Aleš Mustar

Ales Mustar was born in 1968 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a poet and literary translator.
He graduated from English language and literature at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 1996 he enrolled in post-graduate studies of Romanian contemporary literature at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters, Romania, where he took his Ph.D. degree. He is translating literature from Romanian and Macedonian into Slovenian.
He has published a book of poetry C(o)urt Interpretations, which has been translated into English C(o)urt Interpretations, Blatt Books,, 2008 and Macedonian Sud(bin)sko tolkuvanje, Blesok, Skopje, 2007. He is translating from Romanian and Macedonian. He also writes texts for alternative theatre.




(Foto: Tihomir Pinter)

Family portrait

As I spot a squirrel on a branch on my walk towards Golovec
my thoughts instantly turn to a park in some metropolis or other.
It draws my attention to such a degree
that I stop looking where I am going
get entangled in a root
and land on the floor.
Yet neither this fall can bring me around
to acknowledge my feeble peasant roots.
When I return home
I’ll be forced to ask my father
to help me nail a family portrait on the wall.
Once again as all my life I’ll wait in terror
for him to hit my finger with the hammer by accident
thus punishing me for his failed life project.
One son has come out well, whereas the other is an utter disaster.
On the other hand I crave
that he would hit me once and for all
hit me hard
so that I could punch him back
and thus forevermore end the mental pain
brought on by contempt
and our wives would treat our black eyes
with beef steaks
which he had cut.
As a child I was always terrified of cows
which is why I never cared for beef broth either.
I feared that it was just a matter of time
before a cow peeks out of it mooing,
yes, father, as a child I was afraid of mooing.
Whenever I passed the stables I turned my head to the other side
because cow’s mooing is downright terrifying
nor are cows in a pasture much friendlier,
last year they attacked a friend during a family trip to the Giant Mountain.
Father, Milka the-purple-cow is enough for me.
I shall never be a peasant’s son,
the only memories left from my childhood in the country are
the scent of freshly cut hay
and a bottomless bowl of melancholy.
Father, I realise that tomorrow you’re going to the court to fight in a property border dispute
and that you consider me a regular ass
for refusing to help you.
But you see, I’m not made of clay
to be moulded as you wish,
only God has the right to create man in His own image!
Father, don’t you remember
what a pathetic fighter for national borders I used to be?
This fight is yours, not mine,
everyone is a general after a battle anyway.
All this I’d like to say to him
holding nails in my hands
as if they were Christ’s
and yet I keep my mouth firmly shut.
According to Feng Shui principles
in order to secure family happiness
the bedroom needs to be cleared of
all mirrors and photographs…

Translated by Manja Maksimovič