Pavol Janik

1956 / Bratislava


Every day I pick up a pen up
afraid that it's completely in vain.
Above the paperwork clouds of office work loom
like heavy opaque curtains.
It becomes complete
with neon illuminating
the office darkness.
There's nothing visible from life
apart from cheap state furniture,
the various moods of colleagues' faces
and always the same roof of a neighbouring house.
and to all this, it has to be said,
a bit of sky,
a personal pot plant
and a telephone, which should connect us with the world.
But we know very well
that it connects only with other offices.
It should be mentioned, too,
that this is only when it isn't broken.
This hasn't happened for a long time indeed.
We see nothing
and we know nothing.
We know nothing of what
in the light of day
new springs doggedly push to the surface,
from all the openings in the earth
mysterious water sprays out.
Pure and just
measuring the time
and other limits of our lives,
urgently seeking paths to a return to earth.
From the sky birds,
planes, comets and other heavenly things gather.
In the galleries pictures fall from the walls
and statues from their plinths.
Something is happening.
Something is going on.
With blue ink
I register my pulse,
the number of the dead, the amount of damage caused,
trunk calls and interruptions to working hours.
I know that I'll get compensation for this poem,
or I'll work at it over the weekend
after coming to an agreement with my employer.

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