On the Train to Cascais
by Damir Šodan (translated from Croatian by the author and Majda Šodan)

  1. On the train to Cascais
  2. You saw the most beautiful girl.
  1. With olive skin
  2. And round breasts
  3. (Just like Ornella Muti's)
  4. Wearing a T-shirt
  5. By Dolce & Gabbana,
  6. Poised like St. Theresa of Avila
  7. Upon hearing that, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
  8. Contemplating that spear
  9. About to pierce her chest
  10. Etc.
  1. She must have been put off
  2. By the Wittgenstein's biography
  3. In your hands, for she suddenly
  4. Sprung up and exited
  5. In Estoril,
  6. As you continued to Cascais
  7. With the sad realisation
  8. That you'd just missed
  9. The woman of your life
  10. (Or somebody else's):
  1. An Atlantean as beautiful
  2. As the body of her slippery language,
  3. Juicy and rustling
  4. Like the samba
  5. You heard that summer
  6. On the lake of Bohinj
  7. When you were eighteen.
  1. So what choice did you have,
  2. But to continue reading that damn book
  3. Bitter in the knowledge
  4. That the limits of your language
  5. Are indeed the limits of your world
  6. That is the case;
  7. Much like this one
  8. Whereof you wouldn't want to be silent;
  9. Not even in death.
Packingtown Review – Vol.9, Fall 2017

Damir Šodan is a poet, playwright, translator and editor whose work has been anthologised both in Croatia, his home country, and abroad. He is one of the editors of Poezija and Quorum magazines in Zagreb, Croatia, and has published a number of books in Croatian, including his translations of Charles Simic, Charles Bukowski, Raymond Carver, Leonard Cohen, and Frank O'Hara. Having worked for over twenty years as a translator for the United Nations, he is now a freelance writer and translator splitting his time between The Hague, Netherlands, and Split, Croatia.

Majda Šodan has translated various Croatian poets into English and edited literary publications from Croatian into English. She holds a Diploma in Translation (French-English) from the UK Chartered Institute of Linguists, a BA in Political Science from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and an MA in Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies (The Hague, Netherlands).

  1. Nina Živančević
    We are pushing this n-tieth exile…poetry