Debeljak Aleš:
Brush me with your Knee beneath the Table…

    I admit thanks to lucky circumstances and the effective resistance of the Slovenian territorial defense force in the Ten Day War against the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army, I didn’t have to go into exile. Even so, I grieve for my lost South on a metaphysical level that has nothing to do with our former governmental structure.

    My grief for the South nurtures no nostalgia for the centralized politics of Belgrade. No, my grief for the South catches instead occasional hints of the intoxicating scent of flowering plum trees in a Bosnian orchard. It speaks in the shrill cries of half-tame cormorants on Macedonia’s Lake Dojran. It is reflected in the crystalline blueness of a cave on the Croatian island of Biševo, which in beauty far exceeds the much better-known Grotta Azzura on the Island of Capri. If Andre Gide had truly wanted to escape from there, he would certainly have discovered a domain of sea gods in the deep blue waters of Biševo.

    My grief for the South softly hums the Dalmatian love songs that we Slovenian schoolboys preferred to the melancholy folk songs of our own republic near the Alps. My grief for the South thumbs through the private lexicon of Belgrade literary societies, now exiled, but which used to witness debates about Derrida and Rilke and passionate discussions about the historical novels of Serbian writer Miloš Črnjanski and the unsettling tales of Slovenian writer Drago Jančar. It fumbles for expression in some long-forgotten alcoholic stupor on the waterfront of Split, the Dalmatian coastal town in which Italian and Croatian languages mingle seamlessly. It sways in a half-smoked joint rolled from grass grown by an acquaintance on the island of Vis.

    My grief for the South murmurs the lyrics of Johnny Štulic, the lead singer and guitarist of the legendary rock band Azra, cheered on at concerts in every part of the former Yugoslavia by multitudes of enthusiastic teenagers, myself included. Although he sang in Croatian about the same things as Lou Reed, his raspy voice was just as consistently his own, expressing an individuality now verging on superfluous in this age of the rule of army boots. He was an enemy of fads, and trendy posturing was alien to him. This is why we felt so close to him. He didn’t promise the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; instead, he portrayed the world as a Swedenborgian hell wearing the mask of heavenly idols.

    When he sang of late-night wanderings through labyrinths of dimly lit city streets and described people mad into targets of hatred because of their membership in one or another minority, he always proceeded from the fundamental conviction that the easiest choice is also the worst, and that you have to back your words up with your life. When, as a high school student, I saw him for the first time in the auditorium of Memorial Hall in Ljubljana, I distinctly felt that I was watching a prophet. His message of faithfulness to self and anarchic freedom was immediately understood by a whole generation of young Yugoslavs who may have prayed to different gods but who worshipped one and the same prophet, the prophet of rock and roll.

    Once, long ago, when I was wandering through the Kornati archipelago in the Adriatic Sea, I came across grafitti on an island so remote that it was serviced by a boat from the mainland only twice a week. Scrawled across the stuccoless wall of a village tavern, it didn’t proclaim apocalyptic platitudes about the monumental loss of meaning, the way grafitti does today. Instead, its crude characters conveyed a gospel of love. My heart jumped, its beat quickened.

    I was devoted to Yugo-rock because I sought an authentic way of being that would bring me close to people who could understand joy and sadness without a lot of unnecessary words. Here, on this craggy forsaken island in the midst of the Adriatic, I discovered a kindred spirit who in one short sentence expressed my enthusiasm for the rock singer who had hauntingly translated our intimate dilemmas into soul-shaking music. The message read: Stulic is god. That was all I needed. I had come home.

    The passion that Johnny Stulic invested in his songs about the bitter pain and miraculous hope of social outcasts was a passion to bear witness. For those of us crowding around the stage, that passion broke through the layers of our adolescent mannerisms and became a document of vulnerability that allowed an entire generation of young Yugoslavs to discover themselves in Stulic’s lyrics. It was powerful and prescient testimony about the fate of a world that the gods had abandoned and that man was also trying to forsake.

    Yugo-rock never wanted to conceal its flirtation with shepherds’ songs of the Macedonian panpipes that our rock musicians’ mothers had listened to as they worked the fields. Of course, Yugo-rock was based on the universal configuration of bass, guitar, drums, and voice, but it also drew on the living wellsprings of southern Slavic folk melodies.

    The result: while our Western contemporaries were practicing standard numbers like "Yellow Submarine" and "Rock’n'Roll Music", novice guitarists in basements and garages all over Yugoslavia tried to imitate the seven-eights rhythms of Bosnian blues immortalized by the vertiginously popular Sarajevo band White Button in songs like "Selma," "Don’t Sleep, My Sweet," and "Blame it on the Bad Wine," which provided my schoolmates and me with unforgettable anthems to sing in the corridors of Sarajevo First High School, Zagreb Classical, and Ljubljana-Šentvid High School in the equally amateurish way as we marked the passing of our youth.

    The etymological sense of the amateur stems from "love for the thing-itself." Our limited pleasure in the imperfect product of that love may after all have been the only conceivable reward for our faithfulness to the common, if frail, mentality that was inspired by the cultures of Central Europe, the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Pannonian plain.

    I am convinced that Yugo-rock afforded me the rare chance to live in a multicultural society long before that term was co-opted as the official protective coloring of the politically correct.

    On my way home from the United States soon after the outbreak of the present Balkan war, I stopped over in Paris. As I waited for a metro train, I could hear echoing through the chilly underground station a familiar melody from another time, another world. I was pulled toward its source, gently and irresistibly.

    A dark-haired, young man of woeful demeanor, with a crumpled cap laying inverted on the floor in front of him, was playing the guitar as he stared fixedly ahead. None of the other passers-by bothered to stop. Why should they?

    But I shuddered, recognizing in a split-second the lyrical ballad that had once helped me express the pain of a young, broken heart. I was instantly seized with a sharp, yet graceful nostalgia, inundated by a flood of emotion, while the unschooled singer’s voice eerily reverberated off the subway station walls. Listen, listen carefully to the song that my unhappy countryman sang:

Somebody loves me

dreams about me

casts furtive glances

but I don’t know who

somebody loves me

when I go roaming

crossing the street

same as me

I study the faces

examine the crowd

somebody looks for me

I don’t know where

somebody loves me

gives me their soul

someone’s a stranger here

same as me

the neon light’s shadow

grows longer

the longing in your eyes

gives you away

tonight you can ask around

for me again

put your hands in your pockets

and walk away.

    In his Biographia Literaria Coleridge writes that "it is not the poem that we have read, but the one to which we return that possesses true power." I am not the only one who keeps turning to the unmistakable sentiment in Stulic’s lyric "People of Loneliness." All of us do who desperately keep seeking an understanding companion at train stations, airports, in the world’s waiting rooms - someone who has undergone the same rites of passage that took place all over the former Yugoslavia in one and the same rhythm, by dint of the fact that we listened ecstatically to the same rock singers and read the same poets. The names of these singers and poets remained unpronounceable anywhere in Western Europe, but for us they embodied the flickering light in a tunnel of political obscurantism.

    If you don’t realize what you’ve lost, then you’ve lost nothing. I know very well what I have lost: the experience of that singularly rich identity - the product of a unique, challenging, yet uncommonly charming cosmos - to Belgrade’s military ambitions. Deprived of the lark’s song above the Sora River’s floodplain in Slovenia, thunderstorms over the Karst, or the soundless flow of minerals in the sharp-edged Julian Alps, that cosmos would be just as impoverished as my youth would have been had there been no rock music, no books of friendships to anchor us in what was a broader Yugoslav community.

    I am convinced that rock music will never be the same for me, thanks to Yugoslavia’s violent disintegration. It wasn’t just the proverbial wisdom of the Beatles and a wailing Mick Jagger that I grew up with; just as important were the original songs by White Button, the Idols from Belgrade, Bread and Salt from Macedonia, and a host of other bands whose half-forgotten names once signified a genuine sentimental education for the generation that long ago, oh, so long ago, turned out in the tens of thousands for Yugoslavia’s first Woodstock in a village outside of Belgrade. That experience led us to believe - naively - that the good vibrations of our collective transcendence would mark a new life in harmony, like stars, like the four seasons.

    The guns of the Balkan war have silenced those good vibrations. Yugo-rock stars have dispersed among the four corners of the earth. The stars have set. And of all seasons the lands south of my new country know but a single one - the deep, dark winter of death.

    My throat constricts and I grow tense when I quietly mourn for the South. Still, the first gunshot of the war for Slovenia made it absolutely clear to me that this sorrow is rooted in the depths of an irrevocable past. Czeslaw Milosz captures that state ineffably in one melancholy line of his Elegy for N.N.: "And the heart doesn’t die when one thinks it should." Because the heart has its reasons, of which the mind has no understanding, the metaphysics of my divided heart still grow from the memory of a shared past that I cannot renounce.

    Hordes of arrogant officers and drunken reservists have annexed the Heimat - that social, national, and political construct of one’s home. But we, eternal children, refuse to have our Heim taken away, the only refuge left to us: our imaginary community, the private spaces of our memory, the river flowing under the Three Bridges in Ljubljana, dim stars over Skrlatica Mountain, the faces of loved ones, blossoming magnolias, chalkwhite paths in a city park, or the pain of an irretrievable past.

    Yet I’m fully aware that the past of my memory has no connection to the present. I became convinced of this during ten days in the short, hot summer of 1991 that may not have changed the world but that marked the beginning of a new era for me and my countrymen. In the midst of the ten-day war for Slovenia, as Yugoslav tanks encircled the capital city of my country, I walked down the eerily empty streets of a Ljubljana suburb to visit my parents and sister.

    Together with other residents of their small apartment building, they were holing out in the basement, a space that had never before served its original purpose. Instead of the bomb shelter equipped for survival that one was supposed to have expected - given the all-pervasive paranoia about possible attack by the West that Tito carefully cultivated to maintain control of his communist empire - this basement had never been anything but a storage area: rough-hewn shelves along the walls, discarded camping tables and well-worn chairs on the floor, all brought here by the thriftiness of my parents, who had experienced the "seven lean years" of post-war Yugoslavia as young adults.

    The shelves had warped under the weight of many jars of home-grown pickles, tomatoes, and plum preserves. Bottles of deep-red Karst wine, teran, glinted dustily; under them were heaps of discarded newspapers. Next to a road bike stood a pair of racing skis. In the far corner was a huge, old fashioned cabinet containing the magazines and books that I had bought as a student at Ljubljana University and deposited in the basement’s dank treasure house before I left for the United States.

    A radio announcer’s assuring voice reminded us that we should take food and identification papers with us into the shelters. The rattle of automatic weapons fire echoed faintly from the city center. Slovenian militiamen were trying to take out Yugoslav Army snipers disguised as civilian, some of whom would escape, later to perfect their murderous craft at the windows of Sarajevo’s highrises. The air quavered in the summer heat, wailing sirens warned of a possible air raid, a dog padded through front yards dragging his leash behind him: the place was deserted.

    War, I thought countless times in those few days. This is really war. Not the war of movies about the glorious partisan days, with Richard Burton as a young Marshal Tito leading his divisions out of a German trap in Sutieska (1973), an overblown two-hour epic about the legendary battle that we schoolboys reenacted to exhaustion on dusty playgrounds. This was a real war, where children whined in bomb shelters, their parents gazed fear-ridden into the darkness, and my colleagues found that the unrestrainable urge to defend their home suddenly transformed them from warehousemen, computer experts, and students of economics into committed fighters.

    Happy to see each other again, my sister, mother, father and I embraced. Word were superfluous. To touch each other was enough. This was the most important thing: before the Ten-Day War, I had never realized so clearly that my life is so excruciatingly linked to that of my loved ones.

    Even though Slovenia experienced the war in a relatively mild form, it brought us something we never would have been able to attain in peace. The immediate threat of bodily harm intensifies one’s metaphysical awareness of that love about which Denis de Rougement says in his book Les mythes de l’amour (1961) that "only because of love is something the way it is, that form and motion exist thanks to it, both the nearby and the far away, the world and the individual, desire, suffering, and joy." The pain of the possibility of losing a loved one became an integral part of one’s fatefully altered perception of the world.

    In disbelief my sister tested the clasps of the flak jacked I had been wearing as a field interpreter for CNN, while I stepped over to the rustic cabinet and slowly opened its rickety doors.

    What I saw was an unforgettable vision of grieving for the south. A panorama of Yugoslavia’s intellectual profile opened before me - that Yugoslavia into which I’d been born and which I had loved, but in whose name Belgrade’s generals were now unblinkingly ready to level entire cities and reduce whole villages to dust. I stood there, dumbstruck and shaken. From the trenches where Slovenian soldiers fought against the Yugoslav Army, against officers and peach-fuzzed enlisted men from Kosovo and Montenegro, Macedonia and the Serbian highlands, the sarcasm of history had brought me to this cellar, to this old peasant cupboard stuffed from top to bottom with books in all the major languages of the former Yugoslavia, books that had formed not just my academic and literary career, but my personality itself.

    Here were slender paperbacks from the World and Thought series that introduced me as an eighteen-year-old to the sensual world of Persian poetry in Serbian translation. next to them were the penetrating essays of Czeslaw Milosz, his Visions from San Francisco Bay; later, in New York I would compare the deluxe cover design of the American edition with the modest and economical design of my Serbian translation, which had won its Vojvodinian publisher the allegiance of a generation of grateful young readers. The compendium works of Averroes, Plotinus and Aristotle gathered dust in one Zagreb publisher’s characteristic, pale yellow jackets, from which I could immediately recognize a philosophy student’s apartment, whether I was staying overnight with acquaintances in Nis, Ohrid, or Vinkovci.

    Here were issues of the Macedonian literary magazine Young Fighter, in which I’d aspired to publish as a beginning poet. Volumes of Bachelard’s reveries on the poetics of space and Benjamin’s Moscow Diary, both published in Sarajevo in exotic-sounding Serbo-Croatian, thanks to the Bosnian translator’s penchant for drawing on both Serbian and Croatian lexicons, with the faintest hint of a muezzin’s call to prayer in the sentence melody. Brodsky, Lautreaumont, Tsvetaeva, and Mandelstam, all of whom I discovered in Serbian translation in unprepossessing little white paperbacks that I bought in bookstores in both Novi Sad and Ljubljana. A collection of poems by my friend Tomaz Salamun that came out in translation in Montenegro.

    The entire first year’s installment of prestigious series of the world’s hundred best novels in Slovenian translation and lovingly crafted bindings, half-buried under old issues of the Belgrade magazine Literary News and Quorum from Zagreb, where for several years I had my own poetics column and my own regular translator. A Description of Death, a book of short stories by the Serbian Jewish writer David Albahari with a friendly dedication from the author. Stack after stack of miscellaneous literary reviews, almanacs, anthologies with versions of my work by various translators in various languages, a slew of collections and little magazines to which I had enthusiastically contributed as poet or essayist before they either died or were consumed in the widening abyss of nationalist exclusivity.

    Out of the gentle swirls of dust from the yellowed spines of books and the pages turned a hundred times, out of the imaginative tales in which I lost myself so many times - with the passion of a reader by vocation and conviction without really being aware of what language I was reading in, Slovenian or Serbo-Croatian, in which I was almost as fluent as in my native language thanks to many visits to the South - from the fading faces of the editors, writers, and translators with whom I associated at major literary festival and informal chamber readings from Cetinje to Sarajevo, from Bled to Struga; out of these hazy images arose a fragile web of close personal friendships that truly knew no national or language barriers. These friendships had been born in the sweet vacuum of eternity to which only the tragic muse of art can deliver us; and we stubbornly believed in that muse, for we were incapable of believing in any of the Great Ideas.

    Throughout the time I was growing up - the late 1970s and early ‘80s - I shared with my peers the easy feeling that we didn’t have it bad at all. We were different from our counterparts in the Soviet empire’s East European satellites because of the nonaligned politics of Tito, the great guru of the "third way," who discovered the trick of playing West and East off each other so that both sides would generously contribute money to build his Potemkin villages of self-management. But those were issues of high diplomacy that for a long time we neither understood nor cared about. Our interests lay elsewhere.

    Most of all, we wanted to know in what European town Oscar Peterson would be playing next summer and when John Fowles’s newest book would hit the bookstores in nearby Trieste, Vienna, or Munich, if not Ljubljana. We traveled widely and unhindered, both within Yugoslavia and abroad. We made pilgrimages to jazz and rock concerts as far afield as Moers, Florence, and Montreux. We believed that mass culture gave us more in common with youth in London than with our parents. In their novels and literary reviews, our older colleagues had told unsettling stories of suffering in the clutches of Titoism, of the communist regime’s brutality, but we understood these then as a far-removed allegory that no longer defined us in any significant way.

    Because we lived in an apocryphal ghetto on the edge of history’s real currents, from which we hoped to glimpse man’s contradictions more clearly, it was not difficult for us to turn down offers to join in the growing din of public hysteria that began to proclaim its grand plans of Nation and Statehood in the 1980s. Our older colleagues turned into public dissidents whose Minervan owls were now taking flight even in broad daylight.

    Yet we remained convinced we were living in a world that didn’t interest us, committed to the lost cause that was our home. Because we were no longer the babbling step-children of Coca-Cola and Marx, but rather their uncertain hostages, we grew even more inspired by the modest pleasures of lonely people living in barren rooms, and our writing became the quandary of describing those lives. We were desperate to gain the muses’ favor in an ambitious, if precariously elusive, project - to get the angels of private life and the demons of history to glimpse each other just once in the mirror of everyday banality.

    Of course, this was not a time of absolute freedom. Still, society was open for public debate. In contrast to the Stalinist times that preceded ours, there were virtually no ideological taboos, no censors looking over our shoulders. The blacklists of forbidden authors had all but disappeared. This is why the external need to write Aesopian tales and in coded metaphors vanished as well. Young writers in Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Belgrade were independently coming to the same tenuous conclusion: our priority lay in personal mythologies and the existential drama between I and thou.

    We knew intuitively that the artist could speak of his own spirit, and thus indirectly about the spirit of the historical age, only from the margins of his society. The bound volumes of the Slovenian magazine Literatura, the Croatian Quorum, and the Serbian Literary Word were packed with poems and stories, each of which is a minor proof of the belief that the literature we wrote in the ‘80s was one extended metaphor for the courage to be - to be oneself beyond all national ideologies, political parties, and historical programs.

    Dissatisfied with an atmosphere in which dissident books were praised precisely for the sharpness of their critical insight regardless of aesthetic standards, we set out on the strenuous path of depoliticizing literature. On the pages of Quorum, especially, we stressed over and over that if one or the other moral stance is already evident from the allegories of history and the metaphors of everyday speech, there should be no need to emphasize that moral stance for special effect.

    In the course of the ‘80s, Quorum served as fire to the moths of our literary visions, which flew only at night and cautiously, for our poems were heeded only by those who shared our belief that in order to speak competently about the world outside, one must first look into the murky pools of one’s own psyche. Writing in the anonymous highrises of Novi Beograd, in the garrets of Zagreb’s Upper Town, or in the old bourgeois row houses of Ljubljana, we may indeed have argued passionately about the meaning of metafiction and the styles of radical will, but we were united in one fundamental conviction - that the poet’s task to recognize his historical circumstances grows out of the use of language and local tradition.

    For Western readers avid for dissidents, this shift of focus diluted the usual romanticized East European drama of writer versus censor. But at the price of a smaller reading audience, we gained the freedom to write lyrical meditations whose tiny flame had to be protected time and again from the fierce winds of a poesie engage.

    We did not reinvent the wheel. But we sensed that by defending our introspective verses we were in a way defending the very idea of freedom. The social prestige of an ever-growing army of hacks, whose impoverished imaginations were the currency of their short-lived political fame, constantly forced us to respond to the cheap reproach that we were escaping from reality, that we were retreating into infinite cosmologies and philosophical paradoxes in the style of Borges’s short stories, the popularity of which had condemned a whole generation of young Yugoslav writers to the pejorative epithet "Borgesian."

    The truly decisive role in our formation as writers, however, wasn’t Borges, as influential as he was, but the Serbian-Jewish writer Danilo Kis. History and the individual mirror each other in his stories with a distinct longing for existential mystery that was far more telling to those of us living in a land where peace was just the short interval between wars that the timeless labyrinth of the Argentinian’s inventions could ever be. More than in Aleph or The Garden of Forking Paths, we sought in A Tomb for Boris Davidovich, Early Sorrows, and The Encyclopedia of the Dead potent hints for freeing ourselves from the demands of an often pedagogical literature in which the writer’s one and only function was to be a pillar of civic courage.

    Fortunately, we had learned from observing our own troubled societies that the forces of good and evil were not neatly separated by the line dividing communists from noncommunists, compelling us to see that complex reality required an equally complex literary response. In this way Central and Eastern Europe witnessed a shift in the use of poetry, which too often had been fraught with an exalted political or moral "noble mind" which has, as Czeslaw Milosdz once shrewdly observed, no place in poems..

    Small wonder, then, that we young Slovenian writers took a Joycean stance of non serviam toward the cause of Slovenia’s independence during the ‘80s; yet during the Ten-Day War we immediately responded to the call of civic responsibility. In accordance with our philosophy of political abstinence, we set literature aside and demonstrated our unambiguous existential commitment in TV and radio reports, newspaper columns, and even in the ranks of the territorial militia.

    Our older colleagues had won much-deserved applause by using critical distance and the merciless scalpel of truth to expose "socialism with a human face" for what it was. Our aesthetic imagination, however, had been shaped by a different theater. We summoned our creative talents around a problem that may not have been publicly attractive but was, and continues to be, privately challenging. Instead of socialism and its spectacular burial, we focused on the scars, nicks, creases, and grimaces on the faces of individuals. We felt our way around the depths of the human soul in the agonized silence during a wake, when the reign of death begins to relent but has yet vanished altogether and the soul can so easily stray amid the shadows of paranoia and anxiety.

    The poet can give testimony to his time only if his metaphors are freed from external necessity, regardless of the ideological camp where they originate. This was our tenet, and we kept repeating this minor revelation in all the languages of what was once Yugoslavia. But it did not mean that our "generation without charismatic mentors," as it was often called in the press, closed its eyes to the social and historical reality around it.

    The opposite was instead true. Writing ordinary stories about ordinary people, we tried to reveal the consequences that social changes had for the individuals’ way of feeling and thinking, for their dire need and their tiny joys. In the temporary residence of that ghetto where we felt at home thanks to our mutual support and elective affinities, out of our individual efforts to capture in words that dark world in which none of us would wish to live, but most live nonetheless, grew the collective - erotic, almost - dedication to literature and a certain cultural mentality to which I contributed during the 1980s.

    At the precise moment when tanks began rolling out of the garrisons outside Ljubljana to forcefully maintain the collective state at any cost, the political idols of the Yugoslav experiment were dashed to pieces. The masks fell. Now, uniformed criminals dance, torrents of nameless refugees rush toward an uncertain future. The tidal wave of unrestrained militarism gains momentum. The flags of local warlords flutter higher on their staffs each day. The world begins to crumble like stale bread.

    In a cramped room on East Eleventh Street in New York’s Lower East Side sits a group of students and engineers, architects and poets who until yesterday had lived in a single state but who today have different countries. A worn-out record plays on the stereo. A Serb from Croatia, a famous stage performer from a country that no longer exists, recorded this selection of popular songs long before the invention of laser disk technology.

    Outside, the capital city of the twentieth century noisily goes about its business. But we lean forward and hold our breath, the better to soak up this old song of a Croatian poet. Rade Serbedzija sings it with the soft and gentle voice of someone who has no inkling that one day this crackling record’s melancholy message will offer its listeners the only available substitute for a home. They know that Theodor von Adorno was right when he wrote in his essay on Heinrich Heine that homelessness has become our fate, that both our language and our being are damaged by exile.

    Some of us went overseas into voluntary exile years before Balkan War with a vague longing for personal change but with the redemptive knowledge that we could always return to our newly independent republic at the foothills of the Alps, which the dragon of war has barely brushed with its tail. With our less fortunate friends from the devestated regions of the former Yugoslavia, however, we share an unpleasant feeling that we live the Heineesque lives of people who are looking for the way home. We keep hopefully looking for the place that was existentially real for us in the same way that childhood alone is real for the artist.

    The childhood of the South Slavs’ life in a common state is lost forever, and we listen all the more intently to this performance of a song that we’ve heard a hundred times before, and though it was written about an individual, the unexpected twists of history now reveal in it a metaphor of our collective fate.

Don’t give in to the years, Inez,

... brush me with your knee beneath the table,

my generation, my love


    A friend sitting next to me on a threadbare couch begins to sob. A tiny, almost invisible, stream runs down her checks, which suggests age beyond her years. Her tears are a sign that our shared experience of this sentimental song - with which boys in provincial capitals from the Alps to the Vardar used to court their girls - has now become a key to our elective affinity. Thus, those "beautiful moments of nostalgia, love, and loneliness," as the song goes, are not an ephemeral historical document but a magic formula that secures our passage to that refuge among the eternally young landscapes of the spirit in which we will always be at home.


Ljubljana - New York

July 1993

Translated by Michael Biggins