Lesbian gathering in Pohorje in 1997 took place from 24th to 30th June 1997.
"I can be purchased-only by the sky in myself!
By the sky which might not have place for me. "
During those five days, the sky and pine trees were in me, magnificent pines (the pines were planted by the Croatian brigades of Communist Youth, my friend Marija, who now lives in Braće Jerkovića Street, in Belgrade, in the 50’s). Everything is a miracle: Marija’s pines grew to the sky at an altitude of 1000 meters and the words with which she greeted me: "I planted them and you are going to enjoy them!“.
I enjoyed it, or my altitude sickness and the ozone did that for me. I was floating, like a fetus, protected in the mother’s womb, happy. If you could see my paths, it would be an abstract painting of crisscrossed circles, because I approached every woman to make sure that She was, like me, my sister - a lesbian. Black, brown, blue and silver Venus’ daughters, couples.
The castle, so to name the wooden edifice, a little hotel (there were no mere towers, just pine trees grown from it, around it, "Marija’s" pines) is called "At Martina’s". I added only one syllable A, because of my authenticity regarding my women's writing. There was only one male waiter (who does not count) to us, with the staff, fifty women ... My room was all wood, floor, ceiling, walls, smell of pine resin, it could be a cabin on a ship, where I will sail off into the Terra incognita along with Kasandra and Labris, the gift of five days of freedom and happiness.
To show your feelings openly was not offensive or painful here. Here, amongst us, in Pohorje. "I respect people too much, to insult them with paid love" - says Marina Cvetajeva; she goes on to say: "I am impossible to buy. That is the whole point. It is possible to obtain me only with substance (i.e. my substance!). Bread will buy you hypocrisy, false kindness, courtesy - all of my foam - maybe the residue. To buy-to atone. You will not atone easily from me." I could not atone before the tenderness and the beauty of the soul of Kasandra's daughter Magdalena, the “owner” of the wooden little house no. 2, whose windows blazed with light and woke the dawn, sang and danced (she whispered to me: "Remember 2, come in the evening.") We are dancing and singing. I went to a place where she laid out her soul and her whole being before us, like an unrestricted chaos in the vast breadth of love and feelings: "You can do whatever you want to me now, because I am happy. Kisses for you." Despite that, one of our “own” took her heart to Belgrade and broke it skillfully.
"In life and in verses the most valuable is that which went wrong", says Marina Cvetajeva. Days at Pohorje from Wednesday to Sunday flew by, and everything had the standard scheme of workshops in the morning and in the afternoon. The agreement was that Labris holds the workshops, which was done perfectly by the debutants with their new energy, meticulously and seriously. Just fine, we all love change and new faces.
It looks like it was my place and my time (height of a thousand meters, ozone, at night, 9 pm, a small room, close and intimate, took us all in). I see woman's hands with a glass and a cigarette hanging protectively over a shoulder, I see faces who expect to hear what I was able to collect in my miserable pieces of paper about such a woman poet, who is modern and magical with amazing power of plunging into the depths of your being, where she formed an alliance with all of her demons and sang one or two songs a day for years, poems, prose, studies, translated. Her "Don Juan" won the first prize at the festival of modern theater in Avignon, now, after half a century from her death, she was the most modern and the best. My role model- a poet, my sister lesbian, brilliant, rich, because she loved. While I am translating her words, I am numb and defeated, fascinated by her beauty, paralyzed by her feelings, I suffer in poetic pictures from that world which she revealed, it became my world.
I do not need the outside world, everything is here in my "own room, the room of Virginia Woolf", now a friend of my soul S.S., who opened the door to this room. I do not have 500 pounds, not 5, not even one, not a rich aunt, husband, children, everyone is disowning me. I do not make any money by writing, translating, I have nothing to sell, it is a tide of feelings and human values. Wherever I turn I see fear, malice, greed to survive, it is a difficult time for everyone.
First lesbian regional conference was held in Pohorje from the 25th to 30th June of1997. Photo: Jasna Klančišar
Difficult times of war, death and suffering, all somehow running with the laws of time, it is a pulsating life in its own specific cyclical rhythm and alternately unstoppable, so where does that leave me?
I am in the past, back to the time of my first workshop in Pohorje (in vivo giving something which I care too much about, which I want to keep for me in me, but I doubt in myself and in those across from me that I am going to say a word, somewhere behind my being, meaningless or too short, in between, meaningless, not on the chest where the feeling is coming out from, and this happens often with me, my feelings break me and there is no echo).
That is the case with children when they bring to us their "discovery" in the joy of the burning moment, and we, overwhelmed by everyday life, do not expect a "miracle" and with our indifference we quench that moment: "Drop it, don’t you see it is dirty." I threw away all the papers that I have so meticulously written on and copied, people's thoughts and words in the small room in Pohorje, my title: "My body, my soul, my choice", lesbian poetry of MARINA CVETAJEVA. I threw away the form of rules accustomed at workshop teachings, academics, boring, we are, anyway, heaped with all sorts of amenities of our miserable lives in this absurd, irrational reality.
MARINA CVETAJEVA was indeed the sincerest Russian woman poet, her short sentence with an interruption, the gaps of the unsaid, it is a suffering: when people cry – they choke, they speak with interruptions. That is the cry of the being of each of us, our common pain that paralyzes us, hence my muteness and inability to try and explain its ingenuity which rules it, She controls the dynamics of the explosive speech.
Each of us has a similar experience of tragedy and pain, each of us approaches it differently, there are some heavier experiences, pain, converted to speech in poetry is a skill, and the poet BRODSKI SAYS: "I believe that Cvetajeva is the greatest poet of the twentieth century."
Finally, at the closing part of the gathering, I got satisfaction and support for my workshop. Divna Mojca said this: "I have been to so many workshops, but I have never experienced such a workshop as the kind Štefi gave us!" Thank you for your support Mojca, if anyone needed - it was me. I was seized by the most beautiful eyes that took me to themselves. She knew it and I knew it, it was our secret, but what could I have done, her couple came and she was u n t o u c h a b l e for me. I look at all these wonderful lesbians, my sisters, while I am writing this, and I could name them all now, but I would not want to hurt any of them if I forget to put their name here. I remember my sister Rija with love, for those thousands of kilometers of distance that she goes across to meet with us. I thank her for those small glasses of vodka she purchased for me and the "fatal" Maja, who wounds everyone around her, but mostly herself, with her beauty and tragedy ... Back then I still did not know about the hotel line under the number of the room for consummation. Rija saved me from shameful bankruptcy because of vodka, because, when I start, I cannot stop myself, such a downfall... Tijana explained to me what that line was, and I immediately bought cigarettes and beer, because a long way back through the country awaited me, as I was a foreigner here and there, the old fellow poet Preradović wrote for me:
FOR A POOR STRANGER
THE DARK IS DARKER,
THE HARD SOIL IS HARDER.
Brother’s parquet flooring in the living room was tough, all the doors were taken down and my camping, sleeping on pillows taken from the children’s crib, which rebelled against my spoiled body and from their insides scattered cubes of colorful sponges. Close to my head there was an upright ladder leaning. I do not know who and how could use them to escape from this hell to the SKY..There were also two large skins of dead cows with red and white spotted tanned skin bent over (waiting to be taken away by the owner, brother’s friend furrier) and finally, my masterful brother Gargantua, the champion of the alcoholic fraternity, prepared such a "famous" ending for all of those who left him (he did not allow a shred of doubt that he is, perhaps, the first who voluntarily left it all, his family and the world, etc., masochistically sinking into his alcoholic insanity). Drunk and crazed out he welcomed me and he drank from morning until evening so that he could release his hatred towards me and all women, to tear me apart like a human beast.
He yelled: "You should all be killed, all women. You are a feminist, femini-i-i-i-st..."
MY GENDER WOKE UP in me, workshop from Pohorje "coming out", the fear was gone, in that single instant I stopped being afraid of him, of the drunken demon and the human beast, I smiled and said: "You are wrong, I am not a feminist, I am a lesbian ". I will never forget his astonished expression and the quiet break, and then a burst of laughter ... "Well, that is your business, and that is better than being a feminist!!!“
So, this is how I ended my late SPRING-SUMMER in June 1997, in Pohorje.