Purgatory: Corona Diaries

Right now i am staying in the the house of Rasa Livada (1948-2007), Serbian poet from Zemun, Belgrade on Danube who wrote a book of poems “Karantin” in 1977
He used to prophesize, A Livada kaze…and Livada says…
Rasa Bafi


Everyone keeps on asking that question. You’d be surprised:
For such a long time the most beautiful and biggest building
In town has been the Quarantine Office.

If you scratched its mortar you’d be able—
even at this very moment—to dig out a rib
or the shin-bone of a construction worker.

You can tell there was a dungeon
stretched between the earth and the underworld,
between the earth and sky.

And there were those
who travelled along Rodopi’s cable
to find their fathers who’d escaped the region
and gone to Hellada
as well as those who had come from Jerusalem and Smyrna
only to migrate then to Poland and Germany
(multiplying their seed as well as their amethysts),
and then there were those who took medicines and their ID cards
and those who just ran away,

although, plenty of them stayed.

What a mixture we have become:
Slavs, Greeks, Germans, Hungarians,
Jews, Latins. Oh, do you know how many
costumes an actor has to change
in order to remain naked and yet, you ask,
what force is keeping us alive, what customs
or culture?

I’ll give you an answer:
QUARANTINE no longer exists, it’s been interiorized,
although, it still teaches us to tell one sort of people
from another, the rich from the poor.
Besides, our hatred which still endures
(it really endures) makes
one forget, whoever that one
may be, what
he does.

A teacher won’t tell his students
everything he knows, in case he loves them.

Translated by Ivana Velimirac

About jasminatesanovic

Jasmina Tešanović (Serbian: Јасмина Тешановић) (born March 7, 1954) is a feminist, political activist (Women in Black, Code Pink), translator, publisher and filmmaker. She was one of the organizers of the first Feminist conference in Eastern Europe "Drug-ca Zena" in 1978, in Belgrade. With Slavica Stojanovic, she ran the first feminist publishing house in the Balkans "Feminist 94" for 10 years. She is the author of Diary of a Political Idiot, a war diary written during the 1999 Kosovo War and widely distributed on the Internet. Ever since then she has been publishing all her work, diaries, stories and films on blogs and other Internet media.
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