Por: Shota Iatashvili
He flew off and turned out to be right:
They praised him, blessed him, bowed their head for him.
He flew off again, and again turned out to be right:
They accepted him and didn’t grudge him bread, water and
A comb for his wing and plumage.
He flew off a third time and this time, too, he turned out to be right:
They put up with him, tolerated him.
He flew off a fourth time and turned out to be in the wrong:
They called him a silly plagiarizer of an angel.
But he still flew off a fifth time —
They fired at him,
They killed him.
A wind was blowing and a woman was flying with the wind
the woman was flying with the wind and a man was running after her
the man was running and all his friends were following him
the friends were coming along and a pub was standing
the pub was standing and the beer was turning sour
the beer was turning sour and the bartender was getting old
the bartender was getting old and his hair was falling
his hair was falling as bombs were falling down from the sky
bombs were falling from the sky and the houses were collapsing
the houses were collapsing and a new pub was being constructed
a new pub was being constructed and new friends were coming along
new friends were arriving and a new man was running along
a new man was running along and a new woman was flying with the wind
and a new woman was flying with the wind and the old wind was blowing
the old wind was blowing and new windmills were turning
the windmills were turning and the new Don Quixote was coming into the world
the new Don Quixote was coming into the world and Cervantes was dying
Cervantes was dying and Shakespeare was also dying
or it was the 23rd of April 23rd in 1616 and
literature was mourning and God was laughing
God was laughing and occasionally a man was laughing too.
The man was laughing and drinking beer
or vise versa: he was drinking beer at first and then laughing
followed by crying
and finally he finally rose to his feet and stumbled after the woman
the woman was running away tracing the wind
the wind was blowing and attempting to overtake the light
the man was standing and watching them try to catch up
and from time to time
the man was a physicist
The man was often going into the pub
and while the beer was turning sour and the bartender was getting old,
he was making conversation with his friends
and God was laughing
God was laughing…
And the wind was blowing
The slim spring dress
around your body
as if your soul was wrapped
in a winter coat.
You know, I suppose
just take place in the organism.
You know I suppose
elements of your dress
are mixing with your blood
and carbohydrates are
your feather-coat cloud.
This is chemistry, not eroticism.
This is chemistry, maybe even aesthetics,
but in no way
an imaginative confession of love.
This diffusion of dress and soul
is explained by my chemistry book.
Don’t tell me I’m a vulgar chemist.
I know already
that my yellow shirt is
an uncensored yellow
and has not even a trace
of diffusion with the fury of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
On How A City Gets Published Each Day
They start working at dawn, the proofreaders and city stylists.
They mow the lawns,
paint the facades of buildings,
reconnect broken cables,
read the streets line by line
this dog should not be here, let’s take it off;
let’s add a newsstand between these two trees,
and down there, at the end of the street
a trash can should be placed but
let’s change the street name.
Right there we need to correlate a supermarket with its original text—
citations from American life,
those the city just recently approved.
Frankly, many tasks wait to be done,
but not out of weakness.
Every morning there’s a steady diligence;
they stick their noses in the dusty volumes and
do their never-ending jobs:
replace the street tiles,
re-paint billboards in accordance with each holiday,
hang the street signs
and, finally, bring this stylistically corrected
city to the Night Editor for publishing.
Drawing a Line between Meteorology and Poetry
Finally one should refuse to use
Words denoting elemental phenomena,
Especially when depicting
Human spiritual experiences and frames of mind.
Poetry of the present and the future must be able to do without.
I watch through the window.
The rain rains in poems sung for the thousandth time,
The snow snows in poems sung for the thousandth time.
I go outside.
There’s nothing poetic about the wind.
It just makes my trousers flap,
Strikes my face and confuses my thoughts,
Which pretty well confirms
My theoretical deliberations:
Poetry and meteorology
Have over time come to quarrel with each other,
And now’s the time for them
Each to mind their own business.
My grandmother (on my father’s side), Mariam Iatashvili,
Was a meteorologist.
My grandfather (on my mother’s side), Parmen Rurua,
Was a poet.
Since childhood the things that sounded most poetic to me
Were the names of various types of cloud.
My grandmother would point to the sky and teach me,
But a lot of time passed after that.
And today I,
However regrettable and odd it may be,
Am coming out with an exposé
Of the unpoetic nature of meteorology
And the unmeteorological nature of poetry.
I expect you realise,
This is no easy subject.
All the more so if you’ve written lines, like:
“The wind is in the soul, o watery-eyed Maria,
The wind is in the soul, whether it’s dark or day-long light…”
And quite a few similar other things.
Yes this is no easy subject.
But I am nevertheless doing this
So that in future life and poetry
There should be no rain falling from my eyes,
No snow falling on my hair,
No wind lurking in my soul.
I wrote this poem
As a weather forecast for poetry
And I walked out into the street,
Where an unpoetic wind
Flapped my trousers and
Hit my face.
My money is beautiful.
Like having a flower, a tree, the sky,
These are beautiful things,
But my money is beautiful, too.
It lies in my pocket and I can touch it —
It’s little and much loved.
It’s so enchanting without being coy,
I can show it to you again and again,
And I can fix it to my buttonhole like a tulip.
This is a colourful performance,
This is a poor decoration,
This is the shiny skin of non-existence.
I will strip it away and enter into existence,
where there is a flower, a tree, the sky,
I shall enter.
I shall enter.
A ticket for me,
And a ticket for you — be my guest.
You know, life is beautiful,
If you attain it with beautiful money.
When I become an old man,
I think I shall give my beautiful money
To the museum of life
As a permanent exhibit.
People will come and enjoy
Looking at my beautiful money.
They will stand there for a long time, excited,
Then they will go home and think about it,
What’s good about it,
When you have a beautiful life,
A beautiful house,
A beautiful poem.
They will think about it,
What’s good about it,
When your money is as beautiful
As your pregnant wife.
Shota Iatashvili was born in 1966 in Tbilisi, Georgia. He is poet, fiction writer, translator and art critic. He has published a significant number of poetry collections, four works of prose and a book of literary criticism. In 2007 and 2011 he won the SABA Prize, Georgia’s most prestigious award, in 2009 International Poetry Award “Kievskie Lavri” (Ukraina), in 2018 polish literature award of Klemens Janicki for poetry book “Golden Ratio” and in 2018 Vilenica Crystal Award in Vilenica International Literary Festival (Slovenia).
His works have been translated into English, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Romanian, Chinese, Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovenian, Swedish, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Turkish, Albanian, Armenian, Azerbaijanian, etc.
He has been invited to Portugal, to the seminar of translators, where his poems were translated to Portuguese (Casa de Mateus, 2007). Currently, he is editor-in-chief of the literary journal Akhali Saunje (newsaunje.ge) and consultant of Tbilisi International Festival of Literature (http://tbilisilitfest.ge).