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Every Dead One Has a Name

Every dead one has a name,
only the names of the living make us falter.
Some names are impossible to utter without a stammer and a fidget, some can only be spoken through allusion, and some, mostly women’s, are forbidden in these parts.
Every dead one has a name, engraved in stone, printed in obituary or directory, but my name must be undermined, every few years soiled and substituted with another one.
A decade ago, a high-ranking party official warned me: Stay a poet, as long as there’s still time.
Still time? Time for what? I have also become a social scientist and an editor and an organiser and a translator and an activist and a university teacher.
Unbearable - all these things - all trespasses of the old parcel borders that were drawn by the dirty fingers of fraternities.
I air all the rooms, I ignore all the ratings, I open all the valvelets.
And they have put me out in the cold – like the dead.
But every dead one has a name.
© Taja Kramberger, Z roba klifa / From the Edge of a Cliff, CSK, Ljubljana, 2011 © Translation by Špela Drnovšek Zorko, 2012

Poem by Taja Kramberger
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