It’s been a while

For my friend. Not that much is the same, just the wine.
Djordje Balašević: Ostaje mi to što se volimo / I’m left knowing that we love each other

Translated by Manja Maksimovič

My childhood friend lives in the country happily 
like in a Russian novel, yes, exactly like that. 
He has a wife and a son and a cellar full of wine 
and couldn’t care less for the rest. 

Recently I see him less and less 
mostly just when he celebrates something. 
He doesn’t ask many questions, he reaches out his hand and says: 
“It’s been a while.” 

And then we remember the days when we were wild and fast as reindeer 
and the closer we are to truth and sadness the more we approach the next litre.  

I ask him if he knows that you’re gone, that you’re gone. 
“Well, yes,” he says, “she had another man, you know that.” 
I ask him if he knows that we love each other, still love each other. 
“Aren’t you a lucky one,” he grumbles, “you can be such a child sometimes.” 

In the Tuscan country. Photo: MM

My childhood friend looks at life austerely 
he sees the sky and the earth, and he’s right about that. 
I am a damn poet standing in the rain 
who is lying and loving.

Even though we went to the same rough school of life 
we are distant sometimes, it’s only human. 
Everybody carries an own little god on the inside 
that he secretly worships. 

And so we remember the times when we were running from the wind like wild stallions
and the closer we are to truth and sadness the more we approach the next glass.

I ask him what to do now that you’re gone, you’re gone. 
“Never mind,” he says, “there are many more like her.” 
I ask him if he knows that we love each other, still love each other.  
“Right,” he grumbles, “pass that bottle, pal.” 

My childhood friend married green 
but lucked out, whereas me, I haven’t, you see. 
I have loved many, some perfectly empty 
some perfectly foreign. 

And more and more I feel that there is no way 
of describing you to him, the only true one. 
That’s why I’m dissolving the whole world in the wine 
there are no limits to what can fit into this glass. 

And I quickly turn the subject to our childhood and stallions with sweaty breath  
and the closer we are to truth and sadness the more we approach the next drop.  

I ask him if he knows that it doesn’t matter that you’re gone. 
“Okay then,” he says, “what are you left with now?” 
I’m left knowing that we love each other, we still love each other. 
“Don’t know if it’s the wine,” he grumbles, “but this is getting ridiculous.” 

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