The third world

 

Damned of the earth are standing up
and prisoners of starvation
are standing also up
tall black beautiful are standing up
like dead cypresses
the dump of the world is standing up
in the scorched savannas

they are collecting their bones
stretch once again their skin
listening to the humming of despair
rattling with their coffee bodies
without a crumble of strength for anger and rebellion
they are raising their eyes to the dry sky
their hands towards brave europes
their heads towards promised americas

and the world is turning nevertheless
in salons of glittering cities
dust is snowing slowly
while dead children are falling
to the tempo of car engines
to the dithyramb of hysterical shopping
to the rhythm of constant diets
to the nice protocol of sermons
to the buzzing of stock exchanges
and into the tiny morsels the first world is crumbling
and the second
and the third
it’s spinning around indifferently
this wretched world
one and only
Mediterranean, Mediterranean

When the old snake hisses
in the cracked church
and the fluttery flock spreads to the sun
and oranges roll down the stairs
the blood of tomatoes will spurt on the square
glistening olives will shine on tables
under oleanders cicadas will chirp
fissured figs will fall into our laps
and we will be sitting under swollen grapes
when the juice of pomegranates will splash
and the bosoms of ripe women will bloom
and sandals will clatter
and dresses will flutter
like sails in the storm
and the ancient marble will clang
and ships will anchor
and the market will murmur
and the linen will dance
the slow tango of the south
and the sea will bend under fish swarms
and nets will swell
while masts shine on in the heat
and palms and life
fall into the red twilight
the evening of fiesta and fever will spread
into the night of sin and the carnival of plenty
before in the early morning the gypsies come
to collect rubbish
on the fancy beaches of the white latins
while on the waste open seas
from the shaky rafts only black hands
will cry and long for the false paradise
Bildungsroman
(The Balkans, 1990-2000)

Through the long streets of this raw hollow
a horde of young hyenas is walking
hot phosphorus is oozing from their eyes
and on the asphalt there fly sizzling
icy knives under their steps.

Till yesterday they used to play marbles
with the eyes they picked up on the street
whenever they crawled out for a moment
from the basements of fine ruined houses.
They also played hangman
until they once saw a hanged man on the street
and it became boring
then they played catch-me-if-you-can
but many of them got caught forever
so they got sick of it
then they played hide-and-seek
but their parents put their hands on their eyes
even when it was no playtime
and told them not to spy with their little eye
turn their head away hide in the farthest corner
and count as long as they can…
that was not much of a game.
They tried to play cowboys and indians
but they couldn’t agree who lives in a reservation
they played balls between two fires
till it burnt through on both sides
they played
crouching
shrinking
trembling in the dark
and sometimes craned their necks from their lairs
to see a patch of the sky and stars
(when their breasts were swelling from senseless hope)

But here they are
popping out from shabby holes
like hungry beasts
the veins flickering on their taut limbs
they show grinning their tapered fangs
blood bubbling in their eyes
they are coming
warmed-up played-up
carrying clotted anger in their stiff bones
and bringing
(catch them if you can)
completely new
rules of the game