Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Jottings by Dominik

If I had a son I would have called him Dominik his father was Jozef Tatarka-Greš

Yesterday a sunny day, a gift from the gods, the grape harvest, like back then, I drank and I cursed, I poured out all of my rage—yesterday, yesterday, as you know, yesterday it was two years, two years back, since we met in Suché mýto, in the capital city of our captive/embraced Tatrania- Slovakland, since then I’ve been writing to you, I write these Jottings for the Beloved Lutécia, which I will never send you, which they will certainly later seize and scatter.

You don’t know, dear Lutécia—Leticia Parisiorum, Leticia to your Parisian friends, why I write you these jottings—for you, which I know in advance, that I’ll never send to you. Other than that, meanwhile, I write you letters, which I regularly send to you by air mail, that don’t fly from Prague, although, although they are innocent, at least from a political standpoint, as lilies.
In the jottings  that I won’t send you, I injure you, I verbally claw at you as if you are a bird of prey, a forest buzzard, a sacerdotal czarist griffin, I explain in the letters, that also don’t fly to you, I’m grazing on you with the big gentle muzzle of an elk or a horse, I’m fumbling with the elk’s muzzle, I’m groping the rounded, endlessly gentle shapes of your body, of our soul, fumbling with the gentle elk’s muzzle all over you, from afar, inaccessible because of the invented borders, I the captive animal, captive and starving like you, I’m finding in myself, in the expanding eternal memory, my animal devotion before you with the mystery which in the grasp of pleasure and pain excreted me into the world of the cosmos like a blind ray and was licked all over, completely, like a fresh wet calf. I am embraced by the felicity and grace of the language of my mother and my lover, who give birth to me, throwing me out of themselves, placate me, reconcile me with the cosmos, with their language, breath, words...

~Translated by Charles Sabatos The book Jottings for Beloved Lutécia (Písačky pre milovanú Lutéciu) was published by Literárne informačné centrum, Bratislava, 2013.
(1913—1989) was one of the most significant Slovak prose writers, essayists and publicists of the 20th century. He studied French and translated also from the French literature. In August 1968 he opposed the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops in Czechoslovakia and later he signed the Charter 77. Because of these political attitudes his works stopped being published and were disseminated only in the form of samizdats or editions appearing abroad. In 1986 he was awarded Jaroslav Seifert Prize for his trilogy Jottings. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Tatarka’s birth his Jottings for Beloved Lutécia (Písačky pre milovanú Lutéciu, 2013) and his life confession, Recordings (Navrávačky, 2013), based on the interviews with Eva Štolbová, have been published. ( my father admired him too)
Dominik Tatarka