life similar
to someone my age
growing up on the other side of the iron curtain:
did he read the Eagle
in the sixties of the last century
while on my side, my goat snatched
my “Plavi vjesnik”1 comic?
The Beatles perhaps
maybe only Dan Dare
and the Stars?
It seemed
they were just on the far side of Mt. Biokova2
and so near to me. 



Tr- Tommy Stroller & Tatjana Ćirić


1 Plavi vjesnik was a popular young person's comic in Tito's communist Yugoslavia
2 This is the highest mountain in Croatia and looks over the Adriatic close to Makarska. Buklijaš grew up on its eastern side.


Tommy Stroller's reply:



Under the same Stars



We were twins
brought up on either side
of a wall we did not build
we were listening
to Tamla Motown, Bobby Vee
& Cliff happy summer holidays
Richards
on the tinny
transistors
under our pillow
we were Radio Luxembourg
fans waiting for the same
top twenty
at 11 o'clock on a Sunday
unbeknown to mothers
teachers or policemen


Buki & Tommy
brothers of a revolution
not made by Tito
not made by Kennedy
but by twin souls
all over Europe
we were shouting through the wires
we were climbing the same wall
we were singing the same songs
and dancing with women
wearing the same short skirts
And Buki my friend
we meet at last
in a bar in old Zagreb
reciting our poetry
of tomorrow
looking again
for Dan Dare
in the Stars







Fill in only if you are not real





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