Borche PANOV (The Republic of North Macedonia)

Borche PANOV (The Republic of North Macedonia)
Borche Panov was born on September 27, 1961 in Radovish, The Republic of North Macedonia. He graduated from the ”Sts. Cyril and Methodius” University of Skopje in Macedonian and South Slavic Languages (1986). He has been a member of the “Macedonian Writers’ Association” since 1998. He has published: a) poetry: “What did Charlie Ch. See from the Back Side of the Screen” (1991), “The Cyclone Eye” (1995), “Stop, Charlie” (2002), “The Tact” (2006), “The Riddle of Glass” (2008), “The Basilica of Writing” (2010), “Mystical Supper” (2012), “Vdah (The Breathe of Life)” (2014), “The Human Silences” (2016), “Uhania” (2017), “Shell” (2018); and several essays and plays: “The Fifth Season of the Year” (2000), “The Doppelgänger Town” (2011), “A Dead-end in the Middle of an Alley” (2002), “Homo Soapiens” (2004), “Catch the Sleep-walker” (2005), “Split from the Nose Down” (2006), and “The Summertime Cinema” (2007). He has also poetry books published in other languages: “Particles of Hematite” (2016 – in Macedonian and Bulgarian), “Vdah” (2017 – in Slovenian), “Balloon Shaving” (2018 – Serbian), and “Fotostiheza” (“Photopoesis, 2019 – Bulgarian).
His poetry was published in a number of anthologies, literary magazines and journals both at home and abroad, and his works are translated into English, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Bosnian, Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian, French, Catalonian, Mongolian, Uzbek, Albanian, Romanian, Polish, Italian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Danish language.
Panov works as the Counselor for Culture and Education at the municipality of Radovish, and he is also Arts Coordinator for the “International Karamanov’s Poetry Festival”, held in Radovish annually.
all of a sudden
a gym
settled in my head
– One – Two, Up – Down, Left – Right…
she commands
while I exercise
– Tell yourself
I am not an automat
but a living human,
she shouts at me
I shout at the mirror
while that poor thing
supports me
one – two!
I approach to you
like a mental hygiene
and you have soap in your eyes
up – down!
how could you be clean
when you look at me
with unclean conscience
left – right!
why should I remember you
when you exist only now
said to me the mirror harshly
one – two!
you are not humming in the morning
and you are not paying attention to me anymore
asked me the mirror
up – down!
you can break me
it is firm evidence
you are broken inside
left – right!
the mirror
is chewing on its last nerve
and keeps quiet
with a nightmare on its lips
his only consolation
that I am aware of that too
one – two!
the mirror
presses my eyes
and in the darkness clearly says to me
– You will never guess who it is!
up – down
since the mirror
has started to shave by heart
I look like a self-slaughter more and more
for my friends
it has been a while
since my head
was getting full
with emptiness
one day
the mirror told me
– Now, you are equal to me,
from now on you will be happy
left – right!
the mirror is getting bold
more and more each day
and as a revenge
it gives me sharp and thick beard
the mirror was born deaf
that is why it has
many healthy subjects
it’s good it’s good it’s good it’s good
it’s good it’s good it’s good
it’s good
it’s good
I said to the mirror
all I had was good
and you didn’t even look at me
– Weren’t you sleeping?
asked the worm in me…
like a sweeper
that sweeps
the bad dreams
of the night
the town awakens me
on the park bench
and says
Move, you wanderer,
make a space
for this old man
and we were sitting
with our thoughts
like with empty streets
between us
with childish carelessness
the dawn was sitting as well
but for a while
because this bench
became too small
when the day
sat besides us
like asthmatic
whose breath
is shortened
by everyone
and here it is
a thought
like a dog on a leash
is dragging
my lethargic body
from yesterday
He has been making up death for his whole life
he has been filing her nails,
shaving her beard,
trimming her moustaches,
putting mascara on her eyelashes,
cutting her hair, making pedicure, nail polishing, and
applying liquid and powder foundation,
he has been making her up with a smile – a discrete one
like Mona Lisa’s smile,
he was doing her makeover like a nice memory, just for a moment –
to be beautiful before the earth covers her appearance,
before she becomes bodiless – a memory only!
– In my dreams, the dead are coming to me,
they are angry with me
because I have forgotten their golden watches,
or because I have tied their shoes with one knot only,
she wanted white instead of yellow rose
that reminds us on the betrayal,
that I have drawn grimace too severe and cold,
in spite of the fact that she was righteous judge,
that she wasn’t as much as pretty while she was alive
as she is now as dead,
and now all people will have memories of her prettier death,
that she has never wanted me to cover her wrinkles under her eyes
with which she was happy,
that she has never worn bow tie,
nor a shirt with little snob wings –
death is miserable among the rich,
she is neither a man nor a woman, he would say.
When my father passed,
we put cardboard shoes on his feet,
and he didn’t complain – but we had grief over his death.
And that is how my life was,
and I am thinking to outwit her with me –
I will turn myself into ash,
so the wind will be my grave,
and when the wind starts to blow from the Еast,
someone will remember that I was shepherd
before I went to America,
and will drink hot Rakia in my name…

Translated from Macedonian into English by Daniela Andonovska-Trajkovska

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