Primoz Cucnik
Cucnik-foto gordana bobojevic
Photo by Gordana Bobojevic
Read poems by Primoz Cucnik below.
Primoz Cucnik was born in Ljubljana in 1971. He studied philosophy and cultural sociology
at The Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. His first collection of poetry, Dve Zimi (Two Winters), was published in 1999 and received Best First Collection Award. His latest books are Ritem v rokah (Rhythm in hands, 2002), Akordi (Chords, 2004), Nova okna (New Windows, 2005) and collaboration book Oda na manhatnski aveniji (Ode to Manhattan Avenue, 2003). A selection of his poems Zapach herbaty (The Scent of Tea, 2002) was published by Studium, Krakow. His translations of contemporary Polish poetry have been published in Slovenian literary magazines and in books featuring the work of Adam Wiedemann, Marcin Swietlicki and Piotr Sommer. He also writes literary criticism, book reviews, works as an editor for the magazine Literatura and runs a small press Sherpa. He lives in Ljubljana.

1. The Scent of Tea
The Scent of Tea was first published in Talisman No. 27 (New Jersey, Winter 2003). Translated from Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar.
My friend is an existentialist. He collects china
and Japanese teapots. You get the best cup of tea at his place. Steeped to perfection. It may not be a true ceremony but in our drinking, when we sit around the table, there is definitely something aesthetic. I like the scene when we keep quiet and sip the scent of tea. All of us are existentialists. First we laugh, only then do we say that´s a good joke. The two of us also read Salamun. Once we spent the whole summer saying: Jonah are you a fish? I am a fish. We were all on the island Hvar. I have another friend who is a Buddhist. We were standing on the border between philosophy and theology. We said: ouch, it´s sharp. You can cut yourself here. Perhaps he will read the Tibetan secret tantras and then we can all have a laugh together on Shoemakers´ Bridge. Another time we joked about nothingness, how horribly cold it is for our homes. He said: I am sated with wisdom. From now on I shall take only a teaspoon. It will lead us all astray. Branko sent me a sacred cow from Nepal. He should´ve come back by now, but he is a wanderer. Two of my friends are musicians. One writes to me from the North though he has an Eastern name. Lao Zi is a legend. The other is a bass player. He may speak to Peacock one day. On Tales of Another footprints are white. Jarrett is talking to angels. Spirits too, if you will. When we discuss music we never know where it comes from and where it goes. But for sure it is not in the notes. This much we agree on. And I know from personal experience. Another friend of mine works in printing. The two of us ride bicycles together. Sometimes we don´t speak at all. Perhaps he doesn´t know when I am decent. That I uncover myself when I am hot. Because I was afraid that he´d fall I gave him The Climbing Skills, a book from 1950. Let´s all go to Medvode for some tea some time to say a thing or two about our destiny. Something fine binds us. Grom said a good score is like a stick of gum that stretches and spreads to all sides but doesn´t snap. It seems to be the same with us. We are swinging on rubber, careful not to be too rough. When it is hot we wait for it to cool. We blow too, and our wind makes ripples on the edges of china. Something fine binds us. The important thing is that it bursts.

2. First Song
Translated from Slovenian by Ana Jelnikar.
First song speaks of the old way
of life. How things were set
in the beginning and how it was clear where
they should end or outlined begin again

with familiar feelings. But then the cuckoo
started to strike greater hours, and grass
grew taller and flowers blossomed more beautifully and afternoon strollers gazed at hitherto missed colours.

Snow still white, but cleaner
and brighter, the sky above the roof tiles still blue, but blue in the goldenness of a perfect
afternoon, and the song still resounding

in its evergreen tones. The stars cast
their glance towards us like surprised acquaintances bumping into one another after a thousand years, and the book sticks to its claim even after a thousand years,

and a special river has crawled between
the glittering rocks from the old riverness
polished to perfect shapes like durable
hearts tossed into its winding.

Not a month to name
or a year to know when
it all started, only sounds of moments
poured into an ear and the time unknown

as though all time was past, your original sin
still buried in your sleep and from an empty
pocket you can pull your first song
which took you there.

But it is plain and clear now, only its chorus that you once knew by heart keeps changing,
so that you can never catch the words.

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