Nedžad Ibrahimović (Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1958) received his PhD at the Faculty of Philosophy in Tuzla in the field of literature of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He completed his television studies at the Media Academy in Hilversum (Netherlands). Ibrahimović is the founder and editor-in-chief of the journal for art theory and criticism Razlika/Difference. Ibrahimović is the recipient of two awards for best poetry collection and an award for best screenplay. In 2006, he was a Fulbright professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Between 2014 and 2017 he was the president of PEN Bosnia and Herzegovina. He teaches literary theory at the Faculty of Philosophy in Tuzla, and teaches film theory at the University of Donja Gorica in Montenegro.
From the book FAMILY AND OTHER TERRIBLE SONGS
IN ORAŠJE IN ŠIROKO
The hot afternoon pours its rays.
Groundskeepers are trimming linden branches above the pavement . Traces ofsummers which are
gone and never will be again.
I miss the people in my city who did not love me.
With whom to disagree now about literature?
News shots from Pakistan: demolished houses in Model Colony. From 98 Airbus A-‐320 passengers more than 80 have died. The others are gone. Still gone…
A young man -‐ in a television frame in front of a ruin (black beard
and a messy tuft) testifies that he first saw smoke in the sky –
-‐ is signed as Allah. (22-‐05-‐2020)
The scents of linden reach the room and flower wreaths will soon
fall to the ground.
In the hospital by the river, mother tells of her roommate in the third person. This shrewd patient
smiles gently and peeks from the margins.
Neither of them seems to mind.
A good death is one where your earthly
remains are being dealt with by some unknown people… (JM Coetzee)
There are people who suddenly stop loving, and don’t tell the other, andthen
they love each other disproportionately and asymmetrically.
And then, after a while, he
gives to her a stroke, she to him a heart attack,
and then again they watch over and safeguard each other, just like at the beginning.
But there are also those selfish ones, who within their heart do not mix anyone else. Deathespecially appreciates that.
It likes to surprise everyone else.
I met my ex-‐wife at the station restaurant.
Just came from a trip, she says, while
she wipes the black jam from her lips with a napkin. Bićanić wrote beautifully about her acting. The show won numerous rewards and, then -‐ so, how’s life, and such?
Between plays and television, the child is led, she says, from school to home, from home to school. Weaned from me, she looks back as if towards someone invisible
to whom she makes an unspecified complaint. A void thrives around us.
When she’s acting, she’s a lot prettier, and she seems to know this too. Say hello to the kid,I say, and leave quickly.
Until she hasn’t.
STORIES ABOUT GAPS
Nobody buys books anymore. Petar and I sip brandy from
a slivovitz flask in front of a bookstore. Although the good-‐looking waitress crosses the squarewearing a mini skirt in the cold,
we don’t order from her anymore. The jerk owner somehow figured out that his business is going up andhe raised the prices. In a parrot yellow coat and with eyes devoid of hope a black-‐faced migrant enters
the perimeter and bypasses us. A stray dog was sniffing in front of the cafe door -‐ itknows nothing about inflating price. With the cold wind from the Sava river, a memoryof the son appears.
My Bela is pregnant, says Petar, while sipping and stomping his feet in place. That’s about a hundred marks per puppy. We quarreled and I, very much like a father, smacked him -‐ and thatwas
that -‐ six years ago. Seven!
The stray dog now pisses down a church wall and the vine twists towards the grain pea. An acquaintance, a hydrological engineer, told me that because
whirling coastal waters this part of the town hovers over the void. It will be warmer tomorrow, Isay, I look into the void and leave.
After unknown worries and strange fears, after preparations and sketches, everynightthinking, stealing
of characters and personalities you met, you finally decide, and
like a diligent and organized crook, you get up at half past five in the morning, you make tea and eat polenta.There, you are finally in front of your
void and you write, you make note and you delete what is written. Beneath the windows the employedprecariat is in a hurry, the police exhibitionists
sirens are howling, the ambulance alarms are screaming and
schoolchildren in love are typing messages in the rain. You cross words and signs, shortening sentence strings andforming paragraphs with spaces.
And so on every God-‐given day, for years incessantly – all until it’s all over. After all, you arefinishing and throwing out that
burden from your soul. Afterwards, everything is same as before. Nothing makes sense and nothing madeit in the first place.
And then under the ceiling, in a corner above the desk, you see a spider’s web, largeand spacious. You saw
it on time, because it almost came down to you. At night spiders search
for water and creep into the nose and mouth, mostly in childhood when you sleep the hardest, and you realize that youhave been formed by hundreds of grams of
raw spider and that there is nothing else you could do but by that inner compulsion to knit from your own body.
All you needed for that was emptiness. And now you’re waiting. Only hunger makes sense.
Ask and you shall receive! Seek, and ye shall find! (Mt 7: 7-8)
It’ warmer. The short streets between the crammed shacks smells of fish, river mud andwet willows. Petar sold
two puppies, and I sent my son another letter. The first one maybe he didn’t see, maybe he didn’tunderstand it, or maybe it hurt him?
Maybe I asked too much of him, it’s possible he
thought I was being condescending. He doesn’t trust me anymore.
I therefore crammed this one with beautiful stylistic figures, imported it with mild verbs, and asked for nothing. Now every day
I’m checking my other profile. (He blocked me on the first one.)
But, if he also had an other profile, he would have a new name, the two of us could then, like two nakedsnails, extend our horns one
to the other and start our history from scratch. Only mutual lie could save us.
Someone said ask and you shall receive! Seek and ye shall find !, laughs Petar. By the church the waitress inthe mini skirt carries two shots with brandy.
By delving into the boundaries of language the reason gets bumps.
I wish I didn’t read.
I wish I walked through the city like through a spring forest. Not reading the inscriptions on the shops, the glittering commercials and illiterate advertisements, communal notices, textson stores, names and
surnames on lawyers’ offices and notaries’ entrance doors, billboards, discounts, names of
bakeries and meat boutiques, I wish didn’t even read obituaries anymore.
I wish I was a dog that doesn’t get off the leash and that in this chaos I only rest my tongue.
“Welcome children! Eat,
and after that you can come in and I will give you cake! ” The Brothers Grimm
A teenager who starts smoking. I was writing in the hope of getting laid, and then I broke into this house suddenly And here I am now. Locked. The language is now
my shirt and my tail, my shoes and my gloves.
I don’t know when there will be enough of it, and when too much, for all that I would like to say. Mine… Mine? These words are my
legcuffs and handcuffs lurking after my head to eat it with delight.
the language is now both my father and my mother, and my mother’s mother and my mother’s father, and, worst of all, my language is also Her language. Thus, my father and mother and Her father and mother.
I am repulsed by this sticky tongue saliva that we share. Everything I say is also said byHer. Everything I write,
She has already written, everything I want to say, there she is, and through the barred window she threatensfrom outside with her skinny finger
and grins cynically. I have a premonition, and only premonitions are mine, that – just like a hanged man is killed by his own body,
and the cherry-‐plum in front of the house by its own fruit – one word will kill me, the one that I will not know to be the last one, the strong one, Miljkovićev’s one. It will be the key to the sugary door that She will get herhands on,
but that word will ultimatley be mine alone. And that is what
I am modestly looking forward to. I am a wolf who, for my freedom, gnaws its front paw.
The years of captivity are getting harder and faster, and when I get tired and give up, I don’t get off the leash anymore.
Through the spring forest then the two of us pass as
through a city where I no longer read inscriptions on the shops, the glittering commercials and illiterate advertisements, communal notices, texts on stores, names and titles on
lawyers’ offices and notaries’ entrance doors, billboards, discounts, names of bakeries and meat boutiques, nor obituaries do I read anymore. None but mine own.
The old ones, before I fell into Her house.