2 (from New Banalities) by Brane Mozetic translated by Tamara Soban

a nearby park to take a quick look inside.
On the flyleaf, in tiny handwriting right
on top of the page, a Eugene had written
to a Jim in January 1988: Have a lonely
read. Whatever happened to Jim that the
book should have ended up in a second-
hand bookstore fifteen years on? Did he
take that long to read it in solitude, and
Eugene, what happened to him? I turn the
pages for some jotted thoughts or comments
that would tell me something about either
of them. An underlined word maybe, a
doodle of a sun. Nothing, it’s starkly empty,
barren, as if no one has ever read it. As if
it was waiting for me to become that Jim
turning the pages under the trees, reading
the verses, and wondering what Eugene was
trying to tell him. It probably wouldn’t
make sense to go looking for him now. He
may not even be alive anymore. And where
was I at that time; are my fragmented memories
any kind of reality at all? Possibly, if I delved
really deep I might dredge up what was going
on then, where I was, with whom, what I did,
but otherwise it’s like that year never happened,
and I could be Eugene, or Jim, and let this
slim volume slide to the back of the shelf and
stop existing for a number of years.
Brane Mozetič is a noted Slovenian poet, writer, translator, editor, and activist. English translations were published of his poetry books, Butterflies and Banalities, a collection of short stories, Passion, and a novel, Lost Story.