translated by SOFIJA POPOVSKA

Via Lasciva

By dint of habit I see on my left palm
The wall against which I strike.
P-s-s-s-t silent psycho. Mirror-image, mirror –
Words cried out.
I am reflected, therefore I return
Someone leaves a sempiternal reverberation
Threefold belt of Venus.
Reality is a return
A noise of meaning and lines:

In the beginning was the line
The image of the world.

I compare the left to the right
Upon one palm revolves the heart
Upon the other – watches
What is night, and what – day,
I cannot tell a lie.

The left seizes desire
Polycephalous, pleonastic lust
The right is the healthy, bright
Divergence of fate and life.

Not all crafts are vanished
In this demesne rich with maestri –
Logos, eros, poiesis.

Everywhere my palms precede me.
Forget, I say to myself, this disunity.
Volcano. Karma. Salt.
That sustains you, that does not extinguish your lust.
Do not point a finger at the city
Which had you.
Do not disturb the perfection of sin.
Do not be frugal with the argosy
Of signs and emotions,
You will never wish for less:

Reasons multiply like insects.

Distant palms:
Sense and sagacity,
Battle and being.
Two upon a person
Upon one face
The intersection is immaculate:

Measure of the cross and of love
Law of light
Exit from this

At dusk the fingers rise up
As the blood of a full moon
They play in the bond of darkness
Skillful like Queen Anne’s lace, like poplar,
Like an eye, a nerve, a soundwave,
I fear, forbearing
On the shores of Mars – red mark

Do colors change their symbolism
Things – their color
People – their things?

The shadows of nymphs
The mores of Amour
Enact, surrounding
Satyric acts
Bright tragedies
Around me the shadows
Around me the mores
Dialects, oracles
– for me the vices.


Black Moon

I invoke myself into existence
Exclusively, for the Devouring

While time was measured at night
Like a woman
They compared me even to the serpent
To the phallus, the Lamia
I perfected my method 
Of eclipse, adultery

I have no reason to contend
With the people, I have no love for things and ideas
As they do, but I, too, fear
Wild, Erotes, that strange song
Of lust, voracity, craving
I, too, lose my peace to demons, whirlpools
O Sheitan, I always desire a young thing
– Newness, Half, Filling

Foaming at the mouth from lifting filets
At the tongue from the trot, enacting enchantments
Of inspiration and superstition
I, too, fear the rise of the setting sun
Playing dice with light
For but three days the false
Three days the mad
Three days triradiate, three-headed living father
I, too, am made anxious that it has been so long
Too long without revolution
Turnaround, white night
Upon my lunar, your animal belt
O celestial spinning top, male anathema

My sun.



Gelded, he faced nature
Mother, sea, young Mary
Desire coming aflame
Like a mirror scintillates the obelisk
Made in primordiality

In it, geminate
Mirrored eternity
O, heart of impotence
Rhythm and mortality –
Obscene, lascivious

The obelisk rose
To the intimate floor, to the aeon
Of lust for being
With native force and reason
To be

A glimmer of eros
Target – alchemy
Fervent letter
Between human and cosmos
Flare set for the celestial womb
To mirror immaculately
The untouchable
Embodying itself
That cannot be shown
That cannot be seen
With the naked eye

O, Progenitor
O, Kouros.


Katica Kulavkova (1951) is a North Macedonian writer and academic. She has published over forty books, and some of her work, both academic and literary, is available in English translation. She is a full member of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Vice President of PEN International. Her poetry is rich with mythical and literary references, as well as images of femininity, eroticism, and passion; in her distinctive voice—terse, tidal, oracular—she captures moments of longing, loss, pleasure, and desperation, allowing them their multivalence, unflinching in the face of vulnerability.

Sofija Popovska is a poet and translator currently based in Germany. She writes for Asymptote Journal, and some of her translations have been featured in Circumference Magazine. Her debut poetry collection, Faces in the Crowd, was published in 2021 by Dijalog Press.