Olga Pek

Photo by Ondřej Lipár

When I regained my faith in poetry…

When I regained my faith in poetry, I started writing prose. Concept was my totemic operator. I amassed trophies of species on the brink of extinction and smuggled rare genera across borders to inlay my texts with them. Gazelle was my most seductive metaphor. My bios were crafted with Nigerian gold-diggers’ attention. When I regained my faith in poetry I saw there was room for colonial expansion in the canon. From the ruins of the past I lifted torsos of primitive theories, I looted witnesses’ records for archival purposes. I taught the past to speak in the language of the present. I lent my voice to the weak and the oppressed, to those lacking the gift of self-expression. My lines were a third world chronicle. When I regained my faith in poetry, I discovered the romantic in me. Only the right to bear arms will protect the lives of my books. Each poem has to fight for its fifteen minutes of fame. No writing, no food. Let women’s lyric bow down before men’s reflective verse. Let no literary intercourse go against nature. Honor thy literary ancestors as thou honor thy father and thy mother. When I regained my faith in poetry I was able to love myself again. It provided the understanding I had long been craving. Each kick, each extra hour was redeemed by the thought of it. I hoped this time I had composed a love song so moving I would never be abandoned. When I regained my faith in poetry my life acquired purpose. I gave up inessential needs, started sleeping less. Time not spent over texts was wasted time. I put off my own awakening and helped others reach enlightenment first. I infused my writing with words of consolation and instruction. Love was my only refrain. When I regained my faith in poetry it occurred to me how black blood was. I felt there was a vast burning site inside me, although The Book said it sacrificed itself for us and we would ascend its kingdom. It dawned on me my fate had been predetermined. It was as devouring as napalm, as accurate as a laser blade. When I regained my faith in poetry I had to tear it away from myself, let it

OLGA PEK is a poet, translator and cultural organizer. She is the director of Prague Microfestival and the editor-in-chief of Psí Víno. Together with Zuzana Husárová, she co-authored Amoeba (2015), an origami book, and is the co-editor of the critical anthology, Terrain: Essays on the New Poetics (2014). Her work has been featured several times in the annual anthology, Nejlepší české básně (“Best Czech Poems”), as well as in Czech, German, Polish and other literary journals. Her poetry translations from English appeared in the anthology Polibek s rozvodnou (“Kissing the Substation,” 2012).