v2.10 / Into the Staggers with Robert Hutinski

I will throw thee from my care for ever
Into the staggers and the careless lapse
Of youth and ignorance . . .

It’s a line from Shakespeare’s dark comedy, All’s Well That Ends Well— “dark” because nothing ends well and everyone, at some point, falls prey to “the staggers” of the human condition.

We stagger in fear and intoxication. We stagger in confusion and weakness. But we stagger too in elation, wonder, and passion.

It’s this condition I sense in Robert Hutinski‘s series Recognition. In the images, the curtains open on a play with many titles: “Melancholia,” “Prophecy,” and so on. But “recognition” is like “love” in All’s Well That Ends Well. It never really takes place. There’s only the unspoken, the unrealized, the evanescent.

That’s the “all” of it, which is only to say, with the Slovakian poet Peter Repka, “We stagger in the corridors . . . nevertheless we live.”

In broad daylight suddenly
from a tense unknown indistinct face
(in pauses)
a thousand times a second I read a letter
sent not by hand but by gaze.
All that it says is:
Quickly . . .

from “While the Connections Last” by Ivan Štrpka

The soil is loose, the fence is rotten.
The tree is sinking in.
The breeze is a train.
We stagger in the corridors.

We’ve known a long time
thirst is unquenchable.
And nevertheless we live.

from “Darling Desert” by Peter Repka

and sometime too we may find a spyhole, where the universe
reveals more depth, or a moment’s opening
of its taut strings, the other
side of the ungraspable touch
of altitude with abyss . . .

from “Melancholias” by Kamil Peteraj

that man with a message
which for ages nobody’s waited for

because the old men are dead
who would have understood it
because the children are not born
who could decipher it

that man torn in movement
who is now only running
so he won’t take root in earth

from “Messenger with No News” by Daniel Hevier

And you,
who earlier blew out the remains of the marrow,
whistle your lament in the bone’s hollow.

Empty to emptiness.

from Beauty Leads to Stone XLVII by Ján Buzássy

Poetry excerpts from Igor Hochel, ed., Six Slovak Poets, trans. John Minahane (Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2010).

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