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Robert Elsie
Albanian Literature

Albanian Authors

 

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Basri ÇAPRIQI, 2004 (Photo: Robert Elsie).

Basri ÇAPRIQI, 2004
(Photo: Robert Elsie).

Webdesign J. Groß

Basri ÇAPRIQI

 

My Room in London

the traditional english-style window and the mirrors around it increase the illusion of space you watch me from the street and from the surrounding apartments i cannot lock anything with the key that binds me to you the thames takes it all and casts it down by the two flanks of my naked body surrounded by mirrors that increase the illusion of infinite space in my bedroom i cannot lock this cubic world with the key that separates me from you the thames takes my little belongings and i cannot find them in the shadows suffocating me as they parade in the mirrors that extend the size of my bedroom the traditional english-style window and the confusing key in the open door fracture the light into a multitude of views of my limbs hanging in the mirrors that turn to ruins my world hidden from public view and the masses

(London, 1993)

[Dhoma ime në Londër, from the volume Frutat bizare, Prishtina: Rilindja 1996, p. 12. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Grass in the Window

The fruit is spoiling on my table,
I vow to pluck sour apples,
To hide their lifespan.

Someone who secretly loves me
Lays her unripe cheek on mine,
That I not taste unknown apples.

Spurn fruit in the evening,
She says in a distant tone
So that morning shoots will sprout in the mire.

Cast seed beyond the garden
When the seasons change and the foliage falls,
To keep your home so leaves won't conceal your face.

If grass gets in through your window,
Don't say the garden has grown up over your table,
Triumph of death over the verdant arch.

[Bari në dritare, from the volume Frutat bizare, Prishtina: Rilindja 1996, p. 14. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

My Room in Ulqin

Even when I am not there
My mother opens the shutters to the sea.

The moon floods in, outlined in a glass,
Filling the room with my figure.

My mother flings the shutters open to the sea
Even when I am not there

To bring in the fresh salt air,
For I am breathing somewhere

On the crest of a breeze
When she leaves the door open.

[Dhoma ime në Ulqin, from the volume Frutat bizare, Prishtina: Rilindja 1996, p. 23. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Girl from the East, Prostitute in Rome

They pay good money here
Full stop
In Prague the minister of food production arraigned me
In the name of the people
Full stop

I was a member of the Party

They pay good money here full stop
And the minister of heavy industry
And the people
Full stop

And I'm not permitted to be a member of their
Party

That is the main difference
Full stop
Buona notte

(Rome, 1990)

[Vasha nga lindja prostitutë në Romë, from the volume Frutat bizare, Prishtina: Rilindja 1996, p. 37. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Portrait of a Blood Killing Pardoned

Firstly they had to buy him shoes
That he could cross the threshold of his house.

Almost ready to kill himself
When he did not know his shoe size,

He had not worn shoes for a thousand years,
Bursting, he uttered: give me a size 1990.

They measured and assessed him and said:
Off with you now, avenger,

Eat crow on that muddy road
All the way to Vranjevc, on foot

Right from the start.

[Portret gjaksi të falur, from the volume Frutat bizare, Prishtina: Rilindja 1996, p. 38. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]

 

Archetype

When lighting that torch for me
You cover my sun
With that oversized head of yours.

[Arketip, from the volume Frutat bizare, Prishtina: Rilindja 1996, p. 39. Translated from the Albanian by Robert Elsie]