Igor Isakovski (b. 1970) is the founder and editor-in-chief of Shine magazine, and the most recent of his six books is Blues Phone Boot (Bluz Govornica, 2001). His poetry and prose has been translated and published in the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Yugoslavia.

Ana Bakalinova was born in 1974 in Skopje, Macedonia. Editor and co-founder of Nuclear Family, which first published Isakovski's poems, she graduated from American University in Bulgaria. She currently lives in London, where she works for AOL-Time Warner U.K. Keith Aleandri was born in London, where he taught briefly before leaving England to live and work in Skopje, Macedonia. He is a photographer, landscape artist and writer.

And So They Drink Coffee Together

my building
is small and white
and on Sundays
stinks on the spices
coming from the apartments

my building is numbered
like any other
stupid building

my building is
as a lunatic asylum
and looks like a
slaughter-house to me

i hate the architect
who built this
shit of a building
and who set a
balcony next to my
window which
views the same building

and i hate the balcony
on which every day
stands an enormous
hysterical woman
slamming her carpets
yelling to the neighbors
and beating her child

i hate that woman
and i hate the day
when the child was born
and i curse her
and i hit her with empty bottles
and she survives
like a witch

and she slams her carpets
and she yells to the neighbors
who have that luck
not to live in my room
and so they drink coffee together
and she beats her child
and her husbands sometimes
and on Saturday nights
she turns on her laundry machine
which is on the balcony
exactly at 1:35 and
the laundry works
bangs on my head for two hours
and everything is quiet later
until 9 a.m.
when the carpets,
the child
(and sometimes the husband)
their turn

translated by Ana Bakalinova

Henry, That's Life, Too

when you won?t find
a book you want to read
and after 4 sleepless days
you lay
and when you admit to yourself
that sometimes
it?s not perfect
to be alone
and when after 20 hours
of sleeping
you are tired
again anew
and when the girls
live far away
and the closest are going
to be distant
and when your girlfriend
is in a hospital
in a foreign country
and when publishers admit you are good
but still
publish your work and
the magazines
will publish you but
still no money
from anywhere
and when you are
too lazy to work
but there is no money
and when you understand that
meetings are
very important things
in conditioning people to be interesting
and when you understand that people are
and lethargic
and when you carry the song
in you always
lengthening it
supplementing it
(you have been always against
especially the songs)
and when finally
you write down a part of it all
because you have
bitten the laziness
and when someone strikes you on your head
while you are writing all that
and you understand that the song is
worth it
at least for the innate
that you kept all these
and finally
you decide to finish it
and to name it
Henry, that's life, too

One-Armed Man

i am sending you a thousand dreams
and a red bird
from this foggy tree

there is no translation for my name in any language.
there is no worthy substitute.
name your son after me
be a good girl
spread your lips
when the wind is blowing
there will be my kiss
there will be my offspring
lusting for your breasts
and when the waves
a half-circle
on the shore
you will know that i
think of you
with Habit that is better than any
in this blue-green world

translated by the author and Keith Aleandri