Every Dead One Has a Name

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Every dead one has a name,
only the names of the living make us falter.
Some names are impossible to utter
without a stammer and a fidget,
some can only be spoken
through allusion,
and some, mostly women’s,
are forbidden in these parts.

Every dead one has a name,
engraved in stone,
printed in obituary or directory,
but my name must be undermined,
every few years
soiled and substituted
with another one.

A decade ago,
a high-ranking party official warned me:
Stay a poet, as long as there’s still time.
Still time? Time for what?

I have also become a social scientist
and an editor and an organiser
and a translator and an activist
and a university teacher.
Unbearable - all these things -
all trespasses of the old parcel borders
that were drawn by the dirty
fingers of fraternities.

I air all the rooms,
I ignore all the ratings,
I open all the valvelets.

And they have put me out in the cold –
like the dead.
But every dead one has a name.

© Taja Kramberger, Z roba klifa / From the Edge of a Cliff, CSK, Ljubljana, 2011
© Translation by Špela Drnovšek Zorko, 2012

© Taja Kramberger