Dissident Editions



poems of the month

orpheus in soho

a seriously sexy man


measuring my face

old clothes

modern iranian poems

my hero

face at the bottom of the world

perhaps (maybe)

the diogenes sequence

where to store furs

i am and am not:
      fragments of rumi

destiny and destination

the zen of no-enlightenment

the iraqi monologues

already backwards

a light in ruins

separate amputations

the sexy jihad

awaiting the barbarians

the smell of possibilities

ultimate leaves

rejoice in the dog

post-millennium maggot

albanian poems

french poems in honour of jean genet

the hells going on

the joy of suicide

book disease

foreground trouble

the transcendental hotel

cinema of the blind

lament of the earth mother

uranian poems

haikai by okami

haikai on the edge

black hole of your heart

jung's motel

wine and roses

confession from belgrade

gloss on rilke's
ninth duino elegy

jewels and shit:
poems by rimbaud

villon's dialogue with his heart

vasko popa:
a shepherd of wolves ?

the rubáiyát of omar khayyám

genrikh sapgir:
an ironic mystic






good riddance to mankind

the maxims of michel de montaigne

400 revolutionary maxims

nice men and
  suicide of an alien

anti-fairy tales

the most terrible event in history

the rich man and the leper




the three bears

three albanian tales

a little creation story



one not one

an occitanian baby-hatch

ancient violence
in the amazon

home, sweet home no longer

the ivory palace

helen's tower

extortion through e-bay

schopenhauer for muthafuckas

never a pygmy

against money

'original sin' followed by
crippled consciousness

a gay man's guide to soft-willy sex

the holosensual alternative

tiger wine

the death of poetry

the absinthe drinker

with mrs dalloway in ukraine

love  and  hell

running on emptiness

a holocaust near you

a note on the cathars


londons of the mind
& dealing death to the caspian


a muezzin from the tower of darkness

kegan and kagan

being or television

satan in the groin

womb of half-fogged mirrors

tourism and terrorism

the dog from sinope

in britain & america

this sorry scheme of things

the bektashi dervishes

a holy dog
& a dog-headed saint

fools for nothingness

death of a bestseller

vacuum of desire: a homo-erotic correspondence

a note on beards

translation and the oulipo

Nuadú, God of War

field guide to megalithic ireland

houses for the dead

ireland & the phallic continuum

the sheela-na-gig conundrum

french megaliths

a small town in france


western values


the problems of translating poetry

an albanian ikon ?

albanian donkeys

the bektashi dervishes

poems by ujko BYK

albanian love-poems

albanian poems of dissidence

albanian poems of exile

recent albanian poems

beyond the albanian experience


horatio morpurgo's albanian trip

albanian short stories

map of albania

the dictator's library







Shpirti i Shqiperisë

a canadian-albanian film
about the
"sworn virgins" of northern albania




by Blerim Kasneci
born in Tepelenë 1977, now living in Toronto

To read this page properly, please ensure that the character encoding
of your browser is not set to the default 'Unicode'.

translated by Zana Banci and Anthony Weir


Blerim Kasneci

The poet as he was before he walked for six days
across the mountains to Greece.


Kliko këtu për versionin shqip

Click for Albanian Texts



The autocratic gramophone
that played the Mozart record so sweetly
had the luck to play the executioner -
but the sounds that came out were broken and rusty -
O executioner, contemptible executioner.

The gramophone played in Plenums and wide-open spaces -
it even played in the mummyless Pyramid -
it played and it played, and it spun the record,
it spun its desire - metallic cries -
to get out of the country -
but where could it go
without arms or legs ?
Where could it go with no eyes ?

*The Pasha or Turkish Governor referred to is, of course, not the 19th century autocrat
Ali Pasha Tepelenë celebrated by Byron, but the notorious 20th century dictator Enver Hoxha,
under whose rule most people who were not in prison or in labour-camps
played 'His Master's Voice'.




Exhausted and parched with thirst and with heat,
I stopped running
when I reached the valley of skulls
as wide as it was long:
festooned with skulls,
the whole valley
between the two mountains:
one resplendent with trees
the other naked and brown.

I was terrified.
I screamed like a baby
there at the entrance
to the valley of death
thousands of skulls
of overwhelmed men
rotting in nettles, bleaching in bushes.

Up in the oak-covered mountain
thousands of souls laughed and cried.
Some shouted from anger of longing,
some cried for their children at home.
I was paralysed by fear and confused.

Then I saw a huge statue cast in bronze.
As I slowly approached it
I saw it was not a statue at all
but a living she-wolf,
shaking and sobbing
for the pale-blue and dead army.

Parched with thirst and with heat,
and exhausted,
I left the valley of skulls.
As long as I live it will stay in my mind:
the howling and sobbing of the blue wolf
and the dead army.

Saimola is a field in the Vjosa valley (Southern Albania), surrounded by mountains and steep chasms. It is a silent, almost dead place which the sun hardly reaches, without even the buzz of a fly.
In the Italian-Greek war (1940-41) the Italians installed at Tepëlënë nearby one of its crack battalions named I Lupi Blu - 'The Blue Wolves' - who wore blue berets.

The Italians did not do well in this campaign, and were soon replaced by Germans who occupied the whole of Greece and(amongst other atrocities) carted off the large Jewish population of Salonika, almost depopulating the town. During the Greek advance into Albania the Italian forces were trapped at Saimola, their only means of escape the fatal precipice above the Vjosa river.

They were massacred, and still today remains of their matériel can be seen scattered about.

In memory of the defeat, the Italians erected a great bronze she-wolf howling towards Greece. In the 1950s the communist government of Enver Hoxha issued the unlikely report that Gypsies from Berat had stolen it and melted down to make distilling-apparatus for raki. All that survive today are chunks of the marble base, beside which are graves of Greek soldiers. The Greeks have refused to remove the bodies of their slain to Greece, since they claim this part of Albania as Greek 'Northern Epirus'.




Concrete and steel
Grime-grey walls
Dirt-dark ceilings
Soul-black misery
Half-blind eyes
Defeated spirits
Once-great hopes
Now-dead future.
Blue skies
Iron bars
Bloody wrists
Rotting bodies.

Rusty locks
Shut up a people
Here the expunged
Here the disappeared
Wasted as each day
Lasted a hundred days
Freezing in winter
Burning hot in summer

Well-heeled warders
Dead bourgeois.

(The translator has seen one of the old Hoxha prisons: crude cells of cinder-blocks
with no protection against winter cold or summer heat.)



The day that Freedom came,
God swooped from the sky
And whispered in our ears:
Beware O people,
Beware the Parasite!

But how in this Albania, O God,
can men humiliated and hurt by history
and modernity
still want to work the land ?

The years vanish and days pass
and everywhere the Parasites increase.
Are you listening, God ?
This country is too tired,
exhausted by illusions and by politics.

Bitterly, amongst the trash and spoil,
the women wonder
if there are any men in this Albania,
proles or prophets, saints or thieves,
worthy of our soil ?




I am old sorrow and past predicament.
Now, without identity in a street
nameless to me, I am a stranger:
I am longings, I am fears.

The past is years dissolving into memory.
The past is emigration, flight;
the present: yearning and homesickness
dissolving into years.

I am the wandering child
longing to belong to his lost
childhood and not be outside the present,
always withdrawn, apart.

I am the homeless child
who grew up in displacement
living in homesickness
and sickness of the heart.




I cannot feel the sun.
Always sunk in sunset
trapped in clouds,
its few escaping rays
pierce my heart.
Then darkness comes
swathed in sorrow
and the moon
the stand-up comic in the sky
patters on
and passion turns to irony.




Returning at last
from far emigration
I saw my country:
a wrinkled old crone.
My heart was heavy
and tortured by truth.

In old streets of stone
old women wasting
all skin and bone
cursing the yonder
that plundered their youth.




Here we are, still walking
in the bloody tracks of history.

Frightened and defenceless
we are still treading
through the tragedies
that the new century
dragged in with it.

We are still walking.

Like children
we hug the new century

and bring it
new tragedy.




In solitude I murder silence
In solitude I am content
In solitude I take my pencil
Go down deep in what I write.

Solitude is my companion
Primeval, oceanic friend.
Dante looks at us with envy.
Macbeth is fearful of our bond.

I betrayed the wild, sweet sun
in emigration's dismal deed.
I drank the solitary poison
and left my country to its need.




And…I am here again
At the fork in the road.
One branch maybe leads to life
And the other to...I don't know...

And...still up above me
There in the cypress-tree
Angry demons watch
With great curiosity.

And now they have hurled
Me to the ground...
And in this uncomforting world
I am paralysed and bound.





Gramofoni mbretëror
Që bukur luante pllakën e Moxartit
Për fat i ra të luaj, pjesën e xhelatit
Por tingujt dilnin, të ndryshkur të thyer
Ehhh, more xhelat, xhelat i urryer.

Luajti gramofoni
Në ara e pleniume'
(Luajti dhe tek piramida pa mumje!)
Luajti sa luajti, dhe pllakën e ktheu
Një dëshirë i hipi
Të zhdukej nga mëmëdheu
Por ku të shkonte
s'kish as këmbë e as duar .
Ku të shkonte me sy të verbuar!



I zhuritur për ujë, i këputur nga vapa
Vrapin e ndala, tek lugina me kafka.

Atje tutje
Sa gjatë e gjerë
Me kafka qe stolisur
Një luginë e tëre.

Shtanga i friksuar.
Klitha si i mitur
Se në luginën e vdekjes,
kisha hyrë papritur.

Mijera kafka, qe shifnin mbytur.
Dergjeshin të heshtura në ferra e hithra.

Lart në pllajat mbuluar me lisa
Qanin e qeshnin, me mijëra shpirtëra
Dikush thërriste, nga malli i tërbuar.
Dikush qante për, fëmijën e harruar.

Me fuqitë e prera, nga frika i hutuar
Vëmendjen ma tërhoqi
Një statuje e lartë, në bronx mbuluar.

Ju afrova ngadalë
Fillova ta prek.
Kjo s'qenka statujë, por Ujkonje e vërtet
Dridhej e tëra, qante me dënesë,
për Armatën Blu, të mbetur pa jetë.

I zhuritur për ujë, i këputur nga vapa
Luginën me kafka, tash e lashë mbrapa
Në mëndje më mbeti, sa të jem në jetë
dhe e armatës pa jetë.

("In memory of the Battle of Saimola, Southern Albania" - see above)



mure gri
Tavane të errët
pis të zi
Sy të humbur
shpirtra të mekur'
Shpresë e madhe
e ardhme e vdekur.

Qiej blu
mbuluar në hekur
në prranga "kuq"
kufomë e tretur.

Çelsa të ndryshkur
burgosin një shekull
Kush i mohuar
e kush i tretur
presin ditët
të bëhen shekuj.

Koridore të ftohtë
derdhur në hekur
Gardian të lumtur
borgjez të vdekur


Ditën që na erdh' liria
nga qielli zbriti perëndia.
Në vesh na pëshpëriti:
Kujdes popull,
nga paraziti'.

Ska se si Perëndi.
Ka burra kjo Shqypni,
të vrarë e të lënduar
kanë dëshirë për të punuar.

Kalojnë vitet treten ditët,
nga cdo anë shtohen parazitet
Dikur të izoluar.
Tash me zorr jemi të zbuar.

A degjon perëndi
shumë u lodh kjo Shqypni.
për jetë e zhgenjyer,
politik e urryer.

Me mllef pyet njerëzia
vall ka burra Shqypnia.

Vall profet
Vall ploretar
Vall të shenj
Vall kusar
Vall të aftë për vatan



E kaluara jonë një kujtim i tretur në vite
E kaluara jonë, një shtegëtim, një ikje
Gjithë mall jemi në pritje
Për dashurinë e Atdheut
të tretur në vite.

Unë jam e kaluara e trishtuar
E kaluara gjithë mundim.
Rritur në rrugë pa emër
Në dhe të huaj në mërgim

Unë jam fëmija shtegëtar
që kurrë se shijova fëmjërinë
Sa shumë jam i malluar
Për vendlindjen për shtëpin

Unë jam fëmija shtegëtar
Që u rrita në mërgim.
Sa shumë i malluar
Për vendlindjen për shtëpin.



Dhe diellin s'mund ta prek.
Për jetë u ç'kri , në perëndim .
Pak rreze që përshkojnë retë
Ma kthejnë jetën në mallëngjim .

Dhe...ja erdhi errësira ,
stolisur me trishtim.
Për "karshi" gajaset Hëna.
Kjo mashtruese e ç'mendur!!.
Pasion ka ironinë.



Mbas shtegëtimesh të gjata,
U ktheva nga udha
Gjeta atdheun.
Të zhytur në rrudha
Zemra rrahu fort
Më hipi trishtim
Sa shumë është m'plakur
atdheu im!

Me mall në buzë,
plakat e urta
Me shikimin e tretur
Në udhët e gurta
Nga shpirti u del
I qarë mallkim,
Për rrugët e largëta
Që vodhën rininë.



Ja ku ecim përsëri
Në gjurmët e përgjakura
Që la kjo histori
Të pa sigurt, e të frikësuar,
Jemi përsëri
Nga tragjeditë që na solli.
Ky shekulli i ri.

Si një fëmijë i mitur.
Ja ku ecim përsëri
Jemi ne që përqafuam
Shekullin e ri,
Jemi ne që po sjellim
Tragjedi !



Në vetmi e vras heshtjen
Në vetmi kam gëzim
Në vetmi marrë penën
Dhe zhytem në ditarin tim.

Vetminë e kam shok
Gjithashtu mik pellazgjik'.
Dantja na ka zili.
Makbethi na sheh gjithë frik !

Në vetmi tradhëtova diellin
Gjithashtu atdheun tim.
Në vetmi piva helmin
e quajtur mërgim.


more poems of exile
by Dalan Luzaj


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in Albanian

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