As it makes the regular, in each of the Diversity’s edition, we present you the brand new Astal Projections
1. Gabriela Milkova was born lot so long ago, in the United States. Her first memories are in Skopje, while it was in Oxford that she learned how to read and write. Ever since then, she delights in the written word. When she was nine years old, she made herself a promise that by the time she was eighteen, she would have a book published. This January, her wish is due to be fulfilled. Exactly on her eighteenth birthday, she will publish her first book of poetry: “The Peak of Tonight”. She is a senior in NOVA International Schools and primarily writes in English. She therefore hopes to pursue her studies in English Literature and have yet another excuse to read a book or two.
The Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Footsteps in the sand,
Imprints in the snow,
The rippling of a wave,
On the river flows.
And gone are the steps,
And the prints,
And the waves,
Gone is nature’s prose,
On the river goes.
The fleeting wave forever streams,
Yet not in the mountain’s wound,
That cave of forgotten dreams.
Not in the mountain’s womb,
Stretched to entomb
Those eternal marks
Not yet seen,
Forgotten to have ever been,
That womb of forgotten dreams.
They will not let us forget.
For their imprints are forever set,
To be with our gaze upon them met.
Oh, did those dreams dream
To be our subject?
Did they seek to be remembered,
By our eyes rendered,
A wonder of the past?
Or did they know the cave,
And the shadow that it cast?
Not seeking to make their existence last,
But merely break the barrier between then and now?
Be a carrier
Of forgotten dreams?
On the river streams,
Not for all it seems.
Some yet remain to be seen.
Those forgotten to have been.
The House of Blindness
All the others.
For all eyes to be layed upon its
Reflecting the day’s rays with its
Fiery gables, its
Icy glassed windows
Piercing lookers-by with its
Singing glare when they try to
Made of brick and stone, its
Gloating, in the
Seeking nothing to condone but merely, to
Stand alone, and
Watch from afar the
Passers in the mud and tar.
But through this house,
Comes in, nor out,
So no one can hear it shout,
Plea for help as it
Mud and mire for all
Eyes, they only
Admire and are
Blinded by this house’s
Glistening attire which they
Yet, this house turned out a liar.
And it sinks before any eyes can see
What was hidden in those secret corners
Where no light shone.
And soon enough,
The house was gone,
And passed into oblivion.
That house of blindness and of lies.
That house that no one ever despised.
That house that burnt all seeking eyes.
That house that caused its own demise.
Dancing with the Shadows
“Is this their heartbeat,
Or ours?”, I say,
As our dance embowers the light.
The dance of dancing shadows
The walls of this cave ignite.
They dance, alluring, free
Like the wind.
Dance to the beat of thunderclap.
They fleet from spot to spot
And mock us
For we are locked in history
And they are not.
The clock here chimes,
Marking the void,
The abyss of time
Between us and them.
Do our shadows dance now
As they did then?
Is this their heartbeat, or is it ours?
Did the hours fleet
So they could meet,
And carried the shadows
Across the abyss of time?
So that their dance
Could also be mine?
Dancing with the shadows
Across the abyss of time.
In their dance they meet
To the rhythm of the same heartbeat.
The dance that time embowers.
The dance of their heartbeat—
2. Aleksandar Madzarovski is born in 1978 in Skopje where he lives at the moment. He also writes haiku and short stories.
I’m tired of calling
new worlds in to existence.
I need someone to call me
to fix the hinges of the doors
to clean the cobwebs from the corners
to tell me that I exist.
Cause holiness slips through my fingers
it runs from me like a rare butterfly
that you chase every night in your dreams
and you never catch.
This winter night I need someone
to tell insecurity to shut up
to look me in my eyes and to say:
Because I Am, you are. You exist!
We were young
We were young and we believed.
We didn’t understand that time
was slowly slipping through our fingers
like water leaving the linens
drying on the balconies.
We were desperate to leave a mark
even our names on the school walls.
We were young and gentle
like dandelions in the city parks
that someone might pick us up and blow
and that we’ll fly into the secret
corners of the city
where there would be no one
not even a single street dog
to sniff us out.
Easy, go gentle with the books!
They are not just full of dead letters
strung on invisible music staves.
In them we find the contours of existence
the rain slipping down the tin roofs
the yellow in the heart of the daisies.
Somewhere in them you’ll find me too
with my name, family name and date of birth
stretched in between some manuscript of medieval metaphysics
and a medical dictionary of modern pathologies.
Cities Without Wind
In the cities without wind
we raise the sails in vain
(we’re not moving an inch).
In them the flags are not flying
and our hair is always neat.
In the cities without wind
the empty packets of crisps
lie on the streets like dead pigeons.
The washed laundry never falls from the pegs
and our eyes are not tearing from the dust in the air.
In the cities without wind
nobody steals the smell of the roses
we always dream the same dreams
and voices do not reach us
neither from the past or the future.
In the cities without wind
we pray only for one thing
that the hot and cold particles in the air
First I stick the beard of a prophet.
Then I put on the tunic and the cloak.
Next I put a belt around my waist.
I have sandals on my feet and staff in my hand.
Maybe like this someone will hear what I have to say.
Maybe like this someone will care.
3. Rinna Jankulovska is 19-year-old French language and literature student with a strange passion for video games, animal dissections, and bartending duties. Her love poems are mostly dedicated to Skopje and the entire female gender.
the second renaissance was a stillborn, and then we came
with the salt in our veins from centuries ago
nicotine and caffeine keeping our feeble hearts pumping.
our fingers shivering, holding buckets and banners and pens
and our lips numb from whistles and kisses that never came.
we smoke our cigarettes right down to the filter, hoping for pots of gold
and we read and write and trash and thrash around and we burn
with the fires of revolutions lost
and we talk about the rain and the sea and our tears drying on our cheeks
and we talk about cold hands on warm skin and the voids and demons within
and they tell us we are walking clichés.
and we read and write and etch the words into our flesh to make our hearts beat purple
our drugs are strung in parentheses and periods because we can’t
afford them anywhere else, our love
hides in parking lots and alleyways and we share because there’s not enough to go around
so we substitute the tenderness with teeth and nails
digging into each other, exchanging insults like kisses, just as sweet
our sweet nothings are just warnings (run run run run run)
there’s no time to whisper so we scream until we’re hoarse,
until we taste the blood in the back of our throats
you can grit your teeth and swallow or cough it out on paper,
(there’s no glory in either one)
you can sell it, spit it, bottle it and make hopeless magic – two drops of lost faith and
a pinch of crushed dreams, stir until your arms stop hurting where you made them so
pour it out in shot glasses and we’ll knock ‘em back until it’s safe to touch.
the world was already spinning so hold on tight to me
while i try to make it stop.
we know not what we may be
i drop from the treetops into the damp grass
limbs sprawled, glorious, like a soft peach bruised upon its fall
my lungs heave thrashing waves of saltwater
until my mouth opens to unleash it
the water seeps from me in dirty waves
and there is rain now but there are no clouds
and every raindrop bruises my fuzzy skin until
the bright orange beneath it rots
and i grow darker, i grow outside myself
i see myself in death, slick and battered, delicate
bugs and bubbles chew away at my soft translucent skin
ophelia, legless; flowers decaying on her pale breast
fingers hanging off our mouths, teeth always bared and clenching down
pressing seafoam on our tongues instead of kisses
the water embraces us; fickle, restless, untrappable
salt and bone pillars in a dead girls temple
giving us peace, giving us solace and friendship at last
our bodies decompose to set us free
there’s no sky when you’re twelve feet under water and we don’t miss it
waves still dance with our ivory fingers but we’re not there anymore
don’t come looking; we don’t want to be found
if we want you, we’ll call out with brand new voices,
the voices death granted us,
making us loud and clear and honest
when all the living had tried
to silence us.
staring down into the mirrored water
i’m a patchwork of scents, a kaleidoscope being
mutable, inconsistent, slipping right out of your hands
the coloured residue smoke of fireworks past
intertwined with myself;
the collision of hot passionate sweat and soft-smelling baby soap
i breathe cigarette smoke out of a dragon’s throat
and feel it stick to my skin like sin-cleansing dust.
i’m a ballroom tapestry absorbing the images of everything i touch, my heart
a never-ending spool of thread
for anyone who decides to unroll it
the hot weather melts and undoes me – like hot tar instead of ice cream
spilling miserably over dug-up streets
breathing in the city through an irreparable throat
breathing in; fresh baking, fresh laundry, freshly set asphalt
breathing in people, lost in thought, scrambling
breathing individual scents wrapped in the folds of public transport
forced to coexist in the symphony of buses
i breathe in cast-aside flowers by the sides of roads, i breathe you in
like menthol breaking fresh and unusual in the fog
wrapped in the yellowing leaves of home-cooked poetry
just pulled out of the oven
my other senses compensate where my eyes so frequently fail
i give myself to the world in smell and touch, i spin tales
of stagnation, of metamorphosis, hearing from afar my limbs
wandering the city, growing into leaves
my head blooms bright yellow flowers, i taste you through petals and pistils
echoing cinnamon, caramel, lavender, indistinguishable time-forgotten tastes
with each step my brain blooms warm colours and retreats into itself
like startling unpleasant textures i slip right out of your hands once more
july’s warm winds carrying me like ashes
to find another world
to find myself, again, reinventing myself
becoming another life
in the perfect pitch-black darkness there is
a streetlight contouring your shape
like a granite statue of a long-forgotten goddess
and the cracks in the surface are teeming with warmth
a feat of biotechnology –
flaming wires connecting the roots
of the spine with the sprawling branches of the brain,
emitting illuminated echoes spiraling outward
hands like the revenants of water lilies,
five pairs of fingers tied into sailor’s knots of love and anger,
peaceful like anchors of ships long sunk
with my face in your hair i travel baudelaire’s woods
and every tree trunk casting wary looks at me is made out of your soft skin
and your eyes strike my subconscious in every spot
where universes touch and spill into each other –
our lives, folded over like petals, trembling with the fear of spring
its gentle touch caressing us open
and blooming us apart
the space between us houses always the physical impossibility
of the thought of winter in mid-june
in my summertime brain you are always here
and it is always warm
4. Josip Kocev was born on May 25-th 1985 in Skopje. He graduated Law at the University St. Cyril and Methodius in Skopje. He started writing in 2008, on the former Macedonian blogosphere and later – on social networks, and became known under the pseudonym Quentin Scribbler. „I, Quentin Scribbler“ is his first poetry book, containing poems from the period between 2008 and 2014.
We will be killed by our secret lives.
Our voices will stay in the phone calls
to people listed under their false names.
Our thoughts will suffocate in pride’s stuffy rooms
with dense piles of guilt made of lead.
Our souls will evaporate in two bottles of expensive wine
drank in between the national holidays of solitude.
Our bodies will be written on some elegant restaurant menus:
dry, purple red, fruit flavor with traces of love…
My time will die in minutes of scabby passion.
Yours will revive in light years of suffering
You have a skin that has been touched
by people i don’t want to imagine.
And pieces of distance brought to me
from places where my closeness
crosses its hands to die peacefully.
I lost the universe to gambling
and became a poet with a thought that
undresses words to ordinary, but deep silence.
We once wished to last forever.
We didn’t know then, what time really meant.
She smells of pubs and sober love
while her body dances on the boulevard
in the rhythm of her curls under the gray cap.
Her boots trample any attempt to tell her
that she’s got the hands which can
re-write a man’s name in the Book of the Living.
The South lies on her right shoulder,
so she talks to migratory birds
through poetry written in heavenly metrics:
about her powerful wings cut off by men,
about her stolen feathers worn by women,
and that she must not cry,
’cause she’s a super-girl,
and super-girls don’t cry.
Photo by: Toni Dimitrov
This post is also available in: Macedonian